Heather Trail to First Brother Mountain

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In late July a friend and I hiked the alpine trail to First Brother Mountain in EC Manning Provincial Park.

The road from the resort leaves Highway 3 and climbs steeply upward towards the parking lot for the Heather Trail. Along the way is a viewpoint looking southwards across the highway to an impressive chain of mountains.

Sheep Mountain and Mount Winthrop in the North Cascades.

Mount Frosty.

As we broke out of the trees into the subalpine, I looked back down the trail and spotted Hozomeen Mountain rising some eight thousand feet in the north cascades in Washington State.

The subalpine was carpeted in beautiful shades of red, purple/blue, and white.

Arctic lupine (purple), common paintbrush (red), golden aster (yellow), eriogonum subalpinum (white).

After spending some time photographing the wildflowers, we continued on to First Brother Mountain. At this point, we had a clear view of the peak (left side).

As we climbed higher towards the peak, common red paintbrush covered the ground in an intense shade of red.

The peak itself is at the end of a longer ridge and in this photograph, we are close to the final ascent.

Once on top of First Brother Mountain, the view was impressive of the surrounding mountains and hills, and the plate like clouds.

Looking back at the first portion of the ridge that we hiked on the way here.

Just below and at the summit, there were lots of penstemon flowers eking out an existence on the rocky barren ground.

There were also several clumps of lanced-leaved stonecrop.

Another flower I found only at the summit was spotted saxifrage.

Returning from the peak, we spent some more time in the subalpine area photographing the wildflowers.

Arctic lupine (purple), golden aster (yellow), and aster (pale blue).

Expressionism and Abstraction July 2019

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In a change from my usual articles which are strictly location based, this will be the first of what I expect to be a regular monthly feature highlighting expressionism and abstract photography and my development in that. The recent workshop in which I learned the skills for expressionism was truly eye opening and I want to ensure that I continue developing that aspect of my photography. My hope is that by picking the top twelve expressionism and abstract photo of each month, and with your feedback, I’ll be able to achieve more success in that area. Remember that all of these are created in camera with only minor tonal adjustments in post production.

Immediately after the workshop, I spent several days in the 100 Mile House area. While the expressionism lessons were fresh in my mind, I wanted to solidify my understanding further and I figured that the nearby 108 Mile Heritage Site would have plenty of material.

Sheet metal roof with five multiple exposures, each carefully spaced, then the image was rotated 90 degrees and converted to black and white.

Log wall and red window frame with multiple exposure ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) panning.

Stained windows with multiple exposure ICM. I liked the angle of the rectangles and the distinct colours.

Stained glass window with multiple exposure rapid ICM panning. The strong single toned green with the curved edge is set against the multi-toned smear.

Flowers with multiple exposure and twisting ICM. I liked the idea of three colours and that only the pink flower really has movement and pattern.

At the Vancouver Airport South Terminal, I passed by this plastic whirligig and thought that the blue and yellows against the white would make an interesting pattern. I set the camera on the tripod and took multiple exposures while moving the vanes.

Behind one of the aerospace repair buildings was a tiled wall and with carefully use of multiple exposure (3 or 4 I believe) with each shot having a consistent angle change, this simple but striking geometric pattern emerged.

On Keats Island, I found this pattern in a shed and worked the image with multiple exposure and ICM. I am not sure that I achieved what I set out to, but I wanted to share it and see your thoughts on it.

Shingled wall on a shed and with the use of multiple exposures (3 or 4) and ensuring each shot was at a consistent angle, this interesting composition emerged.

Shed, dock, forest, and beach at Keats Island. This is photograph using multiple exposures and rapid ICM.

Dock at Keats Island. I used a multiple exposure with each of the three shots composed at consistent angles. I wanted to create the diamond with leading dark lines and I feel I achieved that in this composition.

While waiting at Langdale for the ferry to the mainland, I noticed that there is a long covered walkway for the passengers. I placed the camera on the tripod and using the horizontal centre column, I rotated the camera through multiple exposures.

Keats Island

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This past Saturday I headed off for Keats Island to explore the southwest section for interesting photographic possibilities. The journey started at Horseshoe Bay, walking on the ferry that travels to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. From there, a short water taxi took me to Keats Landing.

The island itself is in the southern end of Howe Sound and is about 6km2
with 80 residents. There are two camps on the island and their private dock was in shadow in the morning.

