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.

Olympic Village and False Creek Night Views

CK Wright Photo Trips

Located along the south shore of False Creek near the eastern end, Olympic Village provides numerous photographic opportunities within and adjacent to the village.

In the heart of the village, is the Olympic Village Square with a set of changing coloured lights.

While photographing the square, two people on powered stand-up scooters with tail lights wheeled through the scene, creating the distinct red trail. I think I should have hired them for other photos!

Across False Creek from the village is BC Place, beautifully illuminated with multi-colour lights.

Those lights on BC Place didn’t last long, turning off at 11pm. Still, I was pleased with the following composition without the lights. This is interesting with the roof masts on the stadium being repeated in the sailing boat mast.

At the eastern end of False Creek is the Science World, an amazing sight to see at night time. The shape and changing coloured lights reflecting in False Creek is just pure magic!

Wandering around the Science World, were numerous opportunities for interesting compositions all with this red panel cladding.

Yes, even a garbage container can be a beautiful object to photograph!

After exploring Science World, I headed back towards the village to capture more night scenes. Downtown Vancouver has such a close relationship to the waters that surround it, so it’s great to have water craft in these photos. In this next one, the silhouettes of the rowing shells are visible in their sheds, along with the sailing boat.

It was a fun and productive night outing, lasting until just after 1am. There was time for one more photo before returning home for some sleep.

Flatiron Peak Hike

CK Wright Photo Trips

It was an early start on Saturday morning as Terry, Ian, and myself left metro Vancouver heading to the Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area to hike to Flatiron Peak. Opposite the Zopkios Rest Area on Highway 5, is the start of the Needle Peak trail that leads to both Needle Peak, and our destination peak.

The trail starts in the forest on the east side of Highway 5 and over the next few kilometres ascends steeply. The forest was cool and damp with lots of understory growth and towering fir, spruce, and western red cedar trees.

After a few kilometres the trees started thinning out and glimpses of the mountains on the opposite side of the valley are visible, including this “shark fin” shaped mountain named Zupjok Peak.

Looking back up the trail and our destination is visible on the left side.

Shortly afterwards and around the 3 kilometre mark, the trail divides with the north fork heading to Needle Peak and the south fork heading to our destination, Flatiron Peak. Here is a view of the approach to Needle Peak near the junction.

The trail descends slightly and briefly enters forest as it makes it’s way across a saddle towards Flatiron. Ascending out of the trees, a full view of Needle Peak is visible with this small bleached snag in the foreground.

Just below Flatiron Peak, is this small unnamed tarn.

As we were enjoying the tarn and looking at the route to the peak, a helicopter made several low passes over us before heading out of view. We would soon understand the reason for the helicopter. The trail from the tarn to the peak is a bit technical, though nothing more than some steep pitches and boulder stepping. Nearing the top, we were surprised to see a bride and groom along with a few others on the peak, explaining the presence of the helicopter.

After the ceremony the newly married couple headed over towards where we had setup for lunch and photos. What followed was a bit of a laugh with some good nature ribbing about the paparazzi, namely Ian and Terry, busy photographing them alongside the official photographer!

Flatiron Peak is not officially named but rather is the given name. It consists of granite slabs, heather, and the occasional stubby tree in a wide, mostly flat top. The views were impressive of the surrounding peaks, including the nearby Needle Peak (right) and the top of Yak Peak (left).

A Comcast shell, weather shielding for radio equipment, is also present on the peak.

On the northern side was a large sheet of snow and ice with sun cups dimpling the surface. You can spot the shark fin shape of Zupjok Peak in the distance along with numerous others in this south west view.

I like these two views of Needle Peak, each with a different foreground material. The first with sun cupped snow and red algae, and the second with a distinctive ridge through the granite. The second photo also shows the distinctive bald face Yak Peak across the valley.

