Here on our beautiful Gulf Island in the Salish Sea, from the top of Mount Maxwell, you can witness some of the most spectacular scenes during temperature inversions — when the ravens play a game of chase, soaring above the clouds beneath a clear, blue sky, while you stand awestruck, watching this natural phenomenon rolling itself out far below you.
And one morning in mid-November, after some days of chasing the mist morphing over the island, my brother, Michael and I decided to head up the mountain for a glimpse of this other worldly landscape. By the time we arrived around 10:30 am, however, it was very bright compared to our favourite sunrise jaunts. Still, I took some wide shots, including my brother in the frame to give viewers a sense of scale, and just enjoyed being up high in the fresh air. And, ironically, I ended up being captivated by a lone female Sooty Grouse, who was perched behind us. She was almost completely camouflaged in the tree where she had most likely been breakfasting noiselessly on coniferous needles. And when she hopped to the ground and landed right near my feet, I immediately changed my zoom lens for my 300 mm lens to photograph this miniature dinosaur, with her perfectly patterned plumage, for about 15 minutes until she hopped the fence to forage along the steep mountainside. It was then that I looked out across the valley, through my telephoto lens, to these ethereal scenes on Mount Bruce and Mount Sullivan which, for me, were so compelling and reminiscent of Japanese ink paintings (Sumi-e) — imbued with poetry and quiet grace, like that modest grouse.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor