Photography in the Palouse region of Washington was all about light, weather and landscapes

Ansel Adams, the great U.S. 20th century landscape photographer, is reputed to have said: “Bad weather makes for good photography.”

That was certainly true on a visit to the Palouse region of Washington State at the end of April. But I would add that: “Changing weather and light in a unique landscape makes for great photography.”

Maureen and I took my camper down there as part of a semi-official Osoyoos Photography Club outing. It ended up being just two other couples and we were on our own schedules, but we did meet up for dinner on the Monday night followed by a scramble in separate vehicles with camera gear to make it to the top of Steptoe Butte before the best of sunset light.

Steptoe Butte, at around 1,100 metres above sea level, affords views in a 360-degree panorama as you climb a spiraling road up the butte. Below are the undulating grain fields — they appear like sand dunes in shape because they were formed long ago by loess soils dropped by the winds.

We arrived the Sunday evening with just enough time to deposit the trailer at the trailer park in Steptoe and make it to a southwest view partway up the butte. For hours we’d been watching storm clouds forming over the plains, but in isolated areas of the sky forming their own little micro weather systems. The lowering sun bathed the storms in gold and cast shadows over the “dunes,” lighting up the green fields.

I photographed the constantly changing landscape as the sun fell below the horizon and the weather moved through.

Here’s a selection of photos for those in a hurry. For a larger collection of Palouse trip photos, see my Flickr Album.

Richard McGuire

Click on thumbnails to view as gallery with larger images:

The setting sun casts shadows on the undulating land of the Palouse, Washington as seen from Steptoe Butte in late April. Isolated rainstorms create moody skies. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The setting sun casts shadows on the undulating land of the Palouse, Washington as seen from Steptoe Butte in late April. Isolated rainstorms create moody skies. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The setting sun casts shadows on the undulating land of the Palouse, Washington as seen from Steptoe Butte in late April. Isolated rainstorms create moody skies. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The setting sun casts shadows on the undulating land of the Palouse, Washington as seen from Steptoe Butte in late April. Isolated rainstorms create moody skies. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The setting sun casts shadows on the undulating land of the Palouse, Washington as seen from Steptoe Butte in late April. Isolated rainstorms create moody skies. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The setting sun casts shadows on the undulating land of the Palouse, Washington as seen from Steptoe Butte in late April. Isolated rainstorms create moody skies. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The setting sun casts shadows on the undulating land of the Palouse, Washington as seen from Steptoe Butte in late April. Isolated rainstorms create moody skies. (Richard McGuire Photo)

As the sun sets, shadows are cast across the rolling hills of the Palouse below Steptoe Butte in Washington State. (Richard McGuire Photo)

As the sun sets, shadows are cast across the rolling hills of the Palouse below Steptoe Butte in Washington State. (Richard McGuire Photo)

As the sun sets, shadows are cast across the rolling hills of the Palouse below Steptoe Butte in Washington State. (Richard McGuire Photo)

As the sun sets, shadows are cast across the rolling hills of the Palouse below Steptoe Butte in Washington State. (Richard McGuire Photo)

As the sun sets, shadows are cast across the rolling hills of the Palouse below Steptoe Butte in Washington State. (Richard McGuire Photo)

As the sun sets, shadows are cast across the rolling hills of the Palouse below Steptoe Butte in Washington State. (Richard McGuire Photo)

 

 

Summer Artisan Market at The Art Gallery Osoyoos

The Summer Artisan Market opened at The Art Gallery Osoyoos on June 1 and it features the work of numerous local artists and artisans.

I’m participating this year for the first time and am showing a selection of recent photos, as well as several others I’ve never shown before. Because space for each artist is limited, I’ll be rotating the featured photos throughout the summer, but all are available and can be seen in the web gallery below. I’ll also have a special selection of cards and matted photos on display.

The Summer Artisan Market includes work by a number of talented local painters, potters, quilters and more and is definitely worth a browse. It runs until Labour Day on Sept. 2.

The gallery is open in June from noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday to Saturday. Then in July it switches to summer hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

I’ll also have a booth at Market on Main most Saturdays through the summer where I’ll have a wide assortment of photo cards and matted photos taken over the years. The market includes a range of local crafts and, as we get into the fruit and veggie season, locally grown produce as well. It’s held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Town Square, the park next to town hall. Please drop by to say “hello,” chat and browse.

