Dean Hebert Photography

Fine Art Landscape Photography of the Fraser Valley and beyond



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Mount McGuire, An Evening in the Bowl

Posted by Dean Hebert on February 18, 2018 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

 A couple of years ago I "discovered" the amazing wildflower display in the bowl below Mount McGuire and I knew I had to get back and photograph this area again. 

 With no intention of summiting, I headed to the trail head in the late afternoon. The lower part of the road  is still ok but it's getting overgrown making for a lot of single lane driving. Then the road deteriorates rapidly and I switched to 4 wheel drive to save my tires.

 There was no one at the trail head and I quickly headed to the rockslide. The hills were alive with flowers but the contrast made it difficult to get a decent shot. The trail gets steep at the funnel and I took my time until reaching the ridge. My first look into the bowl confirmed my timing. The hills were bursting with blooms!

 By 7:00 pm the light had softened enough for my to start getting some good exposures and I did my best to frame the flowers with Mount McGuire in the background.  There was tonnes of white flowers with some yelow, pink, and red ones thrown in for variety.

 This can be a difficult location to photograph due to the steep slopes and I struggled to get my tripod to not fall over! And of course, wildflower season is mosquito season!

  At one point I found myself in a field of thistles. Thankfully I wasn't wearing shorts!

 After realizing that the clear skies wouldn't provide a great sunset I made my way to the top of the ridge. There the light was better and the line of the ridge leading to the peak made for an ineresting composition.

 As the light faded from the sky, I said good-bye to one of my favourite, local destinations.

Elk Mountain

Posted by Dean Hebert on February 14, 2018 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

 Elk Mountain, my go-to location for a quick, after-work hike, combining some decent photo opportunities with a good cardio workout!

 In early summer the wild flowers are in full swing so I headed up a little after 5:00 pm hoping to catch the sunset on the summit.

The dense greenery of the lower slopes always has me looking for a good composition. I took some quick shots of these ferns, cranking the ISO on my camera up to 1600 and reducing the exsposure to try and get a longer shutter speed as I was hand-holding my camera. I always give myself a slap in the face later, for not setting up my tripod.

 Just past the road I took a quick shot of some flowers and then gave myself a mental slap-in-the-face and pulled out my tripod and spent a bit of time framing the shot.

 From there, I put my head down and huffed and puffed my way to the summit area where the steep slope was covered in blooms.

 I would be great to just sit and enjoy the views after the hard hike but in the evening the hill is alive with mosquitoes. The deet stops them from biting but the buzzing in your ear is maddening!

  When it looked as though there wouldn't be much to see at sunset I started back down, stopping for a parting shot of the little white flowers that lined the upper trail.

The Wave in the Valley of Fire.

Posted by Dean Hebert on February 6, 2018 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

 We've been going to the Valley of Fire for years now because of the incredible scenery and I'd never been to "the wave". This short, easy hike leads to a cool rock feature.


 As sunset approached, I made my way down the trail and around the tumbling cliffs of a large outcrop of red rock. On the south side of this formation I was mesmerized by the countless lines and layers in the rock surface. Normally, this would be, at most a 10 minute walk, but I had to stop every few feet and frame another photo!

 There were some neat clouds in the sky and I was hoping they'd stick around for sunset and add more colour to already colourful landscape.

This is not a secret trail and there were some other people enjoying the scenery and exploring around the wave. After waiting a while for some people to move, I decided to just go about my business and try and stay out of their way.

With plenty of light in the sky I headed down a little valley and up the other side, climbing to the top of some cliffs.

If you've ever been to the Valley of Fire you'll know how intriguing this spectacular landscape is!

 The sun was just above the horizon as I made my way back to the wave. Most of the crowd had left, leaving me to compose my shots without having to work around anyone else.

 Because the Wave is in a depression it was soon in shadow. Fortunately there was more to photograph as I headed back to the car, and my waiting wife, and I used up all the light I could.

 Even after so many trips to this unbelievable valley, I'm still spellbound by the remarkable scenery!

 Until next time!

