What Lies above Farwell Canyon

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In early July I returned to Farwell Canyon and spent the entire time photographing the sand dunes and slopes above the Chilcotin River.

As reminder from my May article, here is an overview of the canyon with the hoodoos, Chilcotin River, and Pothole Ranch. The sand is visible in the foreground in this photo. While it was overcast in Williams Lake as I travelled through to the canyon, the clouds dispersed as I drove onto the Chilcotin plateau and arriving at the dunes, the conditions were great.

As I was ascending onto the dunes, the vista behind them was spectacular with rolling hills, trees, and shrubs all illuminated with the early morning light.

At the far end of the sand dunes was this lone interior Douglas-fir tree and I used the edge of the sinuous dunes to lead the eye to the tree.

Looking in the opposite direction, I composed a tight cropping on the edge and waited for the wind to push the sand over the edge. I wanted to capture the process of the shifting sand dunes and it didn’t take long for the sand to become airborne.

I spotted this group of hikers sitting on the dunes and liked how it provided scale.

I noticed near the end of the dunes that rain had formed a set of curved tracks in the sand and thought it would be an interesting composition. The clouds were rolling in and out at this later stage of the day and it took some time for the clouds to move away from the sun.

Growing in the sand were clumps of grass including this lone grass laying over. Notice the curved marks in the sand at the tips of the grass, created when the wind moves the grass blades through the sand.

Here is a closer composition of the Douglas-fir tree shown in the earlier photo.

After about 4 hours photographing in the area and with darkening clouds bringing the possibility of rain, I photographed a final image of the sand dunes.

Two and a Half Waterfalls and a Lake

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On Saturday with overcast conditions, a friend and I headed out for some more waterfalls and exploring the Fraser Valley north attractions.

The first stop was Cascade Falls, a spectacular 30 metre waterfall on the Cascade Creek. It was good to see an adequate water flow over the falls with the more recent period of warm to hot weather.

The suspension bridge provides access to the other side of the creek and to the vantage point used in the previous photograph. There were no visitors at the early hour so I had the suspension bridge to myself, which I took advantage of to capture the canyon just downstream from the waterfall.

This was a direct down perspective of Cascade Creek.

The next stop was just up the road at Davis Lake Provincial Park, where we followed the steep trail downhill to the lake following Murdo Creek. Nearing the lake is MacDonald Falls where Murdo Creek rolls down a wide section of rock.

Here’s a close-up of the waterfall, where I used a log to direct the view inwards.

With the overcast conditions, landscape compositions of the lake were not ideal, so I worked the shoreline and liked this composition of the grass clump and the two gradient lake colour.

The adjacent forest was beautiful with the soft lighting and deep colours.

After some time exploring the lake and returning to Murdo Creek to retrieve my wallet (which had neatly fallen out and remained on a boulder), it was off to Whonnock Lake Park. Though I had never been to the lake before, with the overcast conditions making landscapes undesirable I would have passed it by. However my friend wanted to stop by which was a very good call as the lily pads were in full bloom. I haven’t had the opportunity in a long time to photograph those, so I was very pleased with the opportunity!

So if you have been counting through this article, we have now photographed two waterfalls and one lake…so where is the half waterfall? and what is a half waterfall? Kanaka Creek Regional Park was the next stop where we photographed the cascades. Not quite a waterfall, more like a half waterfall.

The creek has numerous pot holes eroded over eons in the soft sandstone. I have photographed here before, so on this visit I spent timing working on compositions with those.

Byrne Creek Ravine Park in Detail

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I find that close-up and intimate landscape photography is less about the location, and more about the compositions and lighting available. With the chance of rain and partial cloud today, I decided to stay local and work the available light in Byrne Creek Ravine Park, nestled between the urban residential and commercial areas in southeast Burnaby.

With the recent rains, the understory plants were very green and lush.

The pathway in this next composition leads your eye through the scene, towards the vertical trees.

A tasty treat in the summer are the salmon berries, both to eat and to photograph.

The lighting in this flower shot was the perfect balance of sun and cloud, to bring out the purple and green tones, without overpowering them.

I was interested in this next compositions with the two tones of green and the texture difference.

Two Waterfalls and a Lake

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With overcast conditions Saturday morning, a friend and I set off to explore some waterfalls and lakes in the Stave Falls area, along the Dewdney Trunk Road.

