Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

40 Year Old Plastic at the Beach

February 24th, 2013 7 comments
North Star Brand Hot Dog Package

North Star Brand Hot Dog Package c.1964-1974

In the previous post, I showed some photographs of plastic waste from a local Vancouver park. This time I went to Spanish Banks, a beautiful natural beach on English Bay. Here’s a photo that I took while I was there:

Moon Rising Over Vancouver

At first it was difficult to spot any plastic – the beach looked pristine. However, after a few minutes, I spotted many pieces of plastic waste. The tide was going out, and I found most of the plastic in the high tide line, mixed in with seaweed and driftwood. I found plastic bags, wrappers, bottles, a cap from a ballpoint pen, styrofoam, food containers and coffee lids. I even found some AstroTurf!

The most interesting waste plastic that I found was a package labeled North Star Brand Wieners by Intercontinental Packers, Vancouver.  Although it was made in Canada, it had no French labeling and the weight was in Imperial Units (one pound). Canada introduced bilingual packaging in 1974 and metric weights in the mid-seventies. After a little research, I learned that the company existed in Vancouver from 1964-1994. Incredibly, this package dates from c.1964 – 1974, showing how long plastic persists in the environment. After 40 to 50 years it is still around! It will remain in the environment for another 50 years or much longer, along with all other plastic waste. Unfortunately, much of this waste gets into the ocean, where it is eaten by marine life, often injuring and killing fish, birds, turtles and dolphins. Check out the documentary “Addicted to Plastic” for more information about the problems caused by plastic waste in the environment, along with solutions that will need to be implemented to correct the problem. In the meantime, if you care about the environment, don’t litter with plastic waste!

Here’s another photo from beautiful Spanish Banks:

Spanish Banks, Vancouver

Spanish Banks, Vancouver

Street Photography

August 25th, 2012 3 comments

I just finished a 12 week street photography course at Langara College, taught by Jim Balderson. It was great shooting outdoors in  Vancouver in the summer!

It’s a major change from studio photography – it’s more about observation than creating the image. Instead of models, sets, makeup artists and controlled lighting, I photographed random people and worked with the light and environment on the street. I found it was a great way to practice composition and just get out and have fun shooting.

Most of the time, I used an Olympus Pen E-PL1 because it’s light and not as conspicuous as a DSLR, allowing me to take candid photos without attracting too much attention. I tried to capture images where people were involved in what they were doing and not posing for the camera.

Here’s a selection of the photos that I took during course. I’m looking forward to getting out and doing more street photography in the future!


Fashion Designs by Von Monica Couture

April 30th, 2012 4 comments

Monica Fraser, the head designer of Von Monica Couture, contacted me to photograph two of her designs. I had previously photographed her beautiful peacock motif collection, and love her work. Each piece is hand-made, meticulously designed, one-of-a-kind clothing. There’s a story behind each one — the fabric, the inspiration and the work that goes into each detail.

Danyella Angel was gorgeous in the leopard print top, black dress and makeup by Kym Davidson. A special thanks to Mika of  The Studio By Mika Does Makeup for hosting us during the makeup and hair styling!

It was a pleasure to work with such talented people. We were also fortunate to have a beautiful Spring day – a rarity in April in rainy Vancouver!

Greg Girard — Langara Master Photographer Series

October 17th, 2011 No comments


Langara College hosted a presentation by Greg Girard on October 14, 2011. It was fascinating to see the work of four decades of his photography and hear the stories behind the images.

Greg Girard is a Vancouver-born photographer who moved to Hong Kong in the 1982 to work for the BBC News. Prior to moving to Hong Kong, he spent his early years in Vancouver and recently published a book of his work from 1973-1986, titled In the Near Distance (2010). In 1987, he left the BBC and became a freelance photographer. He moved to Shanghai in 1998 to cover China for news magazines. Girard has photographed on assignment for National Geographic, and his work is shown in galleries in Toronto, Vancouver and Berlin.

The presentation covered his early work in Vancouver, Tokyo and Hong Kong, his coverage of the civil war in Sri Lanka, as well as fascinating stories from China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

A couple of the highlights for me were the Phantom Shanghai and Kowloon Walled City projects. Each project took about five years to complete. The photographs were taken in his spare time between assignments for magazines – true passion projects!

