What Lies At The End Of The Road, Redux

CK Wright Photo Trips

Two years ago I posted photos from the Grant Narrows Regional Park and Pitt Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area which lies at the end of Rannie Road in Pitt Meadows. Last weekend I had the opportunity to revisit the area and to explore other sections. Check out the older posting for comparison.

We started off just outside of the regional park in the Pitt Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area, walking along the dykes.

The lighting was beautiful and the snow capped mountains were very photogenic in the early morning. Widgeon Peak is reflected in the Pitt River slough.

We drove the short distance into the regional park and walked past these boats at the dock. There are many boat only access cabins along Pitt Lake and this dock is the last road access point.

As I did on the previous visit, I took a south west shot from the observation tower though there was snow on this visit.

The back slough area was partially covered with ice and I thought it would make an interesting composition. Notice the strong lines formed from the dried grass covered dyke, the open water sections, and the closed ice covered sections.

I like this composition as it contains a wide tonality range from the shadowed dyke and tree, the mid-tone hills, and the distant bright snow capped peaks. The shadowed tree is certainly a strong element and helps to ground the photo.

Speaking of grounding or anchoring elements, I spotted this grass and bush clumps and liked how it complimented the water and mountain.

At this time of year the sun is still low enough through the day to cast shadows and I used that to show the tall cottonwood trees.

Pitt Lake and mountains with pilings.

Pump to Dinky Peaks

CK Wright Photo Trips

On Saturday we headed out at first light, snowshoeing in the Mount Seymour Provincial Park. There was plenty of snow on the ground, though very little snow on the trees as there had been the previous weekend on Cypress. The trail rises steeply as it ascends towards Pump Peak, though the views at the top are certainly worth the effort.

Rising up through the trees and then emerging, we were greeted with
spectacular views of Vancouver and English Bay, with no clouds or fog obstructing the views.

Just below Pump Peak was an interesting side bench with unobstructed views of Burrard Inlet and ships at anchor. I like how the previous photo and this photo are almost identical in the direction, yet the latter photo was taken at a higher elevation.

There were several compositions I liked here including this cornice leading the eye towards the eastern snow covered mountains.

I liked this view towards Pump Peak with the three different sloped planes, the deep blue sky, and the way the ski and snowshoe tracks lead the eye towards Pump Peak.

We ascended the final climb to Pump Peak and enjoyed the views of the surround mountains. Here is a view looking northwestward.

After some food and a view of the mountains, we decided to explore the areas to the east of the peak. There were lots of areas with untrampled snow and we were eager to explore and photograph. Here are some of my favourite photos from here.

After a few hours of exploring and photographing, the clouds moved in to the point where the good lighting was gone. As we descended back towards the parking lot, the cloud coverage was less and I spotted these two interesting compositions. I always like simple compositions with just two or three strong elements.

We decided to stop off at Dinky Peak, located just above the parking lot with views southward. The parking lot and ski area is visible in the lower right, Burrard Inlet and Port Moody in the middle left, the Port Mann Bridge and the Fraser River in the middle centre, and snow squalls in the mountains to the far south.

Black Mountain to Eagleridge Bluff

CK Wright Photo Trips

On Sunday I explored the western side of Cypress Provincial Park, visiting Eagle Bluff, the two peaks of Black Mountain, and Cabin Lake.

Ascending from the parking lot, the trail ascends steeply and the first views northwest across Howe Sound are visible.

Below the north peak of Black Mountain is Cabin Lake, well snow covered and with long shadows in the early morning light.

Leaving the north peak for the afternoon, we headed south to the south peak of Black Mountain, stopping along the way to photograph the snow covered trees.

The south peak offers good views of Howe Sound and northwards of The Lions.

After the south peak, the trail descends southwest and enters forest for a kilometre before emerging out onto a rocky set of benches with views over Vancouver, West Vancouver, and the Sunshine Coast.

Passage Island, Queen Charlotte Channel, and Bowen Island are visible.

Here is a closeup of Passage Island in amongst the cloud and fog.

The views of Metro Vancouver were obscured in the fog and low clouds, though at one moment, Point Grey was visible jutting out of the fog. We had lunch here and watched the fog rolling around.

