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 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.
This is from Cathedral Grove in British Columbia. It’s a relatively small area filled with Douglas Fir and Red Cedar. Some of the trees are 800 years old and 250 feet high. The forest is considered rare and endangered, the trees are prized by the logging industry. You can find out more about that here.
Having walked through it on a couple of occasions I can say there is a special feeling you get. There aren’t many places like this remaining on the planet, so I hope we can preserve it and the forests around it.
We passed by here on our way to Ucluelet from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. We were so moved by the size and grace of the trees that a week later we stopped again on the way back. On each occasion, we walked in quiet reverie induced by our surroundings. I took a lot of pictures and am just now getting back to some of these images that remind me of this special place.
Here is a bend in along the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet BC. While staying here a few years ago I took hikes along this trail and spent hours taking photos of the views. However, in this case, it was the trail itself that caught my imagination.
The trail itself is well maintained and has spectacular vistas of the rugged coast below. We stayed at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort which is on the trail itself. All I had to do was walk outside the room and I was on the trail.
Some stretches of the trail would wind through the woods, and then open up at an overlook of the Pacific Ocean. It was a fun walk because at almost every there was a surprise waiting. The problem for me was knowing when to turn back. I would walk for miles and lose track of time and then have to pick up the pace on my way back.
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.
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.
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.
A couple of years ago I was in the small fishing village of Ucluelet, British Columbia. In the center of town on a hill, I noticed this old church that seems to be in need of a paint job. Its rustic appearance piqued my interest and I took a photo that I haven’t processed until now.
The reason I waited so long is that the church is actually obscured by all kinds of wires. What I did was to use Photoshop to remove all of the wires. Because there were so many it took me hours of detailed work to get this image. To get a sense of what the scene really looked like, take a look at this image from Google Maps.
For me, I prefer the version without the wires. I know it’s not real, but I do these things because it resonates with me as I look for an aesthetic amongst the chaos. I think the image is more interesting now, even though it’s not completely real. And besides, the process of removing the wires was almost like a meditation on removing complexity. There is probably a nugget of wisdom in there somewhere.