S: Dean Hebert Photography 2011
BC: Following your dream is about the journey, not the destination. www.deanhebertphotography.com
FC: Dean Hebert Photography 2011: Fine Art Landscape Photography of the Fraser Valley and Beyond
1: 2011 was a good year for photography. I had a photo chosen by the editors of Outdoor Photography Canada as the February Editors' Assignment winner. The winning photo, "A Nightmare in Ice" was published in the magazine. That was quite a thrill! I also submitted two images to the website, Canadian Nature Photographer, for it's Photo of the Month contest. Both pictures were chosen. On a family vacation to Tofino, on Vancouver Island, I spent most mornings and evenings photographing this beautiful area. There were sandy beaches and rocky shorelines, walks through the forest as well as a day on the ocean whale watching. Wells Grey Provincial Park played a big role this year as I took a four day "personal" trip to this spectacular wilderness in mid September. There were new places to explore like the Coquihalla Summit Rec. Area and E.C.Manning Provincial Park, as well as old familiar locations on the Fraser River and Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park. Maybe the best thing that happened all year was that my wife Serea, began joining me on my hiking adventures. There is no one in the world who I would rather share these special moments with (except my children, who haven't caught the "outdoors" bug yet). | Sunset on the Fraser
2: Crystal River | Heart of Ice
3: A Nightmare in Ice | Looking down might seem counterintuitive when you're out trying to bag the grand landscape, but it can have it's rewards. On a cold morning in January I was walking along the Fraser River trying to frame Mount Cheam in the background when I looked down at the edge of the river and saw some neat, almost spooky, ice formations. I set-up the tripod and framed a few shots before returning to my quest for a trophy shot. Back at home I opened this file on my computer and it's potential jumped out at me. I adjusted the contrast and colour and then attempted to intensify the neon quality I was seeing. I posted the image on Nature Photography Network and got lots of positive feedback, prompting me to submit the photo to Outdoor Photography Canada's February Editor's Assignment, Winter Abstracts. After forgetting about the contest I received an email telling me that my photo had won the assignment and would be published in the next issue of the magazine! I waited impatiently for months before the summer/fall issue hit the shelves and I could finally see my picture in print!
4: This Page, Harvest Morning Opposite Page, End of the Line
6: Morning Reflection | Williams Peak | Three Stones, Chilliwack Lake
7: Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park is a favourite haunt of mine, located at the end of the aptly named Chilliwack Lake Rd. It's about a 52km drive from Chilliwack through a working valley that is constantly being logged. There's also mining , hunting and fishing, a fish hatchery, and a military zone that includes a rifle range. Other than Chilliwack Lake itself there are 6 other lakes within the park boundary, of which I've only been to 3. Lindeman Lake is the easiest to get to, therefore the most popular, and can be overrun during the summer months. I've hiked up to the lake in the dark to catch the sunrise and hiked down in the dark after watching the sunset. Greendrop Lake is a 5km hike from the trail head. I don't think it's as pretty as Lindeman Lake so I haven't gotten many "keeper" photos from there. Flora Lake can be reached from the same trail head as Lindeman and Greendrop but is a much more strenuous hike and one that I look forward to visiting soon. Hanging Lake and Upper Hanging Lake are beautiful lakes, from the photos I've seen. Both lakes are extremely difficult to reach needing either a kilometer long grueling bushwhack from the southern approach, or a multi-day hike from the Radium Lake trail. After a 10km hike with 900m of elevation gain, you reach Radium Lake nestled below Mount Webb and Mount MacDonald. At 1500 meters the lake stays frozen for most of the year. Paul and I went in September and enjoyed a beautiful day in the sunshine, taking pictures of the wildflowers and surrounding mountains. Although we didn't see any bears that day, there was plenty of sign that they were near. | Chilliwack Lake Sunrise
8: Forest Impressions | Opposite Page: Before The Cloudburst
9: On a cloudy morning, my friend Paul and I decided to check-out Golden Ears Provincial Park, hoping to catch first light. I'd never been to this area and had no real idea of what I'd find there. Alouette Lake was glass, giving a perfect reflection of the bands of clouds on the mountains. A short walk down the shoreline and several images later, I set-up by the edge of the lake with my wide-angle lens and framed a little group of rocks as my foreground. I bracketed 3 exposures figuring I'd have to blend them together in an HDR (high dynamic range)-like process.
