Vancouver is Completely Fogged

No I am not talking about the insanity of Vancouver’s real estate… the entire city was enveloped by fog for the past 3 days

I’ve been real lazy lately with photography/maintaining this website but I’ve literally waited an entire year for the fog to roll in (for a specific Vancouver skyline photograph).  I packed my camera gear, threw them in the trunk, and embarked on a journey to North Vancouver during rush hour for sunset photos in the fog.

Some readers may question my judgement of 1) willingly driving across bridges in Vancouver rush hour, and 2) you can’t see the sunset during foggy conditions.  I will reassure these readers that I am not a complete idiot because I can fully defend my photography rationale, but at the same time I am also a dimwit for driving during rush hour in Vancouver.  My grand photography idea was to drive up Cypress Mountain to the Cypress Bowl Lookout (in my opinion one of the best viewpoint of downtown Vancouver) where I would be above the fog… and hopefully the top of buildings/Lion’s Gate Bridge would protrude through the fog… basking in the golden sunset light.

“life is hard and full of disappointment” – Famous author John Green… would be an accurate assessment of my photography journey (P.S. I didn’t read any of John Green’s romantic novels but he is a hilarious personality on YouTube).  It was 3:30 PM when I left the house and what would normally be a 40-45 minute drive took an hour and twenty minutes (which really wasn’t too bad) and I missed the sunset by mere minutes… which didn’t matter because even though I was above the fog it was so thick that the entire downtown was engulfed and everything was just… white (like a really bad pneumonia on chest X-ray).

I waited for another 15 minutes at the lookout and once darkness started to set in Vancouver surprised me yet again.  Even though it was completely covered with fog Vancouver’s lights diffused through the thick fog with patches and streaks of colorful illumination… like watercolor across a blank white canvas.  It was like a static aurora borealis that sat beneath me!  As a bonus my cheap new-ish zoom lens was able to capture some tall buildings (maybe in Burnaby?) peaking through the fog in the distance!  I imagined a specific photograph in my mind and I left with a completely different capture… I guess that’s just life in general.  One day I will get that elusive photograph the way I envisioned perfectly… I hope.

P.S. #1  It took me 2 hours to get back home which was stupid, I showed up to my rec league playoff match at half time!

P.S. #2  I love North Vancouver as many of my photographs/hikes are from there (Lighthouse Park, St. Mark’s Summit, Stawamus Chief, etc)… I even pondered about moving to North Vancouver but that idea was quickly squashed due to these traffic nightmares!

P.S. #3  We won our playoff match and we advanced to the finals!  (I did my usual contribution to the team’s success… which was minimal lol)


Stanley Park and Waterfront After Dark

Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s major tourist attraction… so what does it look like when all the hustling & bustling dies down?

There were lots of interest generated when I posted “False Creek After Dark” so I thought I would make it a series called “Vancouver after Dark”!  This photography project required a little bit more work but it is awesome to undertake challenges outside my comfort zone once in a while.  I focused my efforts around Stanley Park and its surroundings on this outing.

My wife + kids were visiting family on Vancouver Island for 3 days (and I was scheduled to work all 3 days) = perfect opportunity to progress my photography project.  I packed my photography gears in the trunk and I went off to locations straight after my 12-hour work shifts.  I didn’t get home until 1 AM on both nights which effectively meant I worked from 7AM-7PM + 7PM-1AM = 18 hours days… but I enjoyed every moment of it!

On the first evening I wanted to capture the entire Vancouver skyline and the Lion’s Gate Bridge at night so Stanley Park was the natural destination.  Traffic congestion forced me to adjust my plans a little because I didn’t want to waste the beautiful sunset sitting inside my car…  so I got out of my car slightly before Stanley Park and I photographed Coal Harbor instead.  The Coal Harbor Marina during sunset allowed for some tremendous photo-op that I stumbled upon serendipitously!  I spent the next 4 hours (blue hour to midnight) on the eastern seawall in Stanley Park and it reminded me why I love Vancouver so much… despite its traffic congestion, housing crisis, and a plethora of other issues.  (P.S. Mosquitoes were vicious that night!!! I think I can literally say that I poured my blood and sweat into making these photographs haha…)

On the second evening I had significantly less energy compared to the first night so I decided to be less ambitious with my photography locations: False Creek during sunset and Canada Place/Convention Center late into the evening.

