As I write this, at the beginning of April, 2020, the Corona virus / Cover-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on people around the world. It is hitting some areas far harder than others and there are varying levels of restrictions being put in place depending on one’s location. Here, in British Columbia, Canada, (without going into too many specifics, as things tend to change) we are still able to do essential things, like grocery shopping, working (in some sectors), etc., and exercise outdoors is permissible, as long as an appropriate distance between others is maintained and there are not large crowds. Many businesses are closed, as are some parks, with restrictions in many of the ones that remain open. This has meant that I have not been getting out with my camera much, lately. I did manage to make a few photos of flowers, though.
Okay, I may have overstated things slightly in the title of this blog post, but it is really annoying when some people have to be so inconsiderate, especially when they are out in nature. This isn’t something that is specific to this day trip I took, unfortunately it is something that is far too common. Today started out great. It was a clear, albeit frosty, morning, which was a relief from all the rain we have had to start the year. I had decided to go explore an area hadn’t been to before, as well as some of the surrounding area that I was more familiar with.
The half-hour drive to the turnoff went smoothly, but I was certainly glad to be driving a 4×4 vehicle once I was on the, at times, very uneven, rough, gravel road. The great thing about the rough road and the fact that it is a little more remote and rustic area, is that there are less people and vehicles around, so it is easier to make photos in nature than some other areas. As I drove along the road towards my destination, I came across several little waterfalls that I had no idea were there. While there was a lot of branches obscuring them from a clear view, I was able to get a couple images of them and now know they are there so that I can return in the future.
I pulled up to my destination, by the Diversion Dam, which was by no means the end of the road, but it was as far as I had planned to explore on this day. A quick look around and the area was beautiful… but it didn’t take long before I saw signs of the kind of people who have to trash a place and so often result in areas being closed to the public or otherwise restricted.
One of the first things I noticed was a yellow warning sign, which had a bullseye target taped to it, and had been shot to hell. Although hard to tell without looking closely, the sign warns that when the siren sounds the water may rise fast, due to operation of the diversion dam. Nearby, there was a large circle of rocks that someone had made for a fire pit, and close to that were several deteriorating boxes of used shotgun shells and other debris. Sadly, this wasn’t the only area along my drive on the backroads that I saw this type of junk, along with other trash.
As it was still frosty out and the way down to the water and river below the dam was slippery and steep, I decided not to go down there on this occasion, but instead went up to the top for a better view.
Having scouted out the area, I started my return journey and stopped for a coffee at the wonderful Cold Shoulder Cafe, in Jordan River.
Despite the 6°C (43°F) temperature, there were quite a few people in wetsuits on stand-up-paddleboards, surfing & kayaking. The local campground had quite a few people in it as well. While most of those would have been day campers, I had noticed several cars in the area with heavy frost on their windows at a campsite I had passed earlier in the day, so apparently some people are cold weather campers.
Thanks for taking the time to check out this post. Please make sure not to be one of “those people” who leaves a mess… better yet, try and take back a little of the litter that others have left there, to leave things a little better than you found them. It’s the least we can do.
Recently I went on my annual trip up to Tofino, B.C. I have done a lot of exploring of the town and surrounding areas, including Ucluelet, on previous trips, but this time wanted to explore something new. I was aware of a Royal Canadian Air Force Canso Bomber that had crashed in what is now the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, in 1945, but had never been there before, so that’s what I set my sites on. When I got to the area, it had been raining for days, but seemed to have stopped when I was setting out on my hike.
The first part of the hike was an easy walk along the highway from the parking area, but it started to rain a bit, so I put my rain cover over my backpack and hand carried my tripod. The trail soon turned into the bushes and at first it was a pretty easy walk up a gentle slope towards the remains of an old building. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to learn the origins the building and it had long since fallen into disrepair.
After passing the building the trail went downhill and so did the trail conditions, but at least the rain had stopped. I stopped several times along the path to make some photos of the landscape along the way. At some point, I took the rain cover off my backpack and stowed it, then clipped my tripod back on the pack and carried on along the trail. Much of it had what appeared to be a pretty new rudimentary boardwalk, which was good considering how swampy and muddy the area was.
Approaching the wreckage of the old Canso bomber, a small section on the ground was the first piece visible, then looking through the trees, the first glimpses of the main wreckage could be spotted.
