Mountain Chalets in Fall Colors

If you drive through the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park, there is a mountain resort that may deserve a few shots by your camera. Especially in fall. Baker Creek is a resort consisting of many nice-looking log chalets surrounded by aspens and larches which turn yellow and gold in late September. I came by the resort a few weeks ago with my Chinese relatives, and they were so thrilled to see such “fairy-tale” wood chalets in fall colors. We spent at least two hours there. I’ve been there last winter, and now found it equally charming in fall. The photos I took fit well with the “autumn’s fairytale” theme of my last post.

Rockies 2014

Rockies 2014

Rockies 2014

Rockies 2014

Rockies 2014

Rockies 2014

Rockies 2014

Rockies 2014

Rockies 2014

Autumn’s Fairytale

Autumn is almost over before I can post anything to celebrate its beginning. For the past weeks, I was pretty preoccupied by the need to act as tourist guide to my visiting relatives and old time friends from China. Most of them have left now, so I have the time to post something about the season that’s going away.

As expected, the last weeks of autumn brought rain to Vancouver. A lot of rain. I wonder if it has rained more than usual, because the woods near my home are now full of mushrooms. Including some that I have never seen there before. Pretty ones they are, though. I mean the red toadstools, the quintessential mushroom we see in children’s fairy-tale books. They are so picturesque that my brother-in-law (one of my visiting relatives who still stay with us) and I have found it very interesting to take photos of them. We went to the woods again and again, when the rain stopped. And, with a bit of post processing, the photos we took really put on a nice look of fairytale.

Here they are, an Autumn’s Fairytale:

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Weeds in Water

Raccoons

Raccoons are said to be very common in Greater Vancouver area, but as a resident of Richmond, I rarely see this kind of animal. And I didn’t know they could do something nasty until recently when my neighbor’s roof was damaged by raccoon. Still, I find them cute in appearance at least, with close resemblance to red pandas except they are dark grey instead of red. But I had never taken a photo of them before.

The day before yesterday (September 9) I drove my elder brother and his wife around Vancouver sightseeing, and we had three encounters with raccoons. My brother had never seen a raccoon before and was interested in taking photos of them. So we stopped and took loads of shots each time we saw them. Now I share some of the shots here with those who may have not seen them before.

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More High Grounds, While Summer Lingers

Garibaldi Lake and the peaks around it are probably the best hiking grounds near Vancouver. And probably the best places for outdoor photography as well. In the last of week of August, a Calgary-based landscape photographer Victor Liu came to visit me and we together hiked up to the summit of Panorama Ridge with fully loaded backpacks and camped there for a night so as to take a couple of Milky Way shots. And then we went down to the lake shore for another night, where we had some nice sunset and sunrise shots.

It was a tough hike, on the first day. Fifteen kilometers one way, fifteen hundred meters elevation gain. The last section up Panorama Ridge was a scramble. There is barely any flat ground for pitching up a tent on the top, and the slopes around are very steep. A slight wrong move whiling unpacking costed me a sleeping mattress, which rolled down the glacier beyond reach. And there were other interesting stories during the trip.

Victor is an accomplished photographer and I enjoyed his company during the trip. He is also an avid writer, so I leave out the interesting episodes of our trip here and let Victor write them up some time later. Did you read this, Victor?

Garibaldi Lake

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Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake

 

Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake

Celebration of Lights – Team Japan

Just a few pretty run-of-the-mill fireworks photos taken earlier this month at one of shows of the  Honda Celebration of Lights 2014 Vancouver, all of which were taken from the Observation Deck at English Bay, thanks to a ticket given by a generous friend. This show featured Team Japan. Their performance was marvelous, and deserves the winner title awarded to them.

Mid Summer, High Grounds (4)

Vancouver is a sea-level city, but it has easy access to alpine high grounds both within and outside the Canadian border. Mount Baker, within less than three hours’ drive in Washington State, is one of the high grounds I frequent south of the border. In mid summer, when daylight is long, one can leave home after lunch, hit the trail three hours later, reach the desired high ground in another two or three hours, take sunset photos and then head down the trail for home; all within half day.

That was what I did on July 28, 2014. The trail I hiked is Park Butte, in the south of Mount Baker.

Artist Point Snowshoeing

Artist Point Snowshoeing

Artist Point Snowshoeing

Artist Point Snowshoeing

Artist Point Snowshoeing

Mid Summer, High Grounds (3)

As summer heated up, staying at home was not just boring but also stifling. So, a few days after my Mt Rainier trip, I dragged a friend to go to another high ground. This time we hit a long trail on top of Whistler Mountain. We hiked from the summit gondola station to Russet Lake via the Musical Bumps Trail and returned to Whistler Village via Singing Pass Trail. A 28km hike, with over 1km accumulative elevation gain. But hiking on mountain ridges with broad horizon view was a really cool thing to do, in hot summer or in any season.

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Garibaldi Lake

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Mid Summer, High Grounds (2)

On July 15, I drove up to Mt. Rainier National Park with some friends (after a shoot at Shi Shi Beach under disappointing weather), and spent the night right in the parking lot of Paradise Visitors Center, showing to my friends how to take star trail photos. Some serious star gazers were also there with their big telescopes and gave the park visitors a free star talk. While the rest of the northwest was under a heat wave, it was really cool to spend the night on a high ground and star gazing (and star shooting as well).

Early next morning, as we were taking shots of Mt. Rainier by Reflection Lake at sunrise, I spotted (using my 200mm lens) a few tiny lights near the top of the mountain. I learned afterwards that at that moment, two teams of mountaineers were making their final push to the summit (see the last two pictures). The guys made it to the highest ground in Washington State in the golden morning light of mid summer.

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Artist Point Snowshoeing

Artist Point Snowshoeing

 

Mid Summer, High Grounds

This is a hot summer, hottest since I came to Canada. Fortunately, there are a lot of high grounds around Vancouver where you can cool yourself down. I’ve made a few trips to such high grounds lately, and got some cool pictures back too.

On the July 11 Super Moon Day, I drove up Artist Point, Mt. Baker, and camped the night there.

 The paved access road is stilled lined with snow, but a lot less than in the last year:

Artist Point Snowshoeing

Another photographer set up his gears on a high ground to wait for the moon to rise (Mt. Baker’s summit in the background):Artist Point Snowshoeing

 The moon rises behind the shoulder ridge of Mt. Shuksan:

Artist Point Snowshoeing

The moon rises behind the shoulder ridge of Mt. Shuksan:Artist Point Snowshoeing

Our tents under the full moon:Artist Point Snowshoeing

Stars dance over our tents:

Artist Point Snowshoeing

I made an Inukshuk:Artist Point Snowshoeing

The moon set right on the summit of Mt. Baker:Artist Point Snowshoeing

We left our shadows on the high ground:Artist Point Snowshoeing

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