Fall Colours in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park...

Just as I did last year, I took a short walk through Queen Elizabeth Park to view and photograph the fall colours.  The weather forecast said rain, and lots of it, for the next week so I knew it was my last chance before things got really wet.  I hope to go back in a week or so, weather permitting.   The conditions were not ideal, it was a bit foggy and I could not get a good shot of the whole garden without losing a lot of contrast in the background.  I used a polarizing filter to cut some of the glare but some shots just didn’t turn out that well.  It was still nice to get out, the colours are really great right now. This was one of the first images I shot. As you can see, the trees in the background are starting to get lost because of the foggy and humid conditions.                               The sky was very bright which made some exposures more difficult but the fog and overcast conditions made for a nice diffuse light.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         On my way out of the park, I stopped by the duck pond to watch the action and take a few shots. There were at least eight species of birds in and around the pond when I was there. This guy was taking a bath in the pond just a few feet away from me.                                 King of the pond.                               His little...

Nikon D800 vs iPhone 4S : Round 2

Coming back from hiking the Chief near Squamish, I decided to stop at Shannon Falls for one more quick photo opportunity. Shannon Falls is a beautiful waterfall outside of Squamish (between Vancouver and Whistler). It is the third highest waterfall in BC, and well worth a stop if you are in the area. I had my Nikon D800 with me and was using the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lens with a polarizing filter. I also decided to shoot the same scene with my iPhone 4S. Yes, not a fair test but just presented for fun. The iPhone fared much better this time compared to my previous attempt. Here is the iPhone shot, edited on the device with Nik Software’s (now Google’s) awesome Snapseed.   Now the Nikon D800 shot, edited in Adobe Lightroom.   Both files downsampled to the same resolution. The iPhone did ok, though couldn’t get the longer exposure time needed to get the softer water effect on the...

Hiking Stawamus Chief South Peak – Squamish, BC...

Last week, I decided to head up to Squamish to hike the south peak of the Stawamus Chief. As with the Lions hike, I’m not going to go into how to get to the trail, etc. There are plenty of sites that can give you good info about the trail: Vancouver Trails, Club Tread, Trail Peak, Live Trails. I wish I had got a better shot of the rock face, I’ll have to do that next time.                             This is a very popular hike in the area, expect to see at least a few people on the trail and on all of the peaks. The south peak is the most popular and the shortest hike as well. Middle and north peaks are less popular but still see their fair share of hikers. The Chief is not only popular with hikers, but is also a huge draw for climbers who come to challenge themselves on the granite face. I found this interesting video while writing this post: Patagonia climbing ambassador Sonnie Trotter climbed the first free ascent of Cobra Crack (5.14). Props, that is something that I’ll never do. You start your hike in the campground, nice and easy.                             A map and some info before you start the hike.                                 Also a warning. The trail isn’t long (about 6Km round trip) but it is steep and if you are unprepared you can get into trouble. I saw some yahoo going up in flip flops!                                                     The trail is very well maintained. Kudos to the crew that come out to maintain this for the rest of us, very much appreciated.                                                               Sure beats the stair climber at the gym.                                                               Another sign along the route, very easy to follow as long as you pay attention. There are several of these along the way which will guide you to any of the peaks along with some of the other trails available in the area.                                                                                       The trail is quite steep for most of the route.                               Though well maintained, no cake walk and Mr. FlipFlop likely had a fun time in some sections.                                                     The lower part of the hike is in the forest and the shade makes it easier on a hot day. As you get near the summit, you start to see the sun trickle though.                             There are a few ladders on the route, don’t see that on most hiking trails.                                                      ...

CFL Football: BC Lions vs Montreal Alouettes Sept 8 2012...

Yesterday I went to my first CFL football game of the season thanks to a friend who couldn’t use one of his season tickets. I like to go to a few games each year and the BC Lions are sitting at the top of the league standings and playing well. This was also my first visit to the new and improved BC Place Stadium and since it was a nice day the roof was open.   One of the first shots I took once inside. Seats were great.   I had my Nikon D800 with me and two lenses: Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8 wide angle and Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 telephoto. Despite a decent reach of 200mm I still had to crop the images of the play. Also, while bright I had to shoot at ISO 400 otherwise shutter speeds were just not fast enough to freeze the action. Here is Tim Brown (35) ready to do his thing.   Anthony Calvillo (13) set for the snap and for the toss.     Paul McCallum (4) field goal.   There are always some interesting characters around.   Certainly one of the best parts of the game is when the Felions squad takes to the field.   This image is just to show the great ability to crop images from the D800. A 100% crop from the full size image.       This guy has a tough job.       Thanks ladies.   Always some crazy games for the fans. If it were me I would have ran into the field in that thing, they can keep the t-shirt or whatever you win.   Back to football, Sean Whyte (6) punting away the ball as the Alouettes couldn’t get it done.   Travis Lulay (14) chased by the pack and making the pass.     Travis Lulay (14) scramble.   Lining up on the 10.   Crushing hit, one of the best in the game.   The Lions get the TD.   Here are a few views of the stadium from the upper deck.       Back to the game, Tim Brown (35) takes another kick.   Travis Lulay (14) in action.   Another Paul McCallum (4) field goal, I think he missed this one.   Souvenir?   Attendance at the game was 29,734 and the 50/50 jackpot went up to $34,500. The lucky guy who won it was in my section, high fives all around.   As always, some guys decide to start the wave. I’m all for it, but you are supposed to do it when the opposition has the ball. Just an FYI.   After some perseverance they did get it going.   Tracking it, patience.   Pretty happy with themselves.   Looking over the images, I noticed a zombie in the crowd. Glad I’m not in that section.   Is Khalif Mitchell (96) doing the robot?   Lions on the one yard line, not looking good for Montreal.   TD, no surprise.   And the free throw is good too.   A few more shots of the Felions, can’t go wrong.     Dude, you’re doing it wrong.     Despite the wide angle lens, I still couldn’t get the whole stadium. Here is a panorama stitched from several images shot with the 14-24 lens.   Since there are some BC place photos in the mix, some previous shots I took of the stadium....