After circling around the plane for some time and getting some good shots, I started to head back along the trail and suddenly realized that I no longer had my tripod. The area around the plane was close so I didn’t use it there, but I backtracked and circled a couple of times, however, was not able to locate it. On the way back up the trail I searched for it, but again, my search was unsuccessful. The only thing I can think of that makes sense, is when I clipped it on the backpack on the way up the trail, the latch must not have been secure, and on a later stop, it must have let go when I placed the bag on the ground. The tripod then may have rolled off the trail and hidden itself from my view. I had been thinking of eventually replacing the tripod with a better one and relegating that one to a backup, but now I had no backup or main tripod. I have since ordered a new one and it should be here within days.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you want to see more of the crash site, I created a YouTube video if it (just click the link). Please feel free to leave a comment!
This will be the fifth consecutive year that I have compiled a list of the top ten favourite of my images from the past year. Every year I create this list, in part, to participate in 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. It is also a great way for me to see what progress I have made over the year and to have something to look back on to see the changes in my photography over the years.
Without further ado, here are my personal top ten images, in no particular order.
I have been wanting to do more night photography for some time, so I was very happy to get out to West Vancouver and look back at Vancouver for this night image. The lights of downtown are nicely set between the bridge and Stanley Park, and if you look closely, you will see a bird standing still in the water, just to the right of the near point of land.
I found it tough to winnow the list down to just ten, so I had to make some tough choices. There are a lot of great areas for photography within a couple hours drive that I get out to often, but I thought I’d try exploring some of the lesser known areas that are even closer to me this year. I discovered this little gem on one of those hikes. This image narrowly edged out another hidden waterfall I stumbled upon which was featured in my most recent prior blog post.
Another thing I’ve found myself doing more of in 2019, is making minimalist images. Often I find compositions I like on the beaches and this little bundle of seaweed, with the sand pattern created by waters retreating back to the ocean, reminded me of a comet streaking through the heavens above.
In the matter of a few minutes, fog rolled off unseen fields, just to the left of the area viewed in this image. This beach is at the very northern end of Vancouver Island and I had gone on a several day hiking & camping trip to get there, as well as other places in the park.
This is another image that started out as quite minimalist, but I decided to get more creative with it. I have a version with natural colouring and that closely lost out to this one for my top ten list. When I saw these patterns in the sand I immediately thought they reminded me of flames that would be painted on the hood or sides of a muscle car, so when I was processing the image, I used a red & yellow split tone effect to achieve what I saw in my mind’s eye. I have since made a large metal print of this and it is on display at the BC Ministry of Health building in Victoria for the month of December.
I have several Milky Way images from this year, some of which show it much more clearly and fully than this one; however, I chose this for this year’s top ten list because I like that it features the bridge into Sooke, BC. I have only recently been experimenting with astrophotography and low level lighting and can see myself doing a lot more of this in the future.
This reflective ball sits perched upon a pedestal at The Buchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. I found the scene reflected to be fascinating but had to act quickly as there were quite a few people milling about and the reflection covered a very wide angle. A little patience paid off and I managed to get this image, with a starburst from the sun and no people in it, while I hid myself behind one of the reflected bushes at the centre of the image. There were a few little bits of me that were visible that I used Photoshop to make disappear.
Even though I’ve already included one image from The Buchart Gardens, I had to add this one from the Japanese gardens there, as well.I loved the way the sun highlighted the tree and how the branches sprawling throughout it.
Looking down on this floating bull kelp, I found the contrast between the lighter sandy bottom and the darker area where the pier cast a shadow on the ocean floor interesting.
The gardens and castle at Hatley Park are another favourite location of mine to go for photography. There were lots of bees in this particular area of the gardens and so I was getting some shallow depth of field shots of them on these thistles, when I saw one approaching a thistle-head that another bee was crawling on. I was able to adjust my position and capture this image that really makes me happy every time I look back at it.
So that’s it. My Top Ten (favourite) Images for 2019. Now it’s just about time to start working on building up my 2020 portfolio and creating a large digital stack of images that I’ll be sorting through for next year’s list. Before I go, I am leaving one last “bonus” image, that was something of an experiment. I created it early in the year and then left it. I came back to it a couple times and decided to print it out. I framed it in a wide black frame, with a white matt that had a black inner edge, and just love it. While it didn’t officially make the cut for my top ten, here it is (I’ve given it a black outline just for display here)…
Please let me know what you think about the images on my list and make sure to check out some of the other images by some fantastic photographers at JGM Galleries.
