Canso Bomber Crash – Tofino

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.

Heading to the trail

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.

The abandoned building serves as a concrete canvas for graffiti

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.

Trees along the path

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.

First glimpse of the wreckage

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!

Top Ten (favourite) Images of 2019

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.

Lions Gate Bridge with Downtown Vancouver

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.

Falls Through the Trees

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.

High Speed Seaweed

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.

Fast Moving Fog

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.

Flames of Sand

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.

Milky Way over the Sooke Bridge

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.

Mirrored Globe

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.

Centre of Attraction

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.

Seaweed and Shadows

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.

On Final Approach

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.

Exploring Photography

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.

Beautiful scenery along the trail

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.

I have no idea the name of this waterfall… I didn’t even know it was there

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.

A moss covered Vauxhaul

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!

Beautiful colours on the old Vauxhall

My next post will be my annual Top Ten (favourite) Photos of 2019.

Night Photography in Sooke

Night Photography in Sooke

I have done very little night time photography, but hope to do more in the future.  It will be fun to explore astrophotography and light painting and then post about it here for you to enjoy.  

starlight illuminates the Sooke boardwalk
Night at the Sooke Marine Boardwalk

The Sooke Marine Boardwalk is a great place for a walk at any time.  It stretches between the Rotary Pier, near the bottom of a long staircase from the south end of Murray Road, to the long winding pathway & up to Ed Macgreggor Park.  During the day there are lots of people wandering about it and you’ll often see people crab fishing off the pier and boardwalk.  

blurred people walk along the Sooke waterfront at night
Ghostly Walkers on the Marine Boardwalk

There are always a few boats anchored in the harbour.  Some of them seem to remain in place almost all the time, while others come and go.

a meteorite can be seen streaking above a sailboat in the Sooke harbour
A Sailboat in the Sooke Harbour

A clear night at this time of year made for almost ideal conditions to watch the sky for meteors and other celestial events.

twin meteorites streak across the Milky Way
Stars and Forest

The year has been going by quickly and soon it will be time to reflect upon the past and look toward the future.  With that in mind, it won’t be long before I start work on my top ten image list of 2018 (which, as usual, will be published in January) as well as and exciting new project I will announce before the end of December.

Top Ten (favourite) Images of 2017

Top Ten (favourite) Images of 2017

Once again another year has drawn to a close and it’s time for my now annual review of my favourite ten images of the year.  I started posting my Top Ten Favourites three years ago after seeing Jim Goldstein’s Blog Project: Your Best Photos From (year) and I now look forward to participating in it and seeing the best Jim and others have to offer.

There never seems to be enough time to get out with a camera as much as I’d like and this year was definitely a hectic one.  Perhaps in 2018 I will be able to stick a little closer to my intended photographic path.  

In no particular order, here are my favourites of 2017:

Bubbles in Ice.jpgAt the beginning of 2017 it stayed just below freezing for long enough for a thin layer of ice to form on a small local lake.  Looking at the tiny bubbles in the ice somehow reminded me of outer space, so I made sure the background was as dark as possible.  If you look at the bubbles on the lower portion of this image, you can see my reflection.

the sun shines thru a crack in a giant old growth tree in Avatar Grove forest
Sunburst through a Tree

I always enjoy going for a hike in the forest, especially places like Avatar Grove, on Vancouver Island, where there is still some very impressive old growth, including this tree which has seen better days, but still survives.

beautiful backlight green leaf
Nature’s Pathways

The way the sun was lighting up the patterns on this leaf in a garden a Hatley Park caught my eye and I couldn’t walk past.

abstract reflection of a boardwalk
Rippled Reflections

I love reflections and this abstract image is of the boardwalk near Ed McGreggor park in Sooke, BC.

Shades of Grey Turned Upside Down
Shades of Gray Turned Upside Down

Take a closer look at this black and white image and you will see that it is actually upside down.  I made this photo while peeking through a gap in the low hanging trees and ground, on walk around a partially ice covered local lake.

details revealed in driftwood
Here’s Looking at You, Woody

I love walking along the many local beaches and looking for interesting driftwood.  Often the patterns of the wood can have hidden surprises, like this one, seeming to me to reveal some sort bizarre of animal face.

rocks potholes clouds and waves at the beach
Nature’s Playground

Botanical Bay, at Port Renfrew, is an amazing place to visit at low tide, when the many pothole looking tide pools are revealed.

butterfly on poppy
Time to Pollinate

The (mostly) black and white butterfly presents a stark contrast to the bright orange and green background and gives me a warm feeling.

a BC Ferry crossing the Salish sea in front of a dormant volcano
Come Sail Away

While travelling on another ferry I saw one of the newest ones in BC Ferries fleet (the Salish Eagle) and was able to time it so that Mount Baker, in Washington state, was in the background.

BC Legislature Parliament building and fountain at twilight
Light up with colourful lights for the winter holiday season

Every December the British Columbia Legislature lights up the Parliament building with colourful lights.  I prefer having some colour in the sky so I only waited about twenty minutes after sunset to make this image.

If you enjoyed my favourites consider following my blog so you can see more of my photography!  I hope everyone has a very happy and healthy 2018.

A Hike to Mystic Beach

After a couple weeks of hot weather some clouds rolled in and kept the temperature at a reasonable level for a hike through the woods up and down some very steep inclines, to Mustic beach. The hike down to the beach was around 35 minutes, and for much of it the ground was covered by interwoven tree roots.

roots bw

Interwoven roots carpet the rainforest floor

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Visiting Varna – An iPhone Experience

Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to a couple countries in Eastern Europe for work. In order to keep from interfering with work but be able to make as many images as possible, I decided to rely on my iPhone for photography.  There will be several other posts in what I am subtitling “An iPhone Experience”.  I was hoping to find another old film camera while travelling, to supplement my iPhone photography, but that didn’t pan out this time. The first place I went was Varna, Bulgaria, which is a port city on the Black Sea.

varna opera house

The Varna Opera House

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Looks Like Autumn

The leaves have been changing all around… at least those that do change colour and fall off.  So it seemed like the perfect time to buy a new lens (okay, any excuse will do for that) and try it out.  While the middle of a forest is not necessarily the best place to try out a wide angle lens, it didn’t stop me from trying.  I hadn’t even made it home from the camera store with the lens, when I stopped for a few quick snap shots and managed to check out a new location (to me) where I know I will be returning to when I have more time.

Trees Continue reading