Returning to the trail and retracing our path towards Black Mountain through the forest, we took time to photograph the forest.

Emerging from the forest just below the south peak, I spotted this snow well and was taken with the strong shadow bisecting it.

One feature of winter photography I really like are the shadows cast by the low angle winter sun. I thought this lone tree out in the open with those shadows combined with the swirling clouds would make a good composition.

The snags are always a welcome sight as they make interesting compositions standing against the blue sky.

Ascending onto the north summit of Black Mountain was this interesting view of Bowen Island and Howe Sound with the rising fog and snow covered forest.

Looking northeast is Mount Strachan and the ski runs with the contorted snow covered trees.

It was really nice to have the colder temperatures to hold the snow on the trees such as this composition. I though the shadow line on the lower right snow would lead the eye inwards to the lone tree.

The curved domes of snow and shadow are another aspect of winter photography I look forward to. I positioned the camera to shows those against the rugged trees.

Returning towards the parking lot, I spotted this cypress and fir trees in the undisturbed snow. The various textures and tones was what drew my eye to this composition.

So after a very productive day of photography and feeling like I had captured some good compositions, we took a side loop trail back to the parking lot that passes by a water tank. Cool, industrial photography! Now that is icing on the proverbial cake!

Pitt and Fraser Chilled

CK Wright Photo Trips

When it comes to my take on the recent cold spell in Metro Vancouver, I would say that the glass is certainly half full…and in this case, with the other half filled with ice!

Prolonged periods of cold temperatures do not happen that many times in a winter and in some years not at all here on the south coast. When it does occur, it offers unique photographic opportunities such as floating ice in the Pitt River and the Fraser River.

With the forecast on Sunday calling for snow in the afternoon, I headed out before first light to the Pitt River along the Poco Trail. While the sunrise was not overly dramatic, I soon made an interesting discovery.

I have walked this area on several occasions and have always felt that the view of the Pitt River and surrounding mountains would be better out on the sand/silt bars. I have never attempted to venture out there on those past visits as those bars are normally too mucky to attempt. Well, guess what? With the week plus of below freezing temperatures all of that muck was frozen hard. With a low tide, it was possible to venture out from the shore and to have confirmation on the amazing views up the river. I should offer a word of warning, ensure the ground is frozen hard and keep an eye on the tidal influence as it can move quickly across the bars.

Here are two table sized chunks of ice remaining when the tide went out. Notice the interesting pattern in the frozen silt.

The ice patterns were also very impressive. I really like these large splinters of ice at the various angles.

With the clouds massing to the west, we headed east to Brae Island Regional Park in Fort Langley to check out the Fraser River.

The clouds were starting to build up as we arrived at Tavistock Point, but the mountains were still visible across Russel Reach on the Fraser River.

Here is a tighter composition of those left side mountains. Right to Left, Blanshard Peak, Edge Peak, a valley, and then Golden Ears all in Golden Ears Provincial Park.

Here is Mount Robi Reid in the Garibaldi Range framed by old pilings. Seeing ice in the Fraser River is always a treat given the infrequency of it.

With the increasing clouds and the resultant subdued lighting, it was time to work on ice compositions. Here are my favourites.

After a few hours here on Brae Island it was time to head home before the snow storm arrived. We had one last stop on the southern end of the island to capture the layers of sand along the bank.

Burrard Inlet Views from Burncouver

CK Wright Photo Trips

On Saturday I walked from Confederation Park in Burnaby to New Brighton Park in Vancouver along the Trans Canada Trail. The trail offers views of the industry along this part of Burrard Inlet and the North Shore.

Here is a bulk carrier at Chemtrade Chemical’s facility with the Seymour Valley (right) and Lynn Valley (left) visible below the clouds. Lynn Peak, located between the two valleys is partly obscured in the clouds.

This was my first time along this trail and it was very interesting to see the different perspective on the two second narrows crossings; CN Rail’s Second Narrows bridge completed in 1968 and the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows bridge completed in 1960.

Continuing westward is the massive Cascadia Grain Terminal owned by Viterra.

I spotted this staircase ascending the full height of the silos and was very taken with the compositional potentials.

Further west near the end of the grain terminal I noted this dust collection system and thought the strong blue and silver would make an interesting composition.