10: When my wife told me she was having a "party" and I should find something to do outside, I grabbed my camera and headed to Harrison Lake. I drove the East Harrison FSR enjoying the occasional view and keeping my eyes on the growing storm. With crossed fingers I hoped for the sun to break through and light-up the bellies of the clouds. When I came to this clearing I pulled over and parked. The wind whipped my face as I set-up, the cool air was refreshing with a hint of the rain that was on it's way. On the side of the road, I admired the forms and textures in the sky and was amazed at the rich blue colours. When a spotlight appeared across the lake and sent a search beam out against the mountains I started snapping shots. I had my wide-angle lens on the camera and framed this image to emphasize the sky. Within minutes the clouds had closed and the eye-in-the-sky was gone. Waiting by the side of the road to see if the light would come back, I revelled in the moment, the sense of freedom, of being alive, as I inhaled the beauty of the scene before me. Connecting with nature is one of the best benefits of being a landscape photographer. | Storm on the Lake
12: Turtle Rock
13: The forest can be a chaotic landscape and it's difficult to capture it's essence. On an evening hike up Teapot Hill at Cultus Lake I saw this maple tree lit-up as if by a spot light. I had my long lens on my camera so I tried to isolate just the bright leaves against the darker forest. This is a favourite theme of mine, but one that I struggle with. Most of my experience with the forest is as I'm moving through it, catching glimpses that don't register consciencely but have a cumulative effect, stirring my imagination. | Side lit Maple, Teapot Hill
14: Tofino | This year my family joined our good friends on a vacation to Tofino. I knew in the planning stages that I would be spending as much time as I could taking photos during the best light. At the campsite where we stayed, Crystal Cove, there were all the elements needed to create beautiful images. Sandy beaches, rocky shorelines, as well as islands that would come and go with the tides. Each morning I would rise with the dawn and take Fergus for a walk on the beach. At this time of day the beach was mostly deserted and I explored the many nooks and crannies, reminded of my childhood fascination with nature. At night I ventured out to the tip of a rocky peninsula and experienced the power of the Pacific Ocean. With just the hint of an idea of what I was after, I jumped around on these rocks, trying to put together what I imagined. One night the sea was calm and I sat on the edge of the rocks as the tide began coming in. There was movement out of the corner of my eye and when I turned to look a seal was bobbing in the water. It watched me for a few minutes as I took pictures of waves, and then disappeared below the surface. Spending each night alone on this rocky point reaffirmed my connection with nature and my desire to express the emotional impact these wild scenes have on me. | Tofino Sunset
16: Setting out from Ucluelet on a gray, overcast morning, I had visions of getting up close and personal with a couple of whales. It had been a long time since I was on the ocean in a small fishing boat and as we left the smooth waters of the sheltered harbour the seas began to swell. It is very difficult to take photographs from a boat, but when you throw in wind and rain it's near impossible. We saw sea otters, Stellar Sea Lions, many sea birds, and a few whales(from a fair distance away). I was also fascinated by the shores of the many islands we passed. The effect of the tides and wind shaped the rock and trees.
17: The Ripple Effect
18: Beach Bubbles
19: In this time At this moment All is quiet, The wind is mute The waves are silent. A line stretches forever And fades, Replaced in turn by another.
21: Another Tofino Sunset
22: Needle Peak
23: Needle Peak and Flatiron in the Coquihalla Summit Rec. Area quickly became a favorite hiking and photography destination. After gaining over 200 meters of elevation in less than a kilometer, you emerge from the forested slope onto a sub-alpine ridge with 360 degree views. When the snow melts in late July it leaves behind many small pools that can be used to capture reflections of the surrounding scenes. Heather blooms around the sun-bleached remains of fallen trees and several of the nearby mountains make great backdrops. Each time we went on this hike we chose the tarn below Flatiron as our destination. From there< Needle Peak can be reflected in the still waters of this shallow pool.
