Monday, November 30, 2009

Bloedel Floral Conservatory, QE Park

Faced with economic uncertainty, the Bloedel Floral Conservatory is slated to close for lack of operating funds. It has been many years since we have gone inside to view the exhibit.

(MacMillan Bloedel Floral Conservatory, Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC)

Here is an except from their official website:

"The Conservatory is one of the most popular attractions in Vancouver and is open daily, rain or shine. A modest fee is charged. It is dedicated to the wonders of the natural world with an emphasis on plants and birds. As a matter of fact, over 100 birds of various species call the Bloedel Conservatory home and free-fly within its spacious dome. It was constructed through a very generous donation from Prentice Bloedel in 1969. That same donation enabled the Park Board to cover the main reservoir atop Queen Elizabeth Park."

You can obtain more detailed information from HERE (<-- click link)


The first week of every month is my busy week. Tomorrow (1st Tuesday) is my photography meeting where we will have our group Christmas dinner and Wednesday (1st Wednesday of each month) is my car meeting where we have a Christmas social and are expected to bring pot luck to share.

With this in mind I decided to do a short post and stop at Queeen Elizabeth Park on my way home to snap a few pictures of the "Dome" . When I arrived in the parking lot the fountain was doing its aerobatic dance. While I set up my camera and tripod getting things ready the water suddenly stopped which was going to ruin my shots. I waited a short while in the cold 5c air and it started up again - lucky for me (and you)


Other than the sound of falling water it was quiet but as I watched the water dance and slowly ebb up and down to a rhythm of its own, I could imagine the music of a symphony going through my mind.


First all the jets were pushing the water up, then some stopped, then the middle one did its job. It was all so hypnotic not knowing what it was going to do next


Moving water is not the best subject for timed exposures as it creates a blur which invokes action.


The Bloedel Conservatory is on the highest point of land in Vancouver. This is the location for Vancouver's drinking water. There is a reservoir at the top which has been covered by a cement parking lot, when I was a youth the reservoir was open to the elements and surrounded by a fence. The locals call the area of Queen Elizabeth Park "Little Mountain" . There used to be a road running east to west which went "over the top" of the mountain with a little parking lot which had a commanding view of the city. It was a very crowed place on summer weeknights and weekends with all the cars having "steamed up" windows. The occupants presumably were viewing the submarine races. When the Conservatory was built, they closed off the road to use as a pedestrian area, cemented the top of the reservoir and relocated the parking to the top.


All of these images were taken with a Nikon D80, 18-135, AF-s G-ED DX
F stops were all set at F8.0, but shutter speeds ranged from 2 sec to 7 seconds. While I have higher quality lenses it is just easier to carry one. This is the only DX lens I have. All my other ones will work with full sensors.

I tend to use F8 a lot as that is usually the sweet spot of most lenses. The temperatures are getting colder and it is hard to hold the metal of the tripod for any length of time with hands devoid of clothing. I have a cold weather tripod which I have covered with pipe insulation. Make sure to bring a flashlight so you can actually see the controls of your camera. To trigger the shutter I usually use my remote control OR self timer so as to minimize camera shake upon releasing the shutter. I also "lean" on the tripod to weigh it down, or sometimes I just hang my camera bag on it



  1. Nice photos Bob. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Great pics. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Those indeed are very nice pictures. I attempted to take some somewhat similar pictures last night with limited success. But I am trying to learn how to use manual settings. I may yet figure it out.

  4. Nice pictures Bob - thank you.

    There's some controversy here in Portland about the city's reservoirs not being covered and maybe that being the cause of E.Coli contamination. Vancouver already has that figured out.

    Maybe you can vote in a bond to keep the conservatory open.

  5. Very nice pictures Bob, I like the blurry water effect of fountains.



  6. Great pics as usual. Thanks Bob! I've found the EXIF data in the photos a great way to remember settings.

  7. Nice pictures of course. Perhaps they are boring as in- you haven't been there in ages?

  8. Man, you really are a hardcore photographer! A "winter" tripod? I have only one. Now I have to go buy another and drape a parka on it!

    Seriously, I appreciate the info on your settings. Katie loves fountains. I'll have to show her these pictures. She'll like them!

  9. Leslie:

    Those Photos you posted of Kirsten playing football are very nice too.


    You're welcome, thanks for stopping by. We need some snow pictures from you.


    I usually set the F-stop, aperature at F8.0, then either let the camera do its shutter speed thing, or set shutter manually. I let the camera decide for the 1st shot, then I tweek it manually.


    Our system is different than yours. Governments do not float bond issues. They either shutdown to save $$, or they spend the money and raise taxes, unilaterally.


    Waterfalls, or blurry oceans in the mist are the best.


    Actually I review the data on the camera's screen before transferring to my external drive, as I can't remember or write down everything in the dark

    Mr Conchscooter:

    as replied to in your blog, I am not a flower, plant, or bush lover. So I tend to avoid gardens and other florally challenged exhibits. I live very close to the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens but it would kill me to pay the entrance fee


    All the info on settings "I do it for you" , it's just that this is my time challenged week. Plus I'm using a new video editing program with my new camcorder.

  10. Looks a great place! Hope you enjoyed your Christmas dinner.

  11. Dear Bobskoot:

    I deeply regret the closing of this botanical garden as it represents one less cultural outlet in a society that cannot have enough of then. Furthermore, I feel bad for the staff and administrative workers who have busted their asses here for 40 years, and who will now be turned loose in a tight job market.

    There are supposed to be 100 species of birds living under the dome. Will they just let them go or will they sell them to interested parties? Also, will they hold a great exotic plant sale? if so, I'f love a banana bush and an emu.

    It is my intention to turn the emu loose on the streets of Key West to see it run around with the chickens.

    Nice pictures Bob.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  12. Bev1211:

    Actually, it is a good place for plant lovers. There are also a lot of animals who live under the dome.

    Jack "r":

    You are very observant and Google is your friend. There is a movement now to try and save the Gardens. They are also trying to find people to take in the animals. There was a big Parks Board meeting the other day and many people packed the building with wishes to save the structure. The Dome is located on the site of Queen Elizabeth Park which is known for its beautiful gardens in the inside of the volcano