Shorepine Bog Trail

Hi Folks:

During our trips to Tofino (on Vancouver Island’s wet coast) we always like to invest some time in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. There are a few trails we like to visit, and one of them is the Shorepine Bog Trail. Now, if temperate rainforest brings to your mind a dark canopy of trees, a woodland filled with forest giants, this isn’t it. Instead think of spongy ground, poor soil quality and an abundance of acid-loving plants like sphagnum moss and Labrador tea. There are trees here as well, but poor growing conditions mean that they grow very slowly and die very slowly. These combine to create a largely open space with a mixture of both living trees and bleached, dead ones contorted into twisted shapes.

I find it challenging to photograph here for several reasons. One is the amazing variety of tempting shapes and forms – so much that one wants to stop every few feet. The other is the stark contrast between the whiteness of the dead trees and the deep shadows created by the living ones. This not only makes composition a challenge, but in post-processing I find I often have to turn the Contrast slider way down just to get a starting point. Without that there are too many hard lines.

The dozen images below were all made along the boardwalk of the Shorepine Bog Trail. In order to protect the fragility of this sensitive ecosystem the parks people have created an 800m boardwalk loop. This also makes the area accessible to pretty much everyone. I’ve rendered all of these photographs into black and white for a couple of reasons. One is that by shooting in colour and converting to grayscale on the computer, I still have all of the colour information – rendered as gray tones. I can play with the colours, making the reds darker and the greens lighter if I wish, and this introduces a more layered contrast. Capture One Pro offers amazing colour tools to work with. Also, by stripping out the colours we’re left with the bones of the image – shapes, textures, light/shadow and the interplay of form. In so doing, I invite you to consider these not as realistic representations of a forest but more as abstract art. They may or may not appeal to you, and that’s okay too!!

These are best viewed on a larger screen if you have one. You can click on any image to see a slightly larger version of it.

Okay, that’s it! Now go out and make some photographs!!


P.S. As much as these images might suggest otherwise, this is not a post-apocalyptic wasteland but a community of plants, animals, fungi, bacteria and more that are uniquely adapted to living in this environment. Around the world, wetlands are vital for so many reasons.

5 Replies to “Shorepine Bog Trail”

  1. Gary

    Inspiring! B&W ? GRAYS? SLIVERS OF SILVER? And yes, it is the shapes and forms and angles that captivate along with the light.
    Always the LIGHT!
    Cheers and love to both of you!

  2. Linda

    Bird and animal shapes weave through so many of these awesome photos. This must have been an awesome experience. Cheers and thanks for sharing,


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