Posts from the ‘Canada’ category

8 hours on New Year’s Day in Vancouver

I’ve photographed the greater Vancouver area in separate 16-hour “marathons” on Canada Day (1 July) in the last couple of years. Similarly, one way to crack open a brand new year is a shorter photowalk on New Year’s Day, with the length of a winter day halved to 8 hours of daylight. Very good conditions were forecast for New Year’s Day 2015 in Vancouver with mostly clear skies and a high of +6C (42F). I made the following 10 photographs from sunrise to sunset.


1.   817am, 1st light on the North Shore

1st sunrise of 2015, Vancouver, BC, fotoeins.com

1st light of 2015 on North Shore

Previous experience informed my knowledge of a winter sunrise occurring to the southeast, which meant first light on the North Shore mountains. As the first sun of the year poked its head and climbed higher into the sky, windows from houses and apartment towers in West Vancouver sparkled with yellow light.


2.   801-900am, Marine Building

Morning light on Marine Building, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

Winter morning light on Marine Building

At 9am, the morning sun shines down the length of West Hastings Street in the downtown Vancouver peninsula. Where West Hastings meets Burrard Street is the Marine Building, fully illuminated in a warm golden glow by morning light. When construction on the Art Deco style skyscraper was completed in 1930, the Marine Building was then the tallest building in the British Empire.


3.   901-1000am, North Boundary, Vancouver

At North Boundary Road, between Vancouver and Burnaby, fotoeins.com

At North Boundary Road, between Vancouver and Burnaby

When we were much younger and dad drove us all around Vancouver, I’ve always wanted to return to this section of Boundary Road, separating the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby. With the road ending on a cliff onto Burrard Inlet, the view here is over the Ironworkers’ Memorial Bridge (Second Narrows Bridge) and beyond to the North Shore mountains.


4.   1001-1100am, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby

Frozen reflecting pond, Academic Quadrangle, Simon Fraser University, fotoeins.com

Frozen reflecting pond, Academic Quadrangle, Simon Fraser University

This is my alma mater, the campus of Simon Fraser University on Burnaby Mountain, a 300-metre high mountain over the city of Burnaby. The “square” or Academic Quadrangle as well as the accompanying (frozen) reflecting pond remind me of a humble start as an engineering student and graduation with a physics degree.


5.   1101-1200pm, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Mountain, fotoeins.com

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Mountain

I lingered around the empty campus for another hour, walking past old haunting grounds, lecture halls, and concourses I’d covered and walked across many times. Coming around to the “front” southwest side of campus, this view highlights the “terraced” structure of the Student Services Centre.


6.   1201-100pm, Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver

Quiet reflection, Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver, BC, fotoeins.com

Quiet reflection, Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver, BC

Shortly after arriving at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, I came across a scattering of people including residents, visitors, couples, families, and pets. A woman sat quietly on one of the benches, next to her bicycle. Her eyes closed, she faced the bright afternoon sun. This photo represents what many of us desire: restful contemplation and a fresh start to the new year.


7.   101-200pm: Central Lonsdale, North Vancouver

Central Lonsdale, up to Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

Lonsdale and 14th, north towards Grouse Mountain

A short trip on the bus up the hill towards Central Lonsdale revealed many people out and about in the holiday afternoon sun, outside for a brief walk in the neighbourhood, out for a coffee and a chat. More telling is how close the hills on the North Shore are: so close one can reach out and touch.


8.   201-300pm: Burrard Dry Dock Pier, North Vancouver

Lonsdale Quay and the Lions, from Burrard Dry Dock Pier, North Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

Lonsdale Quay and the Lions, from Burrard Dry Dock Pier

Back at Lonsdale Quay, afternoon light provides front and direct illumination on the Public Market and the large Q sign for the hotel. Just visible in the background are the snow-capped peaks of The Lions (Twin Sisters).


