I love sunsets…..sunrises too but am too lazy to get up that early. Besides,looking to the east here is poor. Too many trees and hills blocking sunrise! Plus the only body of water one could go for a sunrise is Kennedy lake and thats too far away.

I like shooting Chestermans beach (Chesty) at sunset.¬† I found out over the years what works and what doesn’t.

I need the right clouds,tide,lots of rain. The clouds need to be Goldi Loks…not too many (overcast) and not too few. The tide needs to be low around sunset,that way more beach is exposed. It needs to of rained for several days (easy in Tofino) and than break! The rain leaks out onto the beach creating a huge mirror!

Than If your lucky a few surfers will walk past. I do like a subject but in this scenario they are always like chickens teeth.

Oh and the God rays are icing!


This is Deadman island,its in Tofino’s harbour. The Natives would take their dead there and put them up in the trees. (Which was not a bad idea if they died of something contagious!) They believed it was Evil spirits that killed their loved ones and so wanted the evil spirits to be elsewhere!

They would put them in small Bentwood boxes. Many times the limbs would have to be broken to fit into these beautifully hand crafted wooden boxes.

The crescent moon adds a nice touch.


I never go out when I want,I can only go when Mother Nature invites me. I would go out every single day If it was up to me! I tell Mother Nature what I want and she phones me up when conditions are perfect.

The sky was clear with zero clouds all day and I hadn’t planned on going out as a result. Yes I can go out on these days but prefer to only go out when the clouds are interesting. I call them “Goldi – Lok” clouds. Not too many (as in completely overcast) and not too few (zero clouds),just enough to make it right!

So It was cloudless all day. I went downtown around 5:30 pm and noticed some horse tail cirrus moving in! I went back to my place and checked the satellite feed. It did look like some cloud was coming in but I couldn’t tell how much?

So I decided to go out for a harbour shoot………..meaning no bears.( I did see one but it was way too far away.)

The eagles are molting right now,so are lethargic. I went to see the Daredevil. He was  there and in good spirits! After 45 minutes I said goodnight and moved on.

I went to Maggie’s territory but she was nowhere to be found. I wasn’t surprised. She’s too old to have eaglets anymore. She goes on vacation from time to time. I can never tell whats going on with her?

So I left and went over to see Romeo. I couldn’t find him anywhere as well? I waited for 10 minutes in case he was else where. Turns out thats exactly what happened. He showed up late and perched. He wasn’t interested in anything else. He just came over to say hello and thats it!

So the sun was going down and I had nobody to photograph for sunset? The only thing I could do was go back to see the Daredevil! Which was 20 minutes away! Time was critical at this moment! I couldn’t waste it travelling here and there but had to so as to have somebody to shoot for the sunset.

I made it with 10 minutes to spare. He didn’t disappoint,he never does!


This is my good buddy Romeo.
I combined three pictures of him into one, The shot shows the entry,grabbing and exit a eagle does when it grabs a fish.

They are such masters of flight! The majority of times the eagle will miss but because they hit the fish so hard its stunned! Which gives them enough time to swing around at the top of their curve and descend to pick up the stunned fish! So they miss almost every time on the first pass but are just about perfect in percentage on the second pass.


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Frank island is a small island on Chestermans beach.Chestermans beach is Tofino’s premier beach! Many think Long beach is but I prefer Chesty.

Chesty is in the shape of a “L” & about a mile long.Frank island is located right at the bottom corner of that “L”.You can only get to it at low tide & yes, many a tourist have gotten a soaker getting caught out there!

I come prepared.If I know the tide will be coming in I take my hip waders with me.I’ve seen many people follow me out only to run away when the first wave makes them do the Chesty hop!

Frank island unfortunately was allowed to be divided into two properties. Hanns & Tony own the two lots. Neither of them live there on a permanent basis. Tourists are constantly walking around the island even though there are signs saying private island.It drives Tony crazy chasing the tourists away!

They both allow me to walk around.I generally send them shots to pay for my visits.

Frank & Frieda are the resident eagles.I do not know them very well.They tolerate my presence. I walked around the island once & found a unusual feature near their nest tree.On the ground I found something odd.It looked like somebody had taken a rake & raked the earth hard enough to create deep furrows.I speculate that this was done by both Frank & Frieda to keep their talons sharp.The way you put a pencil into a pencil sharpener would be the same thing for them with the earth & their talons! Never seen that before.

During the winter we get lots of rain here in Tofino.I like going out to Chestermans beach after a good 7 day soaker.I need to line my ducks up for this kind of shoot. The low tide needs to be happening near sunset.If its high tide I won’t have any beach.I need as much of the beach surface to act like a mirror. All that rain bleeds off the earth onto the beach.This makes a great reflective surface.Than I need GREAT clouds! Clouds really add icing to the cake! They can make or break a great shot!

So to sum up,low tide,great clouds,lots of rain followed by a break & all of these need to happen at or around sunset! Those are perfect ingredients for a perfect sunset beach shot!