My Top Photos for 2015

I’m a little behind on this, but what another awesome year we had as a family! We were fortunate enough to travel a great deal and had a lot of fun along the way. Here’s some of my favourite images along the way.

Waves

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. - Albert Camus
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. – Albert Camus

Stargazing

Spirit Island has been on my bucket list for a while now, and so I was thrilled to be able to visit it this summer. It's a gorgeous spot to say the least and it was made even better as I was able to go there with a few of my favourite people!
Spirit Island has been on my bucket list for a while now, and so I was thrilled to be able to visit it this summer. It’s a gorgeous spot to say the least and it was made even better as I was able to go there with a few of my favourite people!

Solitude

An explosion of epic colour as seen this past summer at Quadra Island, BC. f
An explosion of epic colour as seen this past summer at Quadra Island, BC.

Playground

Overlander Falls on the Fraser River in Mount Robson Provincial Park. For those interested in the technical. This is a four shot panorama. I used a Lee Filter Little Stopper to obtain a 13 second exposure to smooth the water.
Overlander Falls on the Fraser River in Mount Robson Provincial Park. For those interested in the technical. This is a four shot panorama. I used a Lee Filter Little Stopper to obtain a 13 second exposure to smooth the water.

Overlander Falls Trail

Kinney Lake along the Berg Lake Trail. A little piece of paradise.
Kinney Lake along the Berg Lake Trail. A little piece of paradise.

Peaking Through

We made a quick stop at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park near Parksville, BC. With all the rain we've had lately, the water is really raging through the canyon. It was difficult keeping my lens clear at this misty falls!
We made a quick stop at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park near Parksville, BC. With all the rain we’ve had lately, the water is really raging through the canyon. It was difficult keeping my lens clear at this misty falls!
A beautiful morning at Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park.
A beautiful morning at Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park.
Radiator Springs in California Adventure, Disneyland.
Radiator Springs in California Adventure, Disneyland.
"How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir
“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! – John Muir
Beautiful morning light dancing through my frame!
Beautiful morning light dancing through my frame!

Cryptic Message

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Buttle Lake in Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island at first light. f
Buttle Lake in Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island at first light.

2016 is looking like a slower year travel wise, but we’re looking forward to more local adventures on Vancouver Island. Thank you for following us along the way!

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Lush Forest to Secluded Beaches

Schooner Cove in Pacific Rim National Park is a great afternoon adventure suitable for families. It features:

  • Rainforest
  • Beautiful secluded sandy beaches
  • Tidal Pools
  • Box Island
  • Wildlife
  • Waves
  • 2 kilometres one way with 336 stairs

Park at the well marked parking lot off of the Pacific Rim Highway (4) about 16 kilometres south of Tofino. Start off on a relatively easy two kilometre trail. The scenic hike wanders through lush rainforest before arriving at a spectacular beachfront area. You will pass giant cedars, a number of small gullies and over a few bridges spanning small creeks. Near the end of the trail you will pass a 600 year old sitka spruce. As you get closer to the beach the rolling sounds of the ocean will greet you.

The pristine beach offers amazing views including rocky outcrops that can be accessed at low tide, so check your tide charts before arriving. A long day of exploring awaits you as you walk south along the beach to Long Beach which is a 10 kilometre expanse of beach. Allow a lot of time, because you will love exploring this area!

If you plan to stay to watch the sunset, remember to bring a flashlight as the densely forested trail back to the parking lot gets really dark!

 

PACK LIST

  • Rain gear
  • Jacket
  • Good hiking shoes or boots
  • Camera
  • Lunch
  • Water
  • Flashlight if staying past sunset

Enjoy!

Fallen Behind

Life has been very busy, and my good intentions of updating this blog once a week have fallen by the wayside.  But, here’s a little update on what’s going on in my world of photography.

Firstly, I’m taking a photography course at the local college. It is an intermediate course covering off such things as flash, and the Zone system. We’re also assigned a theme each week, so it gets me out shooting in that theme. Our images get critiqued by our instructor, which is a little scary (terrifying actually) but the only way you get better is by hearing the good, the bad and the ugly! I’m also connecting with other local photographers. It gets the creative juices flowing! So, in one of our sessions I mentioned to one of the other photogs my interest in one day getting a film camera. She said she had an extra and so a deal was struck! Next class she brings this baby . . .

