Autumn Colours

A beautiful Fall day to witness the trees and shrubbery that are now turning brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. The mountains had a light dusting of snow on their peaks. A couple of curious Grey Jays or Whiskey Jacks kept me company as I was taking images.

Posted in Autumn, Birds, British Columbia, Mountains | Leave a comment

Northern Flicker – Male (Red Shafted)

I spent some time this morning taking images of a Northern Flicker which is a type of woodpecker. You wouldn’t expect to see a woodpecker on the ground, but the Northern Flicker spends a lot of time there digging for ants and beetles with their slightly curved bill. In eastern North America the Flickers flight-feather shafts are lemon yellow and in the west they are rosy red. The Northern Flicker has beautiful plumage and this particular bird with the red moustache stripe is a male. Click on the photo to see a larger version.

Posted in Autumn, Birds, British Columbia, Science, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

The Rock Climber

This photo of a rock climber standing on a small ledge shows how insignificant a person can be when compared to nature. The Stawamus Chief is a giant granite monolith that is world famous for its climbing. Sometimes referred to as ‘Yosemite North’, it has immense vertical walls, long cool slabs and beautiful cracks that provides a variety of climbing. I was taking photos late in the day when the setting sun was casting a warm glow on the granite face. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in Autumn, British Columbia, Inspiring, Mountains, West Coast | Leave a comment

The Beaver – A Watershed Engineer

This morning I was watching a pair of beavers eating the bark off of water soaked branches with their large orange incisors and preening their fur to remove dirt and straighten matted fur. The beaver is an emblem we’re reminded of every time we fish a nickel out of our pockets. The beaver nearly became extinct as a result of the fur trade, luckily Europeans took a liking to silk hats and the demand for beaver pelts disappeared. They are a keystone species in temperate and boreal forest aquatic ecosystems. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in Autumn, British Columbia, Historical, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Good News

The New Democratic Party followed through on one of its campaign promises and announced that they are banning grizzly bear trophy hunting in British Columbia, which will take effect on November 30, 2017. Individuals will still be able to hunt grizzly bears for their meat and environmental groups are concerned about this loophole.

I recently spent a week photographing grizzly bears. They are beautiful animals and it was a humbling experience. There is a strong argument for stopping the hunt:

1.) Bears are vulnerable – nine of the province’s fifty seven grizzly population units are listed as threatened.
2.) Sound science says the hunt can’t be maintained – more bears are being killed than government quotas allow.
3.) Living Bears are worth more – bear viewing companies directly employed an estimated 510 people in 2012, in contrast to hunting guide outfitters, who created a mere 11 jobs.
4.) Grizzly bears are an integral part of the ecosystems where they live
5.) The vast majority support a ban – eighty seven percent of British Columbians want the trophy hunt banned in the Great Bear Rainforest. Eighty per cent of residents want the ban extended to the entire province.

You can see my grizzly bear images and purchase prints here.

Posted in British Columbia, Science, Summer, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Summer Days

The Johnstone Strait area gets over 150 cm’s of annual rainfall. It creates a very lush and green environment. This photo was taken in the village of Alert Bay on Cormorant Island which is the home of the U’mista Cultural Centre and museum. It has an amazing collection of First Nations potlatch artifacts. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in British Columbia, Historical, Summer, Travel, West Coast | Leave a comment

The Great Blue Heron

The most commonly employed hunting technique of the Great Blue Heron is wading slowly with its long legs through shallow water and quickly spearing fish with its long, sharp bill. It’s the largest North American heron. As I was watching this heron, I noticed it was very patient and consistently catching small fish. Click on an image to see a larger version.

Posted in Birds, British Columbia, Science, Summer, West Coast | Leave a comment

Osprey ( Pandion Haliaetus )

I spent a few evenings taking images of an adult osprey as it was feeding on fish. It would fly just off the shore as the tide was coming in, looking down for fish in the water. The pattern it was flying reminded me of the circuit planes fly around an airport. The osprey would fly downwind over the ocean and then turn upwind as it hunted for fish. By flying into the wind it could fly slower and hover more easily before diving into the water feet-first to grasp its prey. When it caught a fish and began to climb it also shook itself like a dog when it steps out of water. The osprey is the only bird of prey that feeds exclusively on live fish. After catching a fish it carries it headfirst to make it as aerodynamic as possible. I feel truly blessed that this beautiful raptor let me spend some time with it. Click on an image to see a larger version.

Posted in Birds, British Columbia, Inspiring, Science, Summer, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

The Grand Old Lady of Granville

Today I spent some time exploring the Orpheum theatre with my camera. It was built from 1926 to 1927 and is a National Historic Site. At the time of construction storefront property on Granville street was expensive. Joseph Langer found a way around this by purchasing a small piece of property for the entrance and then built the theatre itself on the next street over, Seymour street, where land was more affordable.

The Orpheum Theatre was designed by the Scottish architect B. Marcus Priteca, who designed nearly two hundred theatres from San Diego to Alaska. Priteca was a master at economically creating the illusion of opulence with plasterwork on reinforced concrete. 

The design contains a number of different architectural influences – the vaulted ceilings of the main concourse and foyer and the terra cotta undersides of the marquees and the travertine walls and pillars are Italian influenced, there are exotic ceiling motifs, crests of British heraldry, chandeliers of Czechoslovakian crystal, Moorish-inspired organ screens, and Baroque ceiling and dome covers. 

When I walk around the Orpheum, the combination of the red carpet and the eerie light cast from the chandeliers, reminds me of Stanley Kubrick’s movie The Shining. To scroll through the gallery of images click on the first image and then use the left and right keys on your keyboard.

Posted in British Columbia, Historical, Summer, West Coast | Leave a comment

Telescope Time

Last night the sky was clear and I was fortunate to spend some time looking through a large telescope. When viewing the moon I could clearly see craters caused by asteroids and meteorites colliding with the lunar surface. In one crater there were two mountains inside of it and sunlight was shining on its peaks. Later in the evening Jupiter rose and four of its moons were visible. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in Night Photography, Science | Leave a comment