I already gave you the ten best things about Vancouver, but I’m adding another: the city’s skyline. And where better to see it than from above?
Queen Elizabeth Park is a gorgeous place to spend a quiet morning enjoying greenery and scenery. The park is filled with walking trails (some paved, some not), so it’s a good place to get some exercise while enjoying the outdoors. There’s a cute duck pond where you can rest from all that walking, too.
The top of the park features a lookout point that has a stunning view of Vancouver’s skyline peeking through clusters of trees. Below the lookout is a botanical garden, with walking paths that weave around colorful flower beds. Not too far in the other direction is a fountain, where the water is alternately serenely bubbling and aggressively whooshing into the air and small groups of people can be seen practicing Tai Chi.
My favorite thing about Queen Elizabeth Park, though, is the Bloedel Conservatory, a must-visit for photographers, nature lovers, families, and casual travelers alike.
Bloedel Conservatory is home to hundreds of species of plants and birds from all over the world, so even a slow saunter feels adventuresome and exotic, as if you’re trekking through the jungle rather than in a glass-domed building in a large city. I loved seeing bright flowers and patterned leaves I’d never seen before, and I pretty much wanted to photograph everything.
The fauna, of course, can be a bit difficult to shoot. I recommend chatting with the volunteer docents, though; they’re helpful, knowledgable, and passionate, and one in particular pointed out angles I hadn’t considered and explained a few traits to anticipate from the birds.
Most of my shoot was an exercise in patience, though, since animals rarely do what you want them to. My new docent buddy noticed I was photographing Casey, a yellow-crowned Amazon parrot, and mentioned that he’s often hard to capture.
“He’s really behaving for you,” she practically squawked, “Usually people approach him with a camera and he looks the other way!”
Call me Birdwoman, I guess, because all of the larger birds at the Conservatory looked right at my lens or paused their movements so I could capture them.
The little birds were much trickier, but I loved the challenge of trying to get a shot before they flitted away, chirping to each other. Their movements are impressively fast, and I did get some interesting motion-blur shots when 1/250th of a second was no match for their fidgets.
Overall, a visit to Queen Elizabeth Park & the Bloedel Conservatory is a lovely way to spend a morning, afternoon, or evening for nature lovers, view-seekers, Tai Chi practicers, and photographers.
If you go, say hi to Casey for me.
For more posts about my trip to Vancouver, click here.