And that was Once Around the Sun

Throwback to the final photo in my photo-a-day project from 5 years ago. I began the project looking for (and failing to find) these fawn lilies, and was lucky enough to find them on my final day, which made it all seem worthwhile. At least, it did at the time: I have no intention of doing another! And it just so happens that this photo could have been taken this week as these flowers are at exactly the same stage 🙂

So this is the last you’ll hear about my Once Around the Sun project (aka “OATS”). I’m done with it. Again. 🙂 It was certainly a handy source of inspiration for Instagram posts, though I put my own artificial constraints on the choice of photos by insisting on using photos taken the same week five years previously. That meant I wasn’t always posting my best shots from OATS, but I guess I was overly enamoured of the whole “five years ago today” kind of feel. Nostalgia can be powerful, and isn’t always rational. Maybe I’ll sift through some of the other photos in the project and post some of my favourites that didn’t make the initial Instagram cut. We’ll see.

And so I need to come up with a new source of inspiration for Throwback Thursdays, although that shouldn’t be hard: I have a ginormous backlog of photos, many on Flickr but even more that have never seen the light of day. The difficulty is going to be deciding which one to use… But that’s a challenge for next week!

On a wing…

I have a soft spot for flickers (well, pretty much any woodpecker really), so I was pretty chuffed to get this shot of one spreading out its wing, beautifully backlit by the afternoon sun, in a nearby tree-top.

OK so this is one of those photos that I was really happy with at the time but I find painful to look at these days. The image quality is just awful, and it’s just so obviously taken with a small-sensor compact camera. The chromatic aberration, the sharpening haloes, the highlight/colour response – yuck!

Having said that, I was so delighted to get this shot, to see a flicker close enough to photograph and especially to capture that moment where it spread out its wing, catching the afternoon sun to show off the lovely red feathers. It’s the memory of this shot and what it evokes that I’ve come to appreciate, more than the photo itself. I’m sure that’s a feeling many photographers have experienced!

Waves, meet beach

A fine day at the beach from 5 years ago, the snowy peaks of the Tantalus Range on the distant horizon.

If I remember rightly, there were a few reasons for this photo. The first was the straight line in the pebbles on the beach marking the high-tide line. The second was the waves – it’s rarely windy enough here to whip up any significant waves. The third was the view up Howe Sound to the peaks of the Tantalus Range, 60 km away near Squamish. I still find it amazing that there are such impressive mountains within sight of Vancouver.

The full-sized photo is on Flickr.

City backdrop

City backdrop. I had fun taking this shot, sizing it up, getting the camera settings right, and then walking back and forth across Cambie St to take the photo in the middle of the crossing 🙂

This was one of my favourite shots from the photo-a-day project, and one I’d had in mind for some time. I always enjoy walking across Cambie St in this neighbourhood with its great view across downtown and to the mountains beyond. This view makes a nice contrast to the photo I posted a few weeks ago that showed the true scale of Crown Mountain.

Looking back on it now, I’d like to reshoot it on a different day with more of Crown visible. Having said that, this shot required a long lens to compress the scene, and I don’t know if I can still achieve that with our current setup – I used a compact ultra-zoom camera to take this photo which I traded in when I bought the Sony RX100II. It’s not a question of pixels, it really does need the long telephoto lens to make the mountains look so close to the city. But maybe I should try anyway…

A Crown for the clouds

A Crown for the clouds – yet another photo of Crown Mountain from my picture-a-day project of 5 years ago.

Crown is a dramatic-looking mountain, and never more so than when the clouds are clearing. I liked this view at the time because Crown appeared to be sandwiched between two layers of cloud. To be honest, I’m not that enamoured of this photo these days – I shrugged when I saw that I’d chosen it for this week’s throwback photo. It feels a little flat and lacking in presence. Back in early 2012, I was still using the JPEGs from the camera – I suspect that if I processed it from raw I would give it a different feel now (mind you, raw processing is no guarantee of a better end result). Plus I feel I’ve taken much better shots since then. Of course, without the pressure of getting something every day, I can afford to be choosy and wait for better light or better conditions so I would indeed hope that I’d taken better photos in the past 5 years!

Grumpy blue heron

Great grumpy blue heron – this heron was standing in a couple of inches of water right next to the trail, and I was surprised at how close I was able to get. Maybe that’s why it looked grumpy 🙂

Oh, I remember this day… We had walked through to Coal Harbour from Stanley Park in order to sample one or more hot chocolates as it was the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival. The highlight was definitely getting a nice close up view of this heron (perhaps it should have been the hot chocolate – good enough, but these days I find them to be far too sweet). The low point was me rolling my ankle as I ran along the seawall near the convention centre, and didn’t see the change in level of the path. That was a painful walk back into the park to get back to our car before our parking ran out. So maybe it was me that was grumpy, not the heron?

Two tone

Two-tone fog over Stanley Park.

Another shot harking back to my photo-a-day project, and yet another of those wait-until-the-end-of-the-day photos! I remember running down the street to get down to the water’s edge near Kits Beach to get this view of the fog that had been drifting around most of the day. I got there just in time to catch the sun lighting up the top of the fog bank while the lower half was in shadow, creating this nice two-tone effect. I always like shots of fog in the tree tops – I don’t have as many of those photos as I would like, something I should clearly work on!