Oyster River Bowls

November 25th, 2013 | by | 5 Comments
Published in Geology, Landscapes, North Vancouver Island, Rivers and Streams
Tags: , , , , , ,

Photographing moving water has been a theme