My first destination was Salmon Rock, a short couple of kilometres southwards through a beautiful coastal forest. This rocky headland and gravel beach on the south and west side had perfect early day lighting.

I liked the patterns in this rock wall with the Douglas-fir growing on top of the rocky headland.

With the falling tide, more patterns and colour were revealed in the rock walls with the kelp covered rock in front.

I like the symmetry in this composition with the Douglas-fir anchoring in the centre, the two rock outcrops flanking on either side, and the logs distributed along the bottom.

I headed back up the trail and stopped off at Sandy Beach, located on the west side. The beach had many interesting compositions and I spent considerable time here.

I was impressed with this simple composition of the bleached course textured log and the speckled sand.

The bleached root ball had such interesting pattern in the growth rings.

I recomposed to show the details on the area shown above.

The beach also had interesting black rounded rocks that I spent some time creating compositions.

The purple mauve colour of this partial shell set against the black rock was a must capture.

Salal is a coastal shrub that grows near the shoreline and one that is very photogenic. When I spotted this scene, I was impressed with how the salal had taken advantage of the split areas in the rock wall that contains some soil.

The last water taxi of the day from Keats leaves at 6:05pm so in the mid-afternoon I decided it was time to start heading back. I wanted to check out another trail I had seen on the way into Salmon Rock and Sandy Beach. The trail heads to the east side of the southern spit, to an area called Admiral’s Bluff. The views southwards (this photo) and eastward (next photo) across Howe Sound were very impressive.

Eastward view towards Preston Island (left), Bowen Island (right), and West Vancouver at the back.

After a leisurely visit to Admirals Bluff, I walked back to Keats Landing with over an hour to photograph the harbour.

The view up the government dock towards the cottages and the Baptist Church camp.

I spotted this tumbledown shed on the dock with the haphazard shingles.

I spent most of that hour working on creating expressionism style photos that will be the subject of my next post. For now, have a look at this interpretation of that shingled wall shown above.

Tallheo Cannery

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Further to the photos I recently posted on the creative workshop at the Tallheo Cannery, here are some photos of the buildings and site.

The remaining section of the cannery building, taken from the water near the end of the workshop week.

From the land side, the building is more complete with the roof intact. I like this composition in the way the building is nestled into the trees and beach.

The women’s dormitory from the 1920s now houses the guest house. The rooms were pretty much as they would have been then. Clean and simple, and were a nice respite from the busy workshop.

The store is located adjacent the guest house and was a frequent area to capture unique compositions.

The store also included an office and it was interesting to note the business and employee ledger books were still in there.

The net loft on the second floor of the cannery building offered many interesting compositions.

The views outside were plentiful and in the late day lighting, very beautiful.

This old fishing boat is actually a sister to the one that was on our previous 5 dollar bill. Read here for the story on the boat used for the 5 dollar bill.

The pilings for the other portion of the cannery building at night. The brighter light in the sky is Mars.

Road Trip to the Workshop

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I took a few days to sight see and explore on the way to the photography workshop in Bella Coola (see my previous post on that). Some areas I have been into before while others were new.

Starting near Ashcroft, I headed along a quiet back road for a lunch spot. Across the Thompson River, CN Rail was hauling containers north/eastwards.

Ashcroft Fire hall. I liked the implied story of the fire hall with the clouds representing smoke over top of the building.

As you leave Ashcroft heading north to the highway, the road passes by irrigated fields set against the dry rolling hills. I liked how the green produce leads the eye into the photo.

North of Clinton is the Chasm which shows the geology of the Cariboo plateau. The successive layers of lava are visible as a result of the melting waters from the last ice age. I have been here before, but the lighting and plate like clouds were very spectacular.

After an overnight stay in 100 Mile House, I continued the trip westward now along Highway 20 and visited Farwell Canyon. I have posted before on this unique and beautiful area (see my related posts), but it is always worth a stop. The Chilcotin River flowing through the Farwell Canyon.

I was pleased to see the cactus starting to bloom, which is a first for me in this area.

I stayed at the historic Chilcotin Lodge in Riske Creek. The lighting to the west from the front lawn in the later afternoon was very nice despite the building clouds.

West along Highway 20, I took a short drive off the highway down to the Chilcotin River and this old wood bridge. I liked the shadow and patterns and thought it made for an interesting composition.

On the other side of the river was this field of yellow flowers and a leaning sign that to me, spoke of the way time seems to stand still in the Chilcotin.