Arriving at New Brighton Park, Lynn Peak and the Seymour and Lynn Valleys are visible across Burrard Inlet. A bulk carrier at Cascadia Terminal is preparing to load grain.

I like this close up of the ship and the various industrial elements juxtaposed against the whirling seagulls.

The new G3 Grain Terminal facility has been under construction in North Vancouver since 2017 with completion scheduled later this year. The ski runs of Grouse Mountain are visible above the terminal.

On the return walk to Confederation Park, I was taken with the lighting on Lynn Peak, the clouds, and the massing of the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge. I had in my mind that a black and white photo would show those elements well.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

CK Wright Photo Trips

I had the opportunity to take a few hours of me time and explore the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve during a business trip to San Diego.

This article will be an interesting experiment as I am using my cell phone for the images, to write the article, and to post the photos. Hopefully it works out on your various viewing devices and web browsers.

Torrey Pines reserve owes it’s existance to Ellen Brown Scripps who purchased the various lots from a developer between 1908 to 1912 to preserve the unique beauty. She gifted the area to the City of San Diego in 1932.

Heading off early in the morning to avoid the notoriously bad traffic offered ideal lighting. When I arrived, conditions were excellant with warm lighting and not much wind. I liked these rugged built lifeguard station towers.

Heading up the road that leads to the cliff top areas, I spotted a few clumps of cactus including one flowering.

Climbing further up the road, I noted these pines set against the sky.

The sandstone cliffs are constantly erroding, making for interesting compositions.

Arriving at the top, I was impressed with the westward views in the early morning light.

I spent some time looking around and enjoying the views, though the cliff trails were closed due to the heavy overnight rain. It appears that they remain closed for 24 hours after the rain ends to allow the sandy errosive trails to dry out.

Returning to the beach, I photographed a few closeups before it was time to head to the airport. There were so many intersting compostions on the sand and cobble beach.


Maple Ridge, Beyond Suburbia

CK Wright Photo Trips

Encompassing the northeast corner of Metro Vancouver is the City of Maple Ridge. Beyond the suburbs that are in slow transition to increased densification, are two large scenic areas; Golden Ears Provincial Park and UBC’s Malcolm Knapp Research Forest.

The first stop this morning was the Mike Lake area in Golden Ears Provincial Park. With overcast skies and cool temperatures, we started off at the dock at Mike Lake.

The surface was very reflective with no wind to stir the water. This curving shoreline with the warm toned grass contrasts well with the green forest.

The lake loop trail heads off to the south east though with minimal access to the actual shoreline. At this location, I spotted a few logs and one larger one that offered a somewhat precarious perch. The sun emerged from the clouds in almost perfect timing and illuminated the shoreline in warm morning lighting.

Further along the trail, I spotted the burnt remains of a western red cedar tree. I thought the leaning bulk contrasted to the slender vertical trees would make an interesting composition.

Some areas of the trail are in fairly wet soils and this long stretch of boardwalk keeps the trail from turning into a mud pit.

Speaking of precarious perches, I followed a side trail leading out towards the lake that led into wetter and wetter conditions. The “price” for capturing this next composition was a wet foot as I punched through the waterlogged soil! For myself and my adventures, this is par for the course.

The next stop of the day was the North Alouette River in the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest. This 5,157 hectare working forest is used as a teaching and research area for UBC. The overcast conditions continued so we elected to explore the nearby North Alouette River. I’m sure most of you know how much I love to photograph rivers and rocky canyons! Here are some of my favorite compositions from there.

From the A Road bridge, we had our first view of the river. I was certainly stoked and eager to explore and photograph!

The Forest and The Flowing Still Water

CK Wright Photo Trips

An interesting outing this past Sunday was along the flowing Lynn Creek, the still waters of Rice Lake, and the surrounding forests.

The morning was overcast making for perfect lighting conditions for photographing Lynn Creek and capturing the vibrant green in the water.

The surrounding forest beside the 30 Foot Pool section of Lynn Creek is impressive with the amount of moss and ferns. The overcast conditions with thin cloud coverage allows those deep green colours to not be washed out.

After a few hours of photographing and exploring along Lynn Creek, the sun broke through the clouds and the lighting became challenging with all of the reflective surfaces in the creek and the moisture laden trees. We decided to head over to the nearby Rice Lake.

