Two Waterfalls and a Lake

CK Wright Photo Trips

With overcast conditions Saturday morning, a friend and I set off to explore some waterfalls and lakes in the Stave Falls area, along the Dewdney Trunk Road.

The first stop was Steelhead Falls, located on the east side of Howard Lake. This impressive waterfall cascades down numerous sections, surrounded by ferns and tall coniferous trees.

As we were hiking back to the car, the clouds lifted partially so it was good timing to capture those falls before the sun appeared. The water is very reflective and thus direct or even partial sun can easily overexpose the water.

We decided to explore the adjacent Hayward Lake and the trestles from the old railway line that connected the Stave Lake Reservoir to Mission.

There was just the right combination of sun and cloud to softly illuminate the water to produce the vibrant green colour in the lake.

It is interesting to note the high water mark on the trestles and the colour difference between the sections.

After exploring the lake and walking the west shoreline, we headed over to Rolley Falls, accessed from the Rolley Lake Provincial Park. Rolley Creek drops rapidly from Rolley Lake down to Stave Lake.

Farwell Canyon

CK Wright Photo Trips

While it’s hard to believe, this article marks my one hundredth since re-starting the blog in August of 2015! I have enjoyed sharing the photos and stories from my photographic outings and reading your comments. Thanks for your interest and providing the comments!

Farwell Canyon is a spectacular limestone and sandstone canyon along the Chilcotin River, southwest of Williams Lake.

The photo above was taken from the single lane bridge that spans a narrow section of the canyon.

From a vantage point overlooking the river, the hoodoos rise above the eroded terrain.

Descending into the canyon itself, an interesting stop is the Pothole Ranch, established by the canyon namesake, Gordon “Mike” Farwell. There are several buildings here including this well crafted log home.

Besides the hoodoos and the ranch buildings, the other noteworthy feature here is the sand dune located at the top of the canyon on the opposite side. It is something else to see a large sand dune located over 100 metres above the river.

The vantage point from the sand dune offers great views of the curving road leading from the plateau down into the canyon.

Walking along the sand dune, it is interesting to see how the sand shifts in and around the trees and plants.

Looking towards the adjacent hillside, I spotted this interesting composition with each draw repeating the rough and smooth pattern across the hillside.

On top of the plateau, was an extensive patch of arrowleaf balsamroot flowers.

Fidalgo Island

CK Wright Photo Trips

I tagged along with a friend and his family on Saturday as they visited Fidalgo Island in the Skagit County, Washington State. This rugged island, linked by bridges, has numerous beaches, headlands, and a few peaks offering spectacular views towards the San Juan Islands. This was my first visit to the area so I was looking forward to seeing the area and the opportunities.

Our first destination was the highest point on the island, Mount Erie at 1273 ft / 388 m, and is accessible by a narrow paved road. The lookout offers spectacular views southeastwards over Lake Erie, though the further reaches of the view were obscured by marine haze.

Our next stop was nearby Sugarloaf (1027 ft / 313 m), located a kilometre north, with westward views of the San Juan Islands. In this photo, Allan Island (left) and Burrows Island (right) are visible in Burrows Bay, with Decatur and Lopez Islands in the hazy background.

There were some wildflowers growing on the rocky top, taking full advantage of the sun.

We had lunch at Rosario Beach and then spent several hours exploring the beach, rocky headland, and the adjacent Sharpe Cove.

Urchin Rocks lying adjacent to the beach, with Lopez Island in the background.

Wind shaped coastal forest overlooking Rosario Head.

Sharpe Cove is on the southeast side of a thin spit of land that connects to Rosario Head.

This public dock in Sharpe Cove made an interesting composition with Reservation Head located across the cove.

Our last stop of the day was on the adjacent Whidbey Island so that we could view the impressive Deception Pass Bridge. The bridge is actually two bridges, one over Canoe Pass connecting Fidalgo Island to Pass Island and then another span over Deception Pass connecting Pass Island to Whidbey Island. The bridges were built in 1934-1935. Little Beach in Deception Pass State Park offers clear views of the bridges. Canoe Pass is the left span and Deception Pass is the right span with Pass Island in the middle.

This close-up view of the north arch on the Deception Pass bridge shows the intricate construction and the strong currents in the pass.

Century Gardens Burnaby

CK Wright Photo Trips

At this time of the year, the colours are plentiful at the Century Gardens located in Deer Lake Park. This small garden is set between the Shadebolt Centre and the Burnaby Art Gallery and has an extensive set of Rhododendron shrubs and other flowering shrubs.

