Mercury and the Sun

A little black disc against a big bright disc: Mercury (lower left) wanders across the face of the Sun. The fuzzy patch in the upper part is sunspot 2542.

My original idea was to dig out my solar filter and attach it to one of our SLRs, but that meant trying to work out which box it’s stored in. It was much easier to simply project the image onto a white sheet of paper. Having said that, it took a few attempts to get the camera to focus on the image, and then angle the paper so that it wasn’t too shiny (it’s amazing how shiny paper is when projecting the Sun). I was also impressed with the camera’s resolution, even showing up the fibres in the paper. With the breeze and heat haze from the Sun itself, it took quite a few photos to get a handful that were sharp enough to show. This is one of them. Obviously 🙂

The tiniest bunch

A bunch of tiny flowers for Mother’s Day (OK so it wasn’t Mother’s Day in the UK anyway but that doesn’t matter 🙂

I teamed up with our friend Andrew for a wander around some of the trails on the lower flanks of Hollyburn, exploring some new routes. It was a good move as these trails were much quieter those for than our Plans A and B (where the parking lots were already completely full). The forest flowers were just beginning to bloom, with some lovely patches of bunchberry in open areas. These flowers often decorate old tree stumps, which makes for a particularly pretty scene, though we didn’t find any to photograph today. On the other hand, we did stumble across the Hollyburn Fir, a gigantic Douglas fir that survived the rapacious logging of the last century. What an incredible tree it is! Worth every step of wandering through crappy second-growth forest.

The Chief

Today’s tasty lunch spot

It’s been a year since we last hiked up the Chief near Squamish, so it’s about time we returned. This time we went to the First Peak, which we usually avoid due to the crowds, but today we didn’t feel up to pushing for the whole loop. It was a beautiful day, busy but not too bad thanks to our earlier-than-usual start. It was our friend Jen’s first time to the top and she (and her pup Frisco) loved it.

And yes, lunch was as tasty as the view 🙂

Raindrop lily

Another Throwback Thursday, another flower 🙂 Five years ago I was attending a workshop at the Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics where I spotted some white fawn lilies decorated with raindrops. I had no choice but to walk back down the hill to take their picture…


A tiny fresh starflower for Wildflower Wednesday These flowers are tiny, barely bigger than your fingernail. If you want to see one closeup, check out a recent lovely photo taken by @tidelinetoalpine

I’ve tried for years to get a good photo of these diminutive flowers, and mostly failed as they are tiny and difficult to get close to. To make things harder, they’re forest flowers and often deep in shady areas, meaning that the exposure times are really too long for handheld shots. I should have used a tripod instead of trying to hold still while crouching down on my knees. However, I can say that I have succeeded in getting one or two photos that I’m quite happy with, and I was especially pleased with this one as it captures a flower just opening out. I’ve never seen one at this early stage before, so it was a double treat 🙂

Cheam sunrise

A different view for Mountain Monday – the Cheam Range at dawn on May Day morning, 110 km to the east

Speaking of mountain crushes, I had one on the left-most peak of the Cheam Range visible in the photo above, none other than the range’s namesake peak, Mount Cheam. For a couple of years I would try and get photos of it from every vantage point possible, including from Vancouver and the North Shore. Indeed, I vividly remember one sunny March afternoon, driving down the hill on 4th Ave and seeing the gleaming white wedge of Cheam, seeming to be so clear and striking despite being so far away. It could be my mind played a trick on me, because I’ve never seen the view up the Fraser Valley as clear again.

My obsession with Cheam has waned a little as I’ve taken about as many photos as I can without putting in more effort to find new vantage points. But I still notice it, and it called to me on this glorious May Day morning…

Lily the pink

A lone pink fawn lily for today’s Throwback Thursday. At first I thought this was a cultivated varietal, but it turns out to be native to this part of BC; it’s just less common than its white cousin.

I found this pink lily in a flowerbed of mostly periwinkle, and I took its picture purely because it looked so much like the other lilies I know and love – the white fawn and yellow glacier lilies – but I truly thought it was non-native species. Imagine my delight when I found out the truth! It’s very much rarer than the white fawn lily, but I’ve since seen it in a couple of places so I know it’s out there…