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Located just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Canada, Mount Seymour Provincial Park is one of the many amazing sights found in British Columbia. The park is located on Mount Seymour Road just north of Mount Seymour Parkway in North Vancouver, seven miles northeast of downtown via the Second Narrows Bridge and Mount Seymour Parkway. Established in 1936, the park is a mountain wilderness setting with several mountain peaks within its boundaries, including Mount Bishop, Mount Elsay, Runner Peak and Mount Seymour. The park offers viewpoints overlooking the city of Vancouver and east over Indian Arm Provincial Park. There are plenty of opportunities to photograph wildlife throughout the park, plus great opportunities for hiking and recreation amongst the park’s many lakes. The park is exceptional in all seasons, but especially in the winter, when ski and snowshoe trails open; Mount Seymour Ski Resort offers expansive views of the coastal mountains of British Columbia.
The weather varies from season to season. Summer months are typically dry, often resulting in moderately mild conditions, usually in July and August. In contrast, the rest of the year is snowy, especially between October and March. Temperatures range from an average low of -9.7° C (15° F) and an average high of -2.9° C (27° F), making for a daily average of -6.3° C (20.7° F). The weather can change very quickly, so extra clothing and rain gear are always necessary when photographing in the park. Mountain atmospheric conditions also can cause unruly fog and mist, which can cause disorientation and fatigue. The park is open year-round, with activities for every season. Roads can be seasonal, though.
Winter photography varies in terms of subjects, but the most impressive is the surrounding mountain peaks. You want at least two lenses that cover wide-angle scenes from 16-40mm, as well as a telephoto lens from 70-200mm to get close-up images of the distant mountains. Use a polarizer with extreme caution in higher elevations; it can result in too strong an effect. Skies can turn black, so position the polarizer in front of the lens to see the initial results before use. Bring a solid tripod, cable release and good camera body. But the most important piece of equipment to carry is extra batteries to combat the colder temperatures. When it comes to winter photography, too often photographers forget the importance of composition. So look for leading lines to the subject, repeating patterns, S-curves and juxtaposition between the foreground and the background.
When photographing in winter conditions, photograph the snow right after a storm when it’s fresh and untouched. I try to go first thing in the morning before the snow melts off the trees. If you get enough snow on the trees, you get “snow ghosts,” which make great foreground subjects that add immediate impact to the image. The best time to shoot in winter conditions is during the magic hours of sunrise and sunset when color is accentuated by the reflection of the white snow. Aim to shoot at the beginning of winter, when changes of fall color are still present and the lakes aren’t frozen over yet. The transitions between seasons make for great images.
Contact: Mount Seymour Provincial Park, www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mt_seymour/.
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