Although it is only Wednesday, it feels like it has been a very long week already! That’s why last night I decided to go to Robert’s Bank in Ladner to watch the sunset and clear my head. I also hoped the dunlins (little shorebirds that often fly in a huge rhythmic flock at sunset) would put on a show for me. I have seen photos of the flocks of dunlins, and they are true art. I had a pretty good idea where they would be, so I set out with my camera and tripod.

One of the neat things about going to slightly out of the way places is how friendly the other folks you run into can be. There was a man with his tripod and camera set up, spending time appreciating a heron who was perched on a piling, he smiled, waved, and carried on. There were a few people out walking their dogs, they let their dogs stop for a visit, and chatted themselves for a few minutes. Everyone acknowledged each other’s presence, that’s not something that happens in my day to day travels, so it’s special when it does.

I found the spot where the 1000s of dunlins were gathered on a sandbar just off shore. They are hard to see, until a small portion of the flock disturbs, but they are easy to hear! They are pretty loud!

I set up my camera and waited. While I waited the almost full moon rose,

I don’t think this is quite a full moon, but it was nice to watch while I waited for sunset!

and the sun began to set.

Evening on the delta1
I think the sky is so interesting when there are light wispy clouds at sunset.

As the sun lowered in the sky the dunlins became very active. They grew louder, and as time passed, they did take to the air. Unfortunately, they took to the air in disorganized batches of a few hundred or so, not in the flying ballet I was hoping for! In small groups the majority of them flew away over about a 20 minute period. With one group, a heron joined the flight.

Evening on the delta
Not quite the display I was looking for, but a great representation of evening on the delta, nonetheless.

Once the majority of the dunlins were gone, I packed up my gear and started back down the trail. Even the walk back was nice, and although I didn’t get “the shot” of the dunlins, I did get a shot of these two lovebirds, so all was not lost!

Sunset trail
The sky really was on fire last night. Great reds and oranges. Combine that with the hazy mountains in the background, and it’s quite surreal.

Beginnings and Endings

It’s been a long, interesting journey to get these first words typed. I hope as the story unfolds, there are inspirations, lessons, or at least some knowing smiles to be shared! On reflection, I initially thought the journey only started a few years ago, but in fact I’ve been unwittingly traveling the back roads in search of a creative outlet for many years. As a youngster I enjoyed sketching, creative writing, and shrieking out ear splitting renditions of Scott Joplin Ragtime on my alto sax.  I wasn’t particularly talented at any of my artistic endeavours.  Truthfully, I was comically bad at most of it, especially music, but I enjoyed it.  Somehow in the business of “growing up”, all those enjoyable pastimes fell by the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, my life has by no means been all work. I have been a compulsive traveller, and quite active in sports, I have few regrets. However, those pursuits required little creativity on my part, and like any other skill or talent that is not cherished and practiced, my creative streak became a bit tired and faded over time. There was a brief resurgence of artistic endeavour as a young adult, when my dad gave me the camera he used as a young man, a Pentax Spotmatic.  For a few years, I spent time teaching myself how to use the camera, learning all the manual settings, and seeking out additional lenses for it.  I have some very sentimental photos to remember those times. One particularly special memory was a day shortly after my brother had suffered a workplace injury and was off work healing after surgery. We decided he should get out and about for the day, so he, the Pentax, and I went for a drive around the Kootenays to take photos. We stopped here and there, checked out little side roads, streams, waterfalls, and other off the beaten track sites. It stands out in my memory, as my brother and I didn’t get to spend much time together in those years. The Pentax facilitated a nice excuse to get out and spend some time together.

I recently dusted off the Pentax, to learn there is still  a roll of film in it! I will finish the roll, get it developed, and see what treasures it holds!
I recently dusted off the Pentax, to learn there is still a roll of film in it! I will finish the roll, get it developed, and see what treasures it holds!

Despite the enjoyment I had with that awesome old camera, life again intervened and the camera was stowed and all but forgotten for almost two decades. Toward the end of those two decades, the era of cell phone cameras dawned. I don’t think I even realized the bond that formed between me and the sub-optimal cameras in various cell phones. The time came, after losing my “camera” when the waterproof case on my cell phone failed on a 10 day kayak trip in the beautiful Bowron Lake park, I invested in a more rugged camera to ensure I wasn’t caught out on my next adventure.  And the next adventure wasn’t long in coming, but more on that next time!