I always love going to Vancouver. There's a certain vitality to the city that's hard to describe. Everything seems dewy and fresh and alive; the people are beautiful and active and fit. The landscape - it goes without saying - is breathtaking.
What generally sucks is the weather.
A little side note: I was once playing golf in Vancouver. We teed off in bright sunshine. At the 9th hole, we had to run for cover from a driving rain storm. On the 15th hole, we could barely see for the fog. By the time we stopped for beers after the round, it was bright and sunny again. Now, I'm not a Vancouver native, but I'm told that this type of 'all-four-seasons-in-one-afternoon' kind of weather is commonplace. Certainly, the reputation of Vancouver (and the US Pacific northwest) is of colder, damp weather. You generally put up with this because everything else is so damn gorgeous.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you: I have never experienced such beautiful weather as I did during the four days I spent in Vancouver at the end of July. I don't think I saw a cloud the entire time I was there. I brought a jacket and an umbrella, both of which I never needed. Simply stunning. There is nowhere more beautiful than Vancouver when it's sunny.
The trip didn't start out quite so auspiciously.
I had booked an early evening flight from Toronto, which, after the 5 hour flight, would normally get me in to Vancouver around 10PM. Figure a 15 minute taxi to the hotel, 10 minutes to shower, and I'm in bed by 10:30, 11PM tops.
First problem: we sat on the plane - at the gate - for 3 hours. Yes, 3 hours! What had been a lovely late-July day in Toronto turned into a monsoon. Lightning was spotted in the area, and the airport was forced to issue a ground stop (I suppose fuelling aircraft in the presence of lightning is bad or something...I dunno. What do I look like, a scientist?).
So we sat. And sat. And sat. The pilot assured us it would be 5 or 10 minutes. Well, it wasn't.
Fortunately, the in-flight entertainment system offered 'National Lampoon's European Vacation', so I was set. In the end, I watched 2 movies before we even began to taxi out.
Once we finally got airborne, I scarfed down my meal, downed a couple of glasses of Air Canada's finest red, and promptly fell asleep.
By the time I landed, de-planed, and got a cab, it was pushing 2AM, and I was absolutely exhausted. Fortunately, I had scheduled my trip such that I had most of the next day to myself, and I knew that the beautiful weather was going to afford some excellent photographic opportunities.
On this trip, I took the Leica MP, my newly-acquired circa-1962 Leica M2, and the Mamiya 7. Lenses were the Voigtlander 35/2.5 and 40/1.4 and 1946 Leitz Summitar 50/2 for the Leicas and the 43/4.5, 80/4, and 150/4.5 for the Mamiya 7. For film, I brought Fuji Provia 100F (120 and 35mm), Agfa Precisa CT 100 (35mm; NOTE: this is rebranded Provia), Fuji Reala (a now-discontinued 100 ISO film; I shot my last 120 roll in Vancouver), Kodak Ektachrome 160T (120; a wonderful tungsten balanced film), Kodak Portra 400 (120), Fuji 400H (120 and 35mm), Kodak Tri-X (35mm), and Kodak TMax 100. In the end, I shot about 25 rolls of film in 4 days; 10 rolls of slide, 10 rolls of colour negative, and 5 rolls of B&W negative.
While I generally see myself as a street photographer, I've been moving more and more towards a more comprehensive style of travel photography that encompasses street, landscape, and urban lifestyle. I've recently been heavily influenced by work from people like Johnny Patience and Rebecca Lily (who together are a formidable husband-and-wife photography team), Joel Meyerowitz' large format work in 'Cape Light', and a few other photographers. While I still love getting out onto the streets (and my upcoming New York City set will, I think, be a bit more street-heavy), that type of style just didn't seem appropriate here.
What follows are just a few of my favourites from the over 300 frames I shot over those four days.
I hope you like them.