Category Archives: Society

Thanks Burnaby Firefighters for Dealing with Blaze in Byrne Creek Ravine Park

Heartfelt thanks to City of Burnaby firefighters who dealt with a blaze in Byrne Creek Ravine Park today.

Also thanks to City of Burnaby staff for calling volunteer streamkeepers to keep us in the loop.

I was invited to take a look, but since firefighters were still working on it, I was asked not to go in all the way.

It’s been so hot and dry this summer, and the City of Burnaby added extra No Smoking in Parks and on Trails signs in the area, but we regularly saw inconsiderate smokers putting the park and their neighbours at risk.

Please, please, what does it take for people to act responsibly?

I don’t know if smoking caused this blaze, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I documented the mass of butts on trails in the area in a post earlier this summer.

byrne creek park fire

I was allowed to go this far, wearing my safety vest and with an invitation from City staff.

UPDATE: Burnaby Now report here.

Thanks For the Conversation

I was out shooting for a photo project today, and as evening approached, I got myself a cold drink and sat down in a public square to ease my feet and back.

As I unwound, an older fellow pushing a four-wheeler came along. He saw me festooned with cameras and began asking questions.

Sigh. . .

Yes, that was my initial reaction, but then I thought, I’m done for the day, what’s it going to hurt to chat for a few minutes.

Wise decision, Paul.

We shook hands and introduced ourselves.

He was a world traveler and raconteur. He was a photography buff, and we began by discussing what made a good photo — good equipment or a good photographer. We agreed on the later. A good start.

We went back in time to the beginnings of photography, and he knew the inventors, and the dates. We talked paper-backed mid-format roll film.

He recommended a few photo shows that he’d seen recently, and panned a couple, too.

Turned out we’d traveled to many of the same places, but a few decades apart. And he’d traveled to lots of interesting places that I’d never been to. It also turned out we’d even done some similar work over the years. This was good!

He asked if I was retired, and I said, no, that I’d been working on a project today. I gave him my business card, and my volunteer streamkeepers card, and his eyes lit up. Turns out he was proud to support environmental causes.

The plaza was taking on a warm orange glow as the sun moved lower in the sky, and he positioned his wheeler, slowly got himself up and behind it, and said he’d better be moving on.

We shook hands again, and he said, “don’t get old, Paul.”


Never underestimate your elders.

P.S. Since we’re first-time acquaintances, I’m not going to share his name. But I hope to meet him again some day. . .

Sometimes Alone is Where I Like to Be

For a fairly gregarious fellow, I am happy spending time alone.

I like camping alone. I particularly like camping alone in the off season.

I hate it when I arrive at a campground in May or October, and am one of perhaps a handful of parties occupying five of 200 sites, and the park staff put us all together cheek by jowl. I know it’s less work for the park folks, but dang it, the reason I’m camping soon after the snow melts, or starts to fly, is because I like being alone now and then.

I like rambling alone. Well, my wife is welcome on such activities because she also likes peace and quiet. She’s the kind of gal that you can sprawl out next to on the ground as the campfire crackles nearby, and the two of you gaze up through the towering trees at the stars and. . .


Yes, “Wow.”

No other words need be said.

I like photographing alone. I’ve never been into photo tours where you have a dozen folks madly clicking away at the same scene. I like to dilly, I like to dally, and then I may just up and trot off to somewhere else if the mood strikes me.

I love going on nature and birding walks with experts, because learning is a passion, but then, I like to go back. . . alone.

I enjoy family, but prefer just a few of us at a time. I find huge reunions and parties overwhelming.

I like to canoe by myself. I know that’s not really recommended for safety reasons, but again, when I’m on the water I like to be alone.

I understand and appreciate the value of teamwork and community, and I’m pretty good at fostering both. But after the work is done, yes, thank you, I’d like to be alone.

I’m even a decent presenter and public speaker, and have no qualms about being on stage in front of a mic, or being interviewed for print, radio, or TV, but then let me curl up with a book.

Shhhhh. . . .

Fraser River Discovery Centre Hosts Indigenous Salmon Fishing, Drying Tours

The Fraser River Discovery Centre in New Westminster, BC, had several tours today sharing First Nations fishing and fish-preserving techniques.

It was interesting learning about the cleaning, filleting, and wind-drying process to preserve salmon, and we got to try our hands out sharpening Indigenous tools.

Fraser River Discovery Centre salmon processing
An exercise sorting cleaning, filleting and wind drying into proper order.

Wind-dried salmon

Sharpening tools

Checking out the BC watersheds map, with a focus on the mighty Fraser River

The protected White Sturgeon

Yep, these massive, ancient (both in terms of time on Earth, and lifespan) fish come from such tiny eggs. Amazing!