Hiking the Binkert Trail To The Lions

The Lions are two very familiar peaks that can be seen from Vancouver. I have hiked most of the mountains in the immediate Vancouver area but the Lions always looked down on me with a smug look. Every time I looked to the North Shore I could see the twin peaks and I knew I had to get up there one day. On August 18th, five of us decided to make the trek and I was the only Lions virgin in the group. The trail starts in Lions Bay and is a 16km round trip journey. The elevation gain is 1280m (4200′) with some very steep sections you will feel in your legs. This is a strenuous hike and of the hikes I have completed may be second only to Black Tusk in terms of effort.  I would not bring your dog on this trail, there are sections that would not be easy for your four-legged friend and there are some very steep cliffs.  The hike took us about 3.5 hours in each direction, with a one hour break at the top to enjoy the view, eat lunch, and take photos.  For more detail on the trail feel free to check out these links (some include updates on conditions): Vancouver Trails, Club Tread, Trail Peak, Live Trails. Some photos from the hike.  First, the motley crew ventures out at the start of the day.  The trail is fairly flat and everyone is feeling good. Things begin to get steeper, everyone is still having a good time and chatting.   One of the only waterfalls along the route. Not much rain in the area lately and the snow pack is almost gone so it’s really just a trickle at this point. Harvey Creek is much bigger with pools large enough for a dip. There is a well built bridge over this creek so you will certainly know when you are there.   The trail takes a sharp turn up and chatting turns into cursing.   Coming out of the trees, you are finally rewarded with stunning views of Howe Sound.     The Lions are still looming, a long way to go.   The group taking a breather after a few hours of hard climbing.   Back on the trail, hiking turns into scrambling.   And now with snow :)   Near the top of the rock scramble, views are still great and a good motivator.   After a few more tricky sections, you finally reach the ridge and see a full view of the Lions before you.   It was a bit hazy, but the view from the top was truly spectacular. Hard to beat and makes the 3.5 hour climb completely worth it.         You need to be careful with your footing on the ridge, there are very steep cliffs on both sides. One misstep and you won’t be around to tell anyone about it.         Up close and personal with the West Lion.   The West Lion towering over Scott and Jason.     It is possible to climb to the top of the West Lion, but only for those with some experience with this type of activity should even attempt it. It is a high consequence climb with no room for error. If you decide to do it, you need to descend down a small cliff (a rope is provided). People here are waiting to climb down.   Once on the West Lion, find the best route up. You can see how steep it is in the photos below.       The hike is popular in the late summer, especially on a nice day. We didn’t see many people on the trail, but there were a few at the top.   Of course, some things didn’t have to climb to the top. Cheater :)   I can imagine life...

Siwash Rock at Sunset

  I was waiting for a nice sunny day in Vancouver as I wanted to get out to photograph Siwash Rock. This basalt stack is the only one of it’s kind in the Vancouver area, and I wanted to catch it when high tide was at or near sunset.  This is an HDR image created from several exposures. And a shot I took with my iPhone 4S as my D800 was taking the 7 bracketed shots for my HDR above.   And a few more shots from that evening including some fun with a neutral density filter for longer...

Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival 2012

Some shots from the 2012 Vancouver RioTinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.  Saturday, June 16th was an absolutely miserable day with solid rain all day.  I didn’t even go down to the event as sitting in the rain watching is not much fun.  Sunday was much nicer, and I did get out to watch the racing and take a few photos.   Heading out to race Racing One of the racers, a dragon boat team, and me. Concord Pacific Flying Dragons One and Too (processed in the style of “300”)   The Gong Show that is the Guts and Glory race.  16 teams race 4 legs of 500m, which means they need to make a three turns.  These boats, with 22 people, don’t turn on a dime and the turns are where the action is.  A lot of fun to watch.   Looks like the geese are enjoying the racing too.   The Hastings Street Band providing entertainment for the fans.   I also found a very cool video, shot by the steersman for team “Kai Ikaika” of Portland, Oregon, winners of the 2012 Guts and Glory race. Looks like an exciting...

The Fifth Annual East Van Show and Shine

My friend Eli and I attended the Fifth Annual East Van Show and Shine held at the Whip Restaurant.  It is a fundraiser that features live bands, a barbecue, local vendors, and vintage and classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Proceeds support the Canadian Cancer Society.  We have attended the event for the last few years and it’s always fun.  There were a few new cars this year, including a late 60’s Charger and a late 60’s Camaro which are both near the top of my favorites list. On our way out of the house, Eli noticed a rainbow around the sun.  More info about this in my previous post, but it was very cool and not a common sight.   And shots of the cars. Very cool old Volvo. The most popular attraction as not the cars, girls, band, or food.  It was a pug in a side car :) Everyone was stopping to take photos. There were some cool bikes down there too.   Guard dog on duty. Mr. Grumpy...

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