This is a journal of our retirement move and life in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island's ruggedly beautiful west coast. The town's motto is "Enjoy life on the edge".

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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Wick Beach Quickee

Just a couple of quick snaps from our quick walk at Wick Beach yesterday. Quick, because Marcelle has been suffering from what the doctor calls "chilblains", where her toes are very tender and sore. Not overly conducive to walking too much!

These were taken with my Voigtländer 12mm wide angle and I love the how much you can fit into the frame with this lens.

Time enough for a bit of a beach walk, cop a squat on a log and have a muffin and a latte. Quick, but satisfying.


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Rainforest Walk Redux

This morning, I took Marcelle to the Lost Shoe Trail, or as it is also known, the Walk in the Rainforest Trail. Now that I had a mental map of the trail, I wanted to show it to Marcelle as she is always enchanted by the rainforest.

This time, I shot predominantly with my Voigtländer 12mm f5.6 lens (18mm 35EQ) to get a very wide view of the forest. The tricky bit is trying to setup the tripod on the narrow boardwalks.

The sun was streaming through the canopy, delicately rim-lighting leaves and lichens; broad rays painting the forest floor in a green-based chiaroscuro.


Marcelle is always fascinated and delighted by the new spring growth and was marveling at the tiny new leaves.

There are, as in all rainforests, all manner of interesting stumps and things that catch your eye, and it's easy to anthropomorphisize them and find familiar 'images'. For example, this stump below instantly struck me as a psychadelic cow, with a cigar in its mouth.

Well, er, perhaps those mushrooms had something to do with it.

It will be fun to go back when the salmon are running and get some shots of the spectacle.

More to come from this cool little hike. Hey, we still have to explore the right-hand fork at the second Tee-junction. Stay cool!


Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Trail of the Lost Shoe and the Bog

Yesterday, I returned to a favorite hike, the Shorepine Bog trail, but before that, I stopped off to have a look at Lost Shoe Creek. This is the "Walk in the Rainforest" trail on Highway 4 just before the Ukee/Tofino junction. I hadn't seen this trail yet, and detoured there for a look.


The trail, is quite twisty in parts, and on natural ground, and in other places it becomes a boardwalk that snakes through the thick growth, past monumentally large nurse-logs that seem to rear up like the carcasses of ships thrown hither-thither by a tsunami.


There are some really nice interpretive placards along the trail, but sadly lacking, however, are signs to guide your route. It appears to be a loop, but you are presented with unmarked Tee-junctions... three of them. At the second, I took a guess and stayed left, so I have no idea just where that right-hand path leads. At the next Tee, I hung right, thinking it was the path back to the parking lot. That notion was soon abused, as there was considerably more boardwalk than I remembered. Finally, the boardwalk ended at a platform overlooking the scene you see below:

Quite why this is supposed to be worthy of all that boardwalk is, unfortunately, not explained. Presumeably, it is the creek that runs through here that is touted as a salmon spawning area. Ah well, I wound my way back and took the right path at the Tee, and then again at the next Tee, and finally, back to the car. Hmmmph! Three images from the whole tramp! Maybe I'll have to try it again some other time, now that I have a mental map of it in my head, and won't be so intent on not being lost... like the damn shoe the creek is named for I guess.

Onward to the bog! The Shorepine Bog has been growing on me in the two occasions that I previously visited. The first time didn't seem to really take, but the subsequent trip just captivated me. Just to switch it up, I did what I often do with loop trails, and do them backwards every now and then. It gives a different perspective on the whole experience

It really is a remarkably alien environment compared to everything else around it. The contrast of colours and the flat open "savannah-looking" bog, with the pines stunting their way upwards, haphazardly dotted here and there amidst the moss expanse.




As always, I find the details capture my eye and absorb me.






Against the snow-capped mountains in the distance, a pine glows in the morning light.

That's it for this one. Keep smiling!


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Doh! A Deer

You know, in the four months we've been here so far, the only four-legged wildlife we've seen is the notorious Rodent Of Unusual Size (featured in an earlier post), or deer, munching gardens right in the heart of town (and never out in the wild).

This afternoon, as we sat in our living room, Marcelle happened to see a deer just outside. The weather was just doing a bit of snow/hail, and the deer stood just under the overhanging trees and kinda had this patient, yet disappointed face. It plainly saw me both through the window and when I slipped out onto the porch for a less obstructed view.

A few minutes later, it melted back into the rain forest and disappeared.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Keep Those Home Fires Burning

I write this sitting in the living room, warmed by the soothing heat of a wood stove, at this point oblivious to the outside inclemency. It's been quite cold the last while here in Ukee, and our electric heating sucks (both at providing adequate heat, as well as sucking the money all too efficiently from our wallets), so the wood stove really helps. The trick is getting it started and then keeping it going.

I got out for a turn around the Amphitrite lighthouse loop, and was surprised to see the miniature hail you see in the above opening image. I could still see it pocketed here and there, out of the rain, like little rivulets of giant table salt.

The day was overcast with sunny periods and brisk wind, with lively swells and surf. I'm finding now that before I press the shutter, I'm having to think about what I've framed. Did I already take this shot before? For the scenics, that's almost certainly the case. But then what was the weather doing then and what's it doing now? Most often, that will be the key. John Sarnoff once said that Ansel Adams primarily photographed the weather. That's what greatly appeals to me also, the dramatic sky to either help frame foreground action/elements, or to showcase the sky itself, the horizon pushed down low in the frame.




That's it for yesterday's post... I've got to go and stoke the damn fire! Ciao.


Saturday, 15 February 2014

Wreck Beach - South

Yesterday, I decided to do the south end of Florencia Bay, off Willowbrea Ave. It's a bit of a hike in, with quite a lot of stairs (which is why we prefer the northern access off Wick Beach Road), but once you get down to the beach, it's worth it. The beach is also known locally as Wreck Beach, as the shipwreck of the Florencia occurred here.

According to my iPhone app, Tides US, I arrived just after high tide, but I noticed that during the time I spent there, the waves seemed to come ever further up the beach, chasing me right back onto the rocks and logs.

The weather was a mixture of overcast and rain with some sun interspersed occasionally. A hanging, intermittent mist didn't allow much for broader views, so as usual, I concentrated on details.









At one point, just as I was sitting down on a log, I heard a plane, and looking up, spotted it just low over the water (and disappearing quickly from view). I managed to snap a quick burst of two frames, one of which had a bit better surf. In post processing, I then cropped it to more of a 1:1 ratio view and gave it a darker, more mysterious look.

That's it for life on the edge. Ciao for now...


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Return to the Bog

The other day, I went back to the Shorepine Bog, on a nice, mostly overcast morning, and did a slow circuit of the trail. The bog consists mostly of Sphagnum moss, up to a couple of metres deep. Growing out of this acidic environment, you find the Shore Pine, and the surrounding Muskeg Frorest. The colours of the mosses and other plants in the bog are vivid and striking, and overall, it reminds me of the African savannah.





Some of the best views are in the detail shots that you get from a telephoto lens, isolating and highlighting form, colour and light.










After completing the bog trail, I continued to the Visitor Centre and then took the trail over to South Beach. It was just after high tide and there was a good swell, so the waves were fun to watch.


South Beach has lots of small stones, and as the wave recedes, you get this wonderful susurration of water, and stone-on-stone. Always mesmerizing to sit and listen to.