In the early 2000s, Nancy and I took a trip up to Yorkshire for a long weekend in February. We were staying in Pickering and we got there just before a decent snow storm arrived. By the time the snow started, we were comfortably tucked up in the hotel bar but the following day, any chance of going somewhere was out of the question as the town had temporarily been cut off by the snow. The day after, the roads had been cleared and we took a drive north.
We ended up spending some time in Whitby. A historic port town, Captain James Cook first went to see from there. It has the ruins of an Abbey on the hill overlooking the harbor and the town rises from the water in a style you would expect of such an old English town to do. We went to a really nice pub for lunch as a recall where we had excellent fish and chips – formulaic I know but still bloody good! I scanned these images when making a surge through my old film shots so I thought I would go back about 20 years to something from the old country.
The title gives this one away to be honest. I was walking back along the shoreline of Victoria Harbour and the sun was setting behind me. I looked back to see the view and the sky was looking rather appealing so I was hardly going to avoid taking a couple of shots.
A new Johnson Street bridge has recently opened across part of Victoria Harbour. It has replaced an old bridge that was apparently in bad condition. The new structure is a bascule bridge to allow larger boat traffic to access the inner areas of the harbor and it has a really cool design. While the bridge carries the road across the water, it has excellent access on either side for other users. The two sides carry both bike and foot traffic and they are wide enough to provide plenty of space for all users. There was plenty of foot traffic when I was there which might have had something to do with the Christmas Parade that evening.
In the evening, the bridge is well illuminated. The curvy nature of the structure provides lots of interesting details. The mechanism for raising the bridge is not concealed either so you can see the gear wheels involved in lifting it if you look below. On my walk back one evening I ended up spending a fair bit of time on the bridge because it provided so many possible angles to shoot it either to get the full bridge or to focus in on individual parts of it.
While in Victoria we walked along the shoreline of the harbor and made our way to Fisherman’s Wharf. This are is a mix of houseboats, tour boats and commercial boats. It is clearly a real commercial port at one end but the houseboat end is a different story. The houseboats are real houses. The residents were in evidence while we were there but there is plenty of stuff for the tourists too. The houseboats are painted in a variety of striking colors and on a sunny day it looked pretty nice. The houseboats were quite small and I wonder whether they are a fun place to live, a bit inconvenient or a pain given the people wandering around every day.
We spent a few days in Yachats, Oregon between Christmas and New Year. It was a nice opportunity to have a break, see some pretty scenery and relax. Yachats itself has a nice harbor and, as you drive around the south side of the harbor, you can pull off onto a smaller road that runs parallel to the shore in amongst the many houses that have been built there. You are on the opposite side to the town itself and the view across the water and the sand flats looks nice with the low winter sung angles.
The floatplanes may have been my main focus when I was at Brockton Point in Stanley Park but they certainly weren’t the only activity in the harbor. Plenty of boat traffic was on the move. The Vancouver Police were also on patrol. They had a RIB that they were zipping about on. I watched them head out towards Lion’s Gate Bridge without getting a shot but, when they returned, I figured they deserved my attention. A speeding RIB is a cool way to travel and this one looked like it had enough power for plenty of speed!
This is the cruise ship that our family had been traveling on when they arrived in Vancouver. It was heading back out the same day and we watched it leave port and head out. As it was turning to head back to the open sea, one of the local Otter floatplanes was making its approach to land (or whatever the correct word is when it is water rather than land). It passed in front of the ship. Both vessels are comfortable in the water but one is on a rather different scale than the other.
Standing on the shore in Vancouver on a sunny Sunday afternoon provided a great view of North Vancouver. Plenty of boats were making their way across the bay including some large ones which proved a little problematic for this task. I figured I could use the long lens, shoot a large sequence and create a panorama when I got home. It turned out that Photoshop and Lightroom both struggled compiling this panorama so I ended up positioning everything manually. However, it all worked out pretty well. Here is the result. Feel free to navigate around to see what you can find.
We took a ferry from Anacortes as part of our vacation. We had some time in hand so stopped for lunch in the town and then took a wander around afterwards. The center of town is right near the shipyards and they seemed to be pretty busy. What particularly caught my eye was this huge boat that appeared to have undergone a process to stretch it and add some new structure. Seeing something this size sitting up on the ground is impressive when you are level with the bottom of the hull!
A trip to the northwest may involve seeing plenty of wildlife but the Otters and Beavers that I was most excited about were slightly different. These came from the stable of deHavilland Canada. More importantly, they were on floats. The Pacific Northwest is a great place for watching floatplanes. They are heavily used for transportation between many locations on the water. I saw a few while we were on San Juan Island or on the ferries between the islands but not a large number and not when I was in a position to get good shots. However, once we got to Vancouver, things ramped up a bit.
If you have not been to Vancouver, the harbour (it is a Canadian harbor so I think I am spelling it correctly) has a very busy floatplane base. Flights go to surrounding areas and the gulf islands on a regular basis. The planes are a combination of turbine powered Otters and Beavers with either piston engines or turbine conversions. Harbour Air is the dominant operator but others do show up occasionally. The area along the waterfront has undergone a big redevelopment with a convention center and it has great walkways along the water that provide an excellent view of the operations. Planes seem to be coming and going all the time. The may come in across Stanley Park and land in front of you or swing around the harbor and land towards you depending on the wind. As they water taxi in someone else will be heading out and departing towards North Vancouver before turning around the park and heading out over Lions Gate.
We were there at the end of the day so the evening light was very nice on the aircraft. The large number of high rise buildings on the shore does mean that shadows can encroach before the sun has gone down but this is a small issue. Later in the visit we were over in Stanley Park and I got to see some aircraft taking off since they came closer to our position. The damp air certainly makes for some nice streaming vortices off the props when they are at takeoff power.