After living for a year in Ucluelet, on Vancouver Island's rugged outer shore, we decided to fulfill another dream and move to the downtown area of Vancouver. These are the adventures, in words and images, of a couple of retirees now based in Lower Lonsdale.

Check my main photography website, or follow me on my Facebook page.

Click on pictures to view at full size.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Snow LoLo

This past Friday night, we had snow here in LoLo (Lower Lonsdale), a quite rare occurrence for the west coast. And because it is so rare, at least certainly at the lower elevations, I naturally had to get out and photograph it.

And what better place to showcase this inclement white blanket than over at Lynn Valley? The contrast of the soft, cold covering against the beauty of the Seymour River, the snow coating its boulders and the surrounding foliage of the rainforest is without doubt, picturesque.





Later Saturday afternoon, I walked down to the Quay and looked for images that combined the snow within the cityscape. Here and there, splashes of colour peeked out in the late afternoon light.


The Chiba Gardens afforded me a few interesting scenes with the golden Japanese Maple leaves strikingly juxtaposed against the snow.



On the Spirit Trail, a design in the gravel retained unmelted snow that in the late afternoon's oblique, golden light had a lovely graphic quality.


Behind the Quay, snow covered the ground, as couples, bundled up against the cold, viewed the sun setting behind the horizon, silhouetting the downtown skyline.


Well, that's enough, thank you very much, I think I can do without any more snow for this season. After all, that's one of the reasons to live on the west coast, isn't it?


Sunday, 23 November 2014


Today, just before lunchtime, Marcelle exclaimed that she had forgotten that we had tickets to a concert downtown at 2pm. Yikes! We hauled ass, stuffed a couple of Cliffs' Bars in our pockets and made a dash for the SeaBus, and thence to downtown Vancouver.

As we exited the Skytrain at the City Centre station, a man was industriously feeding a large population of flying rats that strutted about importantly with their heads bobbing back and forth in a cartoonish manner, obviously taking a break from their busy statue-fouling activities.


The concert was at the Orphium Theatre, a venue to which we had not been before, and what a beautiful hall.


The orchestra was all young people from the Vancouver Academy of Music, and they were very, very good. They played Schubert's Unfinished Symphony by themselves, and then were joined by the Vancouver Bach Choir for Mozart's Reqiuem.

While I found the Schubert piece not to my liking (I had trouble trying to find an overall structure to it), the Requiem was magical. The addition of the choral element just fills the sonic space and there is nothing like hearing a good, large choir. Magnificent!


The four vocal soloists were obviously well respected and talented, but I have to admit that the constant vibrato of this type of singing just grates on my ears and nerves. I wish that they could simply sing pure, unmodulated tones, with maybe the odd vibrato, but there it is, in your face on virtually every note. I guess I'm just a rube, but hell, I know what I like and what I don't.

For me, the only thing that marred the event was that the couple in front of us had a young girl of about 3 or 4, and it was simply not possible for her to sit still for the almost 2-1/2 hours of the concert. There was a constant movement of her and the parents trying to control her that was astonishingly distracting. I ended up closing my eyes for a good portion of the music.

Now, as a parent, having raised three of the little blighters myself, I agree there is a fine line of trying to introduce your child to cultural events, but sometimes, I really wish there was a specific section for parents with small children. As my ex used to say, "If you want to make an impression, always take a child".


Concert over, we headed back to the Skytrain to the SeaBus and were able to go right onto our bus at the Quay that then dropped us off right in front of our door. I love living in this city!


Return to the Valley

Yesterday, I returned to Lynn Valley to check out some of the Lynn Loop trail. I say 'some' because I wanted to stay on the portion of the trail that is adjacent to the river.


I started at the Headwaters area and walked up and across the bridge, where the river, swollen with the recent rains, plummets over the rocks in silky curtains.


Looking downstream from the same vantage point on the bridge, the picture is quintessential Pacific Northwest: the year-round greenery, the moss, the milky blue-green water, the water-smoothed boulders and the slight fog hanging in the air.



