I can be such a tourist at times, like when I took this shot of the Vancouver Convention Centre against the back drop of the harbour, bridge and mountains. It would not surprise me if there are a thousand of these photos taken everyday. To prove my point there was a little plaque where I stood to describe the scene. One minor difference is that I took this at an ungodly hour on a Sunday morning before any self respecting tourist was out of bed.
But its karma, or something like it. I live in an area of Florida where there are a lot of tourists, so it’s only fair that I should get to be a tourist once in a while. Actually, it’s not karma, its more like tourism payback, serious payback. That makes no sense.
Off to the right is the Lions Gate Bridge, beyond that are the mountains and at the tops you can make out the lights of Cypress Bowl, a local ski area. Between the bridge and the convention centre is Stanley Park and to the foreground of that is the sea plane port. But the one thing that catches my eye, and everyone else eye, yet gets left out of the tourist plaques is the gas station. Why on gods green earth they decided to put a gas station in the middle of Vancouver Harbour I’ll never know. But there it sits, along side all the other icons of Vancouver. Interesting.
This is the end of Lake Wakatipu in Glenorchy. I was here a couple of years ago on a Trey Ratcliff photo adventure. I had just switched from Nikon to Sony and so was still struggling with the placement of the buttons and menus. Sometimes I go back and look at my settings and wonder what I was thinking, like this one, my aperture was f10; seems a bit high. Maybe I should just forget about that and just enjoy the scenery. Forget I even mentioned it.
I was going back to look at my New Zealand photos and found this sitting in the bit bucket. I started working on its just out of curiosity and then got carried away. All the while I was thinking I’d seen this before. Sure enough, I’d processed and posted this same picture. My techniques and eye are constantly changing and this time the result was different. So maybe I should have titled it Glenorchy Part 2, …or some such thing.
Boy, if I could go back in time and make different choices. Well, just a few. Like buying a certain company stock when it was really cheap. Oh well, until I invent a time machine I’ll just live in the present, learn from the past, place one foot in front of the other, you know the drill. Actually, I’m kind of glad I can’t go back, it seems the longer I live the less confused things are. So going back and buying that stock might just put me into a place I don’t want to be. Hmmmm, … tis a bit of a conundrum.
The coast of British Columbia is made up of islands, one after another, as far as the eye can see. I imagine this scene must have remained the same for the nine thousand years that the first nations inhabited this area. These were solely inhabited by indigenous tribes up until a couple centuries ago. I know this because when I took this picture I was standing on the grounds of the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver. The MoA is largely dedicated to preserving remnants from those people.
The MoA contains artifacts, writings and art from these cultures and I left there with a new sense respect. A good museum does that, takes us outside of ourselves and provides different perspectives we can use to understand the world. I think that whether I descend from these people or not, we inhabit the same space and share the same planet and based on that we are more alike than different. I know that’s a little bit cliche, but it helps me understand their story just a little bit, starting from what we have in common. It’s a stretch, but it’s a start. Regardless, I left feeling a little bit conflicted about the current state of things. A problem for another day perhaps.
The next day I was walking through a crowded park in the city. Along a trail by a pond was a young lady holding her right hand out. I thought that was a little odd so I continued looking as I approached. In fact she was holding out bird seed and feeding some small finches as they landed on her hand. She did not look at me as she remained perfectly still, hand outstretched. I smiled and walked on, not wanting to disturb her communion, but I did think that was an odd sight, not something I see everyday. Is it possible that centuries ago this might not have appeared so unusual, that it might have been as common as, say, sending a text message? I have no way of knowing, but it made me think that we moderns and those ancients are probably closer at the things that matter than we might know.
This is the Remarkable Mountains as viewed from Kelvin Heights above Queenstown New Zealand. Kelvin Heights is the name I get when I Google it, however the locals call it Deer Park Heights. There is some kind of family dispute over this land, maybe that has something to do with the names, but I digress. I posted this image about a year and a half ago without the clouds but I thought I’d update the image because I prefer clouds in the sky. That morning the sky was rather dull, it was just after sunrise and it had snowed the day before. So, as I do with many of my images, I made it look a little different, the way I wished it had looked. Its like doodling with an image to see what works. For me this is better than the original. At the time I was in New Zealand on a workshop with Trey Ratcliff and I was just beginning to learn how to work with new tools for this kind of thing. I made many friends there as we all practiced composition and post processing with beautiful landscapes like this from all around Queenstown. Since then I’ve learned quite a lot and have developed a preference for a more imaginative style that at times is not at all realistic. If you’ve followed my work you know what I mean. I’m more into creating images from my minds eye, using photography as a tool. So, having gone back to this image I think I like it better than the first version which was more true to life. You may not agree, but that’s okay, on any given day I might just change my mind and agree with you.
This is the view of Mount Edith Cavell from Jasper Park Lodge that I took one summer evening before sunset. I think it’s pretty amazing how long the days are in the summer up here. Its kind of hard to fathom, especially now that I’m writing this in winter when it gets dark many hours earlier. In the evening the angle of the sun is low enough to cast a soft light on everything. I understand that Iceland can be like that for months, I guess that’s next on my list. In any case, Mount Edith Cavell is one of the more iconic landmarks of the Canadian Rockies and having hiked up along side of it, I can say it is indeed massive, even when viewed from twenty kilometers away. A couple of days ago I wrote about the age of the trees in British Columbia. Well, these mountains are millions of years old. That really impresses me because just like the size of these mountains, their age is something I can never really wrap my mind around.
A couple of years ago I was in Jasper Alberta to visit the Canadian Rockies. I arrived by train from Vancouver and then drove and hiked around. Along the way I stayed at the Jasper Park Lodge situated just east of town on Bueuvert Lake. I used a water texture from the mediterranean on the sky and water to add a mystical feel to the image. I would say there is quite a bit of good energy up here in the Rockies, mystical or otherwise. This is another one of those places I need to get back to and in some respects reminds me a little bit of New Zealand.
For some reason I never got around to posting this photo from New Zealand over a year ago. This was taken on a narrow road with switchbacks above vertical drops into a canyon. It’s one of the most dangerous roads in the world, and even walking can be a little harrowing if you’re not paying attention. Case in point, I walked off the road on to this little trail to the right and at the far end slipped on some grass with vertical drops either side. I simply fell on my butt rather than down the cliff so I guess my number wasn’t up yet. There was also a mountain bike trail running down the opposite side of the canyon. It looked pretty extreme from our vantage and given my track record I’m probably better off walking than riding a bike, then again maybe not.
I took this back over a year ago in New Zealand. It was pretty frosty before the sun came up and so when it did we all started peeling off the layers. Nevertheless, getting here early was epic and this moment as the sun rose over the Remarkable mountain range epitomized the natural beauty of the area. Now, I just have to figure out when I’m going back.
An early morning trip on Maligne Lake in Jasper Alberta. These lakes are pristine and in many cases appear turquoise due to the sediments from the surrounding glaciers. This is a popular lake however it’s about ninety minute drive out of town. One you head out on to the lake you are surrounded on all sides by majestic peaks and unforgettable landscapes. But then again, that describes the Jasper in general.
About a year ago I was in a helicopter over the alps of southern New Zealand. It’s been awhile since I posted a photo from there and so it’s time to reminisce the adventure. The alps are nothing short of amazing as you can see. And somewhere up there are surely a few wizards or elfs; such as it is in middle earth.