On and Adjacent to Westham Island

CK Wright Photo Trips

An area I haven’t explored before is the south Delta area along the Fraser River, including Westham Island. This time of year is perfect for exploring local sights given the shorter daylight and fickle weather.

As you drive further west out of the community of Ladner, the more back in time the whole area feels. Here is one such sight, the 1912 wood truss single lane Westham Island Bridge spanning Canoe Pass on the Fraser River.

One of the attractions of Westham Island is the annual migration of the Lesser Snow Geese. We briefly joined the crowds and chaos on the side of the road and captured a few photos of the geese. They make a remarkable journey from Russia.

Further along the rural road on the island, is this barn with multiple sections.

Beside the barn was this bare leaved tree with a small pond. I was very taken with the sinuous form, the green grass and the big sky behind.

On a side road was another barn and in front was the most vivid fall colour yellow I have seen.

Across Canoe Passage on the mainland, is a trail along the dyke leading to Brunswick Point. Views of Westham Island, the Fraser River, and the other sights are plentiful.

I liked the impressionistic view of this birch tree in a heavy gust of wind.

These small warehouse buildings used for the fishing industry were another example of the time standing still in this area.

Further along were the remains of piers, presumably from a cannery or fishing buildings.

I waited several minutes waiting for the sun to re-emerge and illuminate this cottonwood tree.

I liked the sinuous branch form and the blue sky behind of this cottonwood tree

Looking north with the dyke and the Strait of Georgia.

Ramble from the Seymour River to the Lynn Creek

CK Wright Photo Trips

On Saturday I photographed various areas from the Seymour River to Lynn Creek, accessing them from the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. With the overcast conditions, I was primarily interested in capturing the beautiful coastal forest.

This hemlock tree with the distinct branch form resulting from mistletoe infection made an interesting composition.

I spotted this large boulder erratic sitting in amongst the coastal forest and thought the study in vertical versus round and rough versus smooth would make an interesting composition.

Along the Fisherman’s Trail, is this side trail leading to the Seymour River. The early morning light is streaming through the moss covered forest.

A little further along the trail the vine maple leaves were yellow. 

In the soft diffused lighting and with no wind, Rice Lake afforded some beautiful mirror style photos.

Descending down to Lynn Creek, I noticed how the western hemlock understory aligned vertically with the mature Douglas-fir and western hemlock forest behind.

In the Lynn Creek canyon, a small waterfall descends into Lynn Creek framed by the vertical forest.

Here are two views of Lynn Creek and the softly illuminated coastal forest.

Moss covered trees rising from the canyon walls.

Along the trail above the Lynn Creek canyon, I spotted this triangle shaped composition with the fern anchoring the bottom and the sinuous vine maple trunks forming the side.

Morning and Evening at Stanley Park

CK Wright Photo Trips

Recently I had the opportunity to photograph Stanley Park at sunrise and in the evening. For the morning shoot, Terry suggested that we photograph around the Brockton Point lighthouse to catch the sunrise prior to a club hike in West Vancouver. After that hike, my friend Jim suggested Stanley Park as the night location. It was interesting to work an area twice in the same day and find new compositions.

Stanley Park is without a doubt a real jewel for Vancouver and we are very fortunate that it was persevered. From a photography standpoint, there are lots of interesting subject matter, from the sunrise and sunset, city lights, Lions Gate Bridge, and the North Shore Mountains.

Arriving early, we photographed the sun rising over the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge and Burnaby Mountain.

Canada Place and the seawall with morning light.

Harry Jerome, a Canadian Olympic track and field athlete, is immortalized in this Jack Harman sculpture.

Vancouver Wharves Terminal in North Vancouver with the distinctive sulfur pile and the north shore mountains.

Brockton Point Lightstation and the Lions Gate Bridge.

Lions Gate Bridge and the impressive stone work on the seawall.

Returning back to Stanley Park around 7pm we started at the Stanley Park Drive overpass to photograph the Lions Gate Bridge and the Stanley Park Causeway.

Two compositions of the buildings in Coal Harbour and downtown reflected in the still waters of Burrard Inlet.

