October 1st Granville Island photography wanderings       

As luck would have it my second Granville Island visit this year was again on a rainy day.

I suppose any Vancouverite would tell me I shouldn’t be surprised. Rain is normal in both spring and fall in that part of the province.

One could rationalize and say, “well, the colours are deeper on wet over-cast days”.

That is so true, but I still worried about getting my little Panasonic mirrorless camera wet as I strolled with wet hair between the colourful buildings, dodging people clad in rain coats and hiding under umbrellas.

My friend Laurie and I spent previous day at the Vancouver Camera Show and Sale. Laurie had brought a camera that needed repair and we were waiting till after 1’oclock for a camera technician to return home.

There was no discussion for a photographer; Granville Island rain or shine was the prefect place to kill time and wander with a camera.

Buildings filled with expensive artwork, a food fair, farmer’s market, artist studios and, of course the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, are all great places to take pictures. Laurie was forever loosing site of, and then catching up to me as I meandered only thinking about the next photograph.

Heck, I knew where our truck was and was sure he’d find his way there when we both were tired of getting wet in the constant drizzle.

But I did have my camera.

I always find a reason to go there before or after the camera show. It’s also a grand place to shop if one has money in their pocket. And in spite of the sometimes-long wait, buying lunch or breakfast and relaxing among the excited and busy throngs of people from all over the world are fun.

I searched for some info on Granville Island, and the city’s info page says that Granville Island draws 10.5 million people each year. And the island’s architecture, much of which comprises remodelled warehouses, still show the island’s industrial past.

“Granville Island is a peninsula and shopping district in VancouverBritish Columbia. It is located across False Creek from Downtown Vancouver.”

“The peninsula was once an industrial manufacturing area, but today it is a hotspot for tourism and entertainment. The area was named after Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville.”

That is great trivia, but for me, the lure of the place is photography. Sure, I enjoy an early morning coffee and bagel, but the urge to keep photographing the place doesn’t allow me to sit for long.

I think the famous American photographer Annie Leibovitz describes my wanderings in Vancouver’s Granville Island when she said,   “The camera makes you forget you’re there. It’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much.”

A fun day photographing Granville Island      

 

After an enjoyable Sunday at the Vancouver Camera Swap Linda and I decided it would be nice to spend another day just wandering around and we selected Granville Island.

The peninsula & shopping district of Granville Island has been a popular destination for both local Vancouverites and tourists since the 1970’s. There is an excellent public market where one can find almost any type of food, the ever-popular Granville Island Brewery and a thriving artist community.

I can’t recall the number of times I have wandered that amazingly exciting visual location, camera in hand, photographing the architecture, the seafront, and the people. Gosh, the list of the many different cameras I have used to photograph that location goes back (like Granville Island) to the 1970’s.

This time I decided to bring my little Nikon J1 CX-format mirrorless camera. On previous outings I usually choose a DSLR, and before digital I used SLRs, and I had even spent days there with different large and medium format cameras.

I am not one to review cameras, but I will say that the small interchangeable lens Nikon V camera’s, in spite of their small sensors, are a pleasure to use and I have no trouble making sharp large prints. The focus is extremely fast; they deliver a blazing 10 fps, and are surprisingly consistent in program mode.

I rarely hold it up to focus with the LCD. I just lazily estimate how I want my subject composed, hold the camera out and shoot. It’s small and easy to carry in my pocket if I want to shop.

Linda and I got there early enough so that similar to the characters Merry and Pippen in the novel, “Lord of the Rings” would say, “to have second breakfast”. The public market has a great food court where if one is lucky there is actually a place to sit, eat, view the waterfront, and of course, people watch. People can also step outside, sit on the benches, and share their food with the birds.

The day was sunny, warm and perfect for wandering the many shops filled with amazing artwork, and of course, also perfect for photography.

Granville Island is so colourful. Any way a person looked there was a picture waiting to be taken. I did notice a couple of other photographers setting up for scenics of the Granville Island bridge, one woman was crouching very low, with a wide angle lens, to photograph one of the many street performers. I am sure there were more, but Linda was intent on viewing as much artwork as she could, and she and I were having such a good time looking at and talking about things that I passed up many a shot.

I think a photographer has to work any environment with dedication. I have done that in the past, spending hours searching out subjects on Granville Island to photograph. (Not that one has to do much searching.) I read once that the best thing about Granville Island is it’s wonderful sense of imagination. I think that is so. And to quote another line from another movie, “I’ll be back.”

 

 

 

 On Vacation in Vancouver.     

2-laughing-sculpture

3-group-laughing

4-denman-street

5-bike-rentals

6-bicycles-only

7-english-bay-bike-path

8-english-bay

9-tree-top

9a-mounted-police

9b-harbour-air

9c-grandville-bridge

9e-night-harbour

9f-expo-sales

9g-vancouver-harbour-lights

9h-park-goose

“We should go on some kind of trip”.  When my wife said that a month ago she didn’t have to do much to convince me.  So about an hour later we had reserved a top floor room at the hotel on the corner of Davie and Denman Streets in Vancouver.

We chose Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so we would miss the weekend rush.  After a picturesque five-hour drive through British Columbia’s coastal mountains I was carrying suitcases and my bag loaded with our cameras up to our room.

What a great location. Not only were we moments away from the restaurant and bar scene of one of Vancouver’s most exciting areas that divides the city from the magnificent 400-hectare natural rainforest of Stanley Park, but right across the boulevard from our hotel was picturesque English Bay.

I discovered Denman Street when I first moved to Canada in the 1970s. Maybe it was the curiosity I had for a street that sounded and was spelled pretty closely to my name, I don’t know. But in any case the street was just as much fun then as it is all these years later.  One can either join others people watching while sitting at an out door pub, or choose food from almost any country in the world. We chose Greek at the English Bay for our first evening meal of the trip.

The next morning, while my wife slept I put a 24-70mm lens on my camera and headed out. There wasn’t much traffic on the street, or people walking along Denman. It was easy to photograph the buildings and I picked out a funky little coffee shop that we could go to later.  I walked the street and wandered the alley behind our hotel, (I like alleys) then headed for the beach.

My mother always told me to look both ways and be careful of cars when I crossed the street, but she never told me how dangerous it was to cross the bike path along English Bay. I dodged several riders and jumped to the lawn covered with slippery geese droppings when a woman rider zoomed by yelling, “Bikes only!”

I suppose I have become one of those hick tourists gawking at all the sights of the big city, but I reached the safety of the beach where I could meander along pointing my camera where I pleased.  Gosh, I even got to meet local Vancouver photographer Trent Watts, who was kind enough to take time out of his morning to talk with me.

Linda finally got up, and after coffee at the little shop I found earlier, we decided to drive into Stanley Park to take pictures of the harbour and stopped for anything we thought might make a fun picture. We also were looking for a good vantage to take some night pictures of the bright city across the harbour. Gosh, we had so much fun we overlooked having lunch.

Much later we wanted to try our hotel’s fish n’ chips special being offered for supper, however even that had to wait because I stopped to photograph and talk with the two Canadian Mounties who have special dispensation to rest their horses after touring through the park in the cool pleasant entrance of our hotel’s basement parkade.

After supper I went out for night shots of the Granville Street Bridge that crosses both a boat filled water way into English Bay and the shopping district of Granville Island and joined several other photographers on the beach as the sun went down. Then just after 8:30 packed up and drove off for more photos at the location we had chosen in the park.

 

The next morning I must have been tired after all the previous day’s activities, because after I had photographed a white goose honking loudly at me on the beach I checked my watch and it was a late 7AM.  Oh, well I had a good time and anyway I was on vacation!