Mist and Forest Giants: The Carmanah Valley

Note:  All images are digital with a Samsung Galaxy S4 camera.  Film images are awaiting development. Nestled on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, there is a photographer’s paradise that, like some fabled Himalayan Shangri-La, lies forgotten and largely unknown: The Carmanah Valley.  For several hours on a recent visit, I had the entire 16,450 hectares of this coastal rain forest preserve to myself. Yet this remote area is reachable – not easily, but with a little care and determination –  in a few hours from the island’s metropolitan centers. Thirty years ago, protestors chained themselves to trees and lived for weeks in perches 150 feet above the forest floor to create Carmanah Wallbran Provincial Park (https://en.wikipedia.org/w…/Carmanah_Walbran_Provincial_Park), protecting the Carmanah…Continue Reading

At Home with the Dukes of Hazzard: A Pathologist’s Year in Appalachia

Note:  All of the images of Hazard are digital (Canon A610 point-and-shoot), as I did not have a vintage camera during that trip, and many pictures were lost when my hard drive crashed in 2007.  The photographs here are those that survived, and are supplemented with images from various web sites.  This article was written after I returned to Canada in 2007 *************************************** Remember The Dukes of Hazzard?  There really is a Hazard, Kentucky (one z only, thank you), and I and my wife Janie spent the best year of my professional life there. This seldom-visited corner of America struggles with poverty and unemployment, but has given rise to one of the richest cultural heritages in the United States.  However,…Continue Reading

Golden Light – Visions of the Palouse

Nestled in southeastern Washington is an area virtually unknown to tourists, but known and cherished by photographers across North America:  the Palouse.  Covering 3-4,000 square miles, predominately in southeastern Washington, but including parts of northern Idaho, and (according to some definitions) northeastern Oregon, the Palouse includes some of America’s most unique and picturesque farmland.  Also the site of one of North America’s greatest cataclysmic events, it presents ever-changing contrasts, with rolling croplands, historic weathered farms, sculpted badlands, and golden afternoon light. Palouse vistas are of two types:  farmland and badlands.  Highways through farming regions pass seemingly endless dome-shaped, rolling hills, contoured with bands of golden, green, or yellow crops, with weathered farmhouses, silos, and barns peeking over their crests, and arcs of…Continue Reading

The Old Make and Break

Once the bays of Newfoundland and Labrador echoed with the chug-chug of these trusty little engines as they patiently pushed dories out to the fishing grounds each morning.  Now they are largely silent, consigned to the garages of engine enthusiasts  and the flower plots of retired fishermen. Built in the 1920s and 1930s, these simple “one-lungers” worked without spark plugs or high voltage, and could stand a soaking on a stormy day without stalling.  Firing at the top of the piston travel, they were the only gasoline engines that could run equally well forward or in reverse, and needed no fancy transmissions or gear systems. This little engine carried a boat from Maine to St. Brendan’s Island, and came to…Continue Reading

The Boreal Forest

THEME:  We write articles about our pictures, endlessly describing lenses, techniques, and lighting conditions, but sometimes forget to learn about the subjects themselves.  Study your subject, and your subject’s story may be the richest part of your image.  Otherwise, it’s just another pretty picture.  I discovered this when I learned about what I thought was a pretty dull piece of forest. Compared to my coastal homeland, with its drama of mountains, enormous Western cedars, plunging waterfalls,and miles of ever-changing beaches, Alberta’s northern boreal forest seemed uninteresting.  Miles upon miles of rolling trackless wilderness, with the occasional hill, creek, or gently moving river.  Much of it, flat and boggy muskeg swarming with mosquitoes in summer, is impossible to explore.  In between ridges of black…Continue Reading