I've cycled around Stanley Park many times with family, but I'd never run it before. Doubly interesting was that I decided to run it in the wee hours of the morning while it was still dark. I don't know what got into me, but I decided to do it. So with my X-T1 in hand and 35mm f/2 attached, off I went.
You can see the route below. I ended up running further than I anticipated because I kinda got lost. My intent was to take the north end of Lost Lagoon back to where I parked, but I ended up detouring south instead. Not that I was complaining, because I was greeted by the lovely sunrise three quarters of the way through my run.
I decided to run clockwise around Stanley Park. At that early in the morning, I probably ran into less that five runners and maybe two cyclists. The runners had itty bitty LED lights, just enough so that we could see each other, but not strong enough to illuminate much of the path. And other than the runners, there was a maintenance worker riding along the seawall with the lights on his maintenance vehicle flashing.
As I ran in the dark, I could hear critters scurrying in the surrounding brush and small waterfalls cascading down the rock faces just to the side of the trail, but I couldn't see them. When it's dark, your mind starts to play tricks on you, turning every little sound into some monstrous werewolf or undead bloodsucker...
Above and below is Siwash Rock, the only known sea stack in the Vancouver area. It looked quite imposing in the dark. Both shots were taken hand-held. I took a deep breath, held it, and snapped the photo. I did just a slight bit of noise reduction and exposure increase to clean up the images.
Working my way around to the north side of Stanley Park, the lights grew much brighter and before me appeared the Lions Gate Bridge, resplendent in all of its glory. The reflection off the water especially caught my eye. The below image is actually for sale on Fine Art America.
As I got closer to the Lions Gate Bridge, the green color really started to stand out, so I stood next to one of the lighthouses at the base and snapped the below shot. I'm continually amazed by the ability of the X-T1 to take spectacular shots at high ISOs and for those images to look pretty good cleaned up with just a little noise reduction. And the image quality also attests to the sharpness of the 35mm prime lens that I was using.
Cruising along the seawall now to the north eastern side of Stanley Park, I began to see hints of downtown Vancouver and the sun trying to peek its way through the low-lying clouds.
No, it's not a mermaid in the below photos, but a bronze sculpture titled "Girl in a Wetsuit". As I approached this sight, I really wasn't sure what to think. I knew it couldn't be a person, because while it might have been crazy to run in the dark like I was doing, to swim out to that rock in the dark, in the cold water ... that person might have been nuts! Then again, what was I doing out there that early in the morning...?
And finally, as I reached the eastern side of Stanley Park, all of downtown Vancouver's skyline came into view. The morning might have been overcast, but he sun poking out from underneath the clouds was enough to make me realize that this run was definitely worth!
It was my first run around Stanley Park and its seawall, but definitely not my last. There are so many trails to explore that run through the interior of the park. While I don't think I'll tackle those trails in the darkness with which I did the seawall, I reckon my X-T1 and I are not done exploring this famous part of Vancouver.
Gear used: Fuji X-T1 and 35mm f/2.0 prime lens.