2019-07-06 - Hike up Hope Lookout Trail - 1949 sign

Hiking the Hope Lookout Trail

I hiked this with my six year old twins on July 6, 2019 but just posting a few pics now. The trail head starts in Hope, BC and is a short but relatively steep climb to the lookout. You get a nice panoramic view of the town below, it's well worth the effort.

As with some of my previous hikes. You can download my GPX or KML files for use in your own GPS devices.

Here are some images from the trail.  High resolution panorama is shown at the end. Click for bigger versions.


I took a series of photos from the top using my high resolution camera (46 megapixel) then stitched the files into a large panorama.  The smaller version is shown below, but you can get a much bigger version HERE and zoom in to look around town.  I'm not posting the full size file as it's just huge and takes forever to download.

Hope Panorama 4K

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Foggy Trees

Hike to Saint Marks Summit

I haven't been hiking much this year, such is the life with young twins.  I look forward to the day they can join me, but for now the tougher hikes have to be without them.  Since it's now fall, I figured this weekend was one of my last chances to get up into the mountains.  I decided to try Saint Marks Summit, which is close to Vancouver and only 11km so something I could finish before lunch.  I roped my friend Andrew into joining me, and he brought along his great awesome dog Genny. [See previous hikes in Lynn Valley, the Chief, and the Lions.]

The overall route is 11km round trip, and it took us almost exactly two hours to get to the summit.  In total, it was a four hour hike with close to 30 minutes at the summit.  On a clear day, you may want to spend more time at the top, but as you will see from the photos today was not such a day.  Feel free to browse these sites for details on the hike: Trail Peak, Vancouver Trails, Live Trails.  The route to Saint Marks is just part of a longer trail called the Howe Sound Crest trail which will take you past the Lions and eventually Porteau Cove.

My map of the route, it is very well marked, look for the signs and the orange trail markers.

You start off in the Cypress Mountain parking lot, head to the far north of the lot and up towards the chair lifts.  You will stay to the left and look for a route marker saying "Howe Sound Crest Trail".

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Trail Head

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Howe Sound Crest Trail

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Well Marked

For the first half, the trail gains elevation but it's well maintained (and they continue to upgrade this trail).

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Genny

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Trail and Andrew

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Trail

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Trail

Eventually though, the upgrades end and the trail becomes more natural.


Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Trail Conditions and Dog


Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Trail Conditions

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Genny and Trail

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Andrew

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Rooty Trail

Can you spot Genny?

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Trail Conditions 2

After two hours, you reach the summit.  From other photos I have seen the view is stunning.  For us, we were socked in with heavy cloud cover.

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Summit Trail Marker

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Foggy Summit


Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Foggy Summit Stump

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Cloudy View

A panorama, iPhone vs Nikon

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - At the Summit - iPhone Panorama

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - D810 Panorama

Not the easiest descent.  On the way down we passed a yahoo wearing flip flops!  I really couldn't believe he made it as far as he did, and I'm sure his footwear will get destroyed and he will have to complete his journey barefoot.  These are the types of people North Shore Search and Rescue have to go pull down off the mountain.

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Andrew and Genny

Probably my favorite photo from the trip.

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Foggy Trees

Then the weather started to fog my lens, so I packed it in from that point.

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Tree

Harvest Moon 2016 1

Harvest Moon 2016

On September 16, we had a full moon which was also our harvest moon.  The harvest moon is the full moon closest to the fall equinox (Sept. 22nd).  Since it was a beautiful clear night, I thought I would test out the Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens.  Here is the shot, which isn't too bad for a relatively inexpensive lens (and Nikon D810).

Harvest Moon September 2016



A talented artist who works in several mediums.  His book carvings caught my eye, very unique and interesting.  Worth a visit to see the rest of his collection.  Visit Guy Laramee's website.




LifeHacker Best of 2011

The Best Photography Tips, Tricks, and Hacks of 2011

LifeHacker has pulled together their top photography related tips into one post. Worth a visit to pick up some good info.

Visit the LifeHacker Post.

Albert Einstein

LIFE Magazine's Best-Ever Photos

LIFE magazine is celebrating their 75th anniversary with some interesting photo galleries.

LIFE's 37 Best-Ever Science Photos: key moments in science.

The 75 Best LIFE Photos: sport, art, science, war, and more.

Inspiring and interesting, worth a visit.



BBC icicle of death

'Brinicle' Ice Finger of Death

The BBC has the most amazing footage of the natural world.  I own several of their sets, including Blue Planet and Planet Earth. If you haven't seen them, I recommend you do.

This short video is another great sequence that few could capture.  It shows an ice 'Brinicle' forming under the Antarctic ice sheet, you can read more about it here.

BBC prevents embedding, view the video on their site here.

Alan Sailer high speed egg

Air Gap Flash & Alan Sailer's Photostream

I have seen a lot of good high speed photography, but Alan Sailer has some of the most interesting shots out there.  These shots are taken using some specialized equipment, including an 'air gap flash'.  I have never heard of this device until today, and apparently it's a DIY flash that has the potential to kill you.  Standard flashes (Canon, Nikon) have a minimum duration of 1/40,000th of a second.  It seems short, but when photographing bullets it's an eternity.  At 1000 feet/second (not that fast in bullet terms), that bullet can travel 1/3rd of an inch so it's more of a streak in the image than a bullet frozen in time.  This air gap flash can have a flash duration of 1/1,000,000th of a second (about 25x faster than a standard flash).