Another composition of Harry Jerome, Canada Place, and the downtown towers. We used a flashlight to light paint on the sculpture to provide some details in the face and upper torso.

I was photographing the Lions Gate Bridge, seen in this next photo, and took a few different exposures.

Each of those were multiple seconds long and during one of them, I moved the camera forgetting that it was still exposing. The result of that moved exposure photo was a very intriguing abstract photo. I spent the next 15 minutes perfecting the movement that would provide a more refined abstract photo. I rotated the camera back and forth a few degrees along the horizontal axis while moving the camera horizontally left to right.


CK Wright Photo Trips

PIMBY, Photography In My Back Yard. One might consider so called backyard areas as either not having photographic potential or been over photographed. The reality is that having good knowledge of local areas through frequent visits allows a photographer to understand the various seasonal and lighting conditions. Being close by allows quick access when those conditions are just right. All of that allows you to make unique and interesting compositions. 

Here are some photographs I recently took in the Byrne Creek Ravine Park. Close proximity allowed me to start photographing just as the rain stopped but before the clouds lifted and the wonderful details were overpowered with bright lighting.

I have photographed this tree before from a different position and while pleased with the result, always thought there was something lacking. It turns out that I have always approached the tree from either side along the same trail. On this outing, I used a different trail and as I approached the tree, I realized this was the better angle. It appears to show off the sinuous form of the branches better.

The park is full of vine maple and while it might not be red, the yellow to orange colour is beautiful. The dark sinuous branches contrasts very well with those vibrant colours.

Byrne Creek was surrounded by vibrant yellow, green, and orange vine maple.

Dark to Dark, Mountain to Sea

CK Wright Photo Trips

It was a full day on Saturday, starting with photographing the sunrise from the High View lookout on Cypress Mountain and ending with night photography at The Shipyards in lower Lonsdale.

The views from the High View lookout offers an impressive view of the city south and eastwards. I started in the dark capturing the first hint of the sunrise with the city lights, Lions Gate bridge, and Mt Baker. The second photo is of the Lions Gate bridge and a ship entering Burrard Inlet with the sunrise along the eastern sky.

After the sunrise, I headed for the downhill ski parking lot and then hiked up to the south and north peaks of Mount Strachan in Cypress Provincial Park. The fall colours were strong with the blueberry bushes coloured deep red and the mountain ash in a yellow to orange range.

The views looking southwest over Howe Sound were very nice with deep shadows from the early morning sun.

The Lions are always an interesting subject matter and in this composition I used the twin alpine firs to mimic and frame the mountain peaks. You’ll notice in the lower right traces of snow from the late week precipitation.

I particularly like this composition with the soft focus on the red blueberry bushes. This is looking east across the Capilano River valley at the mountains.

I should mention that Terry was on the sunrise and Mount Strachan portion of the day’s outing. He told me that when he was skiing the Slash run a few winters back, he thought the snags along the run would make a good photo. So on the way back from Mount Strachan we bushwhacked down the run to find those snags. As it turns out, the view would be better later in the day but we did find a few compositions with the right vantage point.

The magenta tone in these leaves contrasted with the green and tan grass.

Mid-afternoon and we arrived back at the parking lot. I had a very enjoyable hike and photography outing in Cypress Park. I always seem to come away with good compositions here.

Next up was Caulfield Park, a small postage size park in West Vancouver overlooking Pilot Cove and Burrard Inlet. It has clear views of the downtown and Mount Baker. The lighting was a touch hazy at this hour but I wanted to include the photo for reference.

The highlight in this park on this trip was the rock and the various plants and flowers. First off, are a couple of rock photos with interesting cracks and texture.

I was surprised to see these daisy flowers still in bloom for early October.

With the soft lighting from the increased cloud cover, those flowers and the salal were perfectly lit.

Nearing dinner time, I headed over to the lower Lonsdale area for a quick meal before concluding the day’s photography at The Shipyards.

