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In search of beauty in my secret spot in Langley
My ‘secret spot’.

What would make two old retired guys play around in a creek for a few hours, dropping leaves in the water like five year olds, and rushing downstream to watch and photograph them going by? And, repeating this process several times in a week?

The answer is here, in the words of John O’Donahue …

In Search of Beauty

The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere —

 — in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion and in ourselves.

When we experience the Beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming.

We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful 

for it meets the needs of our soul.

I laughed out loud as I watched my friend Joe, gently dropping large maple leaves in the water, trying to do it without disturbing the water’s surface, and then running to his camera to capture the scene as the leaves floated by. We were like  kids playing joyfully in the water, reminiscent of those days when we sent ‘leaf boats’ down with the current. We even  brought our boots and waded through the water, always looking for just the right spot, smiling and chuckling as we looked at our camera monitors and each other. It was a great morning.

With photography, we can be kids again.

I discovered my ‘secret spot’ in Langley a week ago when I took a family there for a photo shoot. I gasped when we got down there, the combination of light, colour and reflection was simply stunning. The potential of capturing golden reflections with the family in the scene was too much for me. This time, without boots, I waded into the water and then piggy backed each of the two girls to the right spot. Before long, Dad was in the water too, piggy backing his wife to sit on the log across the creek so we could include the reflections that were our gift of the day.

I’ve been back there four times since. During one visit, all alone, I marvelled at the music of the water flowing gently past. Then I heard a rustling sound and wondered if someone was about to emerge from the path. No one there but the gentle sound of large maple leaves falling around me. Magic. As the light travelled overhead, the shadows changed and reflections emerged in new places. Captivating.

Making photos in this place allowed me to experience what John O’Donahue describes as a homecoming. I was in the presence of the Beautiful and my soul was filled.

Thank you.

Here are a few images from my secret spot. Psst, it’s really not so secret. You can find it too behind Brookswood Park, at 40th Ave and 200th St in Langley. Enjoy the music!


My friend, Joe, in search of beauty, autumn.
Here’s my friend, Joe, dropping the leaves in the water.
Sunbursts on an autumn scene, in search of beauty.
As the sun rose, it continued to gift us with scenes like this.
In search of beauty in a cedar and maple forest.
You get to walk through this beautiful forest of cedars and maples to get to the secret spot.

Reflections of autumn, creative photography by Dennis Ducklow

artistic photography Dennis Ducklow

reflections of blue and gold, fine art photography Dennis Ducklow

About the photography

Even though it may not look like it, very little post processing was done on these. The colours there are so rich and intense. In most cases, all I did was some cropping, contrast adjustment and occasional brightening.

Each visit, I used two different lenses. My 24-70 is my go to lens for most things and it was used in the wider views here, like the ones with the light beams at the top. But more often, I chose the 70-200 as it allowed me to bring in closer things that were farther away. The leaves floating on the water or hung up in the trees were all photographed with this lens.

A polarizing filter was also used in many of the images and that helped to intensify the colours and add contrast. The single leaf, second from bottom, benefitted from this.

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