Belcarra Regional Park

CK Wright Photo Trips

Yesterday I spent the day photographing in Belcarra Regional Park, located on the east side of Burrard Inlet. This is a great place to photograph as it presents what I consider classic west coast features; coastal forest, rocky headlands, and beaches. My first stop was Woodhaven Swamp located inland and uphill from the coastal section of the park. When I arrived at first light with clouds and low mist, the forest around the wetland was dripping from the overnight rain. Like a living, breathing entity shaking off the rain, the forest just glistened and beckoned to be photographed.
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Next up was the Admiralty Point Trail that heads south from the Belcarra Picnic area through coastal forests adjacent to Burrard Inlet. The trail offers several access points to the beaches and headlands and has nice views looking west towards the Iron Workers Memorial bridge. The low clouds did not provide much opportunity for landscape photos so I took advantage of the soft lighting and photographed intimate landscapes and macros instead. The cedar boughs and barnacled covered rocks shown here are a typical forest-meets-ocean scene and one I was pleased to capture. The other photo is of vine maples and I feel it captures what I have always liked about them; neon green leaves contrasting with the dark intertwined branches.
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I finished up Admiralty Point Trail in the early afternoon and decided to conclude the day by photographing around Sasamat Lake. This lake is in the north eastern section of the park and I started at the south west corner near the floating concrete walking bridge. From here, and with careful use of appropriate shutter speed to prevent blurred shots as the bridge moves, there are great photo opportunities of the lake and surrounding forest. The lake was actually mirror flat when I arrived, so combined with the diffused lighting I captured some very good photos.
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All in all, it was a very productive day with a good variety of captured photos.  I look forward to another visit, particularly with less clouds for the marine views from Jug Island Beach and Maple Beach.

Cascade Falls and Murdo Creek

CK Wright Photo Trips

Located in the Fraser Valley, north of Mission is the 30 metre Cascade Falls.  The area is protected in the Cascade Falls Regional Park and contains a short trail to the waterfall and a suspension bridge to a view point.  Today I headed over to the park hoping that the unsettled weekend weather would hold.  As it turned out, the weather and conditions at the falls were perfect with a mixture of clouds and sun, and lots of moisture on the vegetation.  The viewpoints on either side of the bridge affords good clear views of the falls.  I really like how the falls are nestled in the canyon surrounded by the green moss and trees.  On the return to the parking lot, I found this big leaf maple slotted into a fern frond surrounded by moss covered boulders.  Below the falls, Cascade Creek flows over bedrock and boulders with numerous pools and I captured some additional good photos and even some videos.
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Near the falls, about 3 kilometres away, is Davis Lake Provincial Park located further up the mountain.  One of the trails to the lake is located along Murdo Creek which descends steeply to the lake and has some amazing short falls and rock walls.  I left the lake for my next visit as it was getting late in the afternoon and instead spent my time on the section of the creek near the access road.  I have always enjoyed steep, rocky creeks given the numerous photo opportunities including cascades, pools, and mossy covered rocks.  I was certainly enjoying my time here and I look forward to a return visit.  This is certainly a worthy area to visit with the Cascade Falls, Murdo Creek, Davis Lake, and the other creeks.
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Ideal Lighting at Golden Ears Provincial Park

CK Wright Photo Trips

When I posted in June that I had visited Golden Ears Provincial Park, I mentioned that the bright, cloudless day added to the challenge of capturing the waterfall and the upper sections of Gold Creek.  Today I re-visited the park and fortunately there was enough periods of cloud that I was able to capture the waterfall, the sections of Gold Creek with lightly toned boulders, and even the moss covered forest in ideal lighting.  So what is ideal lighting?  Well, that depends on the subjects being captured, the look and feel that the photographer is after, and the photographer’s preference.  As a general rule on my preference, I often prefer lighting that is warm from early or late day time periods or neutral lighting from overcast conditions.  Water, ice, snow, and lightly toned rock are highly reflective and I find that bright light on those subjects often leads to photos exceeding the dynamic range of the camera. I also feel, more importantly, that it imparts a harsh or non-calming sense on the scene.  This of course is a general rule and there are exceptions where bright light can be ideal.  The forest shot here is a good example of having soft neutral lighting allowing the moss, ferns, and trees to be evenly illuminated without placing emphasis on any one section as bright light would have.  The waterfall was also taken under cloudy periods, which given the bright tone of the water was required to capture the scene in a single shot.  I explored some other sections of the park on this trip searching for some fall colours but it appears to be a bit early yet for this park.  This is a great park for photography given the numerous trails and subject matters all within a short distance.

