Some photos of Northern British Columbia wildlife and geology


Last week I went  on a helicopter ride with Gerry, my father in-law, to count of Kokanee Salmon in the  Camp Creek near Valemount, BC. We were invited by Curtis Culp of Dunster, BC, which is in charge of this  conservation effort run by BC Hydro. Here’s a picture of Gerry leaving the chopper (from Yellowhead Helicopters).


Kokanee salmon is a land-locked relative of Sockeye salmon. This means that they spend all their life in inland lakes, never seeing the ocean. For spawning  they enter inlet streams of the lake where they live. Camp Creek is a smaller tributary of the Canoe River, inlet of the Kinbasket Lake, where these Kokanee live.

The number of fish is estimated visually from the helicopter using a hand-held tally counter (every ~100-fish patch is a click). As a matter of facts, Curtis and Gerry counted fish, and I went along for the fun. Their estimates were really close, coming in at 15,000 and 15,400 in ~35 minutes over a ~15 km stretch of the Camp Creek. I counted 15 between Bald eagle and Golden eagle, and took some photos. Here they are!

Wildlife and nature photos

The first two are photos looking straight down the Camp Creek. Believe it or not, there’s fish there. See the dark spots? Those are Kokanee Salmon. And the job was to count them, so I am glad I did not have to (although it was easier to the naked eye).



The next two are a couple of photos taken at the ground level, courtesy of Curtis. Here the salmon is easy to see.

Kokanee ground

Kokanee ground1

The next two are also photos of the creek from the helicopter. There’s fish in there but I can only say it because I saw them, I can’t quite make them up in the photos. I love the shots though, the crystal clear water and the shadows.



The following two are photos with eagles. I could not believe how tiny they look, since even at this distance they seemed huge to the naked eye. There is a bald eagle in the first photo (middle left) , the other two (in the middle of the second photo) are too tiny, it is hard to say.



This last one is a photo of the trees, just looking down. I find it mesmerizing.trees

Upon looking at all the photos (I took about 80) I have to say that as much as I love my iPhone 4S, they are not nearly as good as I had wished for. Certainly far from the photos I shot during a claim staking trip in the Cassiar Mountains near Watson Lake, Yukon using a Canon FTb 35 mm (one of these days I’ll have to get those photos out of the attic and publish some of them). I often think of going back to my reflex camera, although I hear the iPhone 5 camera is a big improvement, with the iPhone 5S being even faster, so there’s hope.

Bonus photo

Here’s a beautiful elk. I took it another day, on the highway just outside of Jasper, but I thought it would fit in here.


Geology photos

I love meander rivers so I took a whole lot of photos of the creek. The first one shows a nice sandbar right where we started the counting.


This next one is a nice shot of the meandering creek looking back.

Camp Creek

In this third one you can see two nicely developed meander loops with point bars.


Last, but not least, a really tight meander. I love this photo, it’s my overall favourite.


Human activity photos

I am also including some photos showing the human footprint on the land. This first one is a clearing – I am not certain for what purpose, likely a new development. The circular patches are places where the logs were collected and burned. Quite the footprint, seen from here.


Next is something I did not expect to see here, a golf course – although I probably should have…. they are omnipresent, and often obnoxious, to say the least.


This is one I quite like: the creek, the railway, and the Yellowhead highway, all running next to one another.


The team

Finally, a shot of Gerry and I in the back of the chopper and one of Gerry counting.



Image processing tips for geoscientists – 1

Today I would like to show a way to quickly create a pseudo-3D display from this map:

Original image

The map is a screen capture of a meandering river near Galena, Alaska, taken in Google Earth. I love this image; it is one of my favorite maps for several reasons. First of all it is just plainly and simply a stunningly beautiful image. Secondly, and more practically, the meanders look not too dissimilar to what they would appear on a 3D seismic time slice displayed in grayscale density which is great because it is difficult to get good 3D seismic examples to work with. Finally, this is a good test image from the filtering standpoint as it has a number of linear and curved features of different sizes, scales, and orientation.The method I will use to enhance the display is the shift and subtract operation illustrated in The Scientist and Engineer’s Guide to Digital Signal Processing along with other 3×3 edge modification methods. The idea is quite simple, and yet extremely effective – we convolve the input image with a filter like this one:

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