The final overnight stop was at the Eagle’s Nest Resort at Anahim Lake. It is a very nice setting along a quiet section of Anahim Lake with views towards the coast mountains.

Precipice Canyon is located nearby and I had time for a brief stop there. It is a spectacular canyon and important wildlife corridor leading to the Atnarko River and the mid coast. This is definitely an area I will want to spend some time exploring.

The Workshop – A Creative Journey

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I have just completed a seven day Develop Your Creative Vision photography workshop hosted at the Tallheo Cannery Guest Inn at Bella Coola. It was an intense workshop designed to push ones photographic vision to new places. Consisting of a series of visual challenges, peer review of those, lessons, and discussion, intended to help develop a deeper understanding on composition and creativity.

It was led by Chris Harris and Dennis Ducklow, two photographers with a wide and deep breadth of photographic knowledge, applied skills, and the ability to teach. Chris has been photographing for 50 years and has a unique creative style that he has been moving to over the last three years.

I found the workshop to be transformational in that it gave me a better understanding on seeing tonal changes in a scene and the foundational skills for expressive creativity. It took about two days to really understand the power of the expressive creativity and to interpret it in my own way. Those two days were challenging in that it broke so many of my own conventions and rules I have held near and dear over the last 25 years of photography. Once I was able to get past those self imposed constraints, it was a very powerful creative step in my photography.

Here are the top ten photos that I selected for the final workshop slide show. Don’t worry, I will still be creating expressive documentary photographs but the expressionism photographs offer another creative outlet.

In this photo of a narrow corridor filled with parts bins, I spun the camera around in a 90 degree arc while using a slow 30 second exposure. I did combine two frames in post production (one normal exposure and one dark) to retain the details in the bright window. Otherwise it was created entirely in camera.

This was created using a slow shutter speed while panning the camera downwards along a cable.

Similar to the first photo, this was created by rotating the camera through 360 degrees with a 30 second exposure. I then took a crop of the arc. My green foam knee pad was lying in a sun lit location that created the colour band while the wood shelving and door frame created the brown bands.

This photo was created using multiple exposures with a change in the camera position. It is a window frame laying on a wood floor with a chunk of wood laying on top of the bottom edge.

This is the Sputc Raven pole on the Nuxalk First Nation in Bella Coola. I used three exposures with a small camera movement for each exposure.

Fern created with a slow exposure and a downward pan. The success of the photo depends on the speed of the pan relative to the shutter speed. I utilized the brighter stem area and the dark shadow between the fronds for tonal distinction.

This study in shape and tone was created by using multiple exposures of a wood piling set against the water, while moving the camera latterly. The image was then rotated.

In the cannery building were glass sheets and with careful use of depth of field and the incoming light, it created a striking composition.

This is a multiple exposure photo, with the camera fixed on a tripod and the rope moved during those exposures.

Glass bottle and wood floor, created with a multiple exposure. The darker bottle shape was exposed a few times, while the moved camera position was exposed only once which created the ghosting effect.

Hopefully you enjoyed those expressionism photos, I would like to hear your comments. I will be posting shortly with some expressive documentary photos so that you can see the cannery buildings and the surrounding area.

Closeups in the Hood

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I had a productive Sunday morning wandering around the neighbourhood capturing closeups of the flowers and other interesting items.

I started off in the City in the Park gardens and captured the roses with moisture still on them from the overnight watering.

The gardens are paved in square and rectangular blocks and with my wide angle lens, it forms an interesting pattern.

Next up was the abandoned railway line as I was looking for foxgloves which prefer disturbed areas.

The daisies were also in bloom and set against the grass it made for an interesting composition.

I wanted to try a different composition and spotted this flower with a dandelion stem intersecting it.

The edge of the railway line was carpeted in buttercups and I composed this one with the blurred grass creating geometric patterns in the background.

I like this composition because the buttercup appears to be standing still while the grass appears to be in movement.

The seedpods from the cottonwood trees made an interesting composition on the gravel ballast.

I wandered over to the Byrne Creek Ravine Park and spotted this interesting flower, though I have not been able to identify it.

Along the pathway was Herb-Robert, an introduced Eurasian weed.

Surrey Central

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An area I have wanted to photograph for some time is the area around the Surrey Central Skytrain station. There are some interesting architectural buildings including the City Centre Library, the SFU Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering building, and the SFU Surrey Campus and adjoining buildings.

