Harvest moonrise

Watching the Harvest Moon rise over Burrard Inlet.

A clear evening for a full-moonrise is not that common in Vancouver so I jumped at the chance to scope out a good place to set up my camera for this one. Using the Photographer’s Ephemeris I decided on the Stanley Park seawall with a clear view towards the Second Narrows bridge to the east and, with moonrise at around 7:25 pm, I knew I had just enough time to get home from work and get down to the park. I hoofed it down from the parking lot by the aquarium onto the seawall and walked along to my designated spot, pulling out the tripod on the way and extending the legs just as I reached a convenient bench.

I had only a few minutes to set up, check focus and exposure before the bright yellow limb of the moon rose over a distant ridge. As with my full moon shoot from January 2017, I was surprised at how quickly the moon appeared to rise for those first few minutes, even though I’m well acquainted with sky rotation (being a former astronomer and all). I snapped away for those minutes, alas making a fatal error and not refocusing as I changed the zoom setting on my lens. Of course I didn’t realized this until afterwards…

This moonrise wasn’t quite as good as the one back in January last year, because the moon rose after the sun had set. This meant that the sky was much darker as the moon brightened, making it much harder to balance the exposure. In the end I mostly exposed for the moon itself, but the reflection on the water was too good to resist. I also didn’t have such an impressive backdrop, and I think I might have been better off trying to get the moon to rise directly over the steel girders of the bridge, although I didn’t want the moon to disappear behind Burnaby Mountain too soon.

Still, I’m pretty happy with the results. The photos on Instagram were from a quick processing session immediately afterwards. I took my time a couple of days later and processed the photos slightly differently to put on Flickr, with different lighting adjustments, noise reduction, crops, and a half-baked attempt to remove some of the red fringing around the bottom half of the moon caused by the lens being slightly out of focus. See for yourself.

Harvest moon rise, 24 Sep 2018

Harvest moon rise, 24 Sep 2018

Harvest moon rise, 24 Sep 2018

Harvest moon rise, 24 Sep 2018

No time-lapse video this time, though. For reasons unknown, my phone and camera were most definitely not on speaking terms, and of course I hadn’t checked that out beforehand. So, another lesson learned from my meagre time lapse experiences! There’s always next time…


Local mountains

I’m getting near the end of all my remaining unblogged Instagram photos for Throwback-Thursday and it’s getting harder to come up with themed posts. In the absence of any other connection, here’s a couple of winter-time photos of and/or from the North Shore mountains.

1. Crown Mountain in its winter coat.

Crown Mountain is always a stunning sight in the winter; it has that archetypal jagged mountain profile regardless of the angle of view. I think I’ve taken more photos of Crown Mountain than any other single peak, mostly because we can see it from our apartment. This day we were out for a walk in Stanley Park and the clouds hung low in the Capilano River valley. This worked in my favour as it reduced the amount of featureless greenery that would otherwise have made up some fraction of the photo. Instead, the photo is neatly divided into four: forest, cloud, mountain, and sky. It’s not as even a division as my eye would like but nature is rarely that accommodating.

2. Throwback-Thursday to one year ago today – a sunny hike up Mt Seymour with my friend Steve.

I have Steve to thank for founding Wanderung which more-or-less single-handedly made our settling-in period in Vancouver so much easier and enjoyable. We’ve met many of our friends through the hiking group, and have been to some incredible places in BC as a result. To my surprise, I’m now helping run the society and mailing list, and have been putting out a short newsletter every week for nearly 7 years. How time flies!

The first time I visited Mt Seymour was a snowshoeing trip (coincidentally, organized by Steve), way back in January 2005 and it’s one of my favourite winter destinations with its superb views in all directions. As an example, the mountain on the horizon in this photo is Mt Garibaldi some 50 km to the north. We didn’t need snowshoes on this day as the snow was well compacted, though hats were definitely a wise move – the summit post thought so too!

Signs of autumn

Spring may be within sight, and I love the spring for the new growth. But I know many people favour autumn for its colour and feel. So this Thursday, let’s throw it back to a few autumnal shots from a couple of years ago.

1. Mushroom season is here – shaggy ink caps, I think.

I had just left work and was heading to the bus stop when I spotted a couple of mushrooms poking up through the grass. Then another, and more, and then this group which stopped me in my tracks. I took the photo with my phone, and thought about repeating it with one of our SLRs. Alas, not two days later the city had been past with their mowers and cut down every single mushroom on the verge. Mushroom massacre! So I’m really glad I took that chance and grabbed the photo when I did.

