West Coastin’

Here you will find more Volkswagens than in Germany, more dreadlocks than Jamaica, more unshaven body parts than France. Where are you? Believe it or not this is Canada’s West Coast. It’s a place where cooking all three meals off a tailgate is part of the culture. It’s a place where vacationing is guaranteed to leave you completely exhausted. Kilometres of sand for walking or running, endless rocky shores for exploring, and a few relentless paddle boarders not getting the gist of your stink eye that will definitely tire you out.

This image is comprised of two photos horizontally stitched, both used the same capture settings. EXIF 1.3sec f/8.0 ISO100 35mm


Some people yearn for tropical vacations in far away exotic destinations, but why go to such extremes when the best place on earth is your own backyard? Okay, so maybe it receives 3 metres of rainfall annually and a sunny day is enough for locals to play hooky. Even a week of camping in the midst of August doesn’t guarantee a rain free vacation. However, with a lucky roll of the weather dice you might return to the mainland with tan lines reminiscent of Hawaii.

There are two cultures that thrive along the beaches of Pacific Rim National Park – the beach bum and the tourist. It doesn’t take a rocket appliance to instantly differentiate between the two: one had a shower yesterday, today, and plans on taking another tomorrow, the other has hair reminiscent of a bag of Miss Vickie’s salt and vinegar chips.

Looking south west from Green Point towards Sea Lion Rocks the low setting sun provided a great balance of highlights and lowlight for this photo. The evening’s low tide revealed countless purple and orange ochre sea stars and just as many green and pink tipped anemones. EXIF 1/200sec f/4.0 ISO200 16mm


There are a few other tell tale characteristics to help distinguish the two. Tourists can be easily identified by their clean shaven faces, hair free armpits, wearing actual shoes on the beach, and a strange fascination with sea gulls. It could also be said that anyone eating a meal in a restaurant with chairs is likely a tourist.

So by process of elimination, a beach bum can be identified by their lack of footwear, understanding that stand up paddling bordering is the devil, overall excess of hair – everywhere, and a missing need for privacy while removing a wet suit.

If you visit the Long Beach area frequently enough you may even find yourself transitioning from tourist to beach bum. Suddenly changing without a towel around yourself in the middle of the parking lot is acceptable. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all cooked and consumed in whatever vehicle you arrived in. A day at the beach is no longer dependant on sunlight, but rather the size of the surf. Be careful it’s a slippery slope of neoprene, dreads, and westfalias.

The following isn’t quite a traditional blog post, rather just a bunch of photos accompanied by a bunch of blurbs.

Taken from Green Point looking west towards Box Island at sunset. Box Island is just off shore of Schooners Cove which is a great beach for exploring. EXIF 1/1600sec f/2.8 ISO100 123mm


Again looking west from Green Point towards Box Island and utilized a circular polarizer. EXIF 1/8sec f/8.0 ISO100 16mm



With the beach in the background the colours of the purple and orange ochre sea stars are enhanced by the low light of the setting sun. The top of this rock in encrusted by both goose neck barnacles and California mussels. The low tide made it possible to explore parts of Green Point typically underwater. EXIF 1/15sec f/8.0 ISO100 16mm


Here are a group of black oyster catchers in flight off the shore of Box Island. Ranging from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to the coast of Baja California, these birds never stray far from shore and typically favour quieter embayments with rocky shoreline. They forage in the intertidal zone, munching on small marine invertebrates; particularly molluscs such as mussels, limpets, and chitons. EXIF 1/2500sec f/2.8 ISO400 200mm


Laying on the sand long past sunset provides a great spot for stargazing without any light pollution. Here, the Milky Way stretches into the lush rainforest along the coast. EXIF 30sec f/2.8 ISO 1600 16mm


A green sea anemone fluoresces using a combination of blue light and a yellow filter. An excitation filter is placed over a flash fired off camera at full power, and a yellow filter is attached to a macro lens to reveal the fluorescent algae living within the anemone. Here’s the exact same anemone under the white light of the sun. Thanks goes out to Charles Mazel at NightSea.com for the excitation filter. EXIF 1/100 f/13.0 ISO200 100mm



Here a group of Steller sea lions rest on a rock outside the Ucluelet harbour. The group was comprised mainly of females with pups and a handful of larger males, such as the individual sitting upright in the upper right side of this photo. EXIF 1/1250sec f/4.0 ISO400 200mm



A photo of nothing in particular. The warm colour temperature of the setting sun cast along the rocks of Green Point allowed for some great dynamic range in this photo. EXIF 1/80sec f/2.8 ISO200 200mm



A number of Western sandpipers dodge the waves rolling up the beach as they search for food. The setting sun provided a warm backlight for this photo, making for great silhouettes. EXIF 1/5000sec f/2.8 ISO400 200mm


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