This image I took from a seaplane over Vancouver BC. It was a sightseeing trip, and I happened to be the only customer. Rather than sit up front with the pilot, I opted for the back so I could slide from side to side taking pictures.
Small aircraft is the best way to get pictures of a city. It’s also the most expensive so, if your objective is to take photos, it helps to have a plan of attack. For me, that means using shutter priority to compensate for the vibration of the motor.
We flew out over the water and then over a bunch of islands that surround Vancouver. Until that time I never realized how many isles existed nearby. Months later when I returned for a cruise, we sailed past many of them as we headed towards Alaska. This flight lasted about an hour and, the whole time I was snapping away non-stop. I got a lot of pictures from the islands, but my favorite were those like this one right over the city.
I took this image as I disembarked from the ferry to Victoria a few years ago. That was my first time visiting Vancouver Island, and I remember being thrilled at all the new sites. So, before arriving in town, we stopped here to walk around and take pictures of the scenery.
I used my first mirrorless camera, the Sony A7R. Now, as I go back and look at old photos I haven’t processed, I’m surprised at how well the images hold up, even against newer cameras. So I find myself going back to explore old RAW files with more modern tools and each time, I come away with few surprises.
The trip was the beginning of a week on the island, and some of my all-time favorite images came from that trip. There are different climates all across the island, and the geography varies widely. As a result, I was pulling over all the time to take pictures. That meant it took us hours to get anywhere, but since we weren’t on a schedule it wasn’t a problem, until the last day when we had to be at the terminal on time for the ferry back. That’s when I got a speeding ticket, but that’s a story for another day.
I took this picture in the lobby of the Delta Toronto Marriott when I was there a few months ago. Have you ever noticed how hotels design lobby spaces to feel inviting? This one is a far cry from the Motel 6 we stayed at when I was a kid.
When I’m in a big city, I like walking into lobbies and taking pictures of the architecture. The lobby is where the hotel puts its best foot forward. The idea is to convey a sense of luxury and comfort at the same time. Comfort usually means plush furniture and pillows that make you want to sink into them.
Anyway, I was walking through in the evening, and the colors caught my eye. I had been sitting here a few hours earlier to meet someone, but hardly noticed it in the daylight. I’m continually surprised at how light affects a place. In my opinion, it’s the key to photography. On the top floor, there is a lounge with a spectacular view of the CN Tower. And my room had a pretty nice view of the lake as well. I think the hotel is rated four stars, but from a photographic perspective, it’s easily a five.
Earlier in the year, I was up in Toronto for a quick stay, and at night I wandered around taking photos. This arched walkway is a connector between the convention center and Union Station. Little did I know that this is also where I would catch the train to the airport in the morning. So I ended up at this same spot eight hours later to grab an early flight home.
It was a good idea because a snow storm came in that night and the streets were a mess, but the trains kept rolling. The flight ended up getting delayed anyway, but at least I was at the gate on time.
I used to live in Toronto a long time ago, and I’m sure I walked through this spot at some point. But this time I had my camera, and it seemed new to me. Nevertheless, much of downtown Toronto is connected by covered or underground walkways because of the long winters. I think we should do the same thing down in Florida for the long hot summers. Or, maybe not, we probably spend enough time indoors as it is.
I posted an image of this building last week. Since then I pulled this older one out of my archives and reprocessed it. It’s the first image I took of the World of Science building, however since then I’ve made many more. I was using a Nikon at the time which I later upgraded to a Sony; not that the choice of the camera matters at all.
Here is my original take on it (https://www.flickr.com/photos/justenoughfocus/9109050970/in/dateposted/). I don’t reprocess images too often, but every once in a while I wonder what it would look like with newer software and updated sensibilities. My sensibilities are like software; they get upgraded every year or two as well.
Because of its shape and location by the water, there are no bad angles. You could make a study of this building from different perspectives which is what I’ve done over the years. With the amount of construction in Vancouver, it seems that even the view gets upgraded every other year.
The geodesic dome on the right is the Telus World of Science. I took this photo while standing on the Cambie Street Bridge in Vancouver. I’ve made different shots over the years, here is one from roughly the same angle and here is another.
To Vancouverites, this is a typical scene; in fact, the sight is just part of the scenery. That’s true of anything we see day-in-day-out. But when I come back after being away, walking across the bridge at night is one of my favorite past times.
In fact, you can walk all over Vancouver; you don’t need a car. I rarely rent one when I’m here unless I’m traveling outside the city. Mostly I take the Skytrain which you can see in this picture.
Anyway, the building is a science museum and is an icon of the city. I’ve spent a lot of time around it just taking pictures. It’s an easy thing to do; and as its a geodesic dome, there aren’t any bad angles. Nevertheless, one of my favorites is from the Cambie bridge like this.
I took this about four years ago when I was in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. It’s a part of the Wild Pacific Trail that traces the coastline. It’s a well-maintained trail with benches like this every half mile or so.
I was here in late August (or “Fogust” as the locals say) when a thick fog would roll in most afternoons. You could see it sitting just offshore, and then at the right time it would approach and before you could say Foghorn Leghorn, you were in it. In this image, you can see it about a mile offshore.
Benches or empty chairs in an image allow us to imagine sitting there in the scene. Our eyes follow the direction it points, similar to a leading line, only with a different device. When a photo makes us look in a particular direction, it has captured our imagination as we weave our own story in the scene. However, if it has thick fog, that would be something different entirely.
The walkway is in a familiar spot of downtown Vancouver that looks across the bay to West Vancouver. If you look closely, you can barely make out the snowcapped peaks rising above the city. I’ve wandered here many times for the view but this was my is my first attempt at capturing it.
It’s part of a structure that houses the Cactus Club Café but also has a walkway on the roof made of grass. It’s next to the conversion center which also has a grass roof.
The whole place is unique, but if you live here or have visited a lot like me, this gets overlooked. Everywhere you look in this section of town is unusual architecture and public art. It’s a feast for the eyes that’s balanced by the natural scenery. Just another little vignette of Canada’s west coast city by the sea.
Here is another image from Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island. I cannot fathom living eight-hundred years. Imagine the stories these trees could tell. After that length of time, I suppose the stories would go on and on.
After looking at these images, I am pining to go back. Knock on wood I’ll have a chance soon. Short of that, I’ll just have to lumber along here in Florida. Forgive me dear blog reader, you do not deserve to be pun-ished this way.
One good thing about living eight-hundred years is that the statute of limitations is on your side. Whatever you did in the last century is forgotten, unless, of course, you’re a tree. In that case, your neighbors know your business. Do trees forget?
If you’ve found this blog post informative, then I’m clearly not doing my job today.
You’ll never guess where this is from. If you need a hint, look for the flag. But seriously, the rain should give it away for sure.
I was wandering around the downtown part of the city on a Sunday morning before my flight home. When I arrived here there was no one around on account of the rain. But, being an iconic spot, within three minutes a bus full of Chinese tourists arrived and started taking selfies. It was a comical scene and so I sat on a bench to watch the ensuing chaos. Five minutes later they climbed back onto the bus and were off to the next location.
Iconic locations are fun to shoot, and with a little effort, you can add your own spin. Many famous photographers seek out the same landmarks around the world. I’m not super motivated to do that. But if I happen to be there then why not, it’s still fun. In fact, it can be more fun to shoot the people at an iconic location than the location itself. Wished I’d thought of that before I took this.