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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
The moon rises behind the shoulder ridge of Mt. Shuksan:
Stars dance over our tents:
Photography is, ultimately, about simplification. Simplicity is always a virtue in this art. These were the thoughts, during my recent trip to Washington’s coast, that came to my mind when I saw the sky was whiten out and sea stacks and people on the beach were partially diffused in fog and mist. Simplicity makes the following images.
Note: This one was also created in April but also forgotten until today.
These fields are located about 130km from downtown Vancouver. They have become a tourist destination each spring when the tulip flowers are in full bloom. The fields are much smaller than the Skagit Valley tulip fields in the US, but they have a better backdrop, a 2100-meter high snow peak, as far as photography is concerned.
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