Saturday, November 19, 2011

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Snow, fall colours and a few eagles...

Today I took a drive east, up the Fraser Valley with my friend Bill. My goal was to find some fall colours but it quickly became obvious that it was already too late in the year for that, so we decided to drive all the way out to the Eagle Festival near Harrison Mills. Well actually, in the end we drove all the way past Hope and up the Fraser Canyon a short way, hoping for some really snowy mountains, but alas we lost the light there pretty quickly. We just made it back along the Lougheed Highway, opposite Mt. Cheam, in time for the above photo with the last rays of daylight hitting the peak.

On the way, we stopped and walked onto the Pitt River bridge, so I could take a few shots with some nice hanging clouds, a dusting of snow and some very clear and crisp looking mountains.

This was the first time I really shot with my new Panasonic 100-300mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens and even handheld, the O.I.S. stabilization proved very effective and I got nothing but tack sharp photos. It is by far the biggest and heaviest lens I now have for my Panasonic GH2, but considering its full-frame 35mm equivalent focal length is like a 200-600mm, it still is a very reasonable size! Both the previous and next photo were taken with it, as were several others in this blog entry.

On the way to Harrison Mills, we came across one spot by the highway, which did still have some nice colourful trees though! 

While I took some photos, Bill bought a cup full of roasted chestnuts, which neither of us had ever tried before. Very interesting flavour... kind of like mashed potatoes and yams inside (very soft) and they actually smelled like bacon to me, from the outside, surely due to the wood smoke from the fire they were being roasted over, and maybe also from a light coating of oil that they had been given. In any case, with their soft shell and soft insides, they were a pain to open and eat! After looking online, I see the common way of preparing them is to cut an 'X' shaped notch in one end, before roasting, as this will make them much easier to peel open and eat. That does sound like a lot of work for someone roasting and selling lots of chestnuts though, so I suppose I don't blame him for not going through the extra effort.

We finally made it out to one spot where there were a bunch of people watching the eagles, but alas from there, I only saw a handful of these magnificent birds well off in the distance. Even with a 600mm equivalent lens on my GH2 (the 100-300mm at full zoom), they were quite small in the frame...

In the end though, I was more interested in the snowy mountains, so after a half hour or so, we took off again for the run up the start of the Fraser Canyon. Here is one more shot of Mt. Cheam, on our return drive, with a train just blurring through the shot...


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