9.   301-400pm: Dundarave Park, West Vancouver

Late-afternoon conversation, Georgia Strait, Salish Sea, Dundarave, West Vancouver, BC, fotoeins.com

Late-afternoon conversation, Dundarave Park

The skies remained mostly clear for the final hours of the first afternoon of the year. At Dundarave Park, the couple seated on a log are in animated conversation, bisected by the column of sunlight on the waters of the Salish Sea.


10.   415pm, sunset over the Salish Sea

1st sunset of 2015, Georgia Strait, Salish Sea, West Vancouver, BC, fotoeins.com

1st sunset of 2015 over the Salish Sea

The first sunset of 2015 is highlighted by brilliant yellows and oranges, as the sun slips behind the mountains of the Gulf Islands and on Vancouver Island. A container ship in silhouette is parked on the waters of the Salish Sea, and over to the left is another container ship and the outline of Vancouver’s Point Grey.


Every photo above is marked with its corresponding location pin in the map below.


Previous photo marathons

•   Canada Day 2014: Vancouver, Canada
•   Canada Day 2013: Vancouver, Canada

Sunday Traveler

I made all of the photos on New Year’s Day 2015 with a Canon 6D camera fitted with the EF 24-105 f/4L zoom-lens. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com, and is part of the Sunday Traveler series.

Fotoeins’ Fotograms: the 14 of 2014

Fotoeins Fotograms 14 of 2014 cover

At the end of 2013, I listed my 13 instants for the year. I continue to be fascinated by how we look at the world in square format in contrast with 4-by-3 or 3-by-2 formats. It’s not exactly the throwback to a distant past with square photographic plates, but the same physical and photographic principles regarding central symmetry apply. Here are 14 ‘fotograms’ from 2014, including a new 6D, watching my father die, and a return ‘home’ to Deutschland.


(1) ➙ “I ♥ VanCity”, 25 January 2014

Yes, I was born and raised in Vancouver. No, I do not always love the city. But when the sun shows up, it’s easy to overlook temporarily the severe shortcomings about the people and the city. That might come across as heresy, but that’s the least of my worries. Coming back or living here isn’t only about tolerance; what some forget while lost among the trees of glass, spruce, and fir are human decency, obligation, and responsibility, wrapped with a generous portion of ambivalence and beauty.

"I <3 VanCity": Vancouver, Canada – 25 Jan 2014.

A photo posted by Henry Lee (@fotoeins) on


(2) ➙ “Y-V-R”, 21 February 2014

It’s no accident I gravitate towards transport hubs and centres, like train stations and airports. It’s another manifestation of seeing a lot of green grass over on the other side, but the simultaneous promise and curse of travel is knowing what the world presents with a short trip on the plane to the other side of the planet. At Vancouver’s international airport, a man and his child walked directly into the light, which I’m very lucky to have seen with my new 6D.

A. “Dad, what’s on the other side of that sunbeam?”
B. “Guess we’ll have to catch our plane to find out, son …”


(3) ➙ “Central halo”, 23 March 2014

About 20 people are on a ‘photowalk’ on Burnaby Mountain to visit the main campus of Simon Fraser University. The early-spring grey skies cast a soft light on harsh cement shapes and lines. There’s evidence of ice in the upper atmosphere, and I’ve an interesting view to the setting sun through the rotunda’s cupola.

"Central halo" : Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada – 23 Mar 2014.

A photo posted by Henry Lee (@fotoeins) on


(4) ➙ “Oil’s well that ends well”, 18 April 2014

My friend and I are on a guided historical tour of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. It feels like we have the entire cannery to ourselves in our group of three. I’ve come to enjoy “industrial photography” (e.g., Bernd & Hilla Becher), and this area as part of the fish oil extraction process plays to industriousness. Along with deep greens, rust-browns, yellows, and greys, I like how the lines of the pipes flow to the right, helped along by the big “oily” arrow.

"Oil pipes" : Steveston, BC, Canada – 18 Apr 2014.

