John Harvey Photo

April 2006Go to Slide Show

Them Flowers be spouting!


Bradner Flower Show

It's Saturday in spring - still a little cold.  Helen has a bit of a green thumb.  We decided to go for a short car trip out to Abottsford to see some flowers.  I found reference to the Bradner flower show (with nearly zero net presence) so we made that our first visit.  The show features 400+ varietals of the Daffodils (I had no idea).

Wide Display

OrangeryProfessor EinsteinVulcan Daffodil

But it's also an all round garden show.  They had a presentation area where one of the local nurseries was showing how to build "planters" full of flowers that bloom both now and through other seasons.  Cut flowers were for sale ($5 got you three bunches of tulips) and you could buy plants ($2 for a perennial).

How To Make PlanterPails Of FlowersSmall Pots

Open Gate
But what I was really looking for was those huge fields of flowers shots.   Daffodils pretty much grow wild out here but I was looking for a cultivated field.  I didn't really know where to go - we just started driving away from town.  About 10 minutes later we spotted a "Fresh Daffs" sign and found a small farm. 

Rows Of Daffodils


We trespassed (Sorry) to take some photos.  Not exactly the huge field I was hoping for but there were a lot of different species to take photos of.

Lots Of DaffodilsLight Daffodils In Front Of DarkThree Individuals In A Field

We stopped for lunch at a local park (it's still cold out) and after a bit more driving (Abbotsford seems to mostly grow grass) we return back to Vancouver.
 
Helen Gardening
  Helen and I did a bit of gardening (have to use those new plants!).  Not a bad use of a day.


Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Eric Mike And DucksSand Hill With Pond BehindSand Hill Walking Up Hill
The Reifel Bird Sanctuary is one of those Vancouver spots where you had no idea it existed until you actually go see it.  It was the Easter Long Weekend and some of us wanted to "go out" for the Friday.  I've been reading about birds and the Reifel Bird Sanctuary kept coming up a place to see wildlife.  I figured it would be pretty boring - perhaps the odd bird close up, but mostly small dots flying near the horizon.  I couldn't be more wrong.
 


When you arrive, you are assigned a Mallard to escort you through the park.  <grin>  The Mallards (which are by far the bravest ducks) figured out that people have bird seed (the admission office sells packets of food for 50 cents) and they know if they hang out, you may feed them.  Eric and I both had our feet walked on by Mallards that really didn't seem to care that we were there.

Male MallardAmerican Coot By MarshCanada Goose Master Of The Marsh

Female Wood DuckMale Wood DuckNorthern Pintail
 
Male And Female BuffleheadFemale American WigeonClose Up Northern Pintail
 
Most of the other ducks have larger requirements for space, but getting a good view isn't hard.  The bird sanctuary really has three different types of environments - the fresh water ponds, thin stands of trees and the ocean marshes.  In the trees you can spot some of the smaller birds.

Song Sparrow On BranchSpotted TowheeGolden Crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow With SeedRedwing Blackbird

This time of the year the sanctuary is really know for it's huge flocks of Snow Geese.  While we didn't get close enough to see them in the sanctuary, once we left we drove around some of the near by farms fields - one was covered in feeding birds.  

Wetlands From TowerSnow Geese
Mike and Eric really enjoyed there time here and of course I had no end of pictures to take.  We weren't out for more than a few hours (it was a bit cold) but it was a good day off.


Skagit Valley Tulip Festival


Helen works roughly one weekend a month and when she does work a weekend, she get the preceding Thursday and following Tuesday, Wednesday off.  I'm on a new project that isn't so busy so it wasn't a problem to take the day off.  After looking for flowers with the Bradner Flower show, we thought it might be nice to try to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  It's only a little more than an hour from Vancouver and it's really popular - popular enough that shouldn't go on a weekend.

Tulips To BarnRow Of Trees Behind Tulips

Wow.  I was totally overwhelmed by the thickness and saturation of the color.  I saw a few of that dying breed - medium and large format photographers.  I took pictures. 

Helen And Roshini In FieldHelen In Field Of YellowThree Of Us In Field

Thankfully Helen and Roshini were patient (it helps that they brought cameras as well).   So without further delay:

 
Red Lips
John's Unofficial Guide to Taking Pictures of Tulips on Farms

I divide taking photos of tulips on farms into 5 broad classes of photos.  Other classes may exist, some classes may mix, but I think there are roughly 5 classes:


Class 1: Macro
Tulips in detail are beautiful flowers.  Get close.  Use a longer lens (90-105 macro's are perfect but many longer lenses have a macro mode).  The trick is to watch the background.

Hairy MawSingle Bulb Lots Of GreenLots Of Redness

Class 2: Exceptions
The Tulips are planted in rows for cultivation.  Generally these bulbs are dug up each year, separated (so you can sell some of them) and then replanted for the next years cycle.  Sometimes they miss a few (left in the ground) or they otherwise get mixed.  Generally farms will weed these plants out, but not always.

Single Yellow FlowerSingle Yellow In Purple

Class 3: Diagonals in Medium Shots
The combinations of rows and the lumps in the fields allow you to stage rows behind rows or otherwise setup a stage.  This isn't to the point of including background elements - this is mostly a 2D interpretation.

Diagonal RowsDark Tulips Dark Sky

Class 4: Barns in the Background
There are classic shots of old barns with the burst of new life in front.  There aren't a lot of nice old barns any more so finding a good background can be a pain.  Depending on the angle of the rows, you can emphasis the cultivation or the variety or the flowers.

