Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain is a visionary environment covering a hill in the Colorado Desert, north of Calipatria, northeast of Niland near Slab City, several miles from the Salton Sea. It is in Imperial County, California.

The artwork is made from adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of lead-free paint. Salvation Mountain was created by local resident Leonard Knight. It encompasses numerous murals and areas painted with Christian sayings and Bible verses, though its philosophy was built around the Sinner’s Prayer.

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Perseids Meteor Shower

The Perseids Meteor Shower

I headed out to Mill Bay, this is looking towards the Victoria Airport. I spent the entire night shooting 3 sequences of the sky. The first represents around 10:30 pm to midnight combined.


The below image shows all the action during the 1.5 hrs without editing. Planes landing constantly.

perseids meteor shower

The next two images are from 1 am to 3 am.

perseids meteor shower 2016©DaveMantel mill bay perseids2

The final is 3 am to 4:30 am.

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lions gate bridge

On this trip to Vancouver I wanted to concentrate on night shots of the Lion’s Gate Bridge. I walked from waterfront station and made sure I arrived in time for the blue hour.


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The next night I went to prospect point viewpoint and got a different perspective of the bay and bridge.

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It wasn’t long before a crowd of photographers lined up along the bridge to get this cliché shot so I went down beneath the bridge to get away from everyone and ended up getting some of my favorite shots of the weekend.

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Then the walk back…


Pacific Rim and Ucluelet

I left Bella Pacifica Campground and headed towards Ucluelet where I planned to stay for the next day or two. I stopped by incerator rock for a few minutes to watch a large group getting a surf lesson.

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Next I stopped at the Forest Trail Walk which was a short 2km walk.

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My real destination for this trip was to check out Wya Point Resort. It’s divided up into different levels of comfort,they have walk in tent sites,RV sites,Yurts and I believe hotel type rooms. They all have a waterfront view which is hard to come by for a campground, I heard good things about this place so I was excited to explore a new spot as I tend to frequent the same areas. This place did not disappoint, one of the best spots I’ve seen on Vancouver island for sure. I only spent 1 day and night but I pretty much had the place to myself.

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Next day I went to my most frequented spot The wild pacific trial in Ucluelet. I come here at least once or twice a year. The weather was pretty grey and overcast as it so often is.

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I hung out in the parking lot after the hike waiting to see if the weather was going to change for sunset but no such luck so I headed to the Ucluelet Campground and spent the night. The next day was rain so I left and headed for Vancouver for the weekend.





I decided to take the week of April 23-May 1 off from work and headed up to Tofino and Ucluelet for a few days. After driving through heavy rain most of the way up I arrived at Bella Pacifica Campground located about 2 km from Tofino.  The rain was so heavy that after I parked in my spot I never got out of the van till the next morning, luckily I was pretty comfortable and watched a couple of movies to pass the time. Next day I awoke to sunny, cloudless skies so I headed to chesterman beach which was just down the road.

I walked out to the rocks at the end of the beach to capture the waves with lighthouse in the background. I was happy to have the place to myself for awhile but it wasn’t till I looked back shortly after starting to shoot that realized why I was alone. The tide had come in on both sides of me trapping me on this outcropping of rocks. I immediately started to panic and grabbed my tripod and bag and ran to the edge to the beach and took off my shoes, rolled up my pants and started booking it out of there. I could tell it was still coming in but I had no idea how long I had before it went out again so I didn’t hesitate, I was up to over my knees, treading as fast as I could. It definitely got my heart pounding for a short while anyways, good thing it wasn’t that far to go and it was in the middle of the day. I just didn’t want to be stranded out there for who knows how long.

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Seeing how I was now kinda wet I headed back to camp and started a fire to dry out a bit and wait for sunset. I usually get all clouds or no clouds when I go shooting and this time was no different. I used the patterns on the beach as my foreground as there isn’t much to focus on.

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Later that night I pointed the camera up at the stars as the campfire created some cool lighting of the forest.

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I ended the night setting up a timelapse for some star trails, managed to pull it off in my campsite so I didn’t have to leave the fire. The first shot is before the condensation on the lens started to form,which is just one of the many variables involved in getting a successful shot. The middle image is all the frames blended together and the last one is the final shot in the sequence.

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This was the end of my first 2 days.