As we descended down to the tarn, we choose a different route, more to the east that led to the back side of the tarn. The view from there was impressive with Needle Peak on the right, Yak Peak across the valley on the left side, and the tarn reflecting the clouds. The red splash of colour beside the lake is a tent.

Upon reaching the lake, I asked Ian to pose on the this diamond shaped rock to provide some perspective on Needle Peak. While I took two compositions, one vertical and this horizonal one, this one has the arrow shaped clouds on the left pointing inwards towards the peak and Ian.

As we headed back to the car, and prior to heading into the forest, we had one last view of Needle Peak with this spruce tree indicating the harsh growing conditions here.

Flowers 2018

CK Wright Photo Trips

I wanted to share some of my favourite flower photographs from this year, both wild and domestic. My knowledge on flower names is a tad lacking so how about we make this a collaborative effort and I’ll let you provide the names where I have missed them? That way, we will all gain some more knowledge on the names.

From the southern and central Cariboo…

Photo 1: Daisy

Photo 2: Daisy

Photo 3: Silene latifolia

Photo 4: Western Buttercup

Photo 5: Clover

Photo 6: Paintbrush

From the City in the Park gardens:

Photo 7: Lantana [thanks JR]

Photo 8: Black-eyed susan, Rudbeckia [thanks SAVH]

Photo 9: Black-eyed susan, Rudbeckia [thanks SAVH]

Photo 10: Black-eyed susan, Rudbeckia [thanks SAVH]

Photo 11: Black-eyed susan, Rudbeckia [thanks SAVH]

Black Mountain Plateau

CK Wright Photo Trips

You may recall the winter photos taken on Black Mountain in Cypress Provincial Park in February. I had the opportunity today to hike to Black Mountain and explore the various lakes. It was interesting to see the differences in the two visits and how much the snow covers.

Prior to starting the hike, I arrived early and spent an hour exploring and photographing around Yew Lake, just a short walk from the downhill parking lot. The early morning light was warm and the lake water still.

This first photo of the lake shows the day’s destination, on top of the rocky forested hill.

After the photo shoot and exploring around Yew Lake, I met up with Terry and his son Alex and we climbed our way up the rocky trail that wound it’s way ever higher towards the two peaks of Black Mountain.

Our first stop was Cabin Lake and it was interesting to note the areas we had explored in February when the lake was frozen solid with a metre or two of snow.

The lake lies almost equidistant between the North and South summits of Black Mountain. After a water break and a few photos we headed over to the South Summit of Black Mountain, leaving the North Summit for the afternoon.

The trail winds its way from Cabin Lake through sub-alpine forest before climbing the short distance to the peak.

We spent time enjoying the views of Howe Sound and the partial view of the Lions. The whiskey jacks were plentiful on the peak and Alexander enjoyed the opportunity to hand feed them. With the sun rising and daylight burning it was time to continue south towards the Eagleridge Bluffs. Along the way, we walked past numerous lakes surrounded by forests. I really enjoy the dark waters that reflect the early morning light and forest in these sub alpine lakes.

The trail from the South Summit to the bluffs descends at several points, mostly within the forest. At the bluffs, the trails leaves the forest and descends a short distance on a rocky nob that offers impressive views of Burrard Inlet, Horseshoe Bay, and Bowen Island.

It was a busy spot with numerous others enjoying the view and the warm sunny day. After time having a snack and taking photographs, we left the bluffs and enjoyed the cool forest as we ascended back onto the plateau. We elected to loop back to Cabin Lake and the North Summit of Black Mountain using an easterly trail that passed a few other lakes. From Cabin Lake, it was a short ascent to the North Summit and the nice views of Howe Sound and the Lions.

What Lies above Farwell Canyon

CK Wright Photo Trips

In early July I returned to Farwell Canyon and spent the entire time photographing the sand dunes and slopes above the Chilcotin River.