Rice Lake in the correct lighting can be pure magic. That can either be low angle sun as seen at this time of year or storm clouds on the north side. By the time we had walked the kilometer or so to the lake, the sun was out with a few wispy clouds and the lighting magical.

In this first photograph looking over Rice Lake towards one of the three Mount Seymour peaks. Notice how mirror flat the lake is. Unless there is heavy wind, Rice Lake has areas such as this bay that are sheltered.

In this next composition, I liked the X shape the bare alder trunk and branches form on the shoreline. I am not sure how successful it is conveying that, maybe let me know in the comments your thoughts?

Lynn Peak is seen to the north west across the lake. I really like these types of compositions where the reflection is very crisp and there are two sets of overlaying shapes from the near and far hills.

Alder branches, bare in the winter time, always make an interesting composition with their sinuous, white toned shape contrasting to the dark green forest and water. I spotted this as I walked onto the dock and was immediately taken by the possibilities it presented.

Reflections in the North Arm

CK Wright Photo Trips

On a recent Sunday morning I walked along the North Arm of the Fraser River in the Burnaby Foreshore Park looking for interesting compositions. The river was surprisingly smooth and the reflections with the morning winter light were very pleasing.

This row of cottonwood trees has always looked impressive on previous visits. I decided to capture them again given how still the water was and the presence of the wispy clouds.

It is not often that one sees boats moored in the section of the Fraser, so I was a bit surprised to see a few boats tied up here. Makes you wonder if this is another indication of the housing affordability in Metro Vancouver.

The CN Rail swing bridge was reflecting almost perfectly in the Fraser River. I thought that a balanced centering composition would be an interesting study in shape and form.

There is an interesting sense of mass in this photo showing the upriver section. The heavy and close spaced trestle work juxtaposed with the lighter form of the truss swing section. The early morning sunlight is evident on this south-east facing side.

I have always been drawn to nature reflected in water and there was no shortage of opportunities.

The Vedder and the ‘Wack

CK Wright Photo Trips

Over the many years of driving through the Fraser Valley on my way to the interior, I have always considered the valley a bit of a bore. Flat and uninspiring was my thought. On Saturday with little snow in the mountains and looking for something different, a friend and I headed out to explore. After spending a day exploring a few sights in Chilliwack and along the Vedder River I now have an appreciation of the valley!

I must say how impressed I was with the valley after seeing it from the vantage point of Mount Thom rising 484m above the Fraser Valley and with westward views.

I liked how the flat landscape meets the rising hills and mountains. In the second photo, Chilliwack Mountain is visible on the left. That was our third destination of the day.

After enjoying the early morning lighting on Mt Thom, we drove over to the Vedder River adjacent the Great Blue Heron Reserve. The reserve contains a large lagoon which was reflecting the bare trees in the water.

Continuing through the reserve, we arrived at the Vedder River with swiftly running water and beautiful reflections in the surface.

The Southern Railway crosses the Vedder River and the low winter sun illuminated the bridge and the shoreline.

I was really impressed with the straight section of track and the tall electrical poles. I selected a low angle shot with a shallow depth of field to purposely blur the foreground.

Catching up to Terry, I noticed he was photographing these rocks in the foreground along the river. It is interesting to note the three themes in this photo, the lower section with the rocks and swirling water, the middle section with the smooth running river and reflection, and the upper section with the vertical cottonwood trees reaching for the blue sky.

I spotted this cottonwood tree illuminated with the low angle sun and the branches “interacting” with the wispy clouds. There is almost a sense of movement in the tree.

Our final stop was Chilliwack Mountain in the Hillkeep Regional Park looking southeast towards the southern mountains. Those are, left to right, Cheam, Lady, Knight, Archibald, Welch, then centre left to right McFarlane, Crossover, and Slesse.

Here is a view of Elk and Thurston (to the left of the tree) and then the snow capped mountains of McFarlane, Crossover, and Slesse. Mount Slesse is the tallest, fang shaped peak.

I would encourage anyone to take a day trip out to the valley and discover all of the interesting attractions. Mt Thom and Chilliwack Mountain are easy to access as roads ascend to virtually the summit.