Spring green

A floret of green – the soft, delicate leaves of Pacific bleeding heart dotted with raindrops.

It’s that time of year when I go in search of the first buds and shoots that herald the beginning of another spring. Based on a Musqueam story I saw at the Museum of Vancouver, I headed to Musqueam Creek to look for fawn lilies. I found no lilies, but I did see lots of false lily-of-the-valley (tiny green spears poking up through the soil), indian plum, skunk cabbage, and the subject of this photo, bleeding heart. The foliage of bleeding heart must be one of the softest things I’ve ever touched, especially when it’s this fresh.

Bird sightings/soundings included: Anna’s hummingbirds, Swainson’s thrushes, varied thrushes, robins, pileated woodpeckers, flickers, some kind of wren (possibly winter?), bald eagles, black-capped chickadees, a house finch or two, and possibly bushtits. Musqueam Park in the spring is definitely a good place to hear a lot of spring-time bird song!

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.

A fine view

A fine view indeed – the North Shore mountains looked very photogenic today. You have to make the most of days like these and we ended up walking 10 km around the city πŸ™‚ My feet are pretty sore now…

What a beautiful day to be outside – apart from the chilly wind and the blinding reflection of the sun off the water in English Bay (there’s no pleasing some people πŸ˜‰ I ended up with about a dozen photos from today that I really liked, but this one is probably my favourite.

Walking the seawall in Coal Harbour I was drawn to the blue sky reflected in the water, and this perfect little cloud drifting over Grouse Mountain. I also took a landscape shot that took in all the mountains between Crown and Seymour, but I liked the way this angle neatly fitted into a square crop.

City backdrop

City backdrop. I had fun taking this shot, sizing it up, getting the camera settings right, and then walking back and forth across Cambie St to take the photo in the middle of the crossing πŸ™‚

This was one of my favourite shots from the photo-a-day project, and one I’d had in mind for some time. I always enjoy walking across Cambie St in this neighbourhood with its great view across downtown and to the mountains beyond. This view makes a nice contrast to the photo I posted a few weeks ago that showed the true scale of Crown Mountain.

Looking back on it now, I’d like to reshoot it on a different day with more of Crown visible. Having said that, this shot required a long lens to compress the scene, and I don’t know if I can still achieve that with our current setup – I used a compact ultra-zoom camera to take this photo which I traded in when I bought the Sony RX100II. It’s not a question of pixels, it really does need the long telephoto lens to make the mountains look so close to the city. But maybe I should try anyway…

Another sunset

Well that was quite the sunset tonight! Great clouds over Bowen Island lit up by the last light of the day.

I’d been watching the clouds all day hoping that sunset would provide a nice photo op. And I wasn’t disappointed! Such a lovely towering cloud over Bowen Island, and lit up perfectly by the setting sun. There was another big cloud over Cypress Bowl that looked to me a bit like one of the space invaders, but perhaps that was my imagination getting the better of me.

A Crown for the clouds

A Crown for the clouds – yet another photo of Crown Mountain from my picture-a-day project of 5 years ago.

Crown is a dramatic-looking mountain, and never more so than when the clouds are clearing. I liked this view at the time because Crown appeared to be sandwiched between two layers of cloud. To be honest, I’m not that enamoured of this photo these days – I shrugged when I saw that I’d chosen it for this week’s throwback photo. It feels a little flat and lacking in presence. Back in early 2012, I was still using the JPEGs from the camera – I suspect that if I processed it from raw I would give it a different feel now (mind you, raw processing is no guarantee of a better end result). Plus I feel I’ve taken much better shots since then. Of course, without the pressure of getting something every day, I can afford to be choosy and wait for better light or better conditions so I would indeed hope that I’d taken better photos in the past 5 years!