Richard McGuire

Click on thumbnails to view as gallery with larger images:

Osoyoos Lake is calm on a summer evening in a view that shows the Main Street bridge, Hotel Row, the Cottonwood area, Nk’Mip Campground and Spirit Ridge. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

The Lawless house, named for the family that lived there, sits in a field near Anarchist Summit. In recent years it has deteriorated badly. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Yellow balsamroot, a cousin of sunflowers, is abundant in the South Okanagan Grasslands in May. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Wagonwheel Road meanders past an old log barn near Anarchist Summit, east of Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Osoyoos is a paradox — a town in a desert-like setting where you are never far from water and where the irrigated vineyards and orchards are lush green. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Osoyoos straddles both shores of Osoyoos Lake and is connected by a spit of land over while Highway 3 runs east and west. (Richard McGuire photo)

Haynes Point Provincial Park, now officially known by its Sylix language name of “swiws”, is a popular camping spot throughout the spring and summer. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Vineyards grow quickly on the Osoyoos East Bench in late May. (Richard McGuire Photo)

From the lookout off Highway 3 heading west of Osoyoos you look out across Osoyoos Lake. On the opposite shore are The Cottages on Osoyoos Lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

Billowing clouds float over Kilpoola Lake, west of Osoyoos, on a day in early May. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The South Okanagan Grasslands are still green in early May. Behind, Snowy Mountain still has some snow. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Small lakes collect water in the South Okanagan Grasslands. In the background is Kilpoola Lake to the west of Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire Photo)

My focal perspectives – Places of Colour

“Trifocal Perspectives” is an exhibition of my photographs, along with those of Greg Reely and Peter Hovestad, at The Art Gallery Osoyoos that closes on Saturday, April 27.

I’ve divided my photographs by four themes. “Places of Colour” features images of colourful cultures from around the world. Not all the photos shown here are on display at “Trifocal Perspectives.”

Places of Colour:

I have always been fascinated by travel and other cultures. I’m drawn by a curiosity about how other people live, but especially by the way so many cultures, especially tropical, celebrate colour.

Our own culture is more reserved and our colour palette reflects that fear of being “too loud.” But nature is full of colour, and other cultures – whether Latin American, African or Asian – see that colour and embrace it.

Richard McGuire

Click on thumbnails to view as gallery with larger images:

Sadhus are Hindu holy men or ascetics who renounce their worldly possessions and wander in search of moksa, or spiritual liberation. There are many of them in the holy city of Varanasi on the Ganges River. (Richard McGuire Photo)

When you climb (or take the funicular) to the top of the hill where El Pipila statue stands, you’re met with a spectacular view over Guanajuato. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Brightly painted buildings and colourful banners make for a feast of colour. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Customers enjoy a conversation over coffee at one of the coffee shops located on Plaza del Libertador in Jardin, Colombia. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Many old timers socialize outdoors on the streets near Plaza del Libertador in Jardin, Colombia. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A woman reads a paper while tending a snack stand in the old city of Cartagena, Colombia. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A man wearing an Aguadeño hat takes a smoke break outside a colourfully painted house in Guatapé, Colombia. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Guatapé is a colourfully painted town east of Medellin, Colombia. It is known for its cobbled streets and “zocalos,” icons on walls of buildings just above the sidewalks. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A family gets into the spirit of Carnaval in Mompox, Colombia. In preparation for Ash Wednesday, some people put ash on their faces. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A musician beats out a rhythm for some lively rumba music on a Sunday on Havana’s Callejon de Hamel. This alley is a colourful celebration of Afro-Cuban culture and Santeria religion. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Market day in the Cakchiquel Mayan town of Sololá is a colourful hive of activity. Although men are more likely than women to wear western dress, you do see a number of men in traditional clothing, like the man in the centre. Note his wonderful multi-coloured pants. (Richard McGuire Photo)

 

My focal perspectives – The Magic of Night

“Trifocal Perspectives” is an exhibition of my photographs, along with those of Greg Reely and Peter Hovestad, at The Art Gallery Osoyoos throughout April 2019.

I’ve divided my photographs by four themes. “The Magic of Night” features images of dusk, night and dawn from around the world. Not all the photos shown here are on display at “Trifocal Perspectives.”

The Magic of Night:

As night falls, cities and landscapes transform into magic places. Sometimes spiritual, sometimes menacing, sometimes mysterious.

Humans have long sought to light the night, whether with fire, incandescent lamps, sodium vapour, fluorescence or neon. In doing so, we transform a time of slumber into a time of vibrance.

