Mamquam Mountain Monday

Mamquam Mountain from a few weeks ago after the first dusting of snow. There’ll be way more than that now.

Mamquam is a huge massif of a mountain, and it can be tricky to photograph effectively. The version of this photo on Flickr has a little less presence than this one, and even that’s a crop from the full image. But that’s one of the things I actually like about Instagram: it forces you to change the perspective on an image, and gives the opportunity to highlight one or two features of a particular scene. And so it is with this photo – a tighter crop, a touch of warming, and a little bit of desaturating to emphasize shape and texture and before you know it, you have a completely different photo.

Golden avenue

An avenue of yellow tulip poplars on 10th Ave, one of my favourite deciduous trees as they remind me of hiking in Shenandoah in the fall. Here, the leaves tend to be a little more burnished rather than the bright yellow of the Appalachians but they’re still pretty, especially in afternoon sunshine.

I still vividly remember our first visit to Shenandoah National Park in the autumn of 2000. I was expecting to see red and gold trees, and was a little disappointed to find nothing but bright yellow. Later I learned that these vivid yellow leaves were from the tulip poplar, a tree that came to be my favourite on the east coast of the US. So when we moved way out west to Vancouver, I was really pleased to find this row of poplars and looked forward to seeing the leaves turn in the autumn. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t turn yellow but I really can’t complain when they take on this wonderful golden colour instead!

Back to today. I was on my way home from the beach and realized that it was sunny, and decided to check out this avenue (in both senses of the word). Lo and behold, the trees were still covered in leaves, and the sunshine was lighting them up. I pulled in behind a car, and noticed another photographer who’d pulled over to get the same shots. (Turns out he was actually shooting film, and was wanting to use up the roll.) But I wasn’t entirely happy with the shots I was getting – somehow I was having difficulty lining things up right (which could have been down to the fact I was waiting for gaps in traffic) – so I drove a bit further along 10th and decided to shoot in the other direction instead. This worked really well – the gaps between cars were longer so I had more time to compose, and I really like the way the road disappears into the trees as it heads up the hill. The only downside to this photo is having to crop it vertically to fit on Instagram. But that’s where Flickr comes in: see the full version here.

Vancouver in the Fall

Throwback to a sunny autumn morning from this week 5 years ago. I think it must have been Bike to Work Week.

This week is Bike-to-Work Week, indeed as it was five years ago. But it’s a very different week with barely a hint of sun. I took this photo from Trimble Park in Point Grey, a good place to catch your breath after cycling up the hill on 8th Ave! I loved the soft light on the trees, and of course the view of Golden Ears (which I can now say I’ve climbed – yay!). And then it was onwards and upwards some more…

Deadly beauty

It’s a wet Wednesday, perfect for waterfall photos, such as this one of Twin Falls that I took yesterday. I held my camera over the fence (it makes a good support for long-ish exposures) but clearly that wasn’t good enough for some folks as the mesh of the fence had been ripped out so they could get a better view. Personally I was happy to keep to the wet slippery rocks on the safe side 🙂

I discovered this waterfall some years ago and I love going back to get a photo every now and again, especially after a good downpour. It’s in a really treacherous part of Lynn Canyon – though it seems odd saying that as it’s all pretty treacherous! That aside, I noticed a couple of things that were new on this visit compared with the last time I was here at the end of 2013. The first was the number of warning signs, including a water danger level (set to “deadly”). The second was that the safety fence had been damaged in places so people could get a closer, unobstructed view of the falls and the pool below, which I suspect is people doing it for the ‘Gram. I’ll be honest, there is one point on the fence that I’d be tempted to hop (hop, not rip apart mind you), but only when it’s dry – the rocks are really greasy in the wet. But then, when it’s dry, the waterfall probably isn’t as spectacular, so maybe I won’t do it after all.

Peek-a-boo Black Tusk

Peek-a-boo Black Tusk from the Crater Rim trail.

I couldn’t resist posting this photo from Saturday’s hike on the Crater Rim Trail. At one point there is a gap in the trees just big enough to get this wonderful view of Black Tusk, now lovingly decorated in its winter coat.

Forest green

Mossy green.

Today we revisited yet another place from 5 years ago, the Crater Rim Trail around Logger’s Lake in Whistler. It’s a pleasant little hike (only 5 km) with enough elevation gain to make it feel like a little workout (250 m), and a handful of interesting things to see along the way. For me, one of the most fascinating things about the hike is the geology, and one edge of the rim is composed of columnar basalts. Very cool. Further on, the trail ends up in this beautiful open, mossy green forest. I could hike in this kind of forest all day, it’s just so restful on my eyes, and so much brighter than the dense, valley-bottom forest.

Serac city

Serac city.

Apart from the lakes themselves, the Matier Glacier is one of the more spectacular features of the Joffre Lakes hike. Some people will scramble up the rocks to the snout of the glacier, which is something I won’t do when the daily temperature changes straddle freezing. On one of our trips here we found chunks of glacial ice mixed in the snow very close to the lake, and there’s only one place that ice could have come from. So, I’ll just be content with this view for now, thank you.

I’ve rather fallen out with our SLRs lately as their focus just hasn’t been as sharp as our little RX100II (and sometimes misses altogether, which just shouldn’t happen). But I needed the long reach of the telephoto lens for this shot and I managed to get a few sharp-enough photos to really emphasize the drama of the features in the glacier. This photo was taken as the sun came out and lit up parts of the glacier for just a short time, adding lots of contrast to what had been a fairly flat view until then, and showcasing the texture and structure in the ice. N’ice, as I like to say 🙂

Between sea and sky

Things that Kits Pool is good for in the off-season: sunset reflections.

As soon as the pool closes, the birds move in and it becomes a veritable no-go zone for people. (Apart from being closed to visitors, there is so much bird poop on the ground that it would be a distinctly unpleasant place to be.) But tonight I caught the pool still full, and empty of birds so it was completely still. I really liked the way the street lamps looked like they were continuous, and the blending of the pool and the sea beyond. I first noticed that blending effect a few years ago, and took a very similar photo, albeit on a warm summer evening. I think today’s photo is actually nicer though, with a simpler composition and fewer distractions.

A Brief Respite

A brief respite from the grey.

I was walking back from my personal training session and ended up walking along 10th Avenue rather than Broadway for a change. The rain had stopped during the hour I was in the gym and I was enjoyed the sunshine and blue sky on the walk home. At this intersection I had a clear view of the yellow-leaved tree and the blue sky and despite only having my phone on me, I just had to take the shot. It’s recovered fairly well, certainly good enough for Instagram. I’ve given up on taking photos with my phone as the camera is just so poor (especially compared with our other cameras), plus Google changed all the image editing tools to take away some of the features I’d enjoyed fiddling with. But sometimes it’s good enough, and – let’s face it – the photos are immediately available to share, something that the big camera companies are still barely working out.

Fire in the Sky

A break in the clouds as the sun goes down, which seems quite common for Vancouver sunsets (Oct 2011).

It may be a selection effect, and it could be just down to the fact that I’ve seen more Vancouver sunsets than anywhere else but it does often seem to be the case that the rainy weather breaks near the end of the day, leaving us with some great colour and cloud formations. This is one of those photos that I was glad to reprocess from raw as the photo straight out of the camera clipped the highlights. But even now, it still looks more like a painting to me than a photo; there’s just something about those colours and the textures.