Kanaka Creek Regional Park – Cliff Falls

CK Wright Photo Trips

Yesterday evening I headed over to Maple Ridge to photograph the water falls along Kanaka Creek in the Kanaka Creek Regional Park, Cliff Falls section. I have photographed here before, though it has been over 15 years. The lighting was perfect when I arrived with the canyon in the shade, though it did make for some long exposures. Flowing water often times is too reflective to be photographed under full sun, so early morning, late afternoon, or cloudy conditions are ideal. I had meant to arrive a bit earlier than 7pm but lost a bit of time with paving on the Dewdney Trunk Road. Still, I had over an hour of good light before it became too dark to photograph. At Cliff Falls, the Kanaka Creek and the North Fork Kanaka Creek join, with each section flowing over sandstone rapids and waterfalls. The sandstone is moss covered and contains numerous shutes and potholes created from the eroding water. The other interesting feature is the abundant vegetation lining the creek edge, from ferns to mosses and deciduous to evergreen trees. A few of the shots were challenging to capture given the long exposures required for the lighting levels and the need to render the tree branches still. After an hour of capturing some very interesting photos, the canyon was becoming too dark to capture so it was time to leave. I have made the comment before that you can do more with an hour of ideal lighting than you can all day with poor lighting and this was certainly the case here. I plan on returning as there are more areas of the creek to explore.
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RV’ing and Fleeting Scenes

CK Wright Photo Trips

I had the opportunity to explore and photograph more of the Cariboo with an invite to go RV’ing with a friend. While I have explored various sections of BC through tent camping, I was very interested in trying out the RV method. The advantage with camping is the ability to quickly access areas in changing light and weather. When you are based further away and have to drive to the area, the weather or lighting may not be ideal. This was the case with this trip as the usual summer hot Cariboo weather did not occur. Several of the days the weather was cloudy and rainy in the morning with only a few hours in the afternoon available to sight see and photograph. Below is a good example of this as it had been raining from morning to mid afternoon at Phinetta Lake when the raining stopped and the clouds on the west side lifted allowing filtered sunlight to illuminate the forest along the shoreline. Notice how warm the sunlight is which contrasts very well with the still water.
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Just before sunset while camping alongside Mahood Lake in Wells Gray Provincial Park I noticed a very unusual colour cast to the low angle lighting owing to the dark storm clouds. The lake shoreline was just a few minutes walk from the campsite which allowed me to capture several amazing photographs of this storm light.
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Here are a few macro photos I took just after a rainstorm that still have water droplets present.
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I also took advantage with this trip to practice the time lapse feature of the camera on Mahood Lake. That feature captures an assigned number of photographs at a set interval. The photos are then assembled into a video where the changing conditions, in this case the moving clouds and water of the lake, are revealed. With the RV close, I could then review the captured set of photos to see how effective the interval was without being eating alive by the midges!

It was a good trip with lots of photo opportunities and as I noted above being based at the locations certainly allowed me to capture some very good photos at the peak shooting conditions. The RV was certainly a more comfortable base than a tent particularly with the rain and midges.

Aspens and Big Sky in the Green Lake Region

CK Wright Photo Trips, Technical

I headed out yesterday afternoon on a warm summer day looking to photograph flowers, aspens, and hopefully some interesting clouds. Now, for those that know my “obsession” with photographing aspens, I am sure they will be rolling their eyes! All I can say is that I find that there is something magical with the strong verticality of the white aspen trunks contrasted against the softer shrubs and grass. In fact, on those occasions where I feel a bit stuck artistically, I often find that photographing aspens seems to be the cure…anyway, enough on aspens and my appreciation of them!
I wanted an area that was close by so that I could work into the late afternoon and early evening for the softer lighting. I decided on Green Lake and the areas surrounding it as I have taken some excellent photographs there. I must say that after numerous outings there, I am still finding new and exciting areas to photograph. This area has several lakes and ponds including Green Lake and Watch Lake, pine and aspen forests, flowers, and rustic cattle fencing. It was certainly a warm afternoon with strong sunlight and large puffy white clouds, though the lighting became softer and warmer later in the afternoon. I worked mainly in the western end of Green Lake where there are no residences and the forests and ponds are easily accessed. I used the 60mm Micro lens for the flowers and some of the landscapes, though I used the 35mm Sigma lens for most of the shots. I am still very impressed with the image quality and colour that the Sigma 35mm lens produces, it is indeed a fine piece of optical equipment. Here are a couple of photos from this outing. I have always enjoyed that “big sky” look that is so prevalent in the Cariboo. The red flowers contrasted well against the vibrant green grass under soft and warm late afternoon sun. I find that the Nikon D810 handles reds much better than my D300, which tended to overexpose and/or “smear” those red colours.