I'm always captivated with the flowing waters, and, as you may have noticed, Dear Reader, I just love showcasing it in long exposures to give it that "angel hair" look. Every once in a while, I try to shoot with a fast exposure, to try to freeze the moment, but this is somewhat problematic with the overcast light and low ISO settings (I try to always shoot at ISO 100).





Turning back, I walked back along the Varley Trail again as I wanted to revisit some of the places I'd seen before in order to capture some video. I'm working on a film short that will explore the North Shore, including the Quay and some of the places within a short drive from Lower Lonsdale.




Here and there, sprays of colourful leaves contrast themselves against the darker background of the forest, shining like beacons as the wayward sun breaks through the clouds to spotlight them.



Feet sore, legs tired, but with my soul enriched, I turned back to the car and home. What a magical place we live!


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Lynn Valley Spendor

I finally got out to the Lynn Valley area today, to explore the canyon. My plan was to do the "Lynn Loop" trail, but apparently, I stopped too soon on the road and ended up on the Varley Trail.

A mere 45-steps down from the car, I was beside a river that simply bowled me over with its beauty!

I followed a well-traveled and worn path that parallels the river, along boardwalks and gravel as it snaked through the quiet forest. At points, the path is thoughtfully held down by the roots of the adjacent trees, lest it slither off in another direction.

Through the riverside foliage, the Seymour River rolls over its stony bed, it's blue-green waters creating a susurration of voices that fills the ears, and loosens the heart.

It is a cool, heavy overcast day, with infrequent, light rain, but this is the best way to see the Temperate Rainforest, with everything glistening with moisture, the colours of the green foliage and mosses so saturated.

Today, I am shooting long exposures on a tripod. The use of a variable neutral density filter (VND) allows me to use shutter speeds of about 8 to 15 seconds, which yields the delicious "Angel hair" water that flows across my sensor during that multi-second exposure.

Finally, I come to a good access down to the riverbank, and from here, I can see up and downstream for some much closer views.

I love the colours of the different rocks, especially when they are wet. Some are so pronounced that they naturally deserve a portrait by themselves, like this handsome red/orange specimen below.

At my feet, fallen leaves have been washed against the rocks by the passage of the previous higher water. Their warm tones juxtapose against the cool-toned rocks that hold them prisoner.

Further along, the colour of a dying fern catches my eye and I pose its lovely decaying form against the backdrop of the river.

As the path momentarily weaves away from the water and back under the canopy, I take the time to admire the lush carpet of tiny plants that cover the logs and forest floor.

Heading back to the car, I see an iconic moss-covered tree set against a curve in the river.

There are quite a few, marvelously place benches along the Varley Trail, and I took the opportunity to sit for my own portrait.

This is a visually stunning, deeply satisfying Pacific Northwest destination, and I can hardly wait to explore the area further!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A Swift Game of Catch-Up

Not many posts these past few weeks. Most of my shooting time has been for imagery for the website, some for articles I have written.

As I write this post, I am listening to Taylor Swift's new release, 1989. Swift is not someone I have listened to, but the fact that this album sold 1.2-million copies in its first week just had me hooked.

WOW!!! I'm impressed, really impressed. This album is a recording engineer / producer's wet dream, it's that good. From a sonic production standpoint, it ranges from breathlessly airy dreamscapes to heavy, chunky walls of synths, bass and drums. Over the top of it all, Swift's excellent voice is an extravaganza of overdub tracks that weaves flights of harmonies, ever filling up chorus after chorus. The vocal production alone is impressive, not simply the marvelous sound, but the construction and usage of the harmony voices.

The nit I would pick is that although, as a friend of mine said, "the girl can write a hook", the hook is used over and over past the point of surfeit. The choruses, although clever and musically delicious, go on and on. I guess your mileage may vary, but I am ready for the song to end before the track does.

Probably the bottom line should be that I can't get these songs out of my mind, and I find myself slipping on the phones again and kicking back to the sonic feast.

As I sit here listening yet again, let me bring you up to date with some of my favorite recent images.



















Fare thee well for now!