The Shipyards, adjacent Lonsdale Quay, is the City of North Vancouver’s multi year redevelopment of the waterfront. This area was used for nearly ninety years by the Wallace Shipyards and is now a mixed public space. There are piers and walkways with impressive views of the city, art installations, and historical remnants from the shipbuilding days.

The latest addition is this plate steel wall enclosing the Seaspan marine operation centre, mimicking shipbuilding. I liked the door and the way the address is cutout and shows the steel siding behind. I do like doors as you can see in these next two photos! The second photo of the new Polygon Gallery and is an interesting study in lines and texture. 

The daisy flowers were also in bloom here and I liked how the flowers were nestled in the grass and with the orange plate steel wall behind.

One of the remnants from the Wallace Shipyards is this crane. I used the wood sculpture to lead the eye inwards.

The siding on the Polygon Gallery offers endless compositions. I elected to convert to a black and white for this dusk shot of the sign.

The Lonsdale Quay sign and market made for a nice composition with the oncoming darkness.

The Burrard Dry Dock pier juts out into Burrard Inlet and offers impressive and uninterrupted views of the city and the adjacent docks. Harbour Centre and Canada place are prominent in this composition.

In front of the Polygon Gallery is a water feature with a thin layer of water moving away from the building. As it is thin, you can walk on the surface. I was certainly taken with the photographic possibilities all of that reflective and moving surface presents.

It was a full day outing lasting nearly 14 hours and I must say how pleased I was with the results of each of the four photography locations.

The Power of Overcast for Water and Fall Colours

CK Wright Photo Trips

While this might be the fourth weekend in a row with unsettled weather in metro Vancouver, from a photography standpoint there are benefits to overcast conditions. Highly reflective surfaces such as water and fall colours in bright light will often wash out, so overcast offers ideal conditions.

With fall colours underway here on the west coast and overcast conditions, I was excited to explore the Kanaka Creek and photograph the colours there.

I started off the walk along the Kanaka Creek at the Bell-Irving Fish Hatchery. The Canyon trail leads westward through coastal forest intermixed with vine maple, big leaf maple, and red alder. The vine maple has turned a gold colour in this image.

I crossed the creek on the Pine Ridge trail and spotted these scaly cap (Pholiota squarrosa) mushrooms growing on an alder snag.

Down at the creek again, I liked how these dry brown big leaf maple leaves were laid out on the sandstone with the nearly round moss covered boulder in the middle.

The interesting feature of the Kanaka Creek is the sandstone substrate which has been carved into shutes, bowls, and potholes.

Just downstream from where those photographs were captured, Kanaka Creek drops down several cascades and a waterfall. Here is the start of those.

At that point that Kanaka Creek descends, it is joined by the North Fork Kanaka Creek which drops cleanly in one large waterfall. Kanaka Creek is on the left and on the right is the north fork.

The North Fork also has sandstone and more of those wonderful shutes, bowls, and potholes.

Just above the waterfall on the North Fork is this fan shaped cascade…and in case you’re wondering, yes I stood in the middle of the creek to capture this.

The other material in and alongside the creek is shale and it makes for interesting compositions.

On the walk back to the vehicle and with rain starting, I had time to capture a few more images of the fall colours along the trail.

Here and There in South Burnaby and Port Royal

CK Wright Photo Trips

Here and there indeed as I rambled through various sites in south Burnaby and Port Royal last weekend.

In search of fall colours, I took a walk through Burnaby’s Central Park on Saturday. While the vine maple there was mostly green, there were several patches that had turned orange to red.

On Sunday, I walked through Byrne Creek Ravine Park in south Burnaby. Between the creek and the City in the Park residential towers is the site of an old farm, with this massive retaining wall and non-native tree remaining. I liked the sense of form with the strong vertical coniferous trees, strong horizontal wall, and the sinuous deciduous tree branches.

Walking further into the park, the trail descends down to Byrne Creek. It was then that I noticed this curved tree arcing through the backlit vine maples beside Byrne Creek.

Some fall colours were visible along the lower trail beside the creek.

Here is another composition with an interesting study of form, the curved vine maple branches arcing through the fall colours and the strong vertical cedar tree.

