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.

Sunset on a view

Last light on Mt Seymour – another throwback Thursday shot from my picture-a-day project 5 years ago. You can’t see this view on campus any more thanks to the new student union building.

I remember finding this view of Mt Seymour from a particular spot on the UBC campus, and during my photo-a-day project, I often walked out near the end of the day to watch the light change colour as the sun set. Even if it wasn’t worth a photo, it was usually worth seeing.

Spotted!

Spotted! A spotted towhee makes a rare venture out from the safety of the undergrowth. This should have been yesterday’s Throwback Thursday but I forgot, so it’s today’s Feathered Friday instead 🐦

These birds are notoriously shy and although they often venture out into the open, they quickly dart back into the undergrowth as you approach. It took me a few years to associate them with the cat-like mew of their call, and of course now I hear it often. So I was pleasantly surprised when this one hopped out into full sun to scratch through the leaves on these steps. It had made a first tentative visit but sought the safety of the bushes as I got closer. I stopped still and zoomed in on where it had been, hoping it might make a return. And so it did, and I was ready.

The evil eye

Watcha lookin’ at? Getting the evil eye from a squirrel…

I was wandering around the UBC campus on a sunny afternoon and came across this squirrel above me in the tree. Normally they scamper off but this one stopped to stare me out. I just had to hope it wasn’t going to, well, you know, on my head 🙂

Long shadows

Thursday again already? This is probably my favourite photo from my picture-a-day project 5 years ago. I ran down the steps to the beach, knowing I might miss sunset but hoping for some colour, and was greeted by this gorgeous light. I only managed to get half-a-dozen before it disappeared. I think this was the first shot I took too 🙂

The full story behind this photo is here. I still don’t think I’ve witnessed a sunset like this one where the light cast such long shadows from the pebbles embedded in the sand. And the colour too – so orange!

Lily the pink

A lone pink fawn lily for today’s Throwback Thursday. At first I thought this was a cultivated varietal, but it turns out to be native to this part of BC; it’s just less common than its white cousin.

I found this pink lily in a flowerbed of mostly periwinkle, and I took its picture purely because it looked so much like the other lilies I know and love – the white fawn and yellow glacier lilies – but I truly thought it was non-native species. Imagine my delight when I found out the truth! It’s very much rarer than the white fawn lily, but I’ve since seen it in a couple of places so I know it’s out there…