24: Artist Point | Lindeman Reflection | The Vortex
25: A Flower By the Lake
26: Flowers at Dusk
27: In September I "discovered" E.C. Manning Provincial Park. About an hour and a half drive from Chilliwack, (2 1/2 hours from Vancouver), located in the North Cascade Mountains, E.C. Manning park is filled with breath-taking views of lakes and mountains, wildflower meadows, and the western most stand of Larch trees in BC. I made 2 trips to the park. My September hike was to Snowcamp Mountain, and in October I journeyed up to Larch Plateau to catch the larches as they changed colours. The Skyline II trail begins by wandering through quiet meadows before rising up the gentle, forested switch-backs of an unnamed mountain. There are some good views of Lone Goat and Red mountains from several clearings along the way, before you come out of the trees on the edge of a cliff with impressive views overlooking the valley between Strike Lake and Thunder Lake. Be careful of your footing here! The descent into Despair Pass is a set of fairly steep switch-backs that loose close to 100 meters before leveling off and then gently gaining the elevation back. Emerging on the slope of Snowcamp Mountain, the trail can be followed to Mowich Camp and further to the Skagit Valley, but if you turn to the north it will lead you to Snowcamp's peak through an open meadow of wild-flowers. The small grassy peak, at just under 2000 meters high, is a good spot to view the jagged peaks of the Hozemeen Range to the south in the USA.
28: The first time I went to Wells Gray Provincial Park it was on a family vacation. We spent one afternoon actually in the park, stopping at Spahats and Helmken falls. This small taste was enough to put this area right at the top of my "must see" list. In the middle of September I borrowed a small trailer from Paul and took a 4 day personal vacation to explore and photograph some of the area's scenic locations. Pyramid Campground was virtually deserted during my stay, and I only spoke to 1 person while I was there. After setting up camp, I hiked to the top of Pyramid Mountain, a small, cone-shaped hill, and surveyed the land. As the sun set, the mountain's shadow stretched across the plateau. I had planned on photographing the sunset from here but I felt a bit nervous about hiking the trail in the dark so I headed back down. I was back in the forest when the clouds lit-up so I contented myself silhouetting the trees against the colourful sky.After spending a cool night in the trailer, I followed a path that led | from my campsite down to Dawson Falls. As I got closer, the roar of the falls grew in intensity. At the top of the falls the light was hitting the rim and leaving the rest in shadow. The contrast between the sparkling highlights and the muted flow allowed for some interesting compositions, but the best shots were from the foot of the falls. After spending the morning at Dawson Falls I headed to Trophy Mountain, famous for it's immense fields of wildflowers. The FSR was in decent condition and, after a quick hike through an old cut-block, I was into an open forest with many little meadows. There were some flowers where the sunlight made it through the trees but, because it was the middle of September, most of the blooms were past their prime. It wasn't very long before I left the forest and was walking through an almost endless field which just a couple of weeks earlier had been bursting with a bounty of alpine colour. In the middle of the meadow was on old shelter where a man who had tended his flock on the slopes of Trophy Mountain took refuge from the worst weather. There was barely room to lie down inside the log hut so I imagine it was seldom used. Continuing past the meadows, the trail gained a bit more elevation up to a rocky, tarn filled plateau. This was a great spot for lunch and a bit of exploring. Afterwards, I headed up to a col that gave me good views of the scenery to the north. There were many photographic locations in the area so I imagine I'll be back to do some backpacking and hopefully catch the light. I spent the next day exploring more of the park including hiking the south trail to the world famous Helmken Falls. This is an easy trek about 4kms one-way through a beautiful forest. As you near the end of the path the thunder of the falls becomes tangible. The ground rumbles beneath your feet making you want to hold on to something solid. A word of caution, the trail emerges cliff-side with no barrier preventing what would surely be a fatal fall. After carefully taking a few photos I headed to another location. My next stop was the Ray Farm. In the early 1900s, John Ray homesteaded near the Clearwater River and raised his family there. Since his death in 1947 the land has slowly been returning to it's natural state. From there, I crossed the street and hiked through the forest to Horseshoe Bend, a spot on the river that curls around on itself. I had the whole area to myself and I reveled in the midday sun. After an hour or so at the river, I decided to climb the sandy bank and walk along to where the horseshoe began. Once I'd gained the top of the bank, I looked back to where I had been minutes ago, only to see a black bear walking past the spot on the river I'd just had my lunch. The direction the bear was heading would put it between the road and myself so I cut my hike short and returned to my truck. By this time I was feeling a bit fatigued so I decided to call it a day and drive back to camp. Along the way, there was a spot where the river was visible from the road. Figuring that I could get a few photos of the river from above, I pulled over into a parking lot. As I was standing at the railing, half-heartedly playing with the camera , a woman mentioned that the salmon were jumping at The Chute, an almost impassable waterfall. Assured that it was only a five minute walk, I headed out. The salmon were indeed jumping and I spent an hour or so trying to catch a picture of these fish as they struggled to continue their journey up the river. While I was there, none of salmon that I saw were able clear the falls. I think this is the end of run for most of them.
