A Beautiful Day… Trashed

A Beautiful Day… Trashed

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.

A Frosty Start to the Day

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.

One of the Unnamed Falls Along the Way
Scenes Like This Seemed to be Around Every Corner

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.

Warning (Sign) Shot

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.

An Old Campfire Rock Ring and Pile of Shot Shells
The Outdoors is Not a Dumping Ground 😦

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.

The Diversion Dam
A Thin Layer of Ice Still Partly Covers the Surface Beyond the Dam

Having scouted out the area, I started my return journey and stopped for a coffee at the wonderful Cold Shoulder Cafe, in Jordan River.

Jordan River’s Best (and Only) Coffee Shop

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.

Is That How They Surf Down Under???

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.

Paddling Off Into the Sunset

 

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.

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. 🙂

The Wonders of Sombrio Beach

Sombrio Beach is a place I’ve been meaning to check out for quite some time.  In fact, a few weeks ago I actually drove there (it’s around an hour drive pst Sooke, along a the twisty West Coast Road), but when I arrived, both parking areas were full and the gravel road leading to it was lined with cars on both sides for some distance up the hill, so I decided to try again another day.  I’m glad I did, because when I returned this time, there were only a few people camping on the beach and it was a great day to explore.

a wood plank bridge crosses Rosemond Creek

One of the many small bridges on West Coast Road, heading towards Sombrio Beach

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Ice Shots on the Beach

It was about a degree below freezing with just enough of a breeze to make it seem much cooler down at Sandcut Beach, but the sun was out and it was a beautiful day for photography. Look out from the beach and on most days you can see the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. I have heard there and many excellent photographic opportunities there and hope to check it out myself some time in the future.

Log on beach overlooking rock and Olympic Peninsula

Looking across the water at our American neighbours 

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My Film Scanning Success

In a recent post I mentioned that I would be getting a scanner specifically to scan film.   I ordered it online and it arrived a couple days later, which, happily, was much quicker than I had been anticipating. As soon as I set it up I put it through it’s paces on two rolls of film I recently developed. One in 6×9 format, from the Ensign, and the other 6×6′ from the Hasselblad.

On the Right Track

On the Right Track

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