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!

Hiking, Photography and Creating on YouTube

Hiking, Photography and Creating on YouTube

As I recently mentioned, I have started to create videos on YouTube, following along on when I go out photographing on my hikes around (mostly) local areas. With all the time I have spent on creating videos, I have had less to spend on the blog, so I thought I’d give a little recap of some of the recent hikes I’ve been on. Each of the locations mentioned has a hyperlink to the video, and it would be great if you could view some (or all) of them, like those you enjoy, and leave a comment or two on YouTube to let me know that you thought.

My new hiking / photography companion, Cosmo

In my first video, I visited Sheringham Point Lighthouse, at Shirley, BC and I brought my new hiking buddy, Cosmo. He’s since made appearances in several other videos.

lighthouse at Shirley BC with blue sky
A beautiful day at Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Next, I took a quick, exploratory trip up to Mount Washington, to see some snow. My other frequent travelling companion, Henrietta (who you’ve met before) was introduced in this video. I had never been there before and I know I will be returning at some point in the future.

Fresh snowfall on Mount Washington

I then went to Mary Vine Falls, which is in Sooke Potholes Regional Park, and an easy hike from the trailhead. As of this time, it is the most watched and liked video I have published.

January brings lots of volume to Mary Vine Falls

A trip up to Tofino and Uclulet followed, and I visited Amphitrite Lighthouse.

The light shines brightly at the Amphitrite Lighthouse

On the same trip, I stayed at my favourite resort on the beach just outside the town of Tofino. I hiked around the trails at Cox Bay at that time.

Storm watching is always enjoyable at Cox Bay

For my most recent video, I travelled just past Port Renfrew, and visited Fairy Lake, where there is a unique little tree growing from a mostly submerged stump in the middle of the lake.

The Fairy Lake tree is probably the most photographed tree in the region

Most of my excursions are local and not planned long ahead, however I do have two more significant photography trips planned for later this year. One just a little further than I’ve been before on Vancouver Island, and another outside British Columbia, so keep an eye out for my upcoming posts and videos.

As far as my YouTube channel goes, before I started it, I thought I’d start slow, and do one video a month. As soon as I began, I realized that would be too infrequent and I wanted to get some content out there before slowing the pace a bit, so I have been publishing a new video every Sunday morning. Very soon, I will be settling in to two videos a month, coming out on the First and Third Sunday’s of each month. This should allow enough time to get new, interesting content and process it, but hopefully not too infrequent to grow my followers. Thanks for checking out this post, and I hope you were able to watch some videos as well. 🙂

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.

Whiffen Spit Phogtography

My plans for some early morning landscape photography were derailed by heavy fog near the ocean, so I adjusted them and went to a location where I figured I could use the fog to my advantage and make some interesting photographs; Whiffen Spit.

birds on log on a foggy day at the shore

Two crows perch on driftwood at Whiffen Spit

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Exploring San Josef Bay

There are many areas of Vancouver Island that I’ve explored, but far more that I haven’t, yet.  Most of my exploration has been near the southern end of the island, but my trip to San Josef Bay, in Cape Scott Provincial Park, took me to the far northern end and was quite an adventure.

menacing dark grey clouds and misty rain over the treed slopes of Cape Scott Provincial Park

Angry clouds hang over San Josef Bay beach

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Exploring the Olympic Peninsula

The Olympic Peninsula (and Olympic National Park) is just a short ferry ride across the Straight of Juan de Fuca from Victoria, and somewhere I’ve been meaning to visit for years.  I’m glad that I finally did!

US flag waves on back of ferry across the Jaun de Fuca straight

Victoria recedes in the distance as MV Coho departs for Port Washington

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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 New Place and an Old Favourite

I recently learned of another park nearby; the Blinkhorn Nature Park, which has a wooded trail surrounding a small lake and today was the perfect day to check it out.  For most of the way around the lake, the trail was far enough away that you could only catch the odd glimpse of the water through the trees.  There was one nice approach to the lake that offered an interesting view, though.

a mirror image photograph of Blinkhorn lake, partially covered in ice

Looking across Blinkhorn Lake

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Top Ten (favourite) Images of 2016

This is the second annual list of my favourite images from the past year.  I started last year after seeing the great images of many other photographers featured on the great blog site of JMG Galleries. While I was not able to make as many images as I had hoped in 2016, I did manage to have some interesting and new experiences. Here they are, in no particular order:

bw fog trees
It’s all about the light

Living on the west coast of Vancouver Island offers so many opportunities to make captivating images of nature. It’s easy to wander along a beach or into the woods and see something different every time. In the photo above, the fog was slowly lifting and the sun lit up the scene in a way I just had to capture. Converting the image to monochrome evoked just the feel I was looking for.

man taking pictures on a beach during sunset
Everyone loves a sunset

Sometimes you travel a little bit farther for something special, like the above image of a man taking a cellphone photo at sunset, on a beach in Tofino, BC (one of my favourite places to get away from it all).

bubbles in the ice on a lake
Frozen Bubbles

Just around the corner from me is tiny little Poirier Lake, which has trails around it and a little dock.  I was lucky enough to visit it on one of those rare days when it had a little ice on it.  Just next to the dock there were little groups of bubbles that had formed and I thought in this particular group of bubbles was particularly intriguing.  It seemed to hint at the shape of an animal paw/foot, and the fine powder on the bubble just left of centre had interesting patterns on it.  It’s one of those things that if I hadn’t stopped to take a close look, I wouldn’t have seen and I doubt anyone else would, either, as the weather warmed up and the lake was ice free before sundown.

pinwheel looking lights of a ferris wheel at night
At the Fair

Some of the images here made the list in part because I was trying out different techniques than I normally use, or just plain trying to be more creative.  One of these is my image of the ferris wheel at the Luxton Fall Fair.  I had tried a variety of different techniques to capture the motion  of the rides and/or add some intentional camera motion and most of those images seemed pretty standard to me.  This one I combined a couple things and loved the final result.

ornate brass door hinge
Details Matter

Sometimes you just have to make images with the camera you have with you, such as the image above.  This is a detail shot of a brass door hinge (rotated 1/4 turn counter clockwise) on the Grand Mosque in Constanta, Romania.  In this case, I was on a work assignment in the area and did not have my DSLR or any of my film cameras with me, but I am very happy with the results I was able to get using my iPhone.

man standing with two hats
A Street Portrait

I am most comfortable making photographs of nature, landscapes, cityscapes, or even abstract subjects, so something like a street portrait was a bit of a stretch for me.  The gentleman here was kind enough to pose for a photo I made using a century old Ensign camera and black and white film.  Using the Ensign sparked the film bug in me and I have since blown the dust off my old Canon AE-1 and acquired a Hasselblad 500 EL/M.  I am by no means abandoning using digital cameras, but going back to film and even getting back into film development has really got me excited and feeling inspired.  I now have a dedicated film scanner and am looking at experimenting even more… keep watching this blog for more updates on these experiment.

young girl standing in the rain
Smiling in the Rain

Having a satisfying experience with street photography, I continued to expand my comfort zone and when the opportunity came to make some family portraits, I was up to the challenge.  The weather on the day did not cooperate, but adjustments were made and I really enjoyed the photo session.  In fact, the rain, lit by the fill flash, even added a distinct look to some of the images and gave them a more ‘authentic’ wet… I mean West Coast look.

a yellow boat floats in front of an apartment building
In the Bay

Every year, for the past several years, I have joined in the local area Kelby Photo Walk and always enjoy mingling with other photographers and strolling along for a few hours of photography fun.  This year the one I participated in was in Oak Bay and I found this cute little yellow boat, gently floating on the water, which had tiny ripples on it, while there was an imposing concrete apartment building and dark foreboding clouds in the background… I loved the contrast.Remembrance Day CanadaRemembrance Day has a very special meaning to me and I wanted to make an image that would be simple & respectful.  I chose use the poppy we wear in Canada for Remembrance Day, against a dark background and tried to light it in a way to make it stand out.  I almost never use text on any of my images; however, this was different and I chose a very special poem.  Written by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae while serving in the military as a doctor in Europe during WW I, In Flanders Fields has become synonymous with Remembrance Day ceremonies, and always makes me pause and reflect.

christmas tree shaped light display
The Sooke Traffic Circle Light Tree

The year ended with my creative take on the “Lights of the Season“, which was the winning entry in a contest run by Oopoomoo (one of my favourite photography blog sites).  I had fun putting this list together, but had a hard time getting down to the last ten, but that’s a good problem to have.  I know this year the images covered a wide variety of photography genres and I am sure I will eventually have a more consistent type of image; however, it likely won’t be 2017, as I plan of doing a lot more experimenting and expanding my repertoire.