Tag Archives: Pacific Northwest

These waters – Photo Wednesday

Above: classic shot of the Fog Alarm Building at East Point, Saturna Island, British Columbia.

And below, I tried to catch the sky reflected in a puddle left in sandstone hollows, on the “other side” of East Point.

The other side of East Point, Saturna Island, British Columbia. Photo by Andrée Fredette

If you like blues, this is the place. In these waters, an entire palette of blues is deployed every day.

Islet with approaching fog. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: an islet before the approaching fog engulfs it… Viewed from the ferry.

HMCS Oriole, oldest commissioned vessel in the Royal Canadian Navy. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And the same morning, again from the ferry, an apparition: the HMCS Oriole, the oldest commissioned vessel in the Royal Canadian Navy. It is a  31 m (101 ft 8 in) sailing ketch built in 1921. (I had to look it up.)

 Evening sail, by Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And I leave you with these sailors, stretching the day into evening.

Navy Channel Sunset. Photo by Andrée FredetteSummer is here. How about a tequila sunset?

Into the woods – Photo Wednesday

Above: true Pacific Northwest rainforest… abundant mosses draping every limb.

This post is a bit of reminiscing about past outdoor trips. And dreaming of new trips in the future.

Secret waterfall, from a forest service road. Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

The photo above was taken from a forest service road on Vancouver Island, BC. I have no idea where I was (I leave the details to the trip leader) exactly, but I remember it with great fondness.

Big trees. Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredettte

I wanted to show how dwarfed we are by the forest giants. We humans are such small creatures…

 

Big trees, hard route. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Getting to the big trees is not for the faint of heart. Hard route, uphill mostly.

 

July forest floor contrats. Photo by Andrée Fredette

The forest floor also offers interesting contrasts.

 

How tall are the firs? Very tall. Photo by Andrée Fredette

How tall are the Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii), you ask? Very tall. Look up, go ahead.

And in late spring, those fir trees are procreating. Have a look at Douglas fir female cones, in the spring…

Douglas Fir female cones. Photo by Andrée Fredette

While we are on reproduction, here is the Salal (Gaultheria shalllon) version, beautiful dainty blossoms…

Salal blossoms. Photo by Andrée Fredette

“How I go to the woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.”  ― Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

****

Me again, I will finish with a photo of an orchid that is sweetly growing in my garden… and nobody has witnessed me talking to it…

Orchid in June, Saturna Island. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Sunset magic – Photo Wednesday

Above: from the archives, a particularly moody August sunset from 2009, over Navy Channel, in the Southern Gulf Islands of the British Columbia coast.

Several days in a row this week, the sunsets have been very special. All warm shades, with a little contrast for good measure.

April 18 sunset, all liquid colours. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above, that was on April 18, to the right of the horizon. Golden mellow.

April 18 sunset, all cool shades. Photo by Andrée Fredette

At the same time, all the cool shades were gathered on the left of the horizon…

I started taking pictures of sunsets from my perch on this island right from the get-go. Here is why:

December 2005 sunset with Pender Island in the background. Photo by Andrée Fredette

That photo is from December 2005, early days of digital cameras.  The pixels are little “rough”, but they do convey the magical quality of the light, and bright colours at sundown. That boat was in a hurry to get home before dark…

But let me show you a few more examples from various seasons, to give you an idea of the range of colours and cloud patterns involved.

Sunset magic over Pender Island forest. Photo by Andrée Fredette

One evening, that was the sight: the sky on fire above Pender Island’s forest.

Sunset magic, Southern Gulf Islands, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

The sky show can be spectacular. I love the light on the water, above.

Dramatic November sunset over Pender Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And clouds can create some truly dramatic effects.

Sunset drama over Navy Channel, Southern Gulf Islands, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

I did mention that I love the sunset reflection in the water. Here is my shot of that liquid gold, rippling after a boat went through the sound.