You can make your own air gap flash by following the directions here.  However, if you don't know how to work with high voltage, don't even try.  As the author of the site says "you should not build this because this flash will kill you".  What you essentially make is a 35,000 volt capacitor that releases a 1.5" spark across a gap.  If you don't know what you are doing, that voltage will be released into your body and you won't be around to tell anyone how that felt.  So don't build it, but do read about it, it's an interesting device.

This is what the air gap flash looks like when complete.

air gap flash

As far as the images you can capture with it, here are a few samples.

Christmas bulb filled with gelatin and shot with a marble.

Alan Sailer christmas bulb high speed


Hot dog shot with a pellet gun.

Alan Sailer hot dog high speed

To see more of Alan's great work, visit his Flickr Photostream.  He has a ton of amazing photos there and doesn't just shoot things with a gun.  He has an air cannon that is used to shoot a lime through a piece of beef or a ping pong ball through fruit.  Definitely worth a visit.


Peter Jackson reveals the Red Epic secrets behind The Hobbit 2

Peter Jackson reveals the Red Epic secrets behind The Hobbit

Looks like The Hobbit will be filmed in 3D using a whole bunch of Red Epic cameras.  Check out the link below to see the 3D rig they put together, very cool.  They are also shooting everything at 5K and 48 frames per second.  Should be a visually amazing movie.

Engadget Link w/ Video

Joey L Photography

Joey L. Photography

Another photographer worth checking out.  Fantastic portraits and location shots, very inspiring to view the portfolio.

Joey L. Photography

Jobs Car No Plates

How Steve Jobs drove without license plates

Apparently Jobs drove his SL55 with no plates by exploiting a loophole in California law.

Yahoo Autos Article


Google Plus Icon

Enable Google Plus for Google Apps

Finally!  Google Apps users (such as myself) can access Google+ with their Apps account.  Until now, you had to sign in with a gmail account.  This seems to be common for Google, most of their applications are not available to Apps users to start which is always a pain.

Learn how to enable Google+ on your Google Apps account


If you are not familiar with Google Apps read more here.  Essentially it lets you run your own mail server using the Google infrastructure and Gmail interface.  Free for personal use.

UPDATE: It looks like you can't add your Google Apps account if you have already created a G+ account with gmail.  So it looks like you need to delete your old G+ account and create a new one with your Google Apps address.   This is going to be a problem for anyone with significant content and contacts already set up with Google+.  If you know of a way around this, please let me know by posting in the comments below.

Alexandre Farto Art

Portrait Photos ‘Printed’ Onto Abandoned Buildings by Scratching Off Paint

Fantastic art created by Alexandre Farto.  He scratches off paint on abandoned buildings to create portraits.  Take a look at more samples here.

Reminds me of the 'reverse graffiti' art created by Alexandre Orion: Alexandre Orion Art

Steve Jobs Book

Hints of Apple Plans in Jobs Book

My copy of the book is on order and I'm looking forward to learning more about Jobs and Apple.  Apparently the 'next big thing' for Apple was text books.

Dennis Calvert Light Painting

Dennis Calvert's Photostream

Some amazing light painting in this photostream. Also a few 'how to' images and videos. If you are interested, worth a look.

Dennis Calvert's Photostream

The light painting set on Flickr

Dennis Calvert's Website


TouchFire: The Screen-Top Keyboard for iPad

This looks like a very promising product. A thin rubber overlay for your iPad that provides tactile feedback as you type. Held on by magnets, and works with both iPad 1 and 2.

I always thought carrying around a separate keyboard somewhat defeats the portability of the iPad. I have tried the clamcase in the past, but stopped using it as it makes the iPad too bulky. If anyone types a lot on their iPad, they should check into this product. It's a Kickstarter product, so not yet available, but I have no doubt it will come to market.

TouchFire: The Screen-Top Keyboard for iPad by Steve Isaac & Brad Melmon — Kickstarter.

Boomrock Lodge


Quite possibly the most amazing spot on earth :)

"Boomrock is comprised of three venues, The Lodge, The Track and The Bunkers."  I'm not sure if anything more needs to be said, but in case you are interested you can shoot stuff, throw knives, go extreme off-roading, do hot laps on a track or in a rally car, and fly a f***ing chopper!  When done, you drink whiskey and eat venison.  Had I known about this place sooner I would have got married here.


Flickr: johnhallmen's Photostream 3

Flickr: johnhallmen's Photostream

This guy has the most amazing macro photos, view his Flickr photostream at the link below.  A few samples:



He takes many shots with different focus and stacks them using specialized software.  The results are stunning.

Flickr: johnhallmen's Photostream.

Adobe Deblur

Adobe Image Deblurring Sneak Peek

Wow, this is some amazing new technology from Adobe.  Can deblur a crappy image so now everyone can be a good photographer.  No word on when it will show up in a product, I'm hoping Photoshop CS6.

Adobe Deblur

MAX 2011 Sneak Peeks - MAX 2011 Sneak Peek - Image Deblurring | Adobe TV.

Update, October 19, 2011:  More about the software from Adobe: