After heading to Colorado for 3 year in a row with my Dad for our annual Winter photography trip we decided to change it up this year and head to the southern part of British Columbia in Canada. After flying into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport we grabbed a hotel for the night in Samish, WA and then began to make our way up the coast to the border in the morning. Cruising through farmlands with mountainous backdrops made for an enjoyable drive, stopping a number of times to shoot some wildlife or snap a few scenic shots. My favorite stretch was on the Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway in the very Northwest corner of Washington. The roadway hugs the cliffs of Chuckanut Mountain above Puget Sound and you can even see the San Juan Islands in the distance. I had heard later on that numerous car commercials had been filmed on that road and I can see why. After crossing over the border into Canada we headed towards our main destination of the trip, Delta, BC, to spend the afternoon hours seeing what the spot was all about. This area is known for having a large number of Bald Eagles, as well as a variety of owls and hawks. The first afternoon we had great luck firing off shots of Short-eared Owls, Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, and one of my main targets for the last 3 years, a Barn Owl. It was amazing to see these owls flying around on the hunt, especially the Barn Owl which back home is tough to even see let alone photograph it. The next morning we started back at the same area photographing similar subjects again and then checking out another area close by for a group of roosting Long-eared Owls. Was wild to see hundreds of Bald Eagles in one scan of the area and even 25+ in a single tree together!
The weather was typical of the Pacific Northwest in that it was mostly cloudy and showers the whole time up there, but one day in the middle of the trip the weather was calling for straight up rain. We decided to use that day to head an hour northeast to Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge, where although still pain in the ass conditions to shoot in you can work methodically to capture some scenics way easier than shooting wildlife. This was my first time in a rainforest ecosystem and I was blown away by the bright green moss covering absolutely everything in certain parts of the park. It was a nightmare trying to keep rain off the front of the lens before every shot but was worth it for the shots I headed home with. From there we headed a bit further east to the impressive Cascade Falls to continue the day of scenic shooting. Standing on the suspension bridge in the rain with the powerful 100ft waterfall right next to me was such a wild experience. Before making out way back to the Delta area we searched for a tiny Pygmy Owl in one spot it had been seen but it was an unsuccessful quest.
The next day and a half were spent in this area 40 miles south of Vancouver capturing as many frames of these amazing Owls, Eagles, Hawks & other critters before headin back down across the border to Seattle and starting the trip home. I even got to hand feed Wood Ducks and Sandhill Cranes at George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which was alot of fun. Another great trip with my Dad in the books and can’t wait to see where we end up going next year!