On the advice of the nice tweepers at Visit_Parksville, we headed out of town and up to Little Qualicum Falls. We enjoyed the country drive up the Alberni Highway, through Coombs and finally to the Park. The entry was nice, the parking and day use section was pretty, but neither prepared us for the beauty of this canyon and the falls. I think maybe it was our lucky timing where the sun was shining down into the gorge at every turn, as between the cliffs, the moss, the trees and the clear blue waters, we were awe struck by the incredible scenery.
It’s hard to shoot photography with the kind of depth and contrast that is prevalent in this kind of setting, but I did my best full well knowing that I could not translate this kind of amazing onto the pixels in my camera. An ordinary single shot was absolutely no match for the scenes before us, so I shot mostly by bracketing my pictures. It’s a method where you shoot 3 photos of the same scene, at 3 varied exposures. Under- exposed to catch the highlights, overexposed to nab the shadows and a middle exposure to catch the colors. Once combined in a good software package, it brings out a scene more like what the human eye can see.
Like this. These 3 shots are combined, then I work on the image a little more in post production.
To create this. Click it for a large version.
Here is another example.
I can also use only 2 of the 3 shots if I think the 3rd doesn’t help the image, It may be too washed out or too dark. The other thing I do on occasion is a simple crop to highlight a specific area of the image I think might be nicer than the entire image
And the cropped result.
Anyhow. That is the big challenge shooting in a place as incredible as this. I want so desperately to capture the image the way I see it, so I just shoot and shoot and shoot.
Here is an example of what less then 5 minutes of shooting looks like once downloaded in my computer.
Anyway. I digress. I just wanted to show what I do to try and re-produce the best images. I am truly an amateur, I use basic equipment, and I don’t spend all day and night editing. However, I really like my hobby. I wish for better gear and software (my editing program is Corel Paintshop Pro X4, $59.00) and more time to hone my craft, but I am happy just firing away whenever I can. It’s part of why I like a good long road trip like the one we are on now.
So, this canyon and the falls. It is at LEAST in my top 5 most beautiful places I have ever seen. I would recommend you go late morning into early afternoon to get the best effect of the sun. The moss covered cliffs were positively glowing and the water was a shade of clear I never knew existed.
So, since the beach was calling us back after our amazing day yesterday, we regretfully left here and headed back to town. We stopped into Goats on the Roof in Coombs, but after the soul quenching experience at the falls, we didn’t even get out of the van. Too TOO busy for us. And it’s one giant souvenir booth that we just weren’t interested in at this moment. I did take a photo tho… see? goats on the roof.
Once back at the lodge we had a quick snack and off to the beach we went. The walk from the Spa side of the lodge to the beach is about 10 minutes, but was fine. I read some poor reviews of the Tigh Ma Nara Spa Bungalows because of this distance, but my opinion is those people are crazy. The rooms are amazing over there, and 10 minutes won’t kill you. Some people just like to complain.
We were right on time for low tide.
So yesterday Andrew wanted nothing to do with the tidepools. Too slimy, too many live things skittering about. Today? All in. walking right in and grabbing up whatever he thought was cool. Such an adaptable guy…
We decided to eat out tonight. We checked UrbanSpoon and figured that the local’s loved Leftys. We certainly did too! I had a really good Mushroom chicken dish, and then finished off Andrews amazing Mac and Cheese, while Traci had a Pasta, Sausage and Shrimp dish that was freakishly good. Good choice by us. The good choices and great timing have been a common factor in our trip. Good for us!
We left Leftys (haha) and headed down the road to explore Qualicum Beach for a bit. When we got there the tide was peaking, so there wasn’t too much to see. I am amazed how sandy Rathtrevor Beach is compared to everywhere else on the Island that we have seen. No wonder it’s so popular.
We headed back to Parksville to check out the Professional Sand Sculptures.When we arrived we found it weird that we had a hard time finding a parking spot. Well, it turns out there is a huge volleyball tournament going on. I Counted 23 courts all in play. Crazy amount of activity here.
Next thing we spotted was the kids playground to end all playgrounds… this thing was massive and included a great spray park among all the other apparatus.
We spent quite a bit of time here and had to talk Andrew out of ‘Just one more time’ a few times to get him to come look a the Sand Sculptures.
Well. Now. These are pretty freaking cool. Again, as we have been many times this trip, our jaws were dragging on the ground. How amazing are these sculptures!!?
This Looney Tunes inspired theme was Andrews favorite.
Just incredible… unfathomable the talent these people have.
After we left the displays, we walked over to the beach and enjoyed a very good duet of guitar guys on the boardwalk while Andrew played on what he called “Natures Play Structure” He enjoyed this giant stump more than the real playground.
What an amazing visit. We talked at length as we left the next morning how we only really scratched the surface of this wonderful place. We could spend a week exploring all that Parksville has to offer, but then would need a month to see the surrounding areas as well. So, I guess this means goodbye, but only for now. We will be back for sure. We live in the backyard of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and this place is every bit as incredible, awe inspiring and is maybe a little bit more welcoming… We felt right at home here, from the lodge, to the grocery stores to the beach and beyond… Thanks for being an amazing host Parksville!!