Some photographers look to the stars and celestial phenomena. I look at how humans change the night.

Richard McGuire

Click on thumbnails to view as gallery with larger images:

A Hindu priest performs the evening aarti ceremony with fire beside the Shipra river in the holy city of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, India. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Every evening there is an aarti ceremony with fire at Har-ki-Pauri ghats on the Ganges River at Haridwar, India. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The City Palace of Udaipur, Rajasthan is lit with lights at night that reflect in Pichola Lake. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A camel driver leads two camels across the sand dunes at sunset near Kanoi, an hour from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Men enjoy lassi and other milk drinks at a stand at night time on Main Bazar in the Paharganj neighbourhood of New Delhi. (Richard McGuire Photo)

As the sun goes down, lights come out along the Malecon, Havana’s sea wall drive that runs from Old Havana to Vedado and Miramar. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A man bicycles home as the setting sun casts its glow on a ruined church in the Cuban colonial city of Trinidad. The city was built with fortunes from the sugar industry, and is now a tourist centre. (Richard McGuire Photo)

After sunset, you can look down from El Pipila statue over the lights of Guanajuato. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Lake Atitlán in central Guatemala is ringed in volcanoes. I got up early one morning to take a bus to a lookout point above the lake to watch the sunrise. (Richard McGuire Photo)

I went out with several guys from the Osoyoos Photography Club to photograph the Perseid Meteor Shower. I was too early for the best meteor show, but as a photographer, I found the combination of moonlight and expressive clouds to be more interesting. (Richard McGuire Photo)

As night falls on Osoyoos, B.C., a thick fog still blankets the town, the result of a thermal inversion. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Cow Bay in Prince Rupert, B.C. used to be a somewhat ramshackle fishing port. Now it’s a harbour for boat tours and private recreational boats as well as more upscale bars, coffee shops and boutiques. (Richard McGuire Photo)

On a warm, summer-like evening in early spring, Montreal’s Latin Quarter comes alive. This area along rue Saint-Denis is near UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal). (Richard McGuire Photo)

The Parliament Buildings are lit up at night in downtown Ottawa. Below them are the Supreme Court of Canada (in green light) and the Canadian War Museum. This shot was taken from my former apartment balcony with a long lens. (Richard McGuire Photo)

This image looking down from a pedestrian bridge onto Highway 417 in Ottawa was a 20-second exposure at f/20. The long exposure shows the trails of headlights and taillights and the small aperture causes the starburst effect on the lights and it keeps the chain link fence almost in focus as the background is sharp. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Ottawa’s Rideau Street is a bit rough around the edges. It’s a haven for panhandlers and addicts of various substances, and it’s a major truck route. Still, lights reflected on the rainy pavement give it a certain beauty on an autumn night. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Lights come on as darkness descends in Ottawa’s Chinatown. (Richard McGuire Photo)

From my apartment balcony at night I see the eerie green lights along the roadway to the Lemieux Island water treatment plants reflected like green candles in the Ottawa River. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Several members of the Ottawa Street Exploration Flickr group did a photo walk at Carleton University on a mild November evening. Years ago, I spent many, many hours at the MacOdrum Library shown here. Carleton’s architecture has a 1950s Stalinesque quality and the library’s windows remind me of cell blocks. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A couple shares a moment under the steam clock in Vancouver’s Gastown. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Vancouver’s Granville Street is lit up in lights. The city’s abundant rain intensifies the colours of the light as it is reflected on the pavement. (Richard McGuire Photo)

My focal perspectives – Orchards and Grasslands

“Trifocal Perspectives” is an exhibition of my photographs, along with those of Greg Reely and Peter Hovestad, at The Art Gallery Osoyoos throughout April 2019.

I’ve divided my photographs by four themes. “Orchards and Grasslands” features landscapes from the South Okanagan around Osoyoos, B.C.

Orchards and Grasslands:

Here in the South Okanagan and Lower Similkameen, we live in an arid grasslands environment that is unique in Canada. We’ve transformed it from parched earth to lush orchards and vineyards.

There’s always been a tension between protecting portions of this environment in its natural state and the desire to harness the climate and soils for economic purposes. But most agree that what we have is special.

As a photographer, I seek to celebrate what we have here.