2. A sunny thing happened on the way to the Kits Farmer’s Market

It’s always nice when the sun makes an appearance in Vancouver, and today the sun lit up the yellowing leaves on the catalpa trees beautifully. I don’t like catalpas as a rule; there’s something about the colour of the leaves, and the fact that they’re big and floppy just puts me off, plus they produce these sticky slippery bean-pods after the leaves drop. But there’s a short time when a bit of sun catches them just right and all is forgiven.

3. A big big-leaf maple leaf

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A big big-leaf maple leaf

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By contrast, I love big-leaf maples! The size of their leaves is incredible and the trees grow all manner of moss and licorice ferns. When my parents visited Vancouver a few years ago, I found a large leaf and handed to my mum who took it home and put it in a frame on the wall 🙂

However, not everyone shares my appreciation of these trees. They’re not popular near buildings as they can rot from the inside and collapse or fall without warning. Water can collect in the boughs where it can cause large branches to rot and fall off. I’ve heard the term “widow-maker” in conversations about big-leaf maples… But without those constraints, I think they’re awesome trees. And the leaves can’t be beaten. I mean, just look at the size of that one!

4. A 21st century Halloween horror!

Aaaaaarrrrrggghhh!!!! What a nightmare, eh? I spotted this pumpkin on the doorstep of an apartment building in Mt Pleasant and couldn’t resist…

Music and song

Another long-overdue Throwback-Thursday post, this time with the theme of music and song. I grew up in an era when taking photographs at concerts was forbidden, so it felt odd to take out my phone and try and capture parts of a performance. It helps that my phone camera is too awful to make it worth my while to even try – except occasionally I can’t resist trying 🙂

1. Rush playing Losing It with Ben Mink. Fantastic show!

I’ve been a fan for over 35 years (!) and I hadn’t really appreciated that the R40 tour was going to be their last major tour until after I’d bought last-minute tickets. I was so glad that I did buy them as it was a superb show, though I wish I’d remembered ear plugs! Perhaps the highlight was the song “Losing It” from the Signals album, a song that almost always brings a lump to my throat anyway. But to hear it played live, with Ben Mink playing the violin as he does on the album… Well, I almost lost it!

2. I’ve wanted to take this picture for ages…

Any Rush fan will instantly understand this photo. I remember noticing this number on my first ever visit to Vancouver back in 2004 and I’ve wanted an excuse to photograph every since. I even thought I’d incorporate it into my photo-a-day project back in 2011, but I always found something else to photograph instead. Part of me has the idea of going round the city and photographing all of the street numbers equal to 2112. Part of me thinks that would be a silly waste of my time. And yet, that idea still keeps coming back to me…

3. An appointment with Mr Moore.

This photo was taken the night we went to see one of our favourite blues artists, Keb’ Mo’. This concert was a bit of a let-down by comparison – it felt a little too laid back, almost to the point of feeling like the artists weren’t really trying hard enough. I dunno – maybe he was having an off night. Or maybe it was me.

4. Until tomorrow night – empty chairs after a great performance of Oliver.

When I realized just how bad my phone camera was I thought I’d be inspired to be more selective in composing photographs and that I’d try out more black and white where the awful colour rendition wouldn’t be noticed. That never really happened, but occasionally I see something that I think would work. The pleasing geometry of rows of white chairs on a dark night seemed to suit that quite well, and I like this shot. The black-and-white conversion has the added advantage of masking the general grubbiness of the chairs.

I’m not a fan of musicals, but this version of Oliver was excellent. Oh and we were told in no uncertain terms that photography was indeed forbidden for this performance, so I waited until the end to get my shot.

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!

Seymour and bridge

Mt Seymour looking nice and warm at sunset.

Another photo from last Tuesday’s chilly sunset wander along the seawall. I took so many and had a hard time choosing between them as the light on the mountains was so beautiful – I’m surprised that I’ve been so restrained and only posted a couple on Instagram (I uploaded more to Flickr). It helps that the Lions Gate bridge is a visually-appealing suspension bridge. I just really liked the warm light on the distant mountain seen through the cable supports of the bridge. I think I would have preferred to have been on that mountain at this time, but being on the seawall wasn’t a bad place to be really.