View Full Version : Vancouver area landscapes - advice

Jack Davis
7-Jul-2005, 15:28

Just booked a trip to Vancouver, Tofino, and probably Whistler. Wanting to escape the Texas heat this August. Anybody have any suggestions on specific locations to shoot landscapes in those areas ? Can't be too remote - I'm bringing the pregnant wife and 2 year old along...

Also - where can I pick up a few boxes of 4x5 in Vancouver?

bob carnie
7-Jul-2005, 15:47
I have not been in BC for 30 years , but you are in for a treat.
You will take the ferry from Vancover to the island . On the way you will go past the Mcmillan Petrified forest, It is awsome , all along the highway to Tofino you will have ample opportunities to photograph, When you reach the coast you can be assured of many spots to photograph on the coast line. I think this is one of the most beautiful areas in the world and your wife and child will have a ball going to this unique area of the world. By the way, Whistler-Vancover-Tofino is quite a distance , but the mountain scenery is awsome.
I was a logger in the late 60's early 70,s on Vancover Island and all the Hippies lived in the logs that were swept up onto the LONG beach that you will see, I think the hippie community was moved inland towards Tofino, you will find a lot of American draft dodgers still living in this area. at least there were lots when I was there. You can go out on the boat tours at Tofino and have a great pacific salmon meal. have fun

Paul Butzi
7-Jul-2005, 16:56
It might be too far, but the Ice Fields Parkway between Banff/Lake Louise and Jasper is incredible.

It's easily in the top five list of beautiful drives in North America (other contenders would be the North Cascades Highway in WA, Going to the Sun Road in Glacier NP, Cape Breton loop in Nova Scotia, and Top of the World Highway between Dawson and Boundary in the NWT).

QT Luong
7-Jul-2005, 17:58
Pacific Rim National Park not too far from Tofino has beautiful rain forests and beaches.


Hans Berkhout
7-Jul-2005, 20:59
Any of the coves, beaches are fine, visit them at different times/tides. (Schooner, Florencia-get a Parks map locally). Be prepared to enjoy wind sand salt and rain. A comfortable backpack makes the slogging a little easier.

Paul Droluk
7-Jul-2005, 21:52
Some years back I hired a sea-kayak (a very stable platform) and guide from an oufitter in Tofino. We paddled around Clayaquot Sound for five days, camping on uninhabited islands each night. Whales, eagles and ospreys were everywhere. Moss and fern meadows with conifer mid ground and snow capped mountain backdrops. Tide pools so clear you could date a nickel on the bottom 10 feet down (with my youger eyes). Unfortunately this was before I got into LF, so everything was shot on 35m. I'm plannng to return one day soon and duplicate the trip armed with my 4x5, 617 and as much film as I can reasonably pack, which is quite a lot in a sea-kayak. If you give it a try bring along a collapsable monopod so you can shoot from inside the kayak. This makes for fantastic foregrounds while being held in place atop a kelp forest.

Bruce Pollock
7-Jul-2005, 22:34
I live in Victoria on south Vancouver Island and Long Beach, Tofino, Ucluelet and Pacific Rim National Park are among my favourite places on earth. Check out the Rain Coast Trail in the park as well as Wickanninish Bay or any of the long beaches. Another interesting location is the Bog Forest Trail near Wickanninish which has several acres of stunted growth trees which are visually very interesting. South of Tofino is Ucluelet which has a new trail called the Wild Pacific Trail which offers an easily accessible approach to the coast. All of these areas are easy for a 2 year old.

Clayoquot Sound is also beautiful but will require some sort of boat access. There are charter and other tour operators who will take you there but this may not be as flexible as you'd like. One warning: Tofino isn't the sleepy hippie place it was 10 years ago. It's become quite a tourist destination and although it's easy to escape the crowds, the prices are creeping up.

If you have time to come to the southern part of The Island (as we call it) check out Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew (2 hours by car northwest of Victoria) which is absolutely spectacular. At low tide you can check out the tide pools on the beach which are full of sea life. A short hike away is Botany Bay where I have exposed many sheets of film over the years.

Vancouver and Whistler are also beautiful but a little more touristy and congested unless you can get out of the city. There are lots of fantastic hikes but since you are generally headed into the mountains, your wife and 2 year old may be less impressed if you are packing camera gear. Garibaldi Provincial Park near Whistler is primo hiking territory but will require a bit of planning and preparation. Have fun and good shooting -- this is among the most beautiful places in the world.

