Looking to the Future and at the Past

Janus, the ancient Roman god of, among other things, beginnings, transitions, time and endings, is, according to Wikipedia, “usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past”. I look at this post as my 2018/2019 Janus edition, in that I will briefly review my past year’s goals and accomplishments, then look forward to plans for the coming year.

Small tree covered in snow

At the end of 2017, I wrote a post about what my hopes were for my photography in 2018. Some of these goals were met, while others were not. Here is a review of some of those goals:

My hopes to photograph significantly more wildlife didn’t happen and while it is not the top of my list of hopes for 2019, I’m still hopping to do better in this area.

I expected Nature photography to be the focus of my efforts, which it was, and it will continue to be. This is a broad area, so to narrow it down just a little, I expect to be doing a lot of seascape, landscape and woodland photography. I know, that doesn’t narrow it down too much!

Photographing in new locations was another priority for me in 2018 and I made progress in this area. I was able to travel to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state and had a great time exploring the sea stacks on the coast as well as the rainforest. I also made a trip to the northern end of Vancouver Island, where I visited more sea stacks in San Josef Bay, in Cape Scott Provincial Park. Since the southern end of Vancouver Island sees very little snow, I made a trip late in the year to Mount Washington in the central island area, so I could make some winter images. There will definitely be more varied trips around the island and the province, as well as at least one to another destination further south.

I had hoped to do more ongoing projects, but only recently have started one, which would fit in with another goal, video. Right at the end of the year I started a YouTube channel, producing a minute long trailer, and about a ten minute vlog.

Another area I wanted to become more involved with was teaching photography in some way. So far this hasn’t panned out, but it will remain a longer term goal. I did manage to lead a photowalk and regularly contribute advice at my local photo club, however, I would like to move to more structured teaching opportunities in the future.

I have been able to have photos in several public exhibitions this year, and have sold prints as a result, so I am very happy with this area and want to get into even more events in the coming year.

In addition to the goals I mentioned above there a few more things I’d like to do this year:

I did a little astrophotography in 2018 and have decided that I would like to do more in the coming year. Generally I don’t like to use gear as an excuse, because it really isn’t, but I’ll probably invest in a proper wide angle, reasonably fast lens, so that I can do more in this area.

I was also slowed up a little in the first half of 2018 by an old injury that chose to flair up and limited the difficulty & frequency of my hikes, but things have improved. I am planning on being a little more adventurous on my photo-hikes this year, including at least one multi-day hike which will take me a little beyond the furthest point I’ve travelled to on Vancouver Island.

One last thing I will be doing in 2019 (and beyond) is getting additional education and acquiring new skills. While I’ve done a lot of online learning related to photography, I have to go back several decades to the last time I did any in person training, when I took a B&W darkroom course! This time, in addition to online learning and informal opportunities, I will be attending a multi-day photography workshop, where I will get the opportunity to try new methods and genres that I haven’t had much exposure to.

I hope everyone enjoys following my blog in the new year as well as checks out my adventures on my YouTube channel. Happy 2019 to everyone!

Top Ten (favourite) Images of 2018

This will be the fourth consecutive year I have compiled a list of the top ten favourite images of the past year. I was first inspired to do so after seeing Jim Goldstein’s blog project on his JGM Galleries site, where he encourages photographers to participate by linking a post with their top photos of the year. There are always a lot of great images there and I’d encourage everyone to go check them out.

This year I could have picked more than ten images, but I was able to narrow it down. I list them as my “favourite” images rather than “best”, because while they may not be technically perfect, each one is special to me, in some way.

waves crash on the beach then return to the ocean past a small islet
As quick as it came in, the water recedes

The first image is from Botany Bay, in Port Renfrew. This is a fascinating area, as the adjoining Botanical Beach features some amazing tide pools and geological features. I liked the effect from the receding water taken with a longer shutter speed here which produced interesting patterns. I have only recently started trying to sell/market my images, and this was the first large print that I sold.

a surfer rides the waves
Catching a wave

For this image, I was sitting on a small island (at least it is at high tide) in Cox Bay, Tofino, BC, watching surfers in the distance. It took a fair bit of patience to get this image, where the wave was large enough that it provided a nice curl behind, and looming over the surfer, but eventually I got what I was hoping for and was able to retreat to the beach before the rising tide was able to trap me on the little rocky island.

as the forest reflects on the wet sand, a rainbow arches overhead
Rainbow over the beach resorts

The day after I captured the image of the surfer at Cox Bay, I was out on the beach with the intent of getting some sunset images. There was a light rain falling and when I turned back towards the resorts, there was a beautiful double rainbow above them. While the second rainbow was not as bright, it was also above the brighter one and I couldn’t easily fit it in the image. While the sunset images were okay, they were not nearly as special as this lovely rainbow scene was/is to me.

several sea sacks appear to rise out of the misty sea in a pastel sunset
Sea Stacks Rising

The west coast of the Olympic Peninsula, in Washington state, is only a short trip south from Vancouver Island, but this year was the first time I made the trip “down south” to visit it, and I’m glad I did! what a beautiful place. It was a foggy/misty day and these sea stacks in the distance almost seemed to be floating in the pastel shades of sunset.