The Ceperley House, home of the Burnaby Art Gallery is a beautiful craftsmen home surrounded by the gardens.

Pacific Marine Circle Route – VI April 2018

CK Wright Photo Trips

Continuing on from my last post on the extended weekend trip to Vancouver Island, on Saturday a friend and I drove the Pacific Marine Circle Route. This all weather paved route heads north from Victoria, through the Cowichan Valley, and then southwest to Port Renfrew and finally south and east back to Victoria along the rugged Juan de Fuca Provincial Park.

We made a few detours from the route, in particular the eastern leg as we wanted to see more of the Cowichan Valley and to stop at the Kinsol Trestle. This massive trestle completed in 1920 spans the Koksilah River at a height of 44 metres / 145 feet. The trestle was rebuilt in 2011-2012 as part of the Cowichan Valley Trail route.

I should mention that the weather was variable with periods of sun, overcast, and even a few brief showers. During one of the dry spells, we stopped at Harris Creek and photographed this side creek with the leaning alders.

Just after this capturing this photo, the clouds moved away and with near full sunlight, the deep vibrant green waters of Harris Creek were revealed.

A few other stops along the way were at Lens Creek and Fairy Lake.

Once we arrived at Port Renfrew and with the weather stabilizing, we decided to visit Botanical Beach located in the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. It was a short kilometer and half hike out to the beach and we were pleased to see some sun and minimal wind.

We started off at the southeast end of Botany Bay before rounding the headland southeast to Botanical Beach. Here is Botany Bay, looking northwest.

Looking southeast at the headland between Botany Bay and Botanical Beach. With the low tide we elected to walk the beach versus the upland trail to Botanical Beach.

As you can see, there is lots of exposed rock making for some interesting compositions.

Just after rounding the headland, Botanical Beach with the boulders, exposed bedrock, and gravel is in full view.

In one of the pools, were some sea anemones.

At the southeast end of Botanical Beach is another rocky headland with pools of water and waves crashing into shore.

With the afternoon wearing on, it was time to continue homewards, though we had time for another Juan de Fuca Park visit; China Beach.

The weathered and bleached logs along the shoreline contrasted well with the green grass.

One of the classic sight along this exposed and rugged coastline is salal and sitka spruce trees.


Goldstream Park – VI April 2018

CK Wright Photo Trips

Last weekend I took an extended weekend trip to southern Vancouver Island. I was really looking forward to visiting this beautiful area of Vancouver Island. There is such a diverse set of photographic opportunities there from rainforests, rocky coasts, and majestic rivers.

I’ll post another article on the Juan de Fuca marine area, but for this article I wanted to write on the beautiful Goldstream Park, located a short drive north of Victoria. I made two visits to this park taking advantage of overcast conditions to capture the rivers, waterfalls, and moss covered rainforests.

When I arrived mid-afternoon, I headed over to the north end of the park and walked the short trail to the Niagara Falls. Getting to the falls is an interesting adventure as it is on the opposite side of the busy Malahat (Highway 1) when you arrive from Victoria. The choices are a dodgy dash across the Malahat or walking under the highway through a large culvert beside the Niagara Creek; I decided on the culvert and managed to stay dry and safe.

I liked this large moss covered rock just downstream from the waterfall.

Along the way to the waterfall, the skunk cabbage were plentiful in the low lying areas.

On the way back to Victoria, I stopped at the Prospector Trail junction and took a few photos of the Goldstream River.

The next day with overcast conditions, I decided to explore the southwest corner of the park following the Upper Goldstream Trail along the Goldstream River to the Goldstream Falls.

The surrounding rainforest was heavily covered in moss and the vantage point from the trail was downward towards the river.

The Goldstream Falls is nestled in a bowl with surrounding rock and ferns.

This moss covered western red cedar almost appears alive with the tangle of branches.

Spring at Deer Lake Park

CK Wright Photo Trips

This time of year is always anticipated, with vibrant green growth, early flowers, and a real sense that spring is upon us…and my apologies to those of you in Calgary who are facing a snowfall warning!

I headed over to Deer Lake Park as it has lots of deciduous and shrubs that I expected would be in full on green up mode. Indeed they were with lots of new growth and damp from the overnight rain.

Alongside the trail in the northwest corner was this carpet of buttercups in full bloom.

Another sign of spring is skunk cabbage blooming, and in the low lying sections of the park they were abundant. It should be noted that the flowers are actually the numerous small flowers on the spike and not the large yellow bract.

In addition to the buttercups, there was a large spread of this short stalked flower (I wasn’t able to identify the plant name).

While I have explored this park on numerous visits, this stream laying alongside a short trail was a new discovery.