Sunset reflected in the water. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And there are bonus points if you can observe the sunset from a high vantage point, on a cloudy evening. Big payoff!

Sunset blues over the Southern Gulf Islands. Photo by Andrée Fredette

I leave you with this “sunset blues” version. Play some Mozart at sunset, it suits the mood.

Arbutus (madrone) – Photo Wednesday

Above: Lucky afternoon shot. From his perch on an arbutus high above Fiddler’s Cove, that eagle was keeping an eye on the water.

Arbutus is a fascinating tree because it is constantly changing. Its bark renews itself every year, peeling off old layers to reveal pistachio-green fresh skin.

Arbutus revealing new bark. Photo by Andrée Fredette

If they are near your house, you might call them messy trees because they are constantly dropping something on the ground: bark, limbs, waxy flower buds, fruits not eaten by the birds, and dry leaves. Year round. A broom can be handy, to clear a path among the detritus.

Still, they are just beautiful. Have a look.

Arbutus bark. Photo by Andrée Fredette

How is that for visual rhythm?

Another afternoon shot, focusing on the bark, curling and peeling off.

Arbutus bark curl, close-up. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Right now, they are blooming, attracting lots of bees.

Arbutus bloom. Photo by Andrée Fredette

A close-up of the flower, which is waxy and heavy for its size (tiny).
Arbutus (madrone) bloom close-up. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Arbutus is a tree of coastal British-Columbia, the only native broadleaf evergreen tree in Canada. Its other common name is madrone, a Spanish word for the strawberry tree, of which arbutus is a close relative.

Arbutus on bluff, Saturna Island. Photo by Andrée Fredette

It likes sunny and dry conditions. Like rocky bluffs.

And in the fall, some years, it produces great crops of tiny fruit that are loved by the birds.

Arbutus fruit. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Go hug a tree, it’s good for the soul.

Weekend Report

Above: close-up of a flowering tree on East Point Road, Saturna Island, BC. Roadside poetry…

What follows is a visual report of my weekend. It involved a little commute on the ferry, a little road trip on Vancouver Island, and a little excursion to Winter Cove park on Saturna Island.

From the back of the ferry, fog between Saturna and Pender Islands, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

On Friday morning, we left on the mid-morning ferry and I got to admire the fog that was caught between islands, hanging on before the sun could do its thing and burn it out…

Islet in the fog, Southern Gulf Islands, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

This is the cute islet that lies just off North Pender Island. I don’t know its name, but it stands out in a lovely silhouette, against a fog backdrop.

While on Vancouver Island, I got to admire the greenery in bloom, including this tall Oregon grape…

Tall Oregon grape, in bloom. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And while walking in a meadow, I caught a glance of a hawk overhead. I was a little slow on the photo op, and got him a little bit “fuzzy”.

 

Hawk overhead

Patrolling the fields for mice and other goodies, no doubt.

Back on Saturna after a pleasant road trip and a return ferry commute, we all headed to the pub for sundown.

Pub sundown, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

The sky and water had a dramatic moment…

Sunset on April 2nd, from the Pub on Saturna. Photo by Andrée Fredette

You have to keep a watch on the sky and water, at sunset. It pays off handsomely.

 

And this morning, I headed to Winter Cove with a friend, and looked for spring wildflowers.

Fawn Lily season at the Cove. Photo by Andrée Fredette

We were rewarded. Lots of Fawn lilies (Erythronium oregonum) and what looks like soon-to-open chocolate lilies (maybe).

 

Fawn lily single. Photo by Andrée Fredette

There is always one that stands out. This was the pinky one:

 

Fawn lily with a pink shading. Photo by Andrée Fredette

There were masses of them, right up to the edge of the rocky shore.

Fawn lilies by the ocean. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And there were also daisies here and there.

Daisy at Winter Cove. Photo by Andrée Fredette

At the water’s edge, a solitary heron was watching the shallows.

Heron silhouette. Photo by Andrée Fredette

It is good to get out and breathe some fresh air.