Sea Stack Sunset at Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach, on the Olympic Peninsula, is a popular location for photographers, as I found out, but it is still easy to get some interesting images without other people in them. Photographing in a location like this left me wanting to search out more sea stacks!

sea stacks erupt from the sand
San Josef Bay sea stacks on a cloudy day

My quest for sea stacks to photograph led me to the farthest northern tip of Vancouver Island. While it was a long drive, including some brutal gravel roads at the end, it was well worth it. The hike in to San Josef Bay was pretty easy, but the rainstorm that started just after we arrived on the beach was brutal and kept us in the tent most of the time until the next day. In the morning, the tide was out and the sea stacks looked magnificent, with interesting patterns in the sand around them.

fog enshrouds a pier and rocks
Simple lines of a pier reflecting in calm water

At various times throughout the year we can get a lot of fog around the water. While this limits some types of photography, it opens up others to explore. I like the simplicity and symmetry of this image.

I have not done a lot of astrophotography, primarily because I keep finding excuses not to, even though I enjoy it. I wish I had a wider & faster lens, or that there was more interesting scenes in the foreground, or that it wasn’t so cold, or cloudy (okay, that last one might be a little more legitimate)… One of the few times I did get out this year was during a meteor shower and once again, I was glad I went out. After no success capturing much in the way of meteors, I thought I’d try getting a couple images of a portion of the Milky Way over some of the trees that were getting a bit of light from the partial moon (I don’t remember the phase, but know it was not a full moon). As luck would have it, not only did I get the shot I wanted, it included two meteors streaking side by side, just over the trees.

Historic Aircraft Flypast of BC Legislature

After a quarter century, last year was the first year I wasn’t in the military during Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day in the US), however, I wasn’t able to attend a ceremony. This year I had the opportunity to attend the ceremony at the BC Legislature grounds, where there were huge crowds and it was hard to be in a good position to capture interesting photographs. When I saw the historic aircraft were doing a flypast of the Provincial Legislature building I quickly adjusted my position so that I would be able to capture this image of a plane on either side of the dome, with Captain Vancouver (the gold statue) standing above & between them.

Standing On Guard

This WW I soldier, stands on guard above the memorial with memorial plaques tributing the fallen Canadians of past conflicts. The Canadian flag above flaps rapidly in the wind and is well lit on a dark night. Beyond any artistic merit there may be in this image, it means more to me than all the rest.

I hope you enjoyed this years top ten and that you go to check out the other photographers lists on the JGM Galleries Blog when they are posted in January, 2019. Hope to see you all back here next year!

Now the BIG Announcement

A couple of blog posts ago I mentioned that I would be making an announcement on an exciting new project I was working on, some time before the end of December.  Here it is… I have decided to start my own YouTube channel featuring my photography adventures.  Don’t worry, I will still be adding new blog posts.  I hope you have the chance to watch and follow my channel.  I have a “promotional trailer” out now,  the Drake Dyck Photography Channel Promo, with the first real video coming out on 30 December, 2019.  After that, videos will come out on the first Sunday of every month.  

The videos will follow me on my photography adventures (mostly) around Vancouver Island and surrounding areas, as well as occasional trips a little farther away.  I will continue to follow all the same ethical principals I have been for my still photography (see the About WDP tab for more on these) encourage others to consider their own practices when out in nature.  

I look forward to bringing you entertaining and informative content.  Thanks for continuing to read my blog!

Lac Assal, Djibouti, Africa, lighthouse, saltwater, crater, green, blue, sky, photoshop
Pictured above, Lac Assal, Djibouti, is the lowest point on land in Africa, and third lowest in the world.  Sheringham Point Lighthouse, is actually located in Shirley, BC, Canada, and I digitally added it to this image.  
Photography on Display

Photography on Display

Lately I have been more active in the local art & photography community. It’s something I enjoy and is definitely beneficial to my photography, as I feel encouraged to get out with my camera more often and enjoy the ability to show some of my work. One of the things I am involved in is as a member of the board of directors at the Sooke Arts Council. It is through SAC that I had the opportunity to hang six of my prints in the lobby of the Richard Blanshard Building, which houses BC Ministry of Health offices.

A trio of photos hanging on display

A group of three of my prints on display

Along with four other artists work (painters and photographers) my prints will be hanging there for December 2018 and likely January 2019 as well.

Waves crash on the rocks at Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew

Fresh off the press

I had a number of mid-size prints around that I used, as well as having the one, shown above, printed just days before the hanging. Normally, I have my images printed on some variety of fine art paper, then frame them, but for this image, I chose to have it printed on canvas by a new, local printer, VI Spectrum. I’m very pleased with the results. At 24″x36″ it’s also the largest print I have on display. Images smaller than 13″x19″ I generally print myself, as was the case with the two 8″x11″ prints I hung. A fantastic photographer I know (check out his wonderful images here) spoke highly of the Hahnemühle Matte Fine Art paper I used for these prints, and since trying it earlier this year it has become one of my favourite papers to print on.

B&W image of a rocky shoreline

One of the images I self printed

I encourage everyone local or who is visiting Victoria to stop by the lobby of the building, at 1515 Blanshard Street, to check out my work and that of others from December, 2018 through January 2019. Thanks for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed it!