Bruce Pollock
7-Jul-2005, 22:44
Sorry -- a PS with regard to your question about film. Best suppliers would be Lens and Shutter, 2912 West Broadway or Leo's Cameras on Granville Street both in Vancouver. Lens and Shutter also has a store in Victoria on Fort Street.

7-Jul-2005, 23:34
I live in abbotsford, 40mins out of Vancouver.

Tofino is one of the most amazing places in the world. The drive is gorgeous and the unpredictable weather will create some amazing photo ops.

If you decide to go east instead of west, Hope, manning park, princeton area has great grand vistas and lakes that are surrounded by mountains that are just begging to be photographed.

about 2-4 hours from vancouver and just gorgeous.

For a good selection of film visit Beau photo on granville and 6th. they have efke, ilford, kodak, fortepan,... beware though.. they are very crazy and friendly people, you may not want to leave the store!! :)

have fun and make sure you show us some photos from this trip...

Andrew O'Neill
8-Jul-2005, 00:42
Yup. Gotta back Deniz on Beau Photo for the best selection of sheet film. Say hi to Serena when you are there. As for The Island...it's an awesome place. Whistler? Forget it.
Hey, Deniz. Did you get that job at Lens and Shutter? You just want to work there to get a staff discount on film, eh?

Alan Davenport
8-Jul-2005, 09:05
Victoria is one of my favorite desinations. If you're willing to have a bit 'o the "hand of man" in some of your photos, Fisgard Lighthouse is well worth the short trip from Victoria. Also (and this one is in Victoria) take a few minutes to tour Craigdarroch Castle, where there's more old-growth timber in the staircase alone than you'll find in most forests nowadays. :o}

8-Jul-2005, 12:00
Hey Andrew,

I did get offered the job at Lens and shutter but i am going to Emily Carr instead. Maybe i will get a job at L&S later on and give all the vancouver area LFers good discounts :) you get the best one.. heheh

gotta hang out before you leave for Japan!

Gary Nylander
8-Jul-2005, 23:51
Hi Jack,

I grew up on the Island and still have family there, but I have been a resident of Kelowna, B.C. for the past twenty years or so, I can't give you many recommendations for the Vancouver/Whistler area but I have photographed a number of times in the Tofino Ucluclet area with Pacific Rim National Park located between the two towns.

I should warn you this time of year can be very busy with tourists, parking and accommodations can also be expensive, but it's a remarkable area, with breathtaking scenery, a very nice trail near the town of Ucluclet is the "Wild Pacific Trail" its quite level about 2 to 3 km in length and I would think suitable for your pregnant wife and two year old, it has some awesome and safe views of the crashing Pacific ocean waves on the beach below ( if its stormy ! ).

My website features a number of photographs from this area and other areas around Western Canada if you wish to check it out:



Dominique Labrosse
10-Jul-2005, 17:30

Beau Photo is for sure the place to get film. http://www.beauphoto.com/

Try calling or emailling ahead and they'll even have your order ready for you. If you give them enough time they'll be happy to special order anything that they might not have in stock.

In terms of locations, I would recommend visiting the main campus of the University of British Columbia. There you will find the Museum of Anthropology which has a great outdoor area, (even if you don't visit with your camera you should go just to see the excellent collection of North West coast native art), the Nitobe traditional Japanese garden (very inexpensive admission and very photographer friendly) and great padded trails in a little taste of Pacific rainforest. Be sure to get to UBC by way of North West Marine Drive, and stop to shoot at the end of Spanish Banks and/or Acadia beach.

Other great places to shoot in Vancouver would be Granville Island Public market (your 2 year old will love the Kids Only market there), Queen Elizabeth Park, Stanley Park (especially near the Lion's Gate bridge), Grouse Mountain, and Lynn Valley canyon (instead of the highly commercialized Capilano Suspension Bridge).

On your way up to Whistler be sure to rent a car, because the bus or train won't stop to let you take pictures. The Sea to Sky highway from Vancouver to Whislter is a photographers delight. Try to do the highway near golden hour (it's about a 1.5-2 hour drive), or bring an orange or red filter to shoot B&W during the day. Be sure to stop at Squamish to shoot The Chief (our version of Half Dome). Lots of rivers, mountains and trees along the way... all close to the road. Try exploring north along past Whistler to Pemberton and the valley beyond.

Good luck and happy shooting.