The first stop was Steelhead Falls, located on the east side of Howard Lake. This impressive waterfall cascades down numerous sections, surrounded by ferns and tall coniferous trees.

As we were hiking back to the car, the clouds lifted partially so it was good timing to capture those falls before the sun appeared. The water is very reflective and thus direct or even partial sun can easily overexpose the water.

We decided to explore the adjacent Hayward Lake and the trestles from the old railway line that connected the Stave Lake Reservoir to Mission.

There was just the right combination of sun and cloud to softly illuminate the water to produce the vibrant green colour in the lake.

It is interesting to note the high water mark on the trestles and the colour difference between the sections.

After exploring the lake and walking the west shoreline, we headed over to Rolley Falls, accessed from the Rolley Lake Provincial Park. Rolley Creek drops rapidly from Rolley Lake down to Stave Lake.

Farwell Canyon

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While it’s hard to believe, this article marks my one hundredth since re-starting the blog in August of 2015! I have enjoyed sharing the photos and stories from my photographic outings and reading your comments. Thanks for your interest and providing the comments!

Farwell Canyon is a spectacular limestone and sandstone canyon along the Chilcotin River, southwest of Williams Lake.

The photo above was taken from the single lane bridge that spans a narrow section of the canyon.

From a vantage point overlooking the river, the hoodoos rise above the eroded terrain.

Descending into the canyon itself, an interesting stop is the Pothole Ranch, established by the canyon namesake, Gordon “Mike” Farwell. There are several buildings here including this well crafted log home.

Besides the hoodoos and the ranch buildings, the other noteworthy feature here is the sand dune located at the top of the canyon on the opposite side. It is something else to see a large sand dune located over 100 metres above the river.

The vantage point from the sand dune offers great views of the curving road leading from the plateau down into the canyon.

Walking along the sand dune, it is interesting to see how the sand shifts in and around the trees and plants.

Looking towards the adjacent hillside, I spotted this interesting composition with each draw repeating the rough and smooth pattern across the hillside.

On top of the plateau, was an extensive patch of arrowleaf balsamroot flowers.

Fidalgo Island

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I tagged along with a friend and his family on Saturday as they visited Fidalgo Island in the Skagit County, Washington State. This rugged island, linked by bridges, has numerous beaches, headlands, and a few peaks offering spectacular views towards the San Juan Islands. This was my first visit to the area so I was looking forward to seeing the area and the opportunities.

Our first destination was the highest point on the island, Mount Erie at 1273 ft / 388 m, and is accessible by a narrow paved road. The lookout offers spectacular views southeastwards over Lake Erie, though the further reaches of the view were obscured by marine haze.

Our next stop was nearby Sugarloaf (1027 ft / 313 m), located a kilometre north, with westward views of the San Juan Islands. In this photo, Allan Island (left) and Burrows Island (right) are visible in Burrows Bay, with Decatur and Lopez Islands in the hazy background.

There were some wildflowers growing on the rocky top, taking full advantage of the sun.

We had lunch at Rosario Beach and then spent several hours exploring the beach, rocky headland, and the adjacent Sharpe Cove.

Urchin Rocks lying adjacent to the beach, with Lopez Island in the background.

Wind shaped coastal forest overlooking Rosario Head.

Sharpe Cove is on the southeast side of a thin spit of land that connects to Rosario Head.

This public dock in Sharpe Cove made an interesting composition with Reservation Head located across the cove.

Our last stop of the day was on the adjacent Whidbey Island so that we could view the impressive Deception Pass Bridge. The bridge is actually two bridges, one over Canoe Pass connecting Fidalgo Island to Pass Island and then another span over Deception Pass connecting Pass Island to Whidbey Island. The bridges were built in 1934-1935. Little Beach in Deception Pass State Park offers clear views of the bridges. Canoe Pass is the left span and Deception Pass is the right span with Pass Island in the middle.

This close-up view of the north arch on the Deception Pass bridge shows the intricate construction and the strong currents in the pass.

Century Gardens Burnaby

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At this time of the year, the colours are plentiful at the Century Gardens located in Deer Lake Park. This small garden is set between the Shadebolt Centre and the Burnaby Art Gallery and has an extensive set of Rhododendron shrubs and other flowering shrubs.

The Ceperley House, home of the Burnaby Art Gallery is a beautiful craftsmen home surrounded by the gardens.