A photo posted by Henry Lee (@fotoeins) on


(5) ➙ “Names to memories”, 23 May 2014

The gentleman puts his hand up to ‘feel’ and connect with his ancestors. One hundred years ago on 23 May 1914, a ship called the Komagata Maru carrying 376 South Asian passengers and citizens of the British Empire entered Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet. They were hopeful with the anticipation to beginning new lives in Canada. But the Canadian government along with local officials endorsed and enforced an anti-Asian and “whites only” immigration policy, denying entry to almost all of the passengers, because of the colour of their skin. More photos from the 100th anniversary commemoration here.


(6) ➙ “Looking and seeing”, 28 June 2014

500px’s Evgeny Tchebotarev arrived in Vancouver and some 20 to 30 local photographers joined him on a photowalk through Gastown. Heavy rainshowers didn’t dampen the spirits of those in attendance, including Kim pictured here and who was very game throughout the session. More from the photowalk here.


(7) ➙ “Hello, Canada Day …”, 1 July 2014

For the second consecutive year, I set about on a 16-hour marathon on Canada Day: 16 hours of photography and over 100 kilometres traversed, with 18 selected photographs appearing here. Sunrise at 530 on a warm quiet early-summer morning is a picture-perfect way to start the holiday, and an ideal centre point to the present series of 14.

"Hello, Canada Day" (542am) : Vancouver, Canada – 1 Jul 2014.

A photo posted by Henry Lee (@fotoeins) on


(8) ➙ “Architectural dialogue”, 5 August 2014

I’d spent chunks of late-July and early-August with Dad in the hospital, as his time with us drew to a close. I also began taking more notice of the area surrounding the hospital in downtown Vancouver. The summer light spoke to me through the lattice of steel and glass, here in the entrance atrium of the Law Courts building complex, designed by world-renowned architect Arthur Erickson.


(9) ➙ “A final sunset”, 8 August 2014

I visited Dad in the hospital every day for 21 consecutive days. How was I to know the photograph below would mark his final sunset. Goodbye to another day, goodbye to one more life. “And there he goes …”

"His final sunset over the Salish Sea": Vancouver, Canada – 8 Aug 2014. Story at http://wp.me/p1BIdT-5vy

A photo posted by Henry Lee (@fotoeins) on


(10) ➙ “The gulf of Georgia”, 27 September 2014

It’s either love or hate for Yue Minjun’s “A-maze-ing Laughter” (2009) near Vancouver’s Stanley Park, an installation of bronze sculptures open-mouthed in hysterical laughter. I’m interested in the juxtaposition between the two figures here, an apparently narrow gap in space magnifying the emotional rift between joy and boredom (or sadness). I believe this speaks to a real part of living here; those unable to recognize the incongruity are in a blissfully ignorant state of denial.


(11) ➙ “Breezy autumn pluck”, 24 October 2014

Windsocks are the bright orange fingers against the cable-stays of the Translink SkyBridge over the Fraser River, as a scheduled automated train crosses over from New Westminster (left) to Surrey (right). The foreground SkyBridge and the background Pattullo Bridge provide good parallel horizontal “stretch” to counter the almost-vertical windsocks and the angled cables.


(12) ➙ “Back home again”, 26 November 2014

Back home in my adopted town of Heidelberg, I’m also back on Königstuhl hill for the first time in years, back to the Schloss castle ruins for the first time in over a decade. I wanted, no, I needed to see this view of the town from above. Despite overcast skies, the city’s Altstadt (Old Town) still emanates that warm red-brown glow between the Heiligeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit, left) and the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge, centre-right).


(13) ➙ “Lichtsterne”, 2 December 2014

“The ghosts of Christmas continue to h(a)unt with due deliberate diligence …” I love these stars at any Christmas market, but seeing them again here at the Markt in Leipzig, I’m also reminded why the holiday season has always been supremely bittersweet.


(14) ➙ “I ♥ Berlin”, 5 December 2014

I experimented with motion blur throughout my three weeks in Germany. I found an ideal environment here at Berlin’s Alexanderplatz, typically one of the busiest squares or plazas, with shoppers, workers, and tourists scurrying back and forth, regional and suburban trains on the elevated guideway above, buses and trams at street-level, and underground U-Bahn trains below. The square is a careful frame to the “♥ Berlin” sign at the left, and the blur of the tram from the right.


