It’s pinesap season! I love how these flowers emerge from the ground, uncurling and unfurling as they grow. Saw a few along the Sea to Summit trail at the weekend, and on Mt Gardner the previous weekend, and more on our hike to Mt Harvey a couple of weeks ago. Alice Lake is a great place to see them at this time of year.
Much like coralroot, I was intrigued by these colourful flowers that grew in the shade of the forest. I don’t remember exactly when I first saw one of these flowers, but I could immediately see it was unlike any other flower I’d ever seen. Varying from creamy-yellow to salmon-pink in colour, this tiny flower unfurls directly on the forest floor, starting out as a tiny coloured bump before growing up and straightening out to a full height of about 30 cm. Like coralroot, there’s not a hint of green anywhere. They sometimes grow alone, but more often in small groups, two or three, maybe half-a-dozen. Since then I’ve found a place where it grows in profusion, and the trail becomes one of the slowest half-miles I’ll ever walk 🙂
So keep your eyes open – they’re picky about where they grow, but when they find a place they like, they can spread out and colonize the area.
Steller’s jay sightings are pretty much guaranteed at Fawn Lake. We sat and watched this one pick up leftover popcorn from previous hikers to feed its recently fledged chick. While these birds are pretty good at begging for handouts, I haven’t yet encountered any as bold or aggressive as their grey cousins.
Although I’ve spent some time lately cursing the camera for not focussing properly, I have to admit that eventually I was able to get quite a few nice photos of this jay as it hopped around. (I think I have a dozen that I’m happy with – most of which won’t go on Instagram because, well, there’s not much point in posting a dozen almost-identical photos!) Of course birds are rarely still, so getting a good shot becomes an exercise in predicting where it might go next. I’d watched it hop up onto this rock a few times, so I let it do its rounds, saw that it was approaching the rock, and set up my composition and focus. Oh and I made sure that the sun was behind me to avoid just getting a silhouette. As soon as it appeared in my viewfinder I took as many shots as I could (I forgot to put the camera on continuous shoot though). Bingo!
They’re such photogenic birds with brilliant blue feathers taking on shades of azure, cobalt, and sapphire among others. We’ve seen them at this same spot almost every time we’ve visited, and I’ve been wanting to get a good photo of one for some time. I think this’ll do just fine.
Shannon Falls from the side, this view is from the parking lot at the Sea to Sky gondola – waterfall season is fast approaching!
It’s been a pretty miserable winter here in Vancouver. Lots of rainy days, and sunshine has been hard to come by. But rain and snow make for good waterfalls, so there’s something to be said for enduring all the grey and damp. Shannon Falls near Squamish is usually a good bet for a good flowing waterfall, and this day was pretty good for early spring conditions. I’ve seen the falls flowing much more strongly than this, but today there was enough to get some good misty spray drifting from the upper cascades. We’d called in to the Sea to Sky gondola to buy annual passes (aka Christmas presents!) and caught this nice view of the falls as we walked from the car, a slightly different perspective than usual.
Not saying it’s cold in Canada but I just saw the Easter bunny…. Well OK I admit it – this photo was actually taken one February a few years ago 🙂
Every winter we see the evidence of their existence – quartets of paw prints in the snow – but only rarely have we seen them. Our best encounter was this one while cross-country skiing at the Whistler Olympic Park back in 2009. I guess it hadn’t really worked out that it had a dark background behind it as it just sat there was as long as we wanted to take photos, presumably thinking it was well-camouflaged against the surrounding snow. I don’t think it moved a muscle until we skied off. Very cute!
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.
Spiky Mt Fee, always an impressive sight
I don’t remember when we first saw Mt Fee (it could have been from the Roundhouse on Whistler) but we were immediately impressed with its jagged profile. Hiking up into Brandywine Meadows and beyond to Brandywine Mountain itself offers some superb and much closer views, like this one 🙂 The main issue with getting a good photo of Mt Fee is that it’s more or less due south of Brandywine so it’s usually in silhouette. That’s where black and white comes into play where the emphasis is on shape and texture, light and shadow. And Mt Fee has all of that.
Another angle on the Brandywine Glacier from last Friday.
I’ve been following the progress of photographer Quentin Lake as he hikes the entire coastline of Britain, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing his photographs and what he makes of the landscape (and seascape) around him. His ability to find interesting shapes and patterns has inspired me to look for similar things when I’m outdoors. In particular he frequently manages to find angles and intersecting lines that make for visually striking photos. This photo of the edge of Brandywine Mountain and the glacier below is my attempt to mimic this style. It’s not perfect (the shadows are a bit distracting in my view), but I’m still pretty happy with it.