Flamers In RowsRed Flowers Red BarnMany Colors Stretching Out

Class 5: An Ocean of Tulips
Some of these farms are huge - they seem to go on forever.  Using a wide angle or a telephoto, you can capture the immense scale of these operations.
 
Red Field Dark CloudsPart In The OceanOcean That Never Ends
 

Results Of Picking
It's important to understand how this works.  These are farmers who are growing bulbs for sale.  Some of them have figured out there is a killing to be made by letting people in to see the flowers when they bloom, but it still is a business.  After the bulbs peak (which varies by weather and species) they are "topped" so that the plant doesn't got to seed and the decaying pedals don't attract disease.  Selling cut flowers is minor part - this is almost all about bulbs. 

Red Jacket In Field

A great day well spent.  Thanks everyone!

UBC Botanical Garden

Ball Of Little Flowers
As if I hadn't had enough of flowers already, I decided for a Sunday afternoon getaway to go to the UBC botanical garden.  I read the web site quite a bit so I thought I would come out and take a look around.   Amazingly, Eric, Mark and Francis were also interested in coming out.

White Crowned Sparrow

I was quite impressed with the Alpine garden, but most of my local alpine favorites weren't present.  The alpine garden is huge and has areas representing many different parts of the world so there are lots of plants I've never seen before.

Some SucculentSword FernBright Poppy

Mark asked me my theory on marking species on my web site.  The current theory is "if it lives here and I find it where it's supposed to live, then I'll consider looking it up".  We'll see how long that lasts.



Diagonal Rows
Tags: flowers
Hairy Maw
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Sand Hill Walking Up Hill
Species: Grus canadensis (Sandhill Crane)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
How To Make Planter
Altitude: 107m (351 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: performance
Light Daffodils In Front Of Dark
Tags: farm, flowers
Results Of Picking
Tags: farm
Helen And Roshini In Field
Single Yellow Flower
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Red Jacket In Field
Tags: farm, flowers
Dark Tulips Dark Sky
Tags: farm, flower
Ocean That Never Ends
Tags: farm, flower
Red Lips
Tags: macro
Close Up Northern Pintail
Species: Anas acuta (Northern Pintail)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Lots Of Redness
Tags: flower
Single Yellow In Purple
Tags: flower
Rows Of Daffodils
Altitude: 78m (255 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: farm, flowers
Helen In Field Of Yellow
Person: Helen
Song Sparrow On Branch
Species: Melospiza melodia (Song Sparrow)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Female American Wigeon
Species: Anas americana (American Wigeon)
Tags: BC fauna, bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Sand Hill With Pond Behind
Species: Grus canadensis (Sandhill Crane)
Tags: BC fauna, bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Small Pots
Tags: garden
Three Individuals In A Field
Tags: field, flower
Part In The Ocean
Tags: farm, flowers
Male And Female Bufflehead
Species: Bucephala albeola (Bufflehead)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Snow Geese
Species: Chen caerulescens (Snow Goose)
Tags: bird, farm
Ball Of Little Flowers
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field, UBC Botanical Garden
Many Colors Stretching Out
Tags: farm, flowers
Canada Goose Master Of The Marsh
Species: Branta canadensis (canada goose)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Male Mallard
Species: Anas platyrhynchos (Mallard)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Pails Of Flowers
Tags: flowers
American Coot By Marsh
Species: Fulica americana (American Coot)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Red Field Dark Clouds
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: farm, flowers
Flamers In Rows
Tags: farm, flowers
Professor Einstein
Tags: flower, performance
Vulcan Daffodil
Tags: flower, performance
Red Flowers Red Barn
Tags: farm, flower
Bright Poppy
Tags: flower, UBC Botanical Garden
Open Gate
Tags: field, flowers
White Crowned Sparrow
Species: Zonotrichia leucophrys (White-crowned Sparrow)
Altitude: 75m (246 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, UBC Botanical Garden
Northern Pintail
Species: Anas acuta (Northern Pintail)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Sword Fern
Species: Polystichum munitum (Western Swordfern)
Tags: fern, shallow depth of field, UBC Botanical Garden
Single Bulb Lots Of Green
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Wide Display
Tags: flowers, panorama, performance
Wetlands From Tower
Altitude: 8m (26 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: pond, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Some Succulent
Tags: garden, UBC Botanical Garden
Golden Crowned Sparrow
Species: Zonotrichia atricapilla (Golden-crowned Sparrow)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Row Of Trees Behind Tulips
Tags: flowers
Helen Gardening
Person: Helen
Three Of Us In Field
Person: Helen, John
Eric Mike And Ducks
Person: Eric, Michael
Orangery
Tags: flower
Spotted Towhee
Species: Pipilo maculatus (Spotted Towhee)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Song Sparrow With Seed
Species: Melospiza melodia (Song Sparrow)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Lots Of Daffodils
Tags: farm, flowers
Female Wood Duck
Species: Aix sponsa (Wood Duck)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Tulips To Barn
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: farm, flowers
Redwing Blackbird
Species: Agelaius phoeniceus (Red-winged Blackbird)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Male Wood Duck
Species: Aix sponsa (Wood Duck)
Tags: bird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Tags: bird(18), Reifel Bird Sanctuary(17), flowers(14), farm(14), flower(14), shallow depth of field(5)
People: Helen(3), Eric(1), John(1), Michael(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2016 to 2005 > April 2006

Thanks for the flower photos - there great And the tips I am just heading out to look for some tulips and daffodils I haven't been to Bradner and don't know what to expect - its April 28th Laconor is great we were there a few years ago and I may go there instead of Brandner Do you have any advise on finding tulip fields in Bradner? cheers Wayne
Wayne Smith
Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 09:09:04

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