The rain on Saturday finally stopped mid-afternoon so this seemed a perfect time to head there given the limited time remaining in the day. Upon arriving at the first stop, the City Centre Library, we were surprised to see the entire exterior being used as a movie set. This building will have to wait until a return visit, though I did manage to find one composition free of the movie set gear. I love the curving glass windows with the exposed concrete wall.

A block away is the SFU Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering building with a very interesting cladding of glass and steel with a distinctive shape. I tried a few different compositions of the exterior.

We headed across the street to the Central City mall and the SFU Surrey Campus. I liked this simple composition with the various strong linear lines and the reflecting glass.

We headed into the SFU Surrey Campus and spent some time capturing the unique architecture.

The centre skylight and reverse spire made for some interesting compositions.

We headed outside near dusk and captured another photograph of the front façade with the dusk light, clearing sky and clouds.

One of the towers on that site had the top roof edge illuminated in the setting sun. I don’t normally show two similar compositions, but I thought it was interesting to show the different perspective on that tower.

Pattullo to Alex Fraser

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Along the Fraser River from the Pattullo Bridge to the Alex Fraser Bridge, there are several interesting pocket sized parks with views of those bridges and the Fraser River, along with walking paths.

Brownsville Bar Park, located on the south-east side of the Fraser River in Surrey, has impressive views of the three crossings here; the 1937 Pattullo Bridge for vehicle traffic, the 1989 Skybridge for the rapid transit line, and the 1904 New Westminster Bridge for trains.

Here is the Pattullo Bridge and the New Westminster Bridge. The Pattullo is slated to be replaced within the next few years.

This black and white composition works well to show the intricate steel work of the through arch bridge design.

The Skybridge is a very sleek and modern design making for some great photo compositions.

Downriver and on the opposite bank is the New Westminster Quay, with views back to those bridges.

The walking path offers diverse views of the river, the plantings, and the marine traffic.

There is a large sandbar that is present at low tide and I was able to capture the clouds reflected in the bar with the Fraser Surrey Docks behind.

My previous attempts to capture the Inn at the Quay hotel have not been successful, but on this visit I felt I captured it well.

The First Capital Place office building has a striking façade, though on this composition I used the building edge to lead the eye into the swirling clouds.

Across the river on the eastern end of Lulu Island is the New Westminster community of Port Royal. The roses were in bloom with an abundant aroma! In this view, the Quay and the Skybridge is visible.

The Pacific ninebark shrubs were flowering with a light scent.

The railway swing bridge and condo towers reflecting in the Fraser River.

Downriver from Port Royal, at the south end of the Alex Fraser Bridge, is a First Nations park with views of the adjacent cedar mill and the bridge. The river is wide here though the current was still strong.

Form and Reflection In Downtown Vancouver

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I had a very enjoyable walk through the downtown Vancouver recently, photographing the various sights there. While I enjoy photographing natural settings, my other interest is architectural photography.

I like the strong compositional line and the reflection from the glass wall in this composition of the Parq Vancouver. Even the traffic arrows add to the flow, as does the Zhang Huan Slow sculpture of the bears heading towards the building.

Here is the mother bear in Zhang Huan’s Slow sculpture.

The Robson Square offers views of the Hotel Vancouver and the old courthouse containing the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The Arthur Erikson designed court house made for an interesting study in form with the heavy rectangular concrete columns supporting the rounded slender steel roof posts.

The North Plaza at the Vancouver Art Gallery recently had an update and I was very impressed with the paving tiles consisting of various shapes and tones.

How many different colours and shapes can you note in this plaza shot?

When I spotted the Hotel Vancouver reflecting in the TD Tower, I decided to try a composition where the decorative posts on the plaza shelter roof (see the last photo) would be placed in front of the reflection. The end result is pleasing with various straight and curved elements.

Tucked behind Cathedral Place and elevated above Hornby Street is this small park. I liked the soft and vibrant tone grass contrasting to the hard straight edged building material.

Rising from the Christ Church Cathedral is the 100 foot bell tower, containing stained glass panels designed by Sarah Hall. I will have to visit at night time and capture those illuminated.

I am often times drawn to compositions that mix the natural with buildings such as this composition of the Scotiabank Tower. I like contrasting the colour and tonality difference between the darker blue glass and the green leaves, plus the straight window lines and the curved branches.

This is an interesting study in lines, rectangles and squares, and reflections.

The MNP Tower has this interesting curved wall section and with a cloudless sky, the black and white composition is striking.