Moss Lady

The weather was pretty grey at the end of the day yesterday so I figured landscape shots were out so I headed out to Beacon Hill Park to get some night shots. I’d seen pics of this new sculpture in the park that raised my curiosity so I went in search. It was a cool spot indeed, however the log post fence around it sort of ruined the natural perspective I envisioned when I first saw the piece. This was definitely added later which is too bad and meant I had to get in a bit closer than I wanted. You have to work with what you got. I took some shots before it got dark out,some of these I can definitely see using for some collages in the future,thats what I was really thinking at first.

I thought this would look best at night so after walking around for a bit waiting for the light to disappear I returned and did some night exposures and even some with a little light painting for effect.

The Moss Lady was inspired by the ‘Mud Maiden’ (below) found in the Lost Gardens of Heligan in England, one of England’s most popular botanical gardens. A team of City of Victoria staff brought the Moss Lady to life in 2015. She is 11 metres long and 1.7 metres high. The sculpture was constructed with a stainless steel frame, cement, boulders, metal pipe, vinyl-coated chicken wire and a clay-based soil created with an acidic PH suitable for moss.  The cattail and club moss were harvested from Vancouver Island.  An irrigation system mists the moss for a few minutes each day.  The hair is made of flowering crocosmia plants.

Cattle Point and Saxe Point

I headed out to Cattle Point for sunset on Thursday night. I felt like I had a hard time finding a good composition It was pretty windy and rained off and on but I managed to get a couple of long exposure shots before the lens got too wet. These were 30 second exposures.

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A couple of nights before I went to Saxe Point where I found myself arriving way too early for sunset and spent hrs sitting around waiting for some good light that never really arrived. I spent many hours in the same spot so I ended up taking tons of boring shots. It was so bright and the scene I picked was looking directly into the sun. I still tried to use a long exposure but never really got anything I liked. It was cool spot so I will probably return on a different day.

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A cool spot down by the Chinese cemetery in Victoria,BC

This is the first time I went shooting in Victoria this year, I don’t venture out that often but this short jaunt from home is a reminder that I don’t have to go far to get something worthwhile. I was actually on my way to a different location but a change of plans led me to this spot, by this time most of the light was already fading so I had limited time before the clouds completely rolled in and the light disappeared.

Manipulation of exposure will dramatically affect the feel of your image, I’ve added my 10 stop ND Filter to achieve a long exposure of 100 seconds, the second shot is a manual blend of exposures, one for the foreground and one for the sky.

It was getting pretty dark and on way back to the van, I saw the 2 chairs overlooking the spot I was just photographing down below so I snapped a couple that I will probably use for istock. The long exposure was almost 3 mins.

Buttle Lake in Strathcona Park

I thought this was going to be my new portfolio website but since I cant seem to set up proper galleries I guess I will treat this as a personal photo diary of my creative process.

Buttle Lake in Strathcona Park is one of my favorite spots to visit on the island. I always seem to gravitate to this one spot in particular that shows traces of the past with all these cool stumps some half submerged on the lake shore. There is a campsite right next to this place so access is easy and I was able to stay out late under the stars and return to a comfy campfire to warm up. You never know what you are going to encounter when out in the landscape but when something special happens its the greatest feeling ever.

Fire from the sky

I set up a timelapse to create star trails taking 30 second exposures continuously for about 1.5 hrs during which I was pleasantly greeted to this huge fire ball falling from the sky. It was bright red and very intense however the camera recorded it as a white streak, the reflection however is multi-colored. This shot is a combination of two exposures during the process. Here are a few others from the sequence. This was the night before the full supermoon so the night recorded almost as day.

The day started with rain on the way up but cleared when I arrived at this spot. I started shooting the sunset first and finished well into the night.

Vancouver Nightscapes

I’ve been wanting to spend more time in Vancouver lately mostly because it’s a short distance away from Victoria and it feels like a mini vacation. During my most recent visit I really wanted to concentrate on getting some panoramic’s of the skyline during the blue hour and was greeted with cloudless skies and great conditions.

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Some other night shots during the weekend.

Granville Street Traffic False Creek Walkway The world of Science BC Place BC Place with Heron Street Art

It wasn’t till I got home and started editing did I see this object in the sky over the mountains,a freaking UFO! Well it sure looks like an alien saucer beaming a ray of light,really crazy! Don’t ask me what this is,i’m thinking a light flare from a passing plane or something…..or a UFO!

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