My latest photography adventure was practically in my back yard. I thought I’d explore one of the vast areas of wilderness that is only a short drive from my place and, while it has many interesting trails, I have only explored a few of them so far. From doing some online research and living nearby, I had a good idea of the general type of scenery I’d find, but I was hoping there might be something a little different than what I’d found on other nearby trails. I figured it would make for a good YouTube video, so I took all my gear for that as well as for still photography.
As I walk to my planned destination I record footage of me travelling along the route, explaining a bit about where I am and what my goal is for the day. I had been doing that and was going along a route which would probably be easy to identify to anyone familiar with the general area, which ordinarily is not a major concern, as most places I go are well known (at least to locals and online). More on this later.
It was still early enough in the day that the light frost we had overnight had not melted fully from shaded areas. While going up a steep, but small, hill, to set up video to record my approach, I managed to slip on the frost, but didn’t land too hard. Of course I wear a small backpack for my photography gear, with my tripod strapped to the back and when I hit the ground, the tripod head hit the back of my head. Ouch! No damage done, other than having annoyed myself greatly at being careless. At least I was up and back on the main trail a few seconds before some hikers came in to view.
I continued my journey and found the side trail I was looking for, so I took that and continued to film and talk about where I was headed. Then came a steep drop where the trail went down to the creek that I was hoping to find. I debated if I should go down such a steep embankment, but though I’d cautiously try and if it seemed too risky, I’d reverse course. Half a dozen steps down and the earth beneath my feet gave way, sending me onto my backside for a short slide. After that, the rest of the way down didn’t look as bad and I figured I might as well see if I could at least come away with some decent photos, since I was almost at the bottom. When I got to the creekside, I caught a glimpse of what I thought might be a waterfall in the distance, so I made my way across the water to the opposite bank where there was a trail I could follow. One more slip, as the ground gave out on the opposite bank, but this time I didn’t fall, I only slid a couple feet. Then I was rewarded with a good view of the waterfall.
Having ‘discovered’ a waterfall that was previously unknown to me, and was something I had not found in any research, I wasn’t sure if I should use it in my video, because I was worried about it becoming popular and damage happening to the trail and local area, as I had seen happen at many other places. Then, as I got closer to the falls, I saw something else which I knew, if I did post it in the video, with all the information and clues as to it’s location that I had already recorded on my journey there, it was likely to result in a negative impact upon the area.
There a short distance from the base of the waterfall was an old Vauxhall. While I have no idea what model or year it is, it’s safe to say it’s been there for a few decades. I decided I might do a video on the falls and car without any details that may give away the location, and while doing some filming, my audio recorder fell out of my pocket and into the water. After draining it and removing the batteries, I have left it to dry out and once it has had plenty of time, I will see if it still has life. At least I ended up with an adventure and some interesting photos on my day of exploring!
My next post will be my annual Top Ten (favourite) Photos of 2019.
Just a quick post to let everyone know I am hosting the Sooke version of the 2019 Kelby Worldwide PhotoWalk, on Saturday, October 5th. We will be ending at the Sooke Brewing Company where we can discuss photography over liquid refreshments. As of this post, there’s still time to sign up. https://worldwidephotowalk.com/walk/scenic-sooke/
I’ve been with the local Arts Council for the past couple years and have slowly been getting more involved. I’ve had a couple showings through them this year and just finished participating in one of our “Art in the Park” events. This one was held at the Sooke Car Show.
This was the first time I’ve set up a table at one of these events and it was definitely a learning experience. In the future I should have a much better setup and now know what to expect. It was a beautiful day for the event, but the one thing that made life a little difficult was the wind, although I didn’t have any serious issues with it. The worst that happened to me is a couple art cards blew off the table. Others had paintings and prints blown down and one person had a large glass pane from a framed print smash when it blew over.
At the end of the month I have a print at the largest juried art show on Vancouver Island, then in early August I have another Art in the Park event, which should be much bigger. It looks like a busy summer! I’ll leave you with some photos from today at the car show.