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.

Seymour River on Dec 24

CK Wright Photo Trips

The dawn arrived on Monday, Christmas eve day, cool but dry after a weekend of rain. It was time to head out for some photography before family events in the later afternoon. The Seymour River and the surrounding forest was my first thought, an area that holds a special place given that it’s the area I spent considerable time exploring and learning photography in.

Descending to the river along the Homestead Trail in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, I spotted this leafless vine maple reaching towards the rising coastal forest. The various angles and the size difference between the branches and the tree trunks made for an interesting composition.

The just opened suspension bridge crossing the Seymour River was busy with walkers, runners, bikers, and even a couple of horses. This bridge replaces the crossing that was removed four years ago due to the flooding from the rock slide just down river.

Down at the river level, I captured the water monitoring site and the downriver foundation of one of the so called Twin Bridges. This bridge has been gone for many decades, with the flooded bridge just upstream. As an interesting note, the flood levels reached to above this foundation.

I walked through a section of forest that was impacted by the flooding. The water for a long period covered this area to at least 6 feet deep, including the waterfall. I didn’t spend much time here given the unstable conditions of the ground and the dead forest.

The river had a good flow in it with all of the recent rain and wet snow at higher elevations. I like the bare leaved alders lining the river edge.

The coastal forest is spectacular in this area with moss covered vine maples and coniferous trees. The overcast conditions and abundant moisture certainly made conditions perfect for capturing.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and best wishes in 2019. Thank you for following along on my various photographic adventures in 2018 and providing feedback, it is much appreciated!

Friday Night at New Westminster

CK Wright Photo Trips

With rain on the way for the later evening and weekend, I wanted to get out for some photos. Being close by and an area I have not explored much, New Westminster seemed a good choice. There is an interesting vibe in New West, with it’s mixture of old and new and upscale and downtrodden.

As I headed towards the Quay along the Fraser River, I noticed the Wait for me, Daddy sculpture illuminated. This sculpture honours the Claude P. Dettloff photo that captured the second world war bound troops leaving New Westminster in October 1940 and a young boy running to catch up with his father. Have a read on the story included in the links, it is an interesting story.

Climbing the stairs over the train tracks, I noticed the various strong linear elements from the vertical and horizontal straight lines, the zig-zag staircase handle, and the curved meshed covering. Converting the photo to black and white emphasizes those elements and removes the distracting colour from the lights and other items.

At the Fraser River, I captured these tug boats and the river bathed in filtered moonlight.

Speaking of the moon, I thought this composition of the moon, clouds and angular roof would make an interesting photo.

Back on the other side of the train tracks, I headed over to Front Street and the $200,000 staircase. In case you missed it, here is the article on the so called staircase to nowhere. Since then, the staircase has been connected to the adjoining building and been decorated with vine like lights.

The other advantage of that staircase is the view and the photographic possibilities from it. So thanks to the city and the tax payers for this staircase!

Here are some of the interesting and diverse stores located in lower New Westminster.

Witty’s Sooke Lighthouse Fort

CK Wright Photo Trips

It may be a mouthful, but that title accurately describes the four locations on southern Vancouver Island I visited last weekend. Those locations are Witty’s Lagoon, Fisgard Lighthouse and Fort Rodd National Historic Site, and East Sooke Regional Park. I was over on the island visiting a high school friend (Colwyn) and we had a fun weekend exploring those areas and capturing some good compositions. An interesting side story is that my first photographic outing was with Colwyn and a few other friends in North Vancouver.

On Saturday morning we walked around Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park in Metchosin, just south-west of Victoria. This 58 hectare park has a beautiful coastal forest surrounding the lagoon along with coastal beach sections.

Bilston Creek and the Sitting Lady Falls had a fair amount of water flowing through and over it.

I like the twisted shape of this arbutus tree with the calm waters of the lagoon behind.

Speaking of the lagoon, the water was calm and the surrounding forest was mirrored in it. Here are two of my favourite compositions.

I was a bit surprised to see fall colours still present at this time of year. In this next composition, I selected a tight framing to illustrate the grey sinuous branches with the yellow leaves interspersed.

The next stop was the Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites with the impressive fortification and lighthouse overlooking Esquimalt Harbour and Juan de Fuca Strait.

The lighthouse was built in 1860 and is one of the oldest on the west coast.

Inside the light keepers house was this wrought iron staircase leading to the second floor and I thought it would make an interesting composition.

Just up the hill from the lighthouse is Fort Rodd Hill, a coastal artillery fort built in the late 1890’s. It was used from then and through the second world war to defend Victoria and Esquimalt Harbour.

Here is the gun placement in the lower battery section. I liked the layers of different colour and texture. The rings on the wall were used to secure the gun during firing.

I spotted this wrought iron gate latch and the years of wear on the brick wall.

During the day there was a mixture of cloud and a bit of sun. I captured this interesting composition with the multi-layer clouds and the textured ocean. Removing the colour emphasis the tone and texture without the distraction of colour.

On Sunday, we visited East Sooke Regional Park and walked from the Aylard Farm to Creyke Point and then along the coast to Alldridge Point.

Here is the view southwest from Creyke Point towards Alldridge Point.

The arbutus were plentiful and very photogenic. I liked this radial looking composition of the bark centred around the broken branch.

Looking across Beecher Bay at South Hill Rise and Middle Peak.

At Alldridge Point is this petroglyph of a sea lion, pounded into the sandstone using a harder rock hammer.

Nearing lunch time the sun made a welcome appearance and I captured this north-east view along the coast to Alldridge Point.

As I mentioned previously, the arbutus was not only plentiful, but contorted and even growing along the rocky headlands.

There was also shore pine growing in contorted and near shrub-like form.