Signs of Spring 2018

CK Wright Photo Trips

And by signs of spring, I don’t mean the insistent rain of late. I’m referring to the berry bushes budding out the first vibrant green leaves, the cherry blossom trees blooming, and the rhododendron trees blooming.

On both Saturday and Sunday afternoon the rain stopped for several hours in central Metro Vancouver. With the mountain regions under heavy clouds and intermittent rain, I decided to try some local photography. My first stop was the City in the Park gardens where I captured the gravel pathway lined with cherry blossoms.

In the main portion of the gardens, only this early flowering bush was in bloom. I liked how the rain drops were clinging to the Filament and Anther.

I decided to take a walk through Burnaby’s Central Park as I haven’t been in there and I was pleasantly surprised to find cherry blossoms and flowering rhododendrons.

When you’re working on compositions, the experience is usually more of a visual and auditory nature. This next composition though included the sweet fragrance from the flowers…too bad the website is not “scratch and sniff” enabled!

There was also a stand of white rhododendron that were blooming and in the soft overcast light I captured a few compositions.

The rhododendron trees were fairly sheltered from the breeze and I spent some time composition a few different compositions. The petals were thin and partly translucent so I utilized the diffused lighting to show the back lit petals.

I wanted to try a slightly abstract and different perspective on the flowers and with them grouped closely together, this side and rear angle seemed to work well.

While the white rhododendron’s were in bloom, the pink ones had only started the process.

I spotted this large drop of water sitting on the uppermost portion of the emerging flower.

There was a large patch of course grass covered in rain drops. With so much to choose from, it was difficult to find the perfect composition.

Water Was The Theme

CK Wright Photo Trips

Whether that was flowing, covering, or rising into a cloud, water was certainly the theme on Saturday. I started off at Noons Creek on the boundary of Port Moody and Coquitlam. The overcast conditions were perfect for capturing the delicate highlights in the flowing water and with the recent precipitation, I thought the creek would have some good flow in it.

Of course, with overcast conditions there’s always a possibility of rain and such was the case today. The lighting became darker and darker in the forest and then wet snow started to descend. If you have never stood in a coastal forest with fresh snow falling, it is an amazing sight to see.

With the wet conditions and dusk like conditions in the forest, I headed back to the car. On the way out though, I spotted this salal plant covered in heavy moisture.

Later in the day and away from the Coquitlam mountains, the precipitation stopped and I had time to walk along the Fraser River at the New Westminster Quay. I have not seen tugboats tied up at this point, and it appeared that it was waiting for an upcoming ship movement.

I have walked along the quay boardwalks a few times of late, but never with a low tide so I was pleased to see the exposed silt and the interesting patterns.

The lighting conditions were certainly varied and in some cases, challenging. This next photo is a good example from the bright sun peaking out from the clouds to the shaded areas under the board walk.

That glass building photographed above offers some interesting compositions with its reflective windows and with no other adjacent buildings to interfere with the sky reflections.

As I was heading back to the train at the end of the shoot, I thought the curve of this building with the Fraser River reflected in the windows would make an interesting composition.

Return to the Fisherman’s Trail

CK Wright Photo Trips

It has been a long time since I last walked the Fisherman’s Trail alongside the Seymour River in the Lower Seymour Conversation Reserve (LSCR).  I have fond memories of exploring this area when I first started into photography so it was an enjoyable and interesting Saturday afternoon re-exploring this river area. Even with limited time for this day’s outing, it was interesting to return to a familiar area with new ideas and different equipment.

With the Seymour River rock slide in December 2014, access is now limited to the west side of the river from the LSCR Rice Lake parking lot and the Homestead Trail. While it was busy around the parking lot with lots of walkers and cyclists, there were very few walkers on these trails. As you descend down towards the river the cool costal forest rises above the slopes, dappled in sunlight.

Around the corner is a large wood retaining wall that is slowly returning to it’s natural state.

After the descent from the parking lot on the Homestead Trail, I headed north a short distance along the Fisherman’s Trail to an access point to the Seymour River. This section of the river was in partial shade which showed the beautiful green and yellow reflections. I found a few boulders to add an anchor point to the swirling coloured water.

Jammed in among the gravel and boulders was this willow. The new buds were just visible, waiting for the spring and warmth to return.

In an opening with deciduous trees above, was a cluster of sword ferns nestled in amongst the dried leaves.

On the return to the parking lot on the Homestead Trail, I spotted these sun dappled vine maples and hemlock boughs reaching for the light. All in all, it was a fun afternoon re-exploring the area and I certainly look forward to a full day in the next few months here.