A short drive away in New Westminster is the community of Port Royal located on the eastern end of Lulu Island with the Fraser River splitting around the island. The stormy weather is clearly visible in this northeastern view of the New Westminster Quay and the Skybridge.

Walking along the river trail, I spotted this interesting composition of grass where the heads are interweaved with the lower stalks.

With the storm clouds lifting and the lighting increasing, I noticed the subtle reflection of the coloured condo building in the Fraser River. I find there is a sense of motion in the photo.

The last photo shoot on Sunday was at the City in the Park in south Burnaby near sunset.

Road to the Big Bars

CK Wright Photo Trips

Clinton is a great jumping off point to see the unique landscape and forested regions west towards the Fraser River. On this day outing I visited the three Big Bars, the Big Bar Reaction Ferry at the Fraser River, Little Big Bar Lake, and Big Bar Lake.

Driving southwest from Clinton along the paved Clinton-Pavilion Road leads through ranch land before arriving at Kelly Lake in Downing Provincial Park. The early morning light combined with the calm water was just pure magic.

The gravel Jesmond Road heads north from Kelly Lake and climbs upwards through a narrow valley alongside the Edge Hills Provincial Park. Some areas along here were burned in the 2009 Kelly Creek Wildfire and I thought the regeneration and wildflowers would make an interesting composition.

Near the northern end of the park, the Big Bar Ferry road heads southwest through the park to the Fraser River. As you near the river, the landscape opens up showing the dry interior scrubland and exposed rock.

The final descent to the Fraser River offers impressive views of the river and the landscape.

The ferry itself is a reaction type that uses the river flow to pull the vessel across the river.

Looking down the loading ramp and seeing those boards makes you wonder how slippery it is on a wet day…sure hope the ferry is still there when you get to the bottom!

I decided to retrace my drive back to the Jesmond Road and save the crossing and further exploring for another day. Just above the river is this well irrigated ranch with the bright grass contrasting with the barren hills.

Back at the junction with the Jesmond Road, I headed northwards towards the Little Big Bar Lake and Big Bar Lake, passing this abandoned homestead.

Turning eastward onto the Big Bar Road, the road passes Beaverdam Lake offering nice views of the Marble Range and Jesmond lookout.

I stopped in at Little Big Bar Lake and though it wasn’t particularly photogenic, for the sake of completeness I’ll include the photo here.

My last stop on this outing was at Big Bar Lake, a really impressive Provincial Park with lots of trails to explore the eskers, marshes, and interior Douglas-fir forest.

ON to MB Road Trip – Inland Section

CK Wright Photo Trips

In this second article on the road trip I recently took from Thunder Bay Ontario to Winnipeg Manitoba, I wanted to share the photos from the last section inland and west of Lake Superior (first article is here).

Near Thunder Bay is Trowbridge Falls, an interesting series of short cascades down layers of sedimentary rock. At first light I walked the short distance from the campsite to the falls to capture the rising sun.

The region northwest of Thunder Bay is full of lakes from small pond size to massive lakes containing hundreds of bays. One of the first large lakes we saw is Rainy Lake near Fort Francis, covering 930 km2. On a blustery afternoon we captured these trees clinging to a small rocky island.

With all of those lakes and having limited access, float plane charter businesses are plentiful. These offer fly in services to remote lodges for fishing and hunting. At Nester Falls, we visited two companies located on Kakabikitchiwan Lake.

Lake of the Woods is another massive lake covering some 4,300 km2. While most of the lake is accessible only by boat, Sioux Narrows offers vehicle access on the east central portion of the lake. We spent a day camping and exploring at Sioux Narrows Provincial Park, arriving first in a thunder and lighting storm and then with clearing conditions. I was very pleased with the photographic compositions at this park.

Storm clouds over the lake.

With the overcast conditions at the start of the visit here, I captured these interesting rocks.

The fall colours were just starting and with the overcast conditions and recent rain, the colours were vibrant.

Starting just before sunset, we spent time walking the shoreline and photographing the evening light changing to sunset, reflecting on the lake.