Richard McGuire

Click on thumbnails to view as gallery with larger images:

The South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area and the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area offer spectacular and ever-changing vistas of this unique grasslands landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area and the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area offer spectacular and ever-changing vistas of this unique grasslands landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Autumn in the orchards north of Osoyoos glows golden on a sunny day. Green glass and blue sky add to the palette. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Snow covers the slopes of Mount Kobau as the Okanagan Valley enjoys a sunny day in early December. More and more days are overcast at this time of year and it’s not long until the snow reaches into the valley too. (Richard McGuire photo)

An autumn evening in October descends on the town of Osoyoos and Osoyoos Lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

It’s called Blue Lake, but this lake next to Kruger Mountain Road is very green in colour. It is surrounded by flowering bushes. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Fluffy cumulus clouds roll over the South Okanagan Grasslands, casting moody shadows. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The sun lowers behind an orchard, casting shadows with the gnarly trees in the Similkameen Valley. (Richard McGuire photo)

The mud mineral rings of Spotted Lake west of Osoyoos become more and more dominant later in the summer and fall. The white is minerals — not snow — in this photo taken in early October. (Richard McGuire photo)

A bee feeds on nectar in an Okanagan orchard. (Richard McGuire photo)

Kilpoola Lake is a small lake surrounded by grasslands. On a May weekend, a number of people came to fish for rainbow trout, which the lake is stocked with each year. (Richard McGuire Photo)

In February in the South Okanagan, sometimes the cloudy skies break up to let in sunlight. Spotted Lake, which is sacred to Okanagan First Nations, is already a magic place. This day was especially magic. (Richard McGuire photo)

There was lots of snow at Mount Baldy in mid-October, but it was still autumn, with yellow larches in the valleys below. (Richard McGuire photo)

 

A layover in Mexico City at jacarandas blooming time

On my return trip from Medellin, Colombia to Vancouver late in March, I had a 12-hour layover in Mexico City. The plane arrived around 5 a.m. and so after grabbing a few hours sleep in a cheap hotel popular with couples, I had a few hours to stroll through El Centro.

My timing was perfect. The jacarandas were blooming. The Alameda Central, a central park, was full of them.

I stopped to visit the Diego Rivera mural of Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central (Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central). This mural from the late 1940s depicts personalities from Mexico’s history all out for a stroll in the Alameda, just outside the door.

The mural survived the earthquake of 1985, but the Hotel del Prado where it was located was destroyed. When I visited Mexico City in 1988, I had an old guidebook from before the earthquake and when I walked to it, I was shocked to find the hotel no longer standing. Fortunately, the mural was saved, restored and moved to its own museum across the street.

Click on thumbnails to view as gallery with larger images:

I had 12 hours layover in Mexico City in late March on my return from Colombia. I got in around 5 a.m. and after a few hours sleep, there was time for a stroll through El Centro, where the jacarandas were blooming in Alameda Central and by the Palacio de Bellas Artes. They are flaming purple and could be seen as lilacs on steroids. (Richard McGuire Photo)

I had 12 hours layover in Mexico City in late March on my return from Colombia. I got in around 5 a.m. and after a few hours sleep, there was time for a stroll through El Centro, where the jacarandas were blooming in Alameda Central and by the Palacio de Bellas Artes. They are flaming purple and could be seen as lilacs on steroids. (Richard McGuire Photo)

I had 12 hours layover in Mexico City in late March on my return from Colombia. I got in around 5 a.m. and after a few hours sleep, there was time for a stroll through El Centro, where the jacarandas were blooming in Alameda Central and by the Palacio de Bellas Artes. They are flaming purple and could be seen as lilacs on steroids. (Richard McGuire Photo)

I had 12 hours layover in Mexico City in late March on my return from Colombia. I got in around 5 a.m. and after a few hours sleep, there was time for a stroll through El Centro, where the jacarandas were blooming in Alameda Central and by the Palacio de Bellas Artes. They are flaming purple and could be seen as lilacs on steroids. (Richard McGuire Photo)

I had 12 hours layover in Mexico City in late March on my return from Colombia. I got in around 5 a.m. and after a few hours sleep, there was time for a stroll through El Centro, where the jacarandas were blooming in Alameda Central and by the Palacio de Bellas Artes. They are flaming purple and could be seen as lilacs on steroids. (Richard McGuire Photo)

I had 12 hours layover in Mexico City in late March on my return from Colombia. I got in around 5 a.m. and after a few hours sleep, there was time for a stroll through El Centro, where the jacarandas were blooming in Alameda Central and by the Palacio de Bellas Artes. They are flaming purple and could be seen as lilacs on steroids. (Richard McGuire Photo)