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Evening at the 108 Mile Heritage Site

CK Wright Photo Trips

Yesterday evening I headed over to the 108 Mile Heritage site to try to capture some of the storm clouds that were rolling through the area. The Cariboo will often have these fast moving storms that move through in the late afternoon and evening in the late spring and summer. The cloud formations can be quite spectacular and can even produce some interesting lighting if it is close to sunset. I first headed up to Lac La Hache Provincial park but the storm was still active in that area with lots of rain so I went south to the 108 Mile Heritage site. This area was on the edge of the active storm and was not raining. This site has several historic buildings from the around the Cariboo and has nice views overlooking 108 Mile Lake. The storm clouds were not as spectacular here but I still managed to capture a few decent photos. It is still early in the year for storm clouds so I should have additional opportunity. Here are a few photos from last night’s outing, including this interesting shot of a sod roofed storage building with yellow flowers. The other photo is of 108 Mile Lake with the lush grass and other plants.

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Lynn Creek and Rice Lake

CK Wright Photo Trips

The Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR) is one of the first areas that I photographed when I started pursuing photography back in the early 90s. Close to the parking lot is the beautiful and photogenic Rice Lake. This lake was actually used as a water storage reservoir in the early days of Metro Vancouver’s water system. One of the best times of the day to photograph it, is in the late afternoon, particular with some clouds to the north. Under these conditions the lake positively glows a strong vibrant green with dark and moody clouds behind. Today I decided to photograph Rice Lake at the end of my photo shoot in the hopes that those conditions would occur. I arrived at the lake around 5pm and the lake was glowing neon green with some nice layered clouds behind! I captured some really good shots of the lake and of the surrounding forest in the soft late day lighting. Adjacent to the LSCR is the Lynn Canyon Park where the Lynn Creek flows through canyons and large boulders. I started off the photo shoot today at the Lynn Creek before heading to Rice Lake. I am not sure I have ever photographed this section of the Lynn Creek and even though it was a bit overrun with others, there were some excellent creek and forest shots. The trail from the Rice Lake parking lot descends gradually down to the top of the canyon and then along the forest above before arriving at a massive set of stairs. I don’t have a photo of the stairs, but it is a massive structure descending down the canyon wall to the creek edge. It was certainly a work out climbing back up! I shot some interesting canyon, creek, and forest scenes and captured several video clips of the creek. The weather was sunny with some clouds, which was good as I find that diffused lighting works best when photographing the creek and forest.


Gold Creek, Golden Ears Provincial Park

CK Wright Photo Trips

There is one creek that I have always thought of as a bit of a chameleon, and that is Gold Creek in Golden Ears Provincial Park. In the lower section just before its terminus at Alouette Lake the creek flows slowly through a small section of deep pools with the most vivid green imaginable and is surrounded by exposed bedrock. Upstream, the creek flows rapidly over boulders and has a very dark tone. The access trails are the Lower Falls trail for the fast flowing section and North Beach trail for the green pool section. These trails, in particular the Lower Falls trail, meanders through a beautiful rain forest containing lush ferns, hemlock, Douglas-fir, and red cedar. Alouette Lake itself is very impressive with the towering forested mountains rising rapidly from its shore. It has been some time since I was last there so I wanted to check out the photo opportunities. The weather started off perfect with cloud cover but soon became sunny. The light toned boulders upstream of the green pools makes for challenging photographic conditions. No complaints mind you, it was a beautiful day and I managed to capture some very good water and forest shots and videos. Along the Lower Falls trail, the rain forest has numerous massive boulders covered by moss that adds to a sense of wonder at the forces at work. The lower falls were far too bright to photograph but I enjoyed watching the backlit mist as it wavered and danced in the breeze. This is definitely an area that I will want to visit again, ideally on a light overcast day. Driving along the access road through the park there are also some amazing forest scenes that with soft lighting would be very photogenic.


