Haida Gwaii Seascapes

Darwin Sound sunrise

I was in Gwaii Haanas twice this past summer looking for and recording archaeological sites in areas that potentially had not been examined carefully enough by previous researchers. As it happens, for most of the areas looked at I was that previous researcher, in the early 1990s. Twenty years ago there were certain kinds of sites we were not aware of, especially in the intertidal zone, and we were otherwise often in areas without good tides as we had to work pretty fixed hours every day so you took the tides that were offered up. This was especially true on the west coast where access is very difficult and anchorages are few.

So, I went back to the tidal areas and inland up creeks to look for things like fish traps, modified beaches for improving intertidal productivity (better clam habitat in particular) and the remnants of ancient camp sites dating to a time of rising sea level 10,700 years ago.

Gwaii Haanas is co-managed by the Haida Nation and Parks Canada and is located in southern Haida Gwaii (formerly/temporarily known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). It has no road access so everything is done by boat. On the first trip this summer we were on the west coast based out of a large vessel that was anchored in various bays and inlets. We were run to shore in a rigid hull zodiac during the days, and picked up to moved around cliffs and rocky headlands as necessary. We spend a couple of days on the east side when the weather blew up too hard to ensure a safe trip out from the west shores. We finished up the east side work on the second trip in September when there was another good daytime tide window. These photos are all from the first trip in June/July. I have chosen the seascapes for this post while much of the rest of the roll of film is on my blog called Albatross and Humpback that can be found here.

A year or so ago I did a post about the west coast of Haida Gwaii. It was a retrospective brought about by the imminent threat of a disabled freighter that was washing towards shore. Fortunately it was rescued in time, but that post has a lot of photographs from my work out there over the years, including many shot on film. If interested in the area you can find that post here.

I will be in Haida Gwaii (the north end this time) next week through next weekend and thus it is highly unlikely I will be posting here for a bit more than a week. I still have a roll or two from my backlog to post, and then it will be on to more current stuff. Thanks for your patience with my hogging of bandwidth around these parts for the past couple of weeks. Better now than in December when I expect there will be a rush to catch up!

Looking towards Japan



To see an enlarged version of any image in the gallery below, click on it and then navigate to others with the arrows or with swiping.


My last roll of film had two or three pictures from this trip on it that I have included in the companion post to this one at my blog (link above).

Roll 37: Canon Elan 7N; various lenses; Fuji Superia X-TRA 400, commercially developed and scanned.





18 thoughts on “Haida Gwaii Seascapes

    • Thank you Victor – it’s a beautiful part of the world. I regret I was too busy to shoot much film, as the colours on film are much more to my liking that I got with digital.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I try, but I cart around a lot of stuff to do my work and fitting in a film camera gets difficult sometimes. I need to carry a point and shoot more often in the field – the Olympus mjuii is ideal for that purpose. It only went out with me a couple of times too.


            • Yes, I took my EOS DSLR, and this EOS film body and some lenses, which helps a lot. But it is the bit where I have it all on my back getting in and out of boats and walking on slippery beaches. I carry various recording devices for my fieldwork (a GPS mapper unit, a GPS, an iPad, notebooks, measuring tapes long and short, compass, and so on) as well as heavy duty rain gear, a warm layer, two way radio, lunch. As a consequence the DSLR usually stayed in the boat and came ashore if something special needed a photo, or a difficult lighting situation, etc. A small point and shoot digital was my main photography tool this past summer, which is serviceable but not ideal. It’s always a compromise in these circumstances! I always used to carry a pelican case with two film bodies, a wide angle and a 100mm macro. But I was younger, and there were no digital devices of equal or greater weight either.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Omg…. you’re crazy person !! It’s too sad that i have no enough internal vibe just to go far wild places and not to use comfortable facilities like my car 😉 just like i did it when i was younger and wasn’t interesting in photography and computers only were in the science fiction novels 😉


                • Thanks Victor, for some reason this is a very pleasing comment 🙂 Being crazy and having enough internal vibe is not what I would look for in a job description, but perhaps it fits!
                  I am lucky in having reached a stage of my career where I can pick and choose the jobs I want to do, and leave the really crazy ones that produce little intellectual satisfaction to the younger crowd. Sadly I spent 20 years as a bureaucrat, and while good things happened, there was a chunk of my life wasted at that desk. It sure is nice to get another chance to do things like this that had been only available on my holidays for so long.

                  Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Graham – looking like paintings is an excellent thing!! About the grainyness – the film expired about 10 years ago, which could be part of it, and the low res commercial scan could be another part. I am just trying to get my scanning space operational again, and will be interested to rescan some of the images to see if I can do better.


  1. Pingback: Haida Gwaii Landscapes | 52 rolls

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