What are your favourite photos, moments, and impressions from 2014? This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

Fotoeins Friday: Three golden crossings over the Fraser River

How to eat chicken-fried gator? Chomp it quickly

The fried gator is buttery soft, surrounded by a thin layer of crunchy batter.

This is a story about food: about longing, and the yearning for comfort. There are many words, but no photographs; you have been warned. May the words flow with you, and may hunger strike at your desire for more …

Comfort food, comfortable chomps

It all began innocently: a sudden rush, a deep craving for comfort food: southern-style fried chicken and waffles.

But “chicken and waffles”? Definitely.

Depending upon what I’m feeling, I crave all kinds of comfort food; for example:

•   A steaming bowl of wonton (wuntun) noodle soup, because that’s my childhood in Vancouver.
•   A peameal bacon sandwich from the St. Lawrence Market, after seven years in The Big Smoke (Toronto).
•   A “Juicy Lucy” burger with a side of tater tots, after a couple of years in the Minneapolis/St. Paul.
•   An “empanada de pino” (baked meat pie) and a bowl of “cazuela de mariscos” (seafood chowder), after five years in Chile.
•   Döner kebab and currywurst, because 14 consecutive years still aren’t enough in Germany.

But where am I going to find “chicken & waffles” in Vancouver?

I’m at a seminar about social-media by Rebecca Coleman, and she also writes a lot about food. I inform her of my quest, and her recommendation is swift, straight to Chewie’s.

They have two locations: one downtown by Coal Harbour, and the other in Kitsilano. Their online presence leads me to their brunch menu, helpfully listing “chicken and waffles.” But I’m chomping at the bit, when Rebecca mentions chicken-fried alligator, and Chewie’s has half-price happy-hour afternoons.


SOLD! Where do I sign up?

I soon realize this first visit to Chewie’s is going to be different: no camera, no photographs. Why?

I want the experience to be free of burdens: to photograph the setting; to photograph the food as it’s brought to the table; to find the “right light”; that I need a shot, any shot, a perfect shot.

I simply remove the idea from my mind, and I’m free.

But is an online post worth reading if there aren’t any photographs, especially if there’s food?

Some would say “no”, but that’s the challenge and opportunity, to see if the following description can hold readers to the end of this post.


Full with 2 Apps

It’s 330pm on a Thursday afternoon, and I see soon after entering their Coal Harbour location that the place is alive with sounds of activity from conversations and cooking. The restaurant is at about one-third capacity, which is fine because I won’t feel rushed dining on my own. Some well-dressed business folks have occupied a couple of tables by the far end, getting their weekend off to an early happy start.

In time for their half-price Happy Hour, my eyes go to their “First Bites” or appetizers. Recent experience has shown appetizers tend to be small, and I’ve already decided I want two. Instead of beer, it’s hot tea; there’s more writing afterwards.

Little time passes, and my two requests are brought to the table at the same time.

1. Pan Seared Calamari: B.C. Humboldt squid (not breaded) with smoked paprika aioli, and cucumber and onion jalapeño mint-vinaigrette salad.

Because it’s easier to hide the quality of the squid behind breading, I prefer calamari unbreaded. The mollusk is sliced strategically for guests; from a distance, the plate appears suspiciously like penne pasta in a creamy sauce. “Best seafood penne ever!” Closer examination shows there’s bite-sized squid in small tubes; no knife is necessary. Removed are the little tentacles so often disconcerting to some, but I find I miss the wae tentacles.

The squid “tubes” are cooked perfectly: undercooked and it’s too chewy, overcooked and the tubes hang limp on the fork. The smooth creamy spicy aioli complements the flavours of the pan sear and the deep sea. The accompanying cucumber and onion salad provides another counterpoint with fresh garden textures and the jalapeño vinaigrette pushes out a slightly sour edge balancing the oil used in the sear and the cream in the aioli. Eating a couple of tubes with the salad in the same forkful works very well.