Another Winter Hike up Zoa

Posted by Dean Hebert on February 5, 2018 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 As usual I was trying to time my hike to be near the peak by sunset. It was a cloudy day and I didn't hold out too much hope that I'd get any good photos but you know what they say, " Any day in the mountains is a good day! "  With the road to the trail head snowwed in there's a couple of extra kilometers to hike.

  After hiking the road and then up the open slope I reached the lower forest and followed one of the winding trails leading upwards. I've done this hike enough to have a good idea of which way to go so I wasn't concerned when others trails led away from the one I was taking. In the snow you don't have to worry too much about trampling any sensitive ground cover.

 As the forest thinned near the top of the ridge, the light began to change colours. It was close to sunset and the entire sky was acting like a soft box with a pink glow.

 It was getting close to dark and my fingers were pretty cold so I begged off reaching the summit and headed back to the truck. Going up in snowshoes takes way more effort than going down and I reached the open slopes with a trace of light still in the sky. I stopped for another shot as the light change above Thar.


 From there it was only a few minutes back to the road. I'll consider this another successful day in the Coquihalla!

2016: 12 Best Photos

Posted by Dean Hebert on January 29, 2018 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

 Almost half of 2016's best photos are from a trip around the Three Sisters. The other photos are from Skyline Divide and the Coquihalla Summit Rec. Area.

Around the Three Sisters

Posted by Dean Hebert on January 24, 2018 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

September 5-10, 2016

 As the season progressed, I looked forward to a multi-day camping trip in the rockies but the weather forecast looked dismal for the days I'd booked off. I searched south and found a decent forecast in Oregon, so Dan and I decided to hike the almost 50 mile loop around the Three Sisters.

 On the day we were to leave, Dan informed me that didn't have all his gear ready, so we put off leaving until the next day. That meant we'd have to make up a day on the trail!

 After a 9 hour drive and a short stop in Portland for a map, we arrived at the trail head.

 A dry, dusty path leads from the popular parking lot and passes a couple of small lakes before reaching the first junction. We planned on a clockwise trip so we turned left.   

 It was getting late and darkness closed in beneath the forest canopy. We couldn't find the trail to the lake we were planning on camping at so I pulled up the GPS app on my phone and we plunged into the underbrush. I kept reading the map wrong but amazingly we found the lake! After setting up in the dark we crashed for the night.

 The next morning was grey and overcast, with rain threatening. It was 16 kms to our next stop so we didn't linger over breakfast.

 It was almost a good thing that the weather was bad as we spent most of it trudging through the pole creek burn, eventually making our way to two small lakes where we spent our second night.

 As with most mornings, I slept past dawn but got up in time for some decent light.

 With another 16 kms to go, up and over a pass, we got an early start.

 The skies cleared and we were treated to views of South Sister and Broken Top. At the top of the pass we stopped and had a long break, taking photos and having lunch.

  Then it was off to Green Lake.

 It would have been nice to camp at Green Lakes and spend some time exploring the area but our destination for that night's camp was Moraine Lake.

 I was pretty happy to arrive at Moraine Lake, nestled at the foot of South Sister, as my feet were getting tired of carrying my heavy pack.

 The campsites were on a bluff overlooking the the lake and they all seemed to be occupied so we kept searching higher and higher. There was a sign warning against random camping so we needed to find a designated site. Ten minutes of searching found us an open site and we set up camp.

 After a siesta and dinner it was time to explore and do some photography. I found a nice spot overlooking the lake with Broken Top in the background and waited for the best light.

 In the morning there was enough of a breeze to ruffle the water and spoil my attempts at a reflection shot.

 With a full day of hiking to reach our next camp site, we set out under clear blue skies.

 We spent the morning hiking over open, rolling hills before reaching a branch in the trail. We took the low road and I was so happy with that desicion when we came across a ripe blueberry patch! 

 At the next trail junction we found a water source and pitched our tent. Some scouting of the area turned up a nice spot to do some photography in the morning but the light wasn't cooperating that evening so I crawled into my sleeping bag.