I had 12 hours layover in Mexico City in late March on my return from Colombia. I got in around 5 a.m. and after a few hours sleep, there was time for a stroll through El Centro. I stopped at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a theatre and cultural centre from the early 20th Century. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The equestrian statue of Charles IV of Spain now stands outside el Museo Nacional de Arte and el Palacio de Mineria in the Centre of Mexico City. Charles was the last Spanish ruler of Mexico. The statue was nearly destroyed during the stuggle for independence, but it was saved due to its artistic merits. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The Museum of the Mexican Army and Air Force is located in a former 17th century chapel. This is the face of the building facing Calle de Tacuba. The entrance is around the corner. (Richard McGuire Photo)

One of Mexican artist Diego Rivera’s greatest murals is Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central (Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central. It covers people from throughout Mexico’s history on its 15.6 metre width (51 ft). This detail from the centre shows Rivera as a boy left of the skeleton Catrina. Behind him is his wife the artist Frida Kahlo. The mural survived the earthquake of 1985, even though the hotel it was in was destroyed. It was moved to its own museum across the street. (Richard McGuire Photo)

 

 

 

  • The barn at Haynes Ranch
  • White Lake
  • Rock formations near White Lake
  • Custom Crafted Home
  • Custom Crafted Home
  • Naramata from the Kettle Valley Railway Trail
  • Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park
  • Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park
  • Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park
  • Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park
  • Higher elevation

A spring Sunday outing in the Okanagan-Similkameen

One of the great things about the South Okanagan-Similkameen region of British Columbia is that you can experience very different landscapes and climates in a very short period of time.

On Sunday, a warm spring day, I took a meandering drive along the back roads of the Okanagan Valley, crossing into the neighbouring Similkameen Valley and back again.

In a very short distance, I passed through wetlands, desert, spreading vineyards, forests of different types and mountain scenery. There were deep blue lakes and a few shallow saline ones. There were cattle and horse ranches and vast expanses of wilderness. Cities, villages and little hamlets. Spreading mansions and tiny hovels.

At the farthest part of my journey, I continued north from Penticton along the eastern shore of Okanagan Lake, past the vineyards of Naramata, and up a twisty dirt mountain road towards Chute Lake. It was a journey I’d never made before, even though it is just an hour and a half from where I live. There, earlier fires have left stick-like trees dotted across the rugged mountains of Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park.

Although the temperature was warm, there was still a lot of snow at the elevation of around 4,000 feet making it impossible to explore further. I took a few photos and made a mental note to come back again when the snow is gone.

An old barn is reflected in one of the oxbows at the historic Haynes Ranch just north of Osoyoos, B.C. (Richard McGuire Photo)

An old barn is reflected in one of the oxbows at the historic Haynes Ranch just north of Osoyoos, B.C. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Clouds cast shadows over the mountains and grasslands at White Lake, north of Oliver, B.C. The small saline lake is surrounded by sagebrush and is in a protected area. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Clouds cast shadows over the mountains and grasslands at White Lake, north of Oliver, B.C. The small saline lake is surrounded by sagebrush and is in a protected area. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Steep rock formations rise from the sagebrush grasslands near White Lake, north of Oliver, B.C. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Steep rock formations rise from the sagebrush grasslands near White Lake, north of Oliver, B.C. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Hand-crafted custom home, open concept, lovely mountain views in every direction. Beautiful skylights. Great starter home for a handyman willing to give it some TLC. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Hand-crafted custom home, open concept, lovely mountain views in every direction. Beautiful skylights. Great starter home for a handyman willing to give it some TLC. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Hand-crafted custom home, open concept, lovely mountain views in every direction. Beautiful skylights. Great starter home for a handyman willing to give it some TLC. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Hand-crafted custom home, open concept, lovely mountain views in every direction. Beautiful skylights. Great starter home for a handyman willing to give it some TLC. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A hiking and biking trail now follows the former bed of the Kettle Valley Railway in the Okanagan Valley and beyond. The view of Okanagan Lake and the wine country around Naramata is spectacular from this portion of the trail. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A hiking and biking trail now follows the former bed of the Kettle Valley Railway in the Okanagan Valley and beyond. The view of Okanagan Lake and the wine country around Naramata is spectacular from this portion of the trail. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire photo)