2. Chicken-Fried Gator & Hush Puppies: buttermilk-soaked chicken-fried alligator, corn hush puppies, jalapeño jelly

I’m sure the first thing anyone thinks on first sight is: hey, chicken fingers and a fried carb! Come to think of it, “fingers & fries” are a comfort food, too.

Both gator strips and hush puppies appear golden, fried at the right temperature for the right amount of time; neither is burnt or undercooked. The first bite blows away the thought of “chicken fingers”. Marinated for hours in buttermilk, the strips of alligator meat is lightly breaded and fried. Tearing easily, the meat is not chewy; the soft gator meat is a nice contrast with the crispy exterior. As the batter is lightly seasoned, the jalapeño jelly dip for the gator adds another sweet-and-spicy layer to the flavours. Instead of the ubiquitous fries, that “fried carb” are tasty savory spheres of fried cornmeal batter. They have a touch of sweet, reminding me of Tim Hortons’ Timbits, but I can see from the open kitchen the hush puppies are made on order. The accompanying salad garnish composed of crispy bitter arugula leaves and thinly sliced sweet beet slivers provide additional balance to colour, flavour, and texture.

As appetizers go, each is sufficient as a starter to be shared among two or three people, and with two full-sized appetizers consumed, I am very content. The hot tea is a great choice, as the sharp bitter drink cuts through and helps to “wash down” the fatty food. That’s an important lesson after hundreds of dim sum/yum cha sessions.

I enjoyed both appetizers, but the clear favourite is the gator. If you must have images, you can bank on the Internet:

Chicken-fried gator :
Rebecca Coleman for VanCity Buzz | Eatiful | Gastrofork

Pan fried calamari :
Food and Wine with MyWinePal | Eat With Jenny | Jeremy Lin (in Flickr)


Inevitably, return for more

I’ll have to go back and try their crabcakes; it’s only fair to compare and contrast against the famous crabcakes I had in Baltimore. I have to go back for weekend brunch to dig into their chicken and waffles. And they have oysters: lots of `em. So that’s another visit yet …

I visited Chewie’s Coal Harbour on 6 November 2014, and I shelled out my own clams for all food and drink. After paying the bill, I informed the staff of my visit as an interested and hungry travel-writer. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I did not receive any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the restaurant or food mentioned herein (cmp.ly/0).

Vancouver Gastown Photowalk with 500px’s Evgeny Tchebotarev

500px‘s Evgeny Tchebotarev flew over from Toronto to Vancouver recently, and met local photographers on a photowalk through the city’s historical Gastown district. 70 people signed up for the photowalk, and the crowd assembled at the Gastown Steam Clock.

That’s when the skies unleashed its waterworks, ranging from a light sprinkle to a hard soak. A number of people stuck through to the wet bitter end.

I was not one of them, as I tucked into a nearby coffee shop to dry out, stocked up on caffeine, set upon a butter tart, and reviewed my “photon haul” for the day.

The following photos are evidence the afternoon was not a complete washout.

500px photowalk, Vancouver Gastown, fotoeins.com

“Rallying the troops”

500px photowalk, Vancouver Gastown, fotoeins.com

“A swarm of togs around the Steam Clock”

500px photowalk, Vancouver Gastown, fotoeins.com

“Speaking, clicking, sharing”

500px photowalk, Vancouver Gastown, fotoeins.com

“Water Street wave”

500px photowalk, Vancouver Gastown, fotoeins.com

“IN FORM”

500px photowalk, Vancouver Gastown, fotoeins.com

“Dueling cigarettes”

500px photowalk, Vancouver Gastown, fotoeins.com

“Step” (Kim Yee)

500px photowalk, Vancouver Gastown, fotoeins.com

“Up and over” (Kim Yee)

500px photowalk, Vancouver Gastown, fotoeins.com

“Hello, I see you …”

500px photowalk, Vancouver Gastown, fotoeins.com

“Vertical flip”

I made all photos above on 28 June 2014. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

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