Phantom Shanghai

While he lived in Shanghai, he photographed the rapid modernization of the city. Shanghai had many old European-style buildings from the colonial era, and in the 1920′s was the financial and cultural capital of China – known as the Pearl of the East. However, after the war and the revolution in 1949, the old building were taken over and converted to public housing and government buildings. After the cultural revolution, the city started to become modernized and the old districts were demolished to make room for development projects. Girard’s book Phantom Shanghai (2007) documents this massive change over a 5 year period. His work shows the wear, decay and textures of the old buildings juxtaposed against modern architecture. Many of the photographs were shot at night and capture the lights and colours of the neon signs and city lights. Most of the old buildings are now gone, but are still preserved in the photographs.



Kowloon Walled City

Another amazing project that Girard worked on was City of Darkness; Life in Kowloon Walled City (1993), which documents the incredible densely populated autonomous section of Hong Kong. For a few decades, the Walled City was dominated by triads which controlled prostitution, gambling and drugs. The Walled City was demolished in 1993-1994.


Walled City Exterior, 1987

West Side Street, 1989


There are many more images from these projects, and four others, on Greg Girard’s website to check out if you want to see more.




Photographing the 2011 Vancouver Zombiewalk

August 21st, 2011 No comments

Each year the Vancouver Zombie Walk gets bigger and more popular. According to the Facebook event page, there were over 6,000 confirmed attendees. I don’t know how many zombies actually showed up, but I suspect more than that!

Many of the zombies also had cameras and smartphones, but with all the amazing costumes and special effect makeup, the event also attracted a lot of photographers and videographers. I was very interested in the gear that they were using! I saw a few people with HD-DSLR rigs and several with off-camera flash set-ups. Others had speedlites with various attachments to help diffuse the light. The flash set-ups were a good way to reduce the contrast by filling in the shadows. I saw one photographer with a vintage twin lens reflex camera (a Rolleiflex I think). There was some very impressive gear!

For those who may be interested, here’s some information about the photos that I took:

I used an Olympus E-30 with the Olympus 12-60 mm lens for wide angle and the 50-200 mm for zoom.

It was a bright sunny day, so I tried to find shady areas and expose for the shade. I also used backlighting and exposed for the shadow side of the zombies using centre-weighted mode. I had the in-body image stabilization and face detection on. I haven’t used face detection very often. I found that it sometimes focused on the wrong place, so I probably will avoid it in the future.  I set the camera to continuous (burst) shooting mode and continuous autofocus. That way I could fire off a bunch of action shots when a zombie started running towards me!

For lighting, I wanted to keep it simple so went with available light only. I used ISO 200 and a wide aperture (around f/2.8 to f/3.5) and a fast shutter speed to minimize the motion blur but also isolate the zombies from the background due to the shallow depth of field. I used the fastest shutter speeds that I could to minimize any blur caused by camera shake.

Here’s my gallery of Vancouver Zombie walk photos on Facebook. If you were at the zombie walk, you might be in the gallery – so feel free to tag yourself and your friends!

Also, feel free to share any links to your zombie walk photos as well as any tips about how you photographed the event. I’m looking forward to Zombiewalk 2012!

Cos & Effect Vancouver 2011 – Anime Cosplay Convention

August 16th, 2011 1 comment


Cos & Effect Day 2

The Cos & Effect anime cosplay convention was held at the Student Union Building at the University of British Columbia, prescription Vancouver on August 13-14, 2011. I was there on August 14, 2011 to take some photos of the amazing costumes. To see more photos, check out this album on Facebook and the  Cos & Effect forum on IRLEvents.

Cos & Effect Day 2

Cos & Effect Day 2

Cos & Effect Day 2

Vancouver Celebration of Light 2011 Fireworks – Spain

August 5th, 2011 No comments

Day 2 of the Celebration of Light fireworks competition in Vancouver featured Spain on August 3, 2011. I love photographing fireworks and tried out the focus blur technique for some of the shots and got some cool effects! I put the camera on a tripod and set the shutter speed to bulb, the aperture to f/9.0 and used a remote control to trigger the camera.