There's still snow, ice and ponds of meltwater at higher elevations along Chute Lake Road, north of Penticton. The road passes close to Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park, seen in the background. Although there was still substantial snow in some places at this elevation of nearly 4,000 feet, the air temperature was close to 20 C. New growth is springing up on land once burned by forest fire. (Richard McGuire photo)

There’s still snow, ice and ponds of meltwater at higher elevations along Chute Lake Road, north of Penticton. The road passes close to Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park, seen in the background. Although there was still substantial snow in some places at this elevation of nearly 4,000 feet, the air temperature was close to 20 C. New growth is springing up on land once burned by forest fire. (Richard McGuire photo)

Waiting in the rain

Gastown at night in the rainIt took about an hour and a half to get the shot I wanted. I was in Gastown in Vancouver and it was raining, so there were nice reflections on the pavement. I tried about three angles before settling on this one and setting up a tripod.

I wanted a couple with an umbrella to stop next to a historic steam clock, but I wanted it completely candid, not posed. I also wanted interesting traffic movement, lights and the steam from the clock to be visible.

I waited while people passed in groups, some quickly, some with no umbrellas. A vehicle stopped illegally next to the clock for about 10 minutes. Drunks sometimes almost stumbled into me, and people asked what I was doing.

I was shooting at 1/10 second to get the right blur in the traffic and passing people, but wanted to freeze the subject, so they had to be stopped. Often they were too dark and appeared silhouetted.

Finally this couple stopped in just the right spot, with a beam of light behind them. A red car cruised by, and the steam was right. I held an umbrella over my camera gear and a remote release in my right hand, and in my left I pointed a speedlight at the pavement to bounce up at the couple and their umbrella. Then I fired this shot. I was soaking wet, but didn’t care.

 

  • Traffic check
  • Roadside suspension
  • Towing the vehicle
  • Checking a license

With the RCMP at a check stop for impaired drivers

Especially during the holiday season, but also on busy summer weekends, the RCMP set up check stops to look for impaired drivers and other offences.

Before Christmas, I had the opportunity to accompany the police one cold evening as they pulled over cars on a busy street in a residential neighbourhood. I wrote a story about what they do, and also took photos to accompany the story. I had to agree not to show identifying information of people they pulled over such as license plates or clear shots of faces — in a couple cases I had to digitally blur and distort faces before using the photos.

There were several police vehicles and a number of officers involved — to pull cars over in both directions, and in one case to chase a driver who failed to stop.

It didn’t take too long before the police found one woman who blew a “fail” on the roadside screening device. I photographed the process as the constable brought her into his cruiser to record her information and then had her car taken away to be impounded.

It was very dark with only a couple dim streetlights and the lights of the vehicles themselves. It would not have been appropriate for the situation or for the photographs to use a flash. I cranked up the ISO as high as I dared, knowing I could do some noise correction afterwards in software.

Below are a few images. You can read my story here.

Sgt. Kevin Schur signals a vehicle to pull over during a check for impaired drivers. RCMP have stepped up these checks during the holiday season. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Sgt. Kevin Schur signals a vehicle to pull over during a check for impaired drivers. RCMP have stepped up these checks during the holiday season. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Const. Brad Chaput completes paperwork in his cruiser, suspending the license of a woman who failed a breath test. The woman sits in the back seat. When she is finally released, she chooses to walk home, after sacrificing her license and her car. The cost of the suspension for towing, impound fees, penalties and license reinstatement is roughly $1,430 -- and that's not counting the impact on her insurance premiums. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Const. Brad Chaput completes paperwork in his cruiser, suspending the license of a woman who failed a breath test. The woman sits in the back seat. When she is finally released, she chooses to walk home, after sacrificing her license and her car. The cost of the suspension for towing, impound fees, penalties and license reinstatement is roughly $1,430 — and that’s not counting the impact on her insurance premiums. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Tow truck operator Laurence Usher of Usher's Towing hooks up the vehicle of a woman who received a 90-day driving suspension. Her vehicle will be impounded for 30 days. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Tow truck operator Laurence Usher of Usher’s Towing hooks up the vehicle of a woman who received a 90-day driving suspension. Her vehicle will be impounded for 30 days. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Const. Brad Chaput checks the drivers license of a man he's pulled over. Everything is fine, and the man is free to go. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Const. Brad Chaput checks the drivers license of a man he’s pulled over. Everything is fine, and the man is free to go. (Richard McGuire Photo)