Pentax Spotmatic

It’s a Pentax Spotmatic with a couple lenses, extension tubes, and a bunch of other goodies! So I’m geeking out over my first film SLR!! It’s older than I am, but seems to work alright. I had to take it down to a local camera shop to get the battery compartment open as it was corroded up, and the light meter wouldn’t work. Ten minutes later, they had it cleaned up and it works! I have yet to have my first roll processed as I’m still working on it, but I like the way shooting film forces you to slow down and think about your shots. I also taught my daughter how to use it so here’s a photo of her shooting with it.

Film Camera Lessons

I’ve also been saving for a new Ultra Wide-Angle lens and finally had enough (and it was on SALE!) so I got the Sony SEL 10-18 F4. I’ve been testing it out of late. Here’s a few shots with the lens:

Taken at Cattle Point in Victoria, BC. I’ve been working at these long exposure shots to improve in this area of photography.

 

 

Taken at Cattle Point in Victoria, BC.
Taken at Cattle Point in Victoria, BC.

Cadboro Bay
Taken at Cadboro Bay

Dancing Magenta
Taken at Cattle Point in Victoria, BC

Pop of Colour
Mount Douglas, Victoria, BC

Mount Douglas Sunset

So far the lens is sharp and I like it. The wide angle is something to get used to but I think it’s a keeper!

I’m on Instagram now and have a separate account for my photography. You can find me at: Carrie Cole Photography

So that’s a wrap for now! Thanks for taking the time folks!

Tall Tree Adventure

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Yes, we are THAT family! What do I mean? Well, the other day I was spending time with a close friend and she was explaining how her husband will spend a full day trying to search down a big tree in a forest, even after the fun factor has waned for the rest of the family. A big tree, she lamented! I laughed and said “I totally get it!” I was, of course, taking the side of her husband for we are THAT family.

I’m blessed with a husband who is crazy kind enough to agree to my crazy ideas. You see, when I see something cool on the internet, I want to go see it for myself. So, that starts the planning process if it is feasible, not dangerous, and is something we can do as a family, including our four year old. Those are the parameters. So, when I suggested we go find the tallest Douglas Fir Tree in the world, and we happened to be in the area, my husband again said, “why not!”

So we set off, but I’m not sure what I was thinking. It was my husband that read the disclaimer about the road which reads:

“**Please take note regarding driving to the Red Creek Fir: The
gravel logging roads from Len’s Main are rarely maintained or
not maintained at all. Use at your own risk. It is recommended that
you have enough gas, a spare tire which is in good condition (and that
you know how to change a flat tire). It is always wise when travelling
in the backcountry to let someone know where you intend to go and
when you will be back. In the event you have car trouble, stay with
your vehicle. It is best to visit the Red Creek Fir in the morning as the
road is rarely travelled after dark. Those driving rental cars should be
aware of rental contracts regarding travel on logging roads. This route
is not recommended for vehicles with low clearance (compacts, sub
compacts, sports cars etc.) SUVs, Pickups and 4x4s are best!!”

For anyone who just has to see it for themselves, here’s some directions.

So, it’s REALLY not suitable for cars! Take my word for it, you really are better off in a truck or SUV. It is bumpy, rocky and clearly not passed very often, as there were branches down along the way that needed to be cleared. My husband didn’t complain even though he had to clear the roadway from fallen branches. So, if you are going to go, bring some gloves or a chainsaw or something to clear the road. My husband had his gardening gloves but it was getting ridiculous after a while, and I even questioned whether it was a good idea! But, we pressed on, and my husband got a good workout.

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Trailhead
Trailhead

So was it worth it? Well, you can judge it for yourself, but this tree is huge! We remarked how it is a marvel that it was even spared from being logged! In addition to this awesome old growth Douglas Fir, there are giant cedars that are awe inspiring! Along the road way there’s a really cool creek which cascades straight down. Truly impressive! A fun adventure for the whole family and another wonder of creation!