Derby Reach & Fort Langley

CK Wright Photo Trips

Alongside the Fraser River in Langley is the Derby Reach Regional Park. This park contains not only the banks of the Fraser River but a large tract of mixed species forest including Douglas-fir, hemlock, and cedar. There are also some heritage building as well as the original Fort Langley site. It had been raining very heavily the day before but today was a nice day, starting with clouds and then sun and clouds. I enjoyed the soft muted lighting early in the day before the clouds and low mist cleared off as it allowed some interesting intimate landscape photographs. Of course the downside to this is the challenge with having enough light to freeze the vegetation shots. I also enjoyed the barn, dating from 1876 and moved here in 1989, with its wide rough cut boards. There was one section more recently replaced where the nails had left dark vertical stain lines which contrasted very nicely with the lighter tone wood. Once the lighting became too bright later in the morning, I headed over to the Fort Langley community and had an early lunch at the Blacksmith Bakery. It has a funky interior with good food and very helpful staff. I must say I enjoyed my turkey sandwich with aioli garlic mayo, tomato, and cucumber! After lunch I headed over to the Parks Canada Fort Langley site which preserves the fort with one original building and several others re-built to the original specifications. There wasn’t as much photo opportunities there but I think that was mostly due to the mid-day lighting and crowds. I did enjoy looking at the hand built buildings and watching the blacksmith make a candle holder. In the Big House, which was the manager’s house and office, there was a map dating from the mid 1800’s that showed Canada. It was a fascinating map as not all of the provinces were in existence. While not all history is entertaining, I really enjoyed the map and seeing the differences between then and now. All in all, it was a nice day with some interesting photos combined with a relaxing walk around the fort site. I will post some photos here in a few days once I have more of my gear setup.

Capilano River

CK Wright Photo Trips

Bordering between the District of North Vancouver and West Vancouver is the Capilano River. While the river has been dammed, the lower canyon section remains with its light to medium tone rock walls and inky green water. I have not photographed the Capilano in over 10 years so today I decided to spend the morning there. I parked at the hatchery at the end of Capilano Park road. It was a cool morning with a few clouds and a quickly rising sun. I wanted to photograph the canyon before the strong sunlight washed out the canyon. When I arrived, the forest on the western side, far above the canyon was illuminated but the canyon itself was still in shade. I really enjoyed the slightly brooding colour of the river which ranges from inky dark green to light green. As the sun rose, the water surface began reflecting a warm orange and yellow tone making for some very interesting compositions. I was also able to capture some ferns and skunk cabbage along the canyon trails.

The Road to Likely

CK Wright Photo Trips

Located to the northeast of Williams Lake and southeast of Quesnel is the town of Likely, population 350. This town is part of the Cariboo gold rush trail and numerous old buildings dot the landscape along the paved road which starts in 150 Mile House and winds it way northeast to the town.  This was my first visit to the area and there are some interesting sights along the way.  Shortly after 150 Mile House the road rises up and views of the Cariboo Mountains appear through the trees.  Further on, the road goes past farms and old Cariboo buildings. Along the way I spotted a few eagles, deer, and a moose. At the Big Lake resort, where I stopped to take some photographs of the adjacent lake, there was a stick loving dog that decided I should be his pitcher. So yes, I threw the stick numerous times until I had to leave…poor dog! Just past Likely is the small Cedar Point Provincial Park located along Quesnel Lake. At the town itself, the Quesnel Lake empties into the Quesnel River which has a very impressive flow of water.


Westwood Plateau and Seymour River

CK Wright Photo Trips

One of my favourite areas to photograph on the south coast, in terms of mountain streams, is the Westwood Plateau area of Coquitlam. There are numerous small creeks that flow between the neighbourhoods in small green belts. While I didn’t have long to photograph there (Saturday), I was able to obtain some good photos and videos of Scott Creek and Noons Creek. Later on Saturday I headed over to the North Shore and walked along the Seymour River from the end of Riverside Drive. The trail is closed just past Mystery Creek owing to the 2013 canyon slide and subsequent flooding. I managed to get to an interesting view point where you could see the new “lake” that has formed and the numerous flooded trees. The photo of the creek with vine maple is from Scott Creek and the forest photo is from the Seymour River.