I love trail shots for the sense it creates of going somewhere and, a natural desire to know what’s just around the corner. This trail, in particular, is especially good for that; it has hundreds of turnouts that open on amazing views of the pacific.
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.
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.
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.
I took this in British Columbia while returning from a whale watching trip at a group of islands just offshore. Patches of fog started to form in the afternoon as we made our way back to port. The coast of BC can be treacherous and only the most experience sailors have any right to navigate here. There were buoys with bells and fog horns everywhere. The fog renders your eyes useless and so without electronics you must navigate by ear; not for the faint of heart. Even so it makes for ethereal scenery, especially from a boat.
There is an automated lighthouse in Ucluelet not too far from here. Basically the horn begins sounding whenever the fog rolls in. I’m sure it’s reassuring to sailors because from what I saw the fog rolls in pretty fast. I was told the month of August is also known as “Fogust”. Standing safely on shore I could hear the bells of the buoys and the horn of the lighthouse for miles around. When I first arrived the sounds were new and unusual but by the time I left they’d become an integral part of the sights and sounds of these costal communities.
There are many forms of water in nature but perhaps not so often do we think about it in it’s gaseous state. Yet it can shroud the sky, land and water in a cloak that despite it’s willowy nature, becomes impenetrable to all but the most skilled among us. It was after staying here a week that I gained a whole new respect for sailors and, for that matter, pilots too.
This driftwood house is along the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet. The West coast of Vancouver Island looks a lot like this, rugged coves, black rock and driftwood. I’m not sure who constructed this but it was no small undertaking. Maybe not a posh resort, but if you consider the mountains, ocean and stars at night it comes pretty close. In my estimation the only thing missing is a campfire and some marshmallows.
I couldn’t get enough of the fog when I visited Ucluelet earlier in the year. However I doubt the mariners felt the same way, just makes everything more difficult all around. The fog horns, the buoy bells and what must be frayed nerves as the boats head to harbour. But I don’t normally think about all that when I eat seafood. In any case, the cloak of mystery that is added to the landscape is unlike anything. It’s no wonder they call it Super Natural British Columbia.
We passed this little isle on the way out to the pacific from Ucluelet, BC. I don’t know but I wouldn’t be surprised if spirits of the first nations ancestors inhabit this spot. Its passed by countess vessels each day, and if I lived here I’d probably ignore it, but I don’t and so it caught my attention. Nonetheless I think it’s relatively undisturbed and the perfect place to dwell, in mind or spirit.
While returning from whale watching afternoon fog started rolling in and as we passed little inlets like this it created a misty, almost mysterious scene. I think the combination of ocean, mountains and inlets makes for a lot of little micro climates. You can never how the weather will change, only that it will. Little islands like this could have sea lions or otters, but on shore it’s not uncommon to see bears in search of food. In fact I did see a three year old black not far from here earlier in the day.