I truly thought this place could not surprise me anymore. And then, one morning I head up Solar Chair to work and setting across the valley is an incredible full moon. The sky had the most amazing shades of blue, pink and purple. As we, the patrollers, commenced our day with the sun, the moon and the groomers completed their night. It was such a surreal experience, I couldn’t believe that what I was looking at was real. I took my camera out of my bag and for several moments I forgot that the temperature was far below zero. It’s moments like these that help me wake up at ridiculous o’clock and head to work every day.
Watching the sun rise and set each day on top of Whistler Blackcomb is always an unforgettable experience. Add a setting full moon, a well-timed snow cat and breathtaking hues. And what do you get? One hell of a view.
It’s truly incredible how the time flies. It seems like only yesterday I was in Australia photographing the milky way and the amazing Aussie night skies. Although the milky way season is over, a new season as begun; a season full of views and skies just as epic. A Whistler winter is hard to beat. So far, this year it has been one of the best starts to a winter season that I can remember. Deep powder, frozen lakes and indescribable sunsets are just some of the treats we have been blessed with. One of the biggest perks of my job with Whistler Blackcomb is standing on top of the resort watching the sun rise and the sun set. Whistler winter 2016/2017 has not disappointed thus far.
I have been on a bit of a hiatus from posting on this forum however over the next few days until the new year I will be sure to catch you up on the start to my winter. This will include snorkel deep powder days, -24°C overnight cabin stays and a full moon/sunrise combo. Stay tuned, it will be worth it.
It was hard to pull myself off the couch and head down to Nexen Beach Squamish for this gloomy evening. However, as soon as I was out the door and on my way there I was pretty stoked. It always seems to be the way when we are in a weather system like we are right now. The difficulty is finding the motivation to move. Once on the move, though, I am rarely disappointed. I didn’t know what to expect and I was running a bit late for the light so I had to rush to get this image. In the end, I am fairly happy with it. The biggest lesson I learnt was “get outside”.
Rain, rain and more Squamish rain. Unfortunately, that is what we have had in Squamish for the past few weeks. The good news is that it has mostly been snow in the high alpine. It is too early to say but hopefully it is a good sign for the winter season to come. After awhile the rain can start to give one a cabin fever type complex. However, it is a great opportunity to read a book, watch a show on Netflix or teach yourself something new. After awhile, that’s exactly what I did. I attempted a new style of star trail editing.
After a year of living in Squamish there is no doubt about it, Squamish photography rocks! The list of reasons as to why Squamish is so stunning for photography could be endless so I have decided to keep it to a small number, for now. Here we go.
Squamish Photography Rocks #1 -The Night Sky
After spending a winter of commuting up and down the gorgeous Sea to Sky highway for work in Whistler it was a welcome relief when spring and summer broke. With the change in the seasons came my first experience of the Aurora Borealis in Squamish. I have seen it a few times over the years in Whistler and camping in the mountains near Pemberton. Sitting at home on my couch, I saw a tweet saying that activity was strong. I hadn’t explored the area much to find a good view north.
Obviously the best spot was going to be on top of the Stawamus Chief (the big rock on the right of the photo), however, I sure wasn’t hiking up there at 1100pm at night. So, it was a quick drive around to try and locate a spot. I ended up at this lookout on the side of the road just south of Squamish looking back at the town. The lights made it a little hard get the exposure that I wanted but in the end, I was fairly happy with the result. I’ll include a link at the end of the post to the time-lapse I created that night.
Squamish Photography Rocks #2 – The Weather!
One of the pleasures of living in British Columbia’s Coast Mountains is the speed at which the weather changes. It is ridiculous. Storms blow in and out at a rapid rate. Right now it is cloudy with sunny patches. This morning when I woke about it was a torrential downpour, biblical almost, and apparently we are headed back that way tonight with winds of up to 80 km/h. Clouds and storms moving this quickly offer some pretty amazing opportunities to snap a photo or two.
This shot of one the most famous landmarks in Squamish, The Stawamus Chief was a by-chance kind of shot. I was preparing to head out for dinner and looked out the window and saw the epic colorful arch stretching over the Chief. I jumped in the car, raced down to a spot where I thought might produce this kind of perspective. Rapidly, I snapped some shots, jumped back in the car and made it just in time for dinner. Fortunately, a couple of the photographs turned out nicely.
Squamish Photography Rocks #3 – The Water!
One of the great things about living in a province like British Columbia is the amount of water. It’s everywhere. There is an ocean, the pacific. Too many rivers and streams to keep count over. My favourite thing about several rivers and streams is that in mountainous terrain that means waterfalls. The drive from Squamish to Vancouver has some awesome waterfalls along the way. Shannon Falls (just south of Squamish), which is visible on the right side of the double rainbow photo above, makes it hard to keep your eyes on the road as you pass it.
About 30 minutes north of Squamish and 20 minutes south of Whistler sits Brandywine falls. The river crashes over a crumbling hole in the earth into the bowl below. It’s worth a stop no matter what time of year or what the weather (they do close the gates to the park for the winter months).
As I mentioned, these are just a few of the reasons that make this area incredible. The list of reasons could go on. Next time I bring up the reasons Squamish photography rocks I’ll probably mention things like eagles, mountains, mountain biking, kite-surfing, rock-climbing, lakes, forests…well you get the point.