30: Nature's Playground | In The Valley
31: Dawson Falls , detail | Nature's Playground
32: Dawson Falls | Clearwater River, Horseshoe Bend | Rock Detail, The Chute
34: Helmken Falls | Looking Skyward
35: On my final day in the park I had decided to hike to Moul Falls before going home. Other than taking a wrong turn, hiking almost an hour in the wrong direction, and then following one of many aimless cattle trails, this is a short and easy hike. Unfortunately, my ramblings made me miss the best light and I had to content myself taking pictures in less that ideal conditions. I was strolling along the stream, looking for a composition, when I noticed a leaf on a rock. It was a good thing I was wearing water-proof hiking boots because the best composition put me smack dab in the middle of the water. After playing around a bit and enjoying my time at the foot of these beautiful falls, I packed-up and headed home. On the way back I found the sign that I had miss-read due to the bottom half of the sign being in less than perfect condition. With my time in the park over, I reluctantly drove home, buoyed by the thought of returning and once again exploring and discovering the many wild and beautiful corners of this magnificent park. | Moul Falls
36: I've been to Statlu Lake quite a few times and would go more often but it's a 2 hour drive from my house. This scenic lake is reached after an easy 2 hour hike with under 300 meters of elevation gain. After the traditional access to the trail head was blocked by the Chehalis Lake Slide, a new trail was constructed which starts from the Chehalis-Mystery Creek FSR. I met the gentlemen responsible for building the new trail and was the first person to hike the finished route. Serea is not a big fan of the first river crossing. She finds the log bridge a bit difficult because the handrail wire doesn't start right away. After a short walk through the forest you emerge onto an old forestry road and follow it until you reach the original trail head. The trail goes up an old logging road before finally becoming a true footpath. Along the way there are some nice views of the lower slopes of Mount Bardean. When you emerge from the forest there is a bit of room for a couple of tents and nice views down the length of the lake. The trail continues around the north side of the lake, crossing several talus fields before reaching a stream with a waterfall. If you cross the stream the trail leads to the far end of the lake. If you are looking for more challenge, the Brotherhood Trail, a.k.a. the Grunt, leads steeply to Upper Statlu Lake, nestled at the foot of Mount Clarke. On one occasion, I left Serea and Paul to amuse themselves at the waterfall and hiked to the upper lake. I lost the trail on the lower slope and bushwhacked a bit before finding the track again. There are some good views of the west end of the lake as well as a precarious spot to see a breath-taking set of twin waterfalls. Past the look-out the trail narrows and follows along a steep hillside, crossing a creek and one last, rope assisted slope, before emerging on the lip of the bowl. 15 to 20 minutes later you're at the lake. I didn't want to make Serea and Paul wait too long so I snapped a few pictures and headed back. Unfortunately, I some how lost all the photos from that trip, which were all truly spectacular!
37: Below; A Touch of Frost. Right; Wishing Bone Preceding page; First View, Statlu Lake
38: Rocky Point, Harrison Lake | A Leaf at Dawn
39: Frozen in Time | After 2 and a half years of practicing my craft I'm beginning to realize how much work is still ahead. My desire to achieve a "professional level" of quality in my images meant a lot of self-criticism. When you invest a great deal of time and energy into capturing and processing an image it can be difficult to admit that it doesn't measure-up to the standards you've set. Then it's back to the drawing board. Sometimes, just making the time to get out can be a challenge. Between work, family, and poor weather, I was able to do about 20 photography-based outings this year. Almost half the photos in this year's book are from the two vacations I took, one to Tofino and the other to Wells Gray Provincial Park. Being able to focus on photography for more than a couple of hours at a time gave me a chance to experiment and try different compositions. I was able to "see" things that I might have otherwise passed by on my way to a scenic location. Abstract images and intimate landscapes caught my eye and I explored a bit of minimalism, allowing simple lines and forms to convey emotions. Both of these areas are very inspiring and I look forward to revisiting them. The connection I feel with nature evokes many different emotions. From the calm, peaceful, solitude of watching the sky change colour from the side of a lake. To the joyful exhilaration of feeling the wind on my face as I watched an approaching storm. I experienced a sense of freedom having lunch by the side of a river and a feeling of accomplishment after gaining the peak of a mountain. To be able to express these emotions and convey my wonder of the natural world through my photography keeps driving me forward. Join me on another adventure; www.deanhebertphotography.com.