Thursday, November 18, 2010

AquaBus: False Creek, Vancouver, BC


On the weekend I wanted to go somewhere to take a few photos and I didn't want to travel all over the countryside so I ended up at one of my favourite places, False Creek. It is easy access and the parking is the right price. During the summer there is lots of activity down here along the sea wall with joggers, cyclists and people just out for a stroll


Today it was cool and only a solitary jogger along this S-curve section designed more for 2-wheeled motorized transport . False creek is an inlet within the downtown core of Vancouver with a seawall alongs its circumference.


If you are coming from the south and wish to go to the downtown area you must transverse one of 3 bridges, or if you are walking, you are able to hop aboard one of the many Aquabus's which cross this small inlet. There are many stops which can take you anywhere along its shores


I happened to be at the one at Stamp's Landing which is under the Cambie Street bridge. There is also a staircase at this location which brings you to the bridge deck level where you can either walk north towards downtown, our south to the Cambie shopping district.


There is not much aquatic activity this time of year. During the summer there are a multitude of watercraft, kayakers, dragon boats and yachts floating up and down. Today it was just watching the aquabus's going back and forth trying to find paying passengers to transport. They maintain a schedule and if there is anyone on the dock they will pull in pick them up, otherwise they just continue on their merry way. Like fish in a fish bowl it was just relaxing watching them go about their daily business.


It was like a game. With my Canon T2i & my 55-250mm telephoto lens in my hands I watched as they criss-crossed and zig zagged around the anchored boats and I managed to capture two aquabus' just by anticipating their moves and planned trajectories


It was like playing a game of snooker waiting for combinations and I finally managed to capture 3 in one frame . I kept scanning the landscape looking for a higher combination but no such luck. It was not my day to capture 4 in one window.

Finally after a while a better combination came into view and I got a more pleasing composition

(Good things come in threes)


After all these years of doing photography, I just never got into Macro. I did have a macro lens for my Nikon (AF 60D macro) but I seldom used it. We're not talking about macro mode on a P&S pocket camera but actually making quality prints of small things such as insects . For the past few weeks I have been perusing various photography forums and there are excellent macro photos posted . Other than the new to me 100mm 2.8 Macro EF Canon lens I just acquired, I had no macro or close-up accessories, so I decided to purchase this cheap kit to get started


This is a 3 ring extension tube set for Canon EOS. The only problem is that most of Canon EF-s lenses do not have aperature rings and to use these rings you have to meter in stop-down manual mode. So naturally I just had to have another Nikon Ai to EOS adapter (the right one in the photo below) Luckily I have a handful of manual focus Nikon lenses to attach. In Macro mode you are more or less confined to manual focus anyway due to limited DOP


These extention tubes have no electronic couplings and the rings can be used individually or in combination with each other to extend the lens. Focusing the lens further away from the film plane (read sensor plane in digital terminology). The EOS body is set to Aperature priority and you set the f stop via the aperature ring. The shutter speed is set by the brain inside the camera.


Here are the tubes all connected together. One end attaches to the flange on the camera and the lens connects to the other end. In my case I am using manual Nikon lenses so I also need to attach the NF--> EOS adapter.

I have nothing interesting to photograph at work, but just to give you an idea of what the difference is, here is a photo with my Canon T2i using the Nikon 105mm 2.5 lens, which is a regular non-macro lens


this is the closest focusing distance with NO extension rings

Here is what it looks like with all the extension rings attached to my Nikon 105mm 2.5 lens. It more or less makes it able to focus much closer. As a general rule extending the lens out 50% of its focal length turns it into an approximate 1:1 ratio. This means that the image will be life-size on the sensor.


now all I have to do is find some flowers, bugs or spiders to photograph


  1. Those Aquabuses are SO COOL!! They must be great for tourists. Wonder what images you can get actually on one. Did a great job capturing the three in one. But I must admit that I like the first image better, with all three in a row...reminds me to toy tugboats in the wading pool during summer play.

    Glad you found a way to use your Nikon lenses. Good luck with the macro. Advice: try dead ones first. They don't move and make you refocus every half second. LOL!


  2. At three to five bucks a pop it ain't cheap to ride the bath tub toy. But a $400 pass option tells me they must work for commuters as much as tourists.
    I expect riepe will have some snippy anti-Canadian comment but I plan to ignore him.

  3. Hi Uncle Bob,

    Think I will be giving the last rights to my trusty old bike camera soon, Linda left it sitting in a puddle of water last week....Now I have to switch it on several times before it comes alive properly and it will only take one photo then die again!!!!