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Bowen Island, Snug Cove to Killarney Lake

CK Wright Photo Trips

An interesting day trip from Metro Vancouver is to head over to Bowen Island, taking BC Ferries as a foot passenger.  The ferry departs from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, takes about 30 minutes for the crossing, and arrives at the eastern end of Bowen Island in Snug Cove.  What makes this a compelling trip is the combination of trails and attractions that are easily accessed by foot plus the great food options in Snug Cove.  Yesterday I took the 8 am sailing and enjoyed the sights along the way as the ferry passed the typical dry rocky coast line in that area.  The sun was low in the sky and bathed the shorelines and water in a nice warm light.  Once on the island, I spent the day taking photos along the trail to Killarney Lake, the lake itself, and around Snug Cove.  The 8.5km loop trail to the lake goes through coastal forest containing Douglas-fir, spruce, cedar, and lots of ferns.  I actually walked the lake trail twice, first in the morning and then again in the afternoon when the lighting improved.
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In between, I had lunch at Snug Cove at the Snug Café, enjoying a well made and healthy curry chicken wrap!  After lunch, I headed down to the water and watched the boats come and go as I waited for the lighting to improve.  I did take some time and shoot a few video clips of the marina and the ferry departing for Horseshoe Bay.  I enjoy these types of outings where you have a break at midday and can relax a bit.  Once the lighting improved, I headed back up to Killarney Lake which has lots of interesting elements including snags, lily pads, and moss covered trees along the shoreline.  I also photographed the boats in the Snug Cove marina and climbed up to Dorman Point lookout.  After taking a hundred odd shots and having walked 23 kilometres, it was time to have some dinner!  I decided to have dinner on the island at Doc Morgan’s and was able to watch some of the Tragically Hip’s Kingston concert.  It was a nice relaxing end to a great day of photography, enjoying dinner and watching a great concert!  I walked on the 8:15pm return ferry as the sun was setting.  If you have the opportunity, I would certainly recommend this as an inexpensive and fun day trip, whether for photography or to hike Mount Gardner.
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Big Bar Lake Provincial Park

CK Wright Photo Trips

Over the last couple of summers, I have been exploring the Cariboo to find interesting areas to photograph.  Not only areas to photograph at that time, but also areas that contain enough interest for future visits.  Green Lake is one of those areas that I have re-visited on numerous occasions, each time capturing some interesting and unique photos.  Yesterday I explored Big Bar Lake Provincial Park, located equidistant between Highway 97 and the Fraser River and 70 Mile House and Clinton, and found that this is another spot that is worthy of additional visits.  I had visited Big Bar Lake once before in September of last year, though I did not have time to explore the park.  This time, I headed down to the park in the mid morning before the anticipated prime late afternoon lighting and explored a trail I had seen on my previous visit.  Often times it can be useful to explore a new area before the prime lighting to find areas to photograph when the lighting is optimal.  I followed the trail from the shore of Big Bar Lake, climbing up on an esker that provides amazing views of Big Bar Lake, through forests with mature Douglas-fir, pine, aspen, and juniper trees, and eventually to Otter Marsh.  This marsh, constructed in 1987 by Ducks Unlimited to replace a broken beaver dam, impounds Big Bar Creek flowing out of the lake.  The 3.5 km loop trail then continues back to the shore of Big Bar Lake.
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After walking the loop trail, I enjoyed a leisurely lunch along the lake shaded by a large Douglas-fir tree.  It was a beautiful and hot summer day with a few clouds and a light breeze but was a little too bright for optimal photography.  Around 2pm with the lighting being more favourable, I re-walked the trail and captured some very good photographs.  The reason this area will be worthy of revisits is all of the interesting elements I found on my walk including the lake and marsh, numerous species of flowers, Douglas-fir, pine, aspen, and juniper trees, and the views from the eskers.