 For once I woke up in time for sunrise. I found the spot I'd picked out the night before and began taking shots as the sunlight hit the top of a nearby peak.

 Although neither Dan, nor myself were in any hurry to get going, we had our longest day of travel ahead of us.

 After passing Obsidian Falls we took a break beside a cool stream, where we met a group of hikers we'd met two days earlier on the other side of the sisters. Small world!

 The hardest part of the whole circuit was the climb up Opie Dilldock Pass, a dry, rocky pass that probably wasn't more than a couple hundred meters of elevation gain but seemed like so much more!

 Finally, we crested the summit and began or descent to South Matthieu Lake. We were pretty tired as we circled the lake, spotting the last vacant campsite. Just as we got to the site another hiker walked up and claimed it. After a minute of discussion the hiker, Paul Carew, agreed to share the site with us. As we continued to talk I found out that Paul was a fellow photographer so we spent the next half hour talking gear and style! 

In the pre-dawn light I wandered down to the small lake and took a shot of the silhoutted trees reflected on the calm water.

 Continuing to explore, I found myself running up a small rise as the sun broke above the horizon. When the best light was over I returned to camp as we had a short hike and a long drive ahead of us.

 Dan was a real trooper as he suffered from blisters on his feet almost the whole trip.

 I think next time I'll do a loop around the two southern peaks and plan a day to summit South Sister.

Skyline Divide, Mount Baker Wilderness

Posted by Dean Hebert on October 2, 2016 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 With a forecast of clearing skies I decided to attempt another hike in the Mount Baker Wilderness.

 I've got to say I'm not a big fan of the access road; one lane, blind corners, and potholes. Thankfully it was Monday and traffic was light.

 It was late afternoon when I hit the trail and began climbing up the modest grade through a nice forest. This late in the season I had to stop and photography every flower I could find!


 As I neared the crest of the ridge, the sky was a solid layer of cloud so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw some blue skies at the top.

 The sun was trying it's best to burn off the remaining clouds as I wandered up the rolling hills, making my way closer to Mount Baker.

  As I reached the next summit along the trail, Mount Baker emrged from the clouds and filled the skyline.

I spied some flowers a little lower down so I stopped to frame a few shots.

 A layer of clouds flowed over the ridge and I loved the light and shadow and colours.

 As the light began to fade, I made my way back to a field of flowers I'd seen earlier. More clouds meant more photos along the way.

 Mount Shuksan glowed pink in the dying minutes of sunlight.

 A layer of clouds had formed below me on the opposite side of the divide.

 By the time I was set-up at the flowers I'd seen I was left with a soft, alpine glow.

 I sat there enjoying the view unit it was dark before heading back to the truck.

Lake Anne, Mount Baker Wilderness.

Posted by Dean Hebert on September 18, 2016 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

 I'm always looking for new hikes near my home in Chilliwack and after seeing some photos of the Mount Baker area I decided I needed to go and explore.

 The Lake Anne hike starts in the wrong direction, descending into a green valley. I wasn't happy going down the switch backs knowing I'd have to climb them on the way back.

 Early views hinted at the scenery to come.


 I'd timed my hike to reach the lake with plenty of time before sunset so there was no need to rush. 

 Much of the trail runs along the bottom of the valley before slowly rising towards the pass. I met a gentleman who was carring a camera and hiking with his two young daughters. We struck up a conversation which helped pass the time.

 As Mount Baker came into view I had to pause and take a few shots.

  Lake Anne sits just below the pass at the foot of Mount Shuksan, which is pretty impressive from this vantage point.

 I wandered down to the lake and sat beside the shore to have a snack. The lake is a popular campsite and even on a Monday there were plenty of people spending the night. With a couple of hours before sunset I took a slow stroll around the lake. It's an incredible sight!

 As per my usual, I ditched the best light at the lake to see if I could get a better shot of Baker, which didn't pan out as well as I thought. I did get a descent shot of one of the neighbouring peaks before the sun went down.

 As the last of the light faded from the sky I booked it back to the truck, inspired to return and see more of this incredible wilderness.