  4. The water taxis are kind of cool though the shape and paint really do make them look like bathtub toys. How many people do they try and cram into them? The last time I used a water taxi was to go from the airport to Ketchikan (location of the proposed bridge to nowhere) and it was a whole lot more than $5.

    I've never tried extension tubes before as I've always heard bad things about them nor have i tried any macro shots except on P&S cameras. I'm looking forward to seeing your images.


  5. Lori:

    For shame ! I would never kill anything just to take a photo. I mean, SonjaM gets unhappy and takes down a tree, but me . . . no way I would damage anything

    sometimes on a warm summer evening, I sit on the bench and just watch the boats float by.

    Mr 2836:

    It is expensive to take those tubs. We purchased a 10 pass booklet once, and we ran out of tickets to get back, so had to walk.

    I waiting for Riepe to make a visit so we can go hiking into the forest. It is better to go with someone who can't run as fast as yourself. That way you have a chance of escaping . . .


    remember you didn't hear it from me . . . "Duct Tape"


    No bad things using extension tubes as there is only air inside. You are not degrading the lens image. You are probably thinking about close up lenses with different diopters. These are what people stay away from.

    I found out something new today so am doing further research before I can take photos. I am looking for a cost effective (ie: FREE) alternative to "Focus stacking". I only have cs2 and I need cs4 or higher.

  6. I know what I was thinking about, tele-converters. Those things (with optics) that will increase your focal length with an associated increase in f-stop.

    I haven't heard about focus stacking before. Something else to google....


  7. RichardM:

    some teleconverters are good, Like the Nikon 1.4 but they are costly.

    You can get greater than 1:1 ratio using reversing rings. I am trying to find more info.

    I sent you some links (via eMail) to some photography forums which I frequent. Hope this will keep you busy for a while.

  8. The first time around in Vancouver I thought the little boats were seasonal and for tourists only (especially with the fee they are charging), but people actually use them for transportation.
    I love 'em, and use them on occasion. Word must have come around, since the tree incident I have been riding them for free ;-)

  9. Funny you should mention macro. That was the topic at last night's photo club meeting. I borrowed some close up filters last summer and proceeded to shoot a bunch of blurry, fuzzy images.

    I came across these images today & thought they were pretty interesting.

    I like the colorful aquabuses. I agree they look like toys, but that just adds to the fun factor.

  10. SonjaM:

    we have used them a few times but they are pricey. I still have a few coupons left in my book, somewhere. I have a retired friend who pilots one of those. He works the 6am shift. He has invited me to ride with him and take some photos of the sunrise, but haven't taken him up on his offer yet.


    Funny you should give me the link. I was looking at those earlier today. I just purchased those extension rings and now I need the reverse lens adapter . I also have the 100mm EF macro lens.

    Now I am trying to learn about Stacked focusing.

    If you have a Nikon perhaps you should find a bellows set

  11. It was a coincidence I read your post today and saw one of your cameras is a Canon T2i. I have been planning on getting a camera this winter and as of yesterday had pretty much decided on that one. Sounds as though you like yours?

  12. Karen:

    You will love the Canon T2i. Chris (
    also has one. I like the idea that it is smaller but has all the features of higher models, such as the 60D/7D . It is easier to carry around and lighter weight. I also wanted the 1080p video mode.

    It's a bonus that I can now use Nikon lenses with the adapter. Go for it, you won't be disappointed

  13. LOL. I wasn't recommending to kill anything. I was thinking of finding ones already in that state. But I don't know anything about this "tree" incident. Sounds like a good story... :)

    Watching the boats is relaxing. Husband and I used to sit at the docks in the evenings too, in SoCal.


  14. Dear Bobscoot:

    Vancouver has so many picturesque aspects to it that it is hard to wander anyplace in that city and not find something worth of a snapshot. I have always had a softspot in my heart for Vancouver's waterfront, and have stayed in hotels there a few times.

    Watertaxis are not only essential for for transp[ort in Vancouver, but they are a great way to see the city. They are far more sophisticated version of the Key West Conch-Train. I'm not qualified to comment on the technical aspects of this blog, episode, Bob, but I was told "The Larger The Lens, The Smaller The Penis." Is that true? I was also told that riding a Triumph without a tach is akin to "Vagina Envy."

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  15. I've never warmed up to macro. Some of the images do look good but it doesn't really make me want to go out and try it.

    One of these days, though. I'm still trying to get good at general photos before I specialize.

    Enjoyed the water pics.