Lost Lagoon

On one side of Lost Lagoon is Stanly Park and on the other is the big city of Vancouver. You can walk from woods to towers in about ten minutes.

Lost Lagoon
Lost Lagoon
There is nothing “lost” about this lagoon in Vancouver, BC.

The name “Lost Lagoon” comes from a poem written by Pauline Johnson and laments how she lost the use of the lagoon for canoeing when the tide was out. I looked up that bit of trivia, so now we all know the origins of the name. The lagoon is now a lake cut off from the bay, so presumably, you can canoe without worrying about the tides.

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Usually I might try to frame a shot like this using the rule of thirds, but in this case, the reflections produce a beautiful symmetry. In my mind its a kind of urban dreamscape.

Vancouver

A few years ago I took a seaplane flight over Vancouver and the surrounding islands. I captured this image as we climbed out of the harbor and circled back over the city.

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Vancouver
Vancouver as viewed from a sea plane

I had the back row seat to myself and could slide from side to side to take photos. It was as good as being in a helicopter. I used to come up here regularly and walked nearly every street in the city. But that’s not unusual, it’s a bike and pedestrian friendly town, so people walk or ride everywhere.

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Since I took this almost three years ago, the skyline has changed a little. But much of it is the same and landmarks like the BC Place arena, Stanley Park and the Lionsgate Bridge will probably not change for a very long time if ever. What you don’t see are the mountains over on the right. But if you could, you would understand why this is only the half of it.

Over Vancouver

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.

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Over Vancouver
Taken from a seaplane while sightseeing over Vancouver BC

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.

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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.

Upgrades

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.

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Upgrades
The view of the TELUS World of Science building in Vancouver, BC

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.

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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.

View From Cambie Street Bridge

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.

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View From Cambie Street Bridge
A view of the Telus Science World at the end of False Creek in Vancouver

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.

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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.

West Vancouver View

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.

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West Vancouver View
The view of West Vancouver from atop the Cactus Club Cafe

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.

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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.

Common Threads

This is a section of the Arthur Erickson designed Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver. To be clear, I didn’t know about the architect until just now when I looked him up. But if you’re like me, you’ll recognize his work in other major cities. He even has a blog on Tumblr. Say what?

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Common Threads
This is the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver

This makes me realize there are so many things I don’t know. It’s a revelation to learn that things I’ve regularly seen have something in common. Each one is so unusual that I’ve wondered about it, only to become aware of the threads when pointed out.

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It makes me wonder how many other things have unseen associations. Intuitively I feel this must be the case on many levels; there are more associations in life than we will ever consciously know. For me, one of the little pleasures in life is the revelation that comes with seeing the bigger picture.

Impossible View

This view of Vancouver is from the convention center. The photo is a composite with the stars added to the sky for effect. I’ve taken this same shot a number of times, so I decided to get a little creative. This view is not possible in the real world.

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Impossible View
An imagined view of Vancouver with bright stars.

Photos of stars get overpowered by light pollution from cities. Even though I don’t live in a large city, I run into the same problem back home. Almost everywhere people live, light from the ground interferes with starlight. Fortunately, with image processing tools we can clean up most of it. But there’s no substitute for going somewhere remote and seeing bright stars at night.

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Most of the pictures that the astronauts take from the ISS are pointed back at Earth. Personally, I wonder what it is like looking in the other direction. My guess/hope is that there are more stars than can be seen on earth and that the galactic core of the Milky Way is easily visible. I guess the only way to know for sure is to ask an astronaut or, book a flight and see for myself. I’m adding that to the list now.

What I Saw in My Mind

Walking to the train one morning in Vancouver I noticed this cruise ship at dock. It arrived a few hours earlier and was preparing for another voyage to Alaska. A common site in the summer but nonetheless it looked awesome in the morning light so I took a few photos; this is what I saw in my mind. Let me explain…

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What I Saw in My Mind
What I Saw in My Mind – From Vancouver BC

I spent a lot of time on this photo to make it look like what you see here. The original photo didn’t look so pretty. It had a lot of distractions, including other boats and a parking lot in the lower right. So I manipulated it to make it look like what I thought I saw. What we perceive is usually different than what we see. In other words, we perceive what we want to see and have a tendency to screen the rest; so this image is now closer to what I thought I saw.

At the time I only noticed the boat, it stood out because it wasn’t there the day before. I also noticed the soft light of the morning sun reflecting on the side. I thought to myself that it was an awesome scene, but when I looked at the image later there were other things I didn’t remember seeing, like the parking lot for instance. Rather than get disappointed and throw it away, it became a challenge for me to see if I could replicate my initial impression.

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To my way of thinking the practice of photography is an expression of art. If I just want to record an event I snap a photo with my phone. But “photography” can be more than that. That doesn’t mean it should always be manipulated, but it should tell a story. In this case I did indeed manipulate it so that I could convey the story what I perceived in my mind on that summer morning in Vancouver.

Another View of Burnaby

This is another view of Burnaby BC that I took from about ten miles away in downtown Vancouver. I think they refer to it as a bedroom community but that sounds strange; Burnaby is anything but sleepy. There is a lot of construction going on and it seems every time I come back the skyline has changed.

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Another View of Burnaby
Another View of Burnaby BC, just outside of Vancouver

Speaking of skylines, what looks like a hill to the right of the buildings is Central Park, something I posted about recently. It’s not really a hill, what you see is the contour of the tall cedars against the skyline.

This type of view is what I call my rule of tenths. In photography there is a “rule of thirds” which recommends segmenting the composition into thirds. I use that a lot but sometimes I feel that the sky deserves more than just a third, in cases like this I give it about nine-tenths.

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The reason I do that is my own sense of perspective. I have a habit of drawing back from a subject, be it in photography or life, and trying to see things in relation to how it fits in. With something as big and complex as a city, it helps to get a little distance. At least that’s my theory; it works for me, …usually.