From the beginning

Today is a Throwback-Thursday and, seeing as I didn’t start blogging my Instagram posts until I’d posted nearly 100, I thought it’d a fun way to fill in the gaps with some Throwbacks and Flashbacks. I might not post one every week, and looking back I will group together photos from a single trip or with a theme (as long as they were posted close together) so I don’t have to write another 90+ individual blog posts!

Be warned: all of my early posts originated on my phone. Indeed that was the whole point of getting an Instagram account in the first place, to give me a place to put casual phone pics, often processed in ways that I wouldn’t dream of with photos from our real cameras. Some (like the two below) work quite well as black-and-white, while others made use of either Instagram filters or the processing options in Google Photos that were available at the time as attempts to mask or at least draw attention away from the poor image quality. Was I successful? Sometimes…

I took these on one of the extreme low tides we get in the summer where we were able to walk out on Spanish Banks almost to the steep drop-off into the deeper waters of Burrard Inlet. Bright sunny days, with their high mid-day contrast, can often work well for black and white photos. And that’s exactly what I did for these two.

1. Low tide in Vancouver.

Low tide in Vancouver #lowtide #beach #spanishbanks #vancouver

A post shared by Andy Gibb (@_andy_gibb_) on

The first is unusual for me in that it’s almost street photography – I don’t normally put people in my photos, especially strangers. But I liked the fact the three people in the group were all looking the same direction – out to sea – as well as the curve of the breaking waves leading towards the high-rises of downtown Vancouver. As far as street-style photos go, it’s one of my favourites. If I want to get picky, I should be held the camera higher to avoid merging the heads and the background ship, but then, try seeing that detail on a phone screen on a sunny day…

2. Go no further.

Go no further #lowtide #blackandwhite #beach #spanishbanks #vancouver

A post shared by Andy Gibb (@_andy_gibb_) on

The second was simply a record of where we were, looking over to the North Shore, with the sentry-like structure guarding the transition to deep water as if to say that we should indeed go no further. I like the simplicity and the fluffy clouds over the mountains. That’s it really.

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Quiet

The beach is quieter at this time of year.

This is a photo from my phone and it doesn’t look as terrible as I imagined it would. I guess the light was good. I really like the scene with the empty beach, a line of logs echoed by a line of bulk carriers, the water and the mountains beyond.

After yesterday’s migraine, I wanted to be somewhere peaceful. Despite the number of people, it really did feel quite peaceful walking alongside the beach, the beach itself was mostly empty (save for a few die-hard volleyball players and picnickers). So here we are, in the middle (well, at the edge) of a big city, and we have this wonderful feeling of space, and peace. Works for me.

Flow

Not a waterfall but flowing water nonetheless – some soft wave action from a glorious couple of minutes at sunset a few weeks ago.

This photo was taken the same night as this one when the sun broke through the clouds only moments before sunset. I was captivated by the gentle wash of the waves and the reflection of the pink light on the wet sand, which gave me the idea of taking a photo with a long-enough exposure to blur the waves and give the viewer a sense of that motion. It took many attempts as I did not have a tripod, plus I had to wait for the right combination of waves and wet sand. But eventually I got one that was more or less exactly what I had in mind (indeed, this was one of those rare photographs that I actually envisioned before I took it). To top it off, the contrast between the blue water and the pink reflection is just lovely to my eye.

A moment of colour

Last night’s sunset when the sun peeked under the clouds for a few short minutes before dropping below the horizon.

I’m sure I’ve commented on this before, but it seems to happen quite often in Vancouver that a grey day ends with a brief spell of intense sunset colour. We were walking back towards the car after a wander from Jericho to Locarno Beach when we noticed the sun had dipped under the cloud layer, lighting up everything around us a dusky pink. We walked down to the water’s edge, the tide just beginning to recede after peaking an hour earlier, and watched the waves lap against the shore, the white foamy tips of each breaking wave casting a fleeting mountain-like shadow on the wet sand which reflected the deep coloured sunlight, the underside of the cloud deck now lit up a fiery pink. So pretty.

I took a couple of dozen shots hoping to capture the right wave, but none really worked. In the end I liked this composition – though this version is cropped for the Instagram format, which weakens the line of the water that I had carefully placed across the image (in the full image the water’s edge extends to the bottom right of the frame)… Oh well. The original will go up on Flickr at some point!

Toppled

A toppled fly agaric mushroom gives a great view of its gills

I’ve tried several times to get a good shot of these mushrooms (or toadstools as we’d call them back in the UK). They’re sprouting up all over the city at the moment in greater numbers than I remember seeing before, which I’m guessing is due to the excessively rainy October we just had. Alas, getting the right angle and getting the camera to focus on the right part of the fungus has proved annoyingly difficult so far. So I was actually quite pleased to find a pair of mushrooms that had been toppled over (or perhaps had fallen on their own) with their gills all lit up in the afternoon sunshine. No issues with depth of field, no issues with the camera focussing somewhere else – just perfect!

A Very Vancouver Evening

A very Vancouver evening

A sunny evening, low tide at the beach, and the city skyline – pretty much sums up summer evenings in Vancouver, even when it’s not yet summer 🙂 I really liked the reflection of the rocks in the pools and I found myself wondering how those rocks got there – were they glacial erratics? Could be…

Coltsfoot

Palmate coltsfoot, one of the first spring time wildflowers

I was out for a pre-migraine bike ride (though I didn’t know it at the time…) and, knowing it was Wildflower Wednesday, headed out towards Spanish Banks where I suspected that there would be a flower or two for me to photograph. Salmonberry blooms early, as I mentioned in last Saturday’s post but it’s a shrub and not a flower. Coltsfoot, on the other hand, is one of the earliest wildflowers to bloom. It’s not a particularly pretty flower, though it does make for a striking photo with its head of blooms radiating out in all directions.

It was also one of the favourites of a late friend of ours, who was also a huge fan of wildflowers and would head to the southern Gulf Islands every spring to catch the bloom there. Sadly we never got the chance to accompany her on any of these trips, so we try to remember her every year by noting when the coltsfoot blooms.

I’ve also seen it recently on the access road up to Mt Seymour, where we passed a couple of sizeable flower patches. Basically, anywhere there’s a damp ditch is a good candidate though it’s not actually that common. Maybe it’s outcompeted by the mare’s tails and skunk cabbage?