Red Creek Fir

Red Creek Fir

Big Tree

Photo credit: Malia Cole
Photo credit: Malia Cole
Photo Credit: Malia Cole
Photo Credit: Malia Cole

Giant Cedar

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Creek

West Coast Vancouver Island

I still haven’t had much time to dig into my shots from Port Renfrew and area on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Life is like that some time. It’s the balance of responsibilities of life.

In the meantime, here’s a couple shots. The first one is Fairy Lake Bonsai presented in landscape orientation:

Fairy Lake Bonsai

The second shot is from Sandcut Beach which is just past Sooke, BC between French Beach and Jordan River. It’s a place that I’ve wanted to go to for a while having heard how awesome it is from friends and also fellow photographers. So, on a lovely spring morning we set off to explore. It’s about a 15 minute from the trailhead to the beach through forest. Once you hit the beach, the falls I’m showing here are to the left about 10 minutes down the beach. I could stay at this spot all day and I’ll definitely return to Sandcut Beach!

Sandcut Beach

Fine art prints available at my WEBSITE.

An Afternoon of Shooting

Camera, Flash, Extension Tubes, Orchid, Plastic Water Bottle . . . . What do these things have in common, you ask? Well the camera, flash and extension tubes are easy to explain but the rest? Well, it was the result of a little time spent experimenting on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

My dear husband brought home an orchid the other day and I immediately starting thinking of the photographic opportunities. Orchids are interesting to look at and I was inspired to spend some time shooting the plant in different ways.

I also bought a flash a while ago and haven’t used it much. I did read a great ebook called Understanding Flash Photography by Bryan Petersen. Some of it went over my head. You see, I learn by doing. So it was time to experiment to see what the different settings actually did.

What are extension tubes you might ask? Well some say it is the poor mans macro lens. But, I like their flexibility because you can throw them onto pretty much any lens and turn it into a macro lens. How do they work? They’re essentially hollow tubes that attach to your camera between the mount and the lens causing the lens to move further away from the sensor. The extra distance between your sensor and lens allows your lens to focus closer. There are no optics in these tubes, so you are basically paying for a hollow tube or air. I have the Kenko Extension Tubes for e-mount which allow for auto-focus and normal control of aperture and shutter-speed. While they do have auto focus, I think macro work lends itself better to manual focus and the depth of field is pretty narrow. Also, my Sony NEX-7 has focus peaking which aids manual focus so it is a really slick set up!

Extension tubes look like this:

Kenko Sony E-Mount Auto Extension Tube Set

Here’s a look at what I shot:

It looks like an Alien to me.

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So where does the plastic water bottle enter into this afternoon of experimentation? Well I was curious what would happen if I shot the flash off through the coloured water bottle and so this is what I got.

Glittering Cave

It looks like a blue glittery cave.

Then I shot through a red water bottle and made some pleasing abstracts.

Red

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It felt good to get the creative juices flowing in this way . . . until next time!

Obsession

I really can’t describe it any other way. Since I spied this tree at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary, I have been obsessed with it. I especially like the way it looks this time of year, and I finally made time to go shoot it on a foggy afternoon with my favourite photographer, my daughter.

Someone has hung a bicycle in the tree from cables, complete with fake flowers in the spokes.  My daughter and I imagined who had done that and why. Was it part of a movie, or a photo shoot? How would a model get on the bicycle. A long ladder or a climb up the gnarly oak tree?

We were visited by neighbourhood black cat, who took a liking to my tripod of all things. Skit scat cat, as I was not looking to move my tripod nor have it come down in the muddy bog.

We enjoyed seeing the Canada geese move through the tall grass with little more than their heads poking up above the grass. My daughter was equipped with a 35mm lens rather than a zoom, and it became a stealthy game to try to get closer to the geese for a shot.

I am thrilled my daughter shares my passion for photography, but not surprised, for she is very creative and has a good eye. I’m enjoying sharing my knowledge, and all and all an enjoyable afternoon for both!

Obsession DSC02113 DSC02120 DSC02141-Edit-2-Edit Bicycle in a Tree Swan Lake Bridge