The sun has just slid below the distant low hills.

We visited Kenora, one of the larger towns in this southwestern section of Ontario. Kenora, population 15,ooo, was created in 1905 with the merging of three towns; Rat Portage, Keewatin and Norman. The name is taken from those three town names. I definitely think that Kenora is a much better and more attractive sounding name than Rat Portage!

The CP Rail station that is still used by CP Rail, though now an operations centre.

A view of the older buildings in the downtown.

The harbour area along the shore of Lake of the Woods.

Departing Kenora, it was a short drive to the Manitoba border along the Trans Canada highway. Just after entering Manitoba, we left Highway 1 and headed north along a rural highway (44 and 307). This area has numerous small lakes set in rolling terrain, one of which is Jessica Lake. I really liked the big sky view with the clouds rolling across the landscape.

Another lake along this route was Nutimik Lake, which on the labour day weekend was very busy! I managed to compose an interesting shot of the lake, rocky island, and clouds between the swimmers, jet boaters, and power boats!

Soon after we headed west towards Winnipeg and entered the prairie landscape.

Nearing our campsite at Birds Hill Provincial Park I spotted this grain elevator in Tyndall and we stopped for some photographs.

The final morning of the trip was spent photographing the forests and lakes around the Birds Hill Provincial Park, located a short distance eastward of Winnipeg.

ON to MB Road Trip – Lake Superior Section

CK Wright Photo Trips

This is a two part article on the road trip I recently took from Thunder Bay Ontario to Winnipeg Manitoba. I have never visited Ontario so it was a good opportunity to explore the southwest section as I joined a friend for 10 days as he traveled back to BC in his RV. In this first article I wanted to share the photos from the first section along Lake Superior.

The first area we visited was the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site, which preserves one of the many canals used to navigate from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. This lock allows navigation from Lake Superior to Lake Huron as this tourist boat is doing. It was built in 1895 and then re-constructed for recreational vessels in 1998.

The Administration building, completed in 1896, sits along the lock on the northern side.

After leaving Sault Ste.Marie, we had our first stop at the shores of Lake Superior in Batchawana Bay. I was eager to capture some of the shoreline and the red pine trees that in my mind are the classic elements of the great lakes.

The weather at this early stage of the trip was a mixture of cloud, sun, and even some rain. These storm clouds over Lake Superior are a reminder of the power of the great lake.

Another classic element are the rocks as part of the Canadian shield, and in Alona Bay I had a good opportunity to capture this impressive rock.

There were additional opportunities at Agawa Bay to capture the distinct rock and with overcast conditions, the lighting was perfect.

At Pukaskwa National Park in the early morning light I was pleased to capture a view of Lake Superior with the classic lake elements; rock, water, and wind swept trees in these next two photos.

Horseshoe Bay.

Nearing Thunder Bay, we spent a full day at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and walked along the Lake Superior shoreline to Middlebrun Bay and Finlay Bay.

Middlebrun Bay with the fine sand beach.

I was pleased to see this composition of red bedrock and pebbles at Finlay Bay.

The trail offered several opportunities to capture the mushrooms and vibrant green vegetation.

On the morning we left Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, we stopped off at several locations in the park, first off at Perry Bay, then Sibley Bay and the community of Silver Islet, and then the Thunder Bay lookout.

Perry Bay in the early morning light.

The Sea Lion, which is a diabase dyke where molten rock was pushed up through the sedimentary rock. Over time, the softer sedimentary rock eroded away leaving the igneous rock.

Boats in Sibley Bay at Silver Islet.

Thunder Bay lookout, looking westward towards Thunder Bay.

View looking northward from the viewing platform.

View looking westward from the viewing platform.

At Thunder Bay, the last stop along the Lake Superior section of this trip, we spent an afternoon exploring the waterfront. This 1905 CP rail station pays tribute to the importance of Thunder Bay as a shipping centre for wheat (detail in the second photo showing wheat sheaves).

After dinner, we took a drive through the industrial area and I captured this massive concrete grain elevator building.

I’ll post the next article showing the inland sections of southwest Ontario soon.