Teapot Mountain and Huble Homestead

CK Wright Photo Trips

Rising 200 metres above the surrounding forest, lakes, and wetlands is Teapot Mountain, a basalt volcanic plug.  The views from the top are very spectacular and affords views in all directions, including Summit Lake, Crooked River and the neighbouring volcanic plug Coffeepot Mountain.  Summit Lake is at the divide of the Fraser and Peace basins with the Fraser basin draining to the Pacific Ocean and the Peace basin draining to the Arctic Ocean.  The area surrounding Teapot Mountain consists of rolling but mostly flat terrain, particularly to the south.  The photo below (left/top) shows the southern view including Summit Lake and dozens of kilometres to the south.  The other photo (right/bottom) shows the surrounding terrain and Coffeepot Mountain (small bump on the top right).  I am in Prince George this weekend to visit friends and decided to hike up Teapot Mountain.  I was last here about 12 years ago, and the views are still just as impressive.  The hike up is not much work, though carrying the tripod and camera gear does add a bit of extra load.  Besides the views, the huckleberries were still present which made for a very tasty treat on a warm summer day.
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After hiking Teapot Mountain, we headed over to Huble Homestead, a regional historic site that contains numerous buildings including the Huble house, post office, barns, and a general store.  The Huble house (built in late 1912) is the oldest building on its original site in the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George.  The area has been actively used for a long time prior to the 1912 settlement and construction by Albert Huble.  The first nation, Lhedli T’enneh, used this area for fishing and travelling through on their way between the seasonal camps.  The Giscome Portage is located here and was the overland canoe route between the Fraser River and Summit Lake, part of the massive canoe route from the Pacific Ocean to the Mackenzie River.  The Huble Homestead is a very interesting area to photograph and includes numerous old buildings, cottonwoods, and the Fraser River.  We ate our lunch on the grass enjoying the warm temperatures, the sun, and the Fraser River.  Well actually, my friend ate her lunch in a very relaxed manner while I wolfed my food down before setting off to photograph the buildings!  It was actually a good time to photograph the buildings with the light being somewhat diffused by the surrounding tress and occasional cloud.  Below is the Huble house and an interesting pattern of shadows on the barn.  All in all, it was a great day for exercise and for capturing some decent photographs.
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Minnekhada Regional Park

CK Wright Photo Trips

On a warm Saturday afternoon I headed over to Minnekhada Regional Park, located in Coquitlam near the Pitt River. This is another area that I have not visited in some time so I was eager to re-visit it. The park itself has a variety of subject matters including marshes, red cedars and other coniferous trees, exposed bedrock, ferns, and flowers. I have found on several occasions that when visiting areas that I have not been into for a very long time, my perception of the opportunities can be skewed. Minnekhada is certainly a good example as I recalled that on my last visit here I did not see the vast photo opportunities like I did this time. Just because you visited a site once long ago and thought less of it or heard comments from others that the opportunities are not present, a visit with openness to the positive possibilities is important. I was really impressed with the flowers, lily pads, and dark organic water in the two marshes located in the northwestern section. I have always enjoyed the photographic opportunities with the dark coloured water contrasting with the green grass and lily pads. Continuing on, the trail climbs up onto a rock bluff with impressive views of the surrounding forest and marshes. For myself, the background is always important so I was pleased to see the vantage point where I was looking down at the cedar and fern forest without any bright background. I have included that shot here as well as the shot of the flowering bush taken in the marshes. There is another section of the trail that passes by a very large rock wall that rises behind the forest. It is interesting to see the amount of exposed bedrock surrounded by such lush vegetation including coniferous forest and ferns. This park will certainly be revisited as there are so many other photographic opportunities, particularly as the seasons change.

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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!
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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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