Mount MacFarlane

Posted by Dean Hebert on August 25, 2016 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

 After several attempts to reach beyond the lower Pierce Lake I was finally able to summit Mount MacFarlane.

 The hike to Pierce Lake is a long, steep, slog, mostly through ugly forest. The exception is a stand of old-growth forest before the crossing of Pierce Creek. Unfortunately this is only a few minutes in a 3 hour climb of 1000 meters.

 After an age of drudgery I came abreast of the lake and a short drop brought me down to the shore. It's a pretty lake but I didn't linger as there was still a mountain to climb.


 It wasn't long before I reached the open slopes at the far end of the lake. The impressive headwall loomed in the distance but I wasn't deterred as I knew there was a trail leading to the top. 

 The last time I'd been here the upper meadow was filled with mist and I'd lost my way, retreating when I could find the trail. This time I had no problem following the boot-beaten path. I stopped to take a shot of some large tiger lillies.

 Further along the trail there were more flowers so it was time for more photos. I had been hoping for fields covered in wildflowers but  that's not what I got.

 The sound of the waterfall serenaded me as I climbed the steep headwall, finally reaching the upper lake for the first time.

 My feet were tired so I sat down and snacked on some food, debating whether to go on to the summit or start the long hike back. As I waited I convinced myself that the peak was right there and I should get off my lazy ass and go see what all the fuss was about.

 The trail isn't obvious in some spots but easily regained by continuing upward. The views steadily improved as I worked my way up the ridge.

 Finally at the summit I enjoyed the amazing views. This might be the most impressive viewpoint of Mount Slesse, which is further south along ridge.

  As usual, my original plan had been to find a great scene, preferably of the mountain reflected in the upper lake, and wait for sunset. But I was so tired and the cloudless sky was so uninspiring that I just headed straight down. I took a couple pictures of the forest between the lower lake and Pierce Creek.


 I'm thinking this hike would be better as an overnight, eventhough I'd dread hauling my gear to the upper lake.

A Windy Day in the Meadows

Posted by Dean Hebert on August 22, 2016 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

 A great day for photography was marred by high winds and a blur on my wide angle lens.

 I'm always a little nervous when I hike by myself and the dense young growth at the beginning of the trail had me calling out to warn off any ursus that might be in the area.

 After crossing the stream I stopped in the clearing and tried a few shots.

  Then a quick climb up through the forest to the ridge before beginning the long walk to the wide open pass. Bushes covered the trail for most of the lower slope until I reached the rock slide. After a bit of elevation gain I reached the lower meadows. I was hoping for more abundant flowers but had to settle for some blooming heather.

 I kind of had plans to climb Jim Kelly but once at the meadows I just didn't seem to have the energy. I'll just have to save that one for another day.

 Coquihalla Mountain makes a great backdrop and the dappled lighting added interest.

 The wind picked up on the pass and I quickly cooled off. I made my way over to the lake below Illal hoping to recreate a shot from a couple years ago but I couldn't find the patch of lupines and had to settle for more heather.

  I'd also contemplated summiting Illal but I just wasn't  feeling it. Instead I moseyed over to the cliffs overlooking the valley between Coquihalla Mountain and Illal Meadows. There's some lakes down there that I'll have to explore some day. 

 I composed a couple of shots from there before continuing to look for interesting subjects.

 The wind was intense by now, you'll know what I mean if you've been there, and the flowers wouldn't hold still for pictures. Thankfully, rocks don't sway in the breeze. 

 I caught a spotlight on Jim Kelly.

 The plan was to catch the sunset from the meadows, but I was getting quite chilled as I'd failed to layer appropriately for the conditions. Also, as I was doing a set of focus stacked shots, I noticed a blur in an image. I tried to clean it with a micro fibre cloth but couldn't. I switched to my 70-200 lens but it wasn't  what I wanted to use. I knew there might be some good light but I decided to start back. This way I'd have less trail to travel in the dark and I'd be home, in bed, sooner. A couple of parting shots as the sun sank below the clouds and then it was time to make tracks.