As reminder from my May article, here is an overview of the canyon with the hoodoos, Chilcotin River, and Pothole Ranch. The sand is visible in the foreground in this photo. While it was overcast in Williams Lake as I travelled through to the canyon, the clouds dispersed as I drove onto the Chilcotin plateau and arriving at the dunes, the conditions were great.

As I was ascending onto the dunes, the vista behind them was spectacular with rolling hills, trees, and shrubs all illuminated with the early morning light.

At the far end of the sand dunes was this lone interior Douglas-fir tree and I used the edge of the sinuous dunes to lead the eye to the tree.

Looking in the opposite direction, I composed a tight cropping on the edge and waited for the wind to push the sand over the edge. I wanted to capture the process of the shifting sand dunes and it didn’t take long for the sand to become airborne.

I spotted this group of hikers sitting on the dunes and liked how it provided scale.

I noticed near the end of the dunes that rain had formed a set of curved tracks in the sand and thought it would be an interesting composition. The clouds were rolling in and out at this later stage of the day and it took some time for the clouds to move away from the sun.

Growing in the sand were clumps of grass including this lone grass laying over. Notice the curved marks in the sand at the tips of the grass, created when the wind moves the grass blades through the sand.

Here is a closer composition of the Douglas-fir tree shown in the earlier photo.

After about 4 hours photographing in the area and with darkening clouds bringing the possibility of rain, I photographed a final image of the sand dunes.

Two and a Half Waterfalls and a Lake

CK Wright Photo Trips

On Saturday with overcast conditions, a friend and I headed out for some more waterfalls and exploring the Fraser Valley north attractions.

The first stop was Cascade Falls, a spectacular 30 metre waterfall on the Cascade Creek. It was good to see an adequate water flow over the falls with the more recent period of warm to hot weather.

The suspension bridge provides access to the other side of the creek and to the vantage point used in the previous photograph. There were no visitors at the early hour so I had the suspension bridge to myself, which I took advantage of to capture the canyon just downstream from the waterfall.

This was a direct down perspective of Cascade Creek.

The next stop was just up the road at Davis Lake Provincial Park, where we followed the steep trail downhill to the lake following Murdo Creek. Nearing the lake is MacDonald Falls where Murdo Creek rolls down a wide section of rock.

Here’s a close-up of the waterfall, where I used a log to direct the view inwards.

With the overcast conditions, landscape compositions of the lake were not ideal, so I worked the shoreline and liked this composition of the grass clump and the two gradient lake colour.

The adjacent forest was beautiful with the soft lighting and deep colours.

After some time exploring the lake and returning to Murdo Creek to retrieve my wallet (which had neatly fallen out and remained on a boulder), it was off to Whonnock Lake Park. Though I had never been to the lake before, with the overcast conditions making landscapes undesirable I would have passed it by. However my friend wanted to stop by which was a very good call as the lily pads were in full bloom. I haven’t had the opportunity in a long time to photograph those, so I was very pleased with the opportunity!

So if you have been counting through this article, we have now photographed two waterfalls and one lake…so where is the half waterfall? and what is a half waterfall? Kanaka Creek Regional Park was the next stop where we photographed the cascades. Not quite a waterfall, more like a half waterfall.

The creek has numerous pot holes eroded over eons in the soft sandstone. I have photographed here before, so on this visit I spent timing working on compositions with those.

Byrne Creek Ravine Park in Detail

CK Wright Photo Trips

I find that close-up and intimate landscape photography is less about the location, and more about the compositions and lighting available. With the chance of rain and partial cloud today, I decided to stay local and work the available light in Byrne Creek Ravine Park, nestled between the urban residential and commercial areas in southeast Burnaby.

With the recent rains, the understory plants were very green and lush.

The pathway in this next composition leads your eye through the scene, towards the vertical trees.

A tasty treat in the summer are the salmon berries, both to eat and to photograph.

The lighting in this flower shot was the perfect balance of sun and cloud, to bring out the purple and green tones, without overpowering them.

I was interested in this next compositions with the two tones of green and the texture difference.