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Lighthouse Park is home to some of the largest Redwood trees in the Lower Mainland. And the forest trails are home to many interesting animals, birds and insects. Along the shoreline you will find beautiful large rock formations that offer great foregrounds to breathtaking seascapes. The lighthouse is a heritage site and is a fabulous focal point. The theme of this event is to photograph the lighthouse at sunset and into the blue hour. There is also a full moon that night, which may offer some interesting opportunities of contrast.

Come join your hosts Shannon, Carissa and Dionysios for our first nature adventure out of Van City. In this second year of Van City Free Capture Photography, we will explore more of "le grand air".

Lighthouse Park by Shannon Leigh (http://www.flickr.com/photos/shannonleighphotos/8526544435).

How to get there

Directions from Vancouver by car - Follow Marine Drive Westbound in West Vancouver until you pass Caulfield Cove Marina. Watch for the Lighthouse Park sign and make a left on Beacon Lane. Continue driving along Beacon Lane until you reach the parking lot. Parking is free.

Taking Public Transportation - Take bus #250 from Downtown Vancouver and continue across the Lions Gate Bridge, past Park Royal Shopping Center, and through Dundarave Village. The bus stop for Lighthouse Park is just past Beacon Lane on Marine Drive. Ensure the bus driver knows you are going to Lighthouse Park as he/she will know what stop to let you off at. From the bus stop it’s just a short walk down Beacon Lane to the park entrance. You will more than likely be heading out of the park after dark so make sure you are prepared to travel by public transit safely at night (i.e., whistle, cell phone, buddy).

Carpooling - If there are people with vehicles that can offer rides to others, please let us know; even if it is just one way.

The Walk-about

Destination: West Beach. We'll head out from the parking lot and meetup with the Seven Sisters Trail down to the West Beach Trail. Regardless of which trail you take, we will end up at West Beach and will spread out along the rocks and set up in time for the golden hour and sunset. The blue hour might also offer us opportunities for full moon and city lights shots. Then we would use our flashlights/headlamps and head back up towards the parking lot.

Trail map of the park: http://www.lpps.ca/trail-map.asp

What we can photograph

Moonrise is at 19:10 to the east and it will be a full moon that evening. Sunset is at 19:16 to the west and will be hitting the lighthouse in just the right places. Views of the city are south just across the water. There are occasional opportunities to photograph soaring eagles, diving cormorants and Canada geese. The forest flora is abundant and offers great opportunities for macro and telephoto lens shots. The shoreline has beautiful rock outcrops that provide fabulous foregrounds to the focal point heritage lighthouse. A wide angle lens and ND filters would be good choices for experimentation along the shoreline. This is when you would need your tripod and remote switch.

What should I bring?

- A tripod

- Neutral density filters, polarizers and graduated neutral density filters would offer enhanced colours and opportunities to try some long exposure shots.

- Wired and/or wireless remote switches (they help decrease camera shake when snapping the photograph on the tripod). They are especially handy for long exposures so you do not have to keep your hand "on the button" the whole time.

- Bring a variety of lenses if you have them. Otherwise, a kit lens will be just fine. Wide angles are typically good for landscapes and seascapes, telephoto lenses for birds or other wildlife and macro lenses would be ideal for small forest creatures and other unique flora specimens.

- A flashlight is essential; after sunset, you will find yourself hiking back to the parking lot in the dark.

- Good footwear because the trails are rocky and uneven so good sturdy footwear is also essential.

- Water bottle with water. Walking back is on a slight incline most of the way.

- Dress in layers and bring an extra layer for later because we will be along the water and it might get chillier as the sun sets.

- A map of the trails so you don’t get lost. See link above.

**Safety**

Cougars and bears are known to pass through the park on occasion. Just make sure to make some noise as you travel down the path in order to give any animal ahead time to clear the area before you get there. Also, you may be hiking back at night in the dark. A flashlight or headlamp is essential. Lastly, it’s always a good idea when you go into the woods to let at least one other person know where you are going and then check in with them when you’re back. Keeping a copy of the map on hand will help you get in and out of the park, in case you get separated from the group.

The Aim

The function of the group is to learn and practice the techniques of photography. This involves learning photography not only from your guides but also by sharing knowledge with your group-mates. The intention is also to organize and get to know new people. The attendant size of the meets will be small so participants can have the opportunity to get to know all their group-mates and spend time with a guide(s). If you select to attend a meet and then cannot make it, please be courteous to others in the group and change your RSVP status as soon as possible to allow others who might be on the waiting list the chance to participate.

The Après-Meet

Please feel comfortable in posting your photographs and advising others; critical appraisal is helpful. Ask for feedback. What will also be appreciated are ratings and, especially, comments to individual meets and the group dynamic as a whole. This is important because it will ultimately add value to our meetings and improve our experience.