Pacific Marine Circle Route – VI April 2018

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Continuing on from my last post on the extended weekend trip to Vancouver Island, on Saturday a friend and I drove the Pacific Marine Circle Route. This all weather paved route heads north from Victoria, through the Cowichan Valley, and then southwest to Port Renfrew and finally south and east back to Victoria along the rugged Juan de Fuca Provincial Park.

We made a few detours from the route, in particular the eastern leg as we wanted to see more of the Cowichan Valley and to stop at the Kinsol Trestle. This massive trestle completed in 1920 spans the Koksilah River at a height of 44 metres / 145 feet. The trestle was rebuilt in 2011-2012 as part of the Cowichan Valley Trail route.

I should mention that the weather was variable with periods of sun, overcast, and even a few brief showers. During one of the dry spells, we stopped at Harris Creek and photographed this side creek with the leaning alders.

Just after this capturing this photo, the clouds moved away and with near full sunlight, the deep vibrant green waters of Harris Creek were revealed.

A few other stops along the way were at Lens Creek and Fairy Lake.

Once we arrived at Port Renfrew and with the weather stabilizing, we decided to visit Botanical Beach located in the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. It was a short kilometer and half hike out to the beach and we were pleased to see some sun and minimal wind.

We started off at the southeast end of Botany Bay before rounding the headland southeast to Botanical Beach. Here is Botany Bay, looking northwest.

Looking southeast at the headland between Botany Bay and Botanical Beach. With the low tide we elected to walk the beach versus the upland trail to Botanical Beach.

As you can see, there is lots of exposed rock making for some interesting compositions.

Just after rounding the headland, Botanical Beach with the boulders, exposed bedrock, and gravel is in full view.

In one of the pools, were some sea anemones.

At the southeast end of Botanical Beach is another rocky headland with pools of water and waves crashing into shore.

With the afternoon wearing on, it was time to continue homewards, though we had time for another Juan de Fuca Park visit; China Beach.

The weathered and bleached logs along the shoreline contrasted well with the green grass.

One of the classic sight along this exposed and rugged coastline is salal and sitka spruce trees.


Goldstream Park – VI April 2018

CK Wright Photo Trips

Last weekend I took an extended weekend trip to southern Vancouver Island. I was really looking forward to visiting this beautiful area of Vancouver Island. There is such a diverse set of photographic opportunities there from rainforests, rocky coasts, and majestic rivers.

I’ll post another article on the Juan de Fuca marine area, but for this article I wanted to write on the beautiful Goldstream Park, located a short drive north of Victoria. I made two visits to this park taking advantage of overcast conditions to capture the rivers, waterfalls, and moss covered rainforests.

When I arrived mid-afternoon, I headed over to the north end of the park and walked the short trail to the Niagara Falls. Getting to the falls is an interesting adventure as it is on the opposite side of the busy Malahat (Highway 1) when you arrive from Victoria. The choices are a dodgy dash across the Malahat or walking under the highway through a large culvert beside the Niagara Creek; I decided on the culvert and managed to stay dry and safe.

I liked this large moss covered rock just downstream from the waterfall.

Along the way to the waterfall, the skunk cabbage were plentiful in the low lying areas.

On the way back to Victoria, I stopped at the Prospector Trail junction and took a few photos of the Goldstream River.

The next day with overcast conditions, I decided to explore the southwest corner of the park following the Upper Goldstream Trail along the Goldstream River to the Goldstream Falls.

The surrounding rainforest was heavily covered in moss and the vantage point from the trail was downward towards the river.

The Goldstream Falls is nestled in a bowl with surrounding rock and ferns.

This moss covered western red cedar almost appears alive with the tangle of branches.

Spring at Deer Lake Park

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This time of year is always anticipated, with vibrant green growth, early flowers, and a real sense that spring is upon us…and my apologies to those of you in Calgary who are facing a snowfall warning!

I headed over to Deer Lake Park as it has lots of deciduous and shrubs that I expected would be in full on green up mode. Indeed they were with lots of new growth and damp from the overnight rain.

Alongside the trail in the northwest corner was this carpet of buttercups in full bloom.

Another sign of spring is skunk cabbage blooming, and in the low lying sections of the park they were abundant. It should be noted that the flowers are actually the numerous small flowers on the spike and not the large yellow bract.

In addition to the buttercups, there was a large spread of this short stalked flower (I wasn’t able to identify the plant name).

While I have explored this park on numerous visits, this stream laying alongside a short trail was a new discovery.