I had way more locations for night photography planned initially… I guess we’ll have to wait for part 3 sometime!  If you like my photos feel free to share it with your friends and help my photo blog grow by clicking that Facebook like button 😛

False Creek after Dark

False Creek remains one of the favorites amongst locals and visitors alike… so what does it look like when all the hustling & bustling dies down?

False Creek is widely considered one of the most picturesque locations in Vancouver and thus it is usually busy from dusk until well past dawn (especially on a non-rainy day)… So what does it look like after midnight when most people are asleep?

As I’ve said many times in the past I enjoy photography because I find it therapeutic to an otherwise fast-paced life (even more so now with two little munchkins).  There is an indescribable sense of serenity when my mind is solely focused on creating beautiful compositions via combinations of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  I actually make it a priority to have an after-midnight photography session wherever I travel (and stay tuned to my photography project: “Cities after Dark”!) but for some reason I’ve never attempted it in the city I live in!

A golden opportunity presented itself yesterday: My wife and kids were out of town for two days + no work = Immediately made plans with my buddies (who happen to live around False Creek) to chill-lax over playoff hockey.  I left their place shortly before midnight and basically photographed Science World & Granville Island to my heart’s content.  On a side note I came across a couple interesting personalities during my photo shoot on the seawall… it was surprising how a few words of encouragement and compassion can impact someone who fell on hard times.  In general the stretch of seawall between Granville Island to Science World is extremely safe after dark… but for the photographers out there I would think twice before going to the Stanley Park seawall after dark



Beautiful Vancouver from Granville Island

Granville Island: The artsy cultural hub of Vancouver

Back in the 1900s Granville Island was home to hundreds of factories.  Over the last century Granville Island had gradually evolved into a leading Vancouver attraction for both locals and visitors.  Obviously the vast majority of factories are no more with the exception of a small concrete plant and a mini boatyard.  Most of the heavy industries are now replaced by a plethora of different tenants that combined to give Granville Island its present allure.

Granville Island is centrally located in Vancouver along False Creek and is easily accessible by foot, public transit (try the Aquabus!), and personal vehicles (parking shouldn’t be a major issue considering the popularity).  Granville Island is home to various artisan shops, markets, restaurants, theaters, and many other attractions all within a few blocks of each other.  Regardless of age, gender, or budgets Granville Island has something to offer for all visitors (and the photo opportunities are endless with such scenic backdrops).

My personal suggestions:

  1. Grab a beer at Granville Island Brewery
  2. Visit Granville Island Market (every major city has a market like this… Pike Place in Seattle, St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, etc… but it is still worth a visit)
  3. Catch an Improv at the Vancouver TheatreSports League (the late shows are not children friendly = funnier)
  4. Walk along the pier and you will find some interesting photo-ops… or people watch
  5. Looking for good places to eat?  From cheapest to moderately priced: Go Fish for some dockside fish and chips (it is 2 minutes outside of Granville Island), Edible Canada, and Bistro 101 @ Pacific Institute Of Culinary Arts.
  6. Consider visiting the Kid’s Market @ Granville Island if you have small children (there is also a small water park during the summer)

A typical visit should take no more than 2 hours but due to the diversity of attractions one can easily spend a better part of the day to tour Granville Island alone!  I’ve been a Vancouverite for almost 10 years now and I am still drawn to this little piece of land… and there is no reason why any visitors to Vancouver would want to skip Granville Island from their itineraries.

Got questions or suggestions?  Let me know in the comments below!


Vancouver Granville Island

Where Granville Island is located relative to other parts of Vancouver