Waterfall season

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.

No ordinary bunny

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!

Forest green

Mossy green.

Mossy green #craterrimtrail #loggerslake #whistler #seatosky #explorebc #beautifulbritishcolumbia

A post shared by Andy Gibb (@_andy_gibb_) on

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.

Mt Fee

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.

Brandywine Glacier

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.

Brandywine Falls

Cloudy days have their upsides – can you see the person sitting at the top of the falls?

I’ve taken more than a few photos of this waterfall but somehow it’s always been a sunny (or at least bright) day. On the plus side that means I’ve often captured a rainbow. Today Jen and I called in after our hike to Joffre Lakes and as I was sizing up my shots, I realized that the light level was low enough for me to get a longer exposure. So I dropped the ISO down to 100, closed the aperture down and put the polarizer in front of the lens. All this got me a half-second exposure – perfect, though I really had to work to keep the camera steady against the railing. But I managed (thankfully there weren’t any people walking around on the wooden platform) and I’m really quite pleased with the photo.

Then I noticed the person sitting at the top of the falls… I’ve stood near that point and I can promise you it’s a pretty scary place to be. But on the plus side, remember what I was saying about getting a sense of scale with waterfalls? That person at the top immediately makes the 70-m (230-foot) drop look like a long way. For that, I’m grateful to whomever they are.

Brandy, wine, ice

Brandy, wine, ice. With Pyroclastic and Cayley for company.

Perhaps my favourite photo from yesterday’s hike to Brandywine Mountain. This summit has quickly become one of my favourite with its relatively easy access (with a car that has enough clearance and oomph to get up a steep, bumpy logging road), gorgeous meadows, and absolutely stunning views. Ridiculously scenic is how I describe this hike/scramble.

More details can be found on my trip summary on Live Trails.