Top of the Mountain

The End. Good movie, a well paced build-up before a heart-pounding climax with some beautiful scenes! Would watch again.

Some people manage to come up with great captions for their photos on Instagram. Some post meaningful statements, or pose questions to ponder. Me? I end up usually just describing what’s in the photo 🙂 But this more playful take on a description of the hike up to the top of Hollyburn came to mind as I typed the first words, The End, which were mostly about the crossed poles indicating the end of the marked trail. Indeed I have enjoyed “watching” this hike many times now. I can’t say that for any film…

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The Great Glacier

A sense of scale – a hiker gets up close and personal with the ever-receding Illecillewaet glacier

Hiking over the polished and plucked bedrock (that was under ice only a century ago) for another hour-and-a-half beyond the official end of the trail, we arrived at a knoll overlooking the glacier. As we were enjoying a well-earned lunch, we caught sight of a couple of hikers who’d ventured further, inadvertently providing us with a convenient measure of the scale of the ice. Without them, it would have been difficult to convey just how massive the glacier is, even though it’s receding at a steady rate.

Of course, we couldn’t resist a closer look ourselves and soon realized just how deceptive the scale was – it took at least 20 minutes to get to the edge of the glacier! So much for a quick look…

Morning (f)light

Catching the early morning (f)light – a floatplane banks in front of the western peak of Crown Mountain.

During my photo-a-day project I’d always venture out onto our balcony on any morning with good light, especially in the winter. I don’t recall how many such photos made it into the project (not many as I tried hard not to repeat shots if possible) but I certainly took plenty. I liked this one because the floatplane just turned to catch the sun, showing up brightly against a wonderfully snowy Crown Mountain. This particular peak is locally called Beauty Peak, or sometimes just West Crown and there is a route to its summit which looks like a fun scramble.

Oh, and excuse the pun in the title and first line – I can’t help it…

Sastrugi

Seymour sastrugi for today’s winter-wonderland Wednesday.

I didn’t have any waterfall, wildflower, or wildlife shots in mind for this week, so I came up with a new Wednesday tag – only to find that it’s been used at least 300 times before. Ah well, so much for originality.

Anyhow, this is yet another photo from my trip up Mt Seymour from a couple of weeks ago. It’s always windy up there in the winter, and with the lack of trees on the summit, the snow is sculpted into a fantastic array of shapes (i.e., sastrugi). I must have taken a dozen or more shots of various curves and lines – always tricky to make them look good with white-on-white details, but this arrangement was placed just right with distant mountains and the dip in the bluffs.

When I first looked at this shot, though, I wasn’t happy with it – the sastrugi was not a big enough feature. I wasn’t even thinking of Instagram when I cropped it, but found that the square crop really allowed me to highlight the snow in a way I was happy with. Definitely one of my favourite photos from the day.

Smoothed out

The high-rises of the West End reflect the glow of the western sky. The seawall at Kits Pool comes in handy for long exposures!

A fine Monday afternoon and – as was so often the case in my photo-a-day project – I wandered out for some fresh air and possibly scope out a photo-op or two. The tide was on its way out so I headed down onto the beach at the bottom of Balaclava Street and walked towards the city, watching the last light play on the mountain tops. By the time I reached Kits Pool, it was dark enough to try a few longer exposures and the high-rises in the city were reflecting the lovely yellow-orange glow of the sky; an urban alpenglow. I didn’t have my tripod so the seawall came in very handy. Two seconds was just long enough to smooth out the water and highlight the reflections of the buildings.

Splintered

Splintered. One of a number of red alders brought down by this winter’s snowfall.

As always, I posted this photo because I liked it, so imagine my surprise when it kinda took off and became my most popular photo so far, garnering over 30 more likes than my next-most popular photo.

We were setting out on a walk into Lynn Headwaters park, and soon came across a handful of fallen trees. I noticed the right-angle bend in the broken tree trunk and immediately walked over to size it up. The sharp splintered wood contrasting with the grey bark and the deep orange layer between them along with the geometry of the two parts of the tree. Just some minor editing to tidy up the framing and get a crop suitable for Instagram. Done.

From sky to sea

Vancouver in view – admiring our fair city from the North Shore mountains.

Another shot from a recent hike up Mt Seymour. At the time, the photo was really just a record of the view, but when I processed it I figured that a square crop would work quite nicely with the foreground snow, then the line of cliffs at Suicide Bluffs, the city coastline and beyond to the chain of mountains on Vancouver Island all leading the eye through the picture. Some of those things may even be on third lines, but that wasn’t the case when I actually took the photo! 🙂