I first focused the lens and noted the position of the focus ring, then unfocused the lens drastically. I waited until I saw some promising looking fireworks being launched, and triggered the shutter. I then focused the lens to the original position as the fireworks exploded. The technique creates wide lines of light that gradually narrow giving a flower-petal effect. Here are some examples from the Flickr focus blur group. The trickiest part is to avoid excessive movement when focusing the camera to prevent shaky lines. Timing is crucial and many of my shots didn’t quite work out, but I did get a few nice shots!


Check out  my earlier post on Day 1 – China – July 30, 2011.

Celebration of Light – Fireworks Competition – China

July 31st, 2011 No comments

The Vancouver 2011 Celebration of Light fireworks competition kicked off last night with a fantastic show by China. This is the first time that I have shot fireworks with my Olympus E-30 camera and it worked great. I was able to try out some focus blur techniques with this camera. Focus blur involves gradually changing the focus during the long exposure so some of the image is in focus and some is blurred. It can give some every cool and unusual fireworks photos. My previous camera, the E-510 was not able to change focus during the exposure, so I couldn’t try out this technique before. For this shoot, I started with the camera in focus and gradually moved out of focus during the exposure. Next time I will do the reverse – start out of focus and gradully focus during the shot.

Here are some more tips on fireworks photography.

On a related note, check out this tour of the fireworks barge before the event from Miss 604.

Some of my favourites from last night are posted in the gallery below. I didn’t use focus blur for them all – I wanted some straight fireworks shots too!

The next fireworks competition will be on August 3 with Spain putting on the show for the night.

Feel free to share links to your fireworks shots!

Riots in Vancouver after the Canucks lose Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final

June 16th, 2011 2 comments

I put together this post using Storify:

Categories: news, Vancouver Tags: , , , , ,

Great Vancouver Photography Locations: Part 2 – Stanley Park

June 5th, 2011 No comments


The next great Vancouver photography location in this series is Stanley Park. It’s a pretty obvious place to mention, but it’s such great location that it has to be on this list! Also, it is named after the same Lord Stanley of Preston who donated the Stanley Cup trophy, making it an appropriate time to write about Stanley Park because the Vancouver Canucks are competing in the Stanley Cup finals! They have a great chance to win the trophy for the first time in their 40 year history. The last time a Vancouver team won the Stanley Cup was in 1915 by the Vancouver Millionaires.

As a photography location, Stanley Park has a lot to offer. It’s a large natural park with beautiful forests, beaches, a seawall, outdoor pool, and many other recreational facilities. It is also next door to downtown Vancouver, which makes it incredibly easy to get to. The close proximity to the city also provides some spectacular skyline views.

Here are some suggestions for photography locations:


Head over to the east side of the park to get beautiful morning golden hour light, and views of Coal Harbour, Burrard Inlet, North Vancouver and The Lions Gate Bridge.


Coal Harbour

Morning light - Coal Harbour view from Stanley Park


The shot below was taken on the eastern side of the park near Brockton Point.

Up Early in Stanley Park

Beach north of Brockton Point - Stanley Park


The western side of the park is perfect for evening golden hour light and sunsets with a view of English Bay.

Destined for Beauty

Destined for Beauty - Sunset at Stanley Park


Lions Gate Bridge

The Lions Gate Bridge is a Vancouver landmark that makes a great subject for photos. The bridge can be seen from the seawall and from Prospect Point at the north end of the park.

Lions Gate Bridge

Lions Gate Bridge


City Views

Stanley Park has some spots with views of the city in the background and water and beach in the foreground.

Blue Peace

Blue Peace - English Bay from Stanley Park

View of Canada Place from Stanley Park

View of Canada Place from Stanley Park

Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium is located inside Stanley Park and has great photography opportunities, including beluga wales, sea otters, seals, jellyfish and seahorses!

Jellyfish at the Vancouver Aquarium

Jellyfish at the Vancouver Aquarium


The numerous gardens provide beautiful scenic spots for photography in Stanley Park.

Sara - Stanley Park Shoot

Sara - Stanley Park Location


If you are visiting Vancouver or a resident of the city, Stanley Park is a wonderful spot for nature photography, seascapes, and landscapes, or as a location for portraits and people photography. It is a huge park and I have barely covered a tiny part of the potential photographic opportunities. I know one photographer who only photographs the wild life and plants in Stanley Park.

Feel free to post links to any photos that you have taken at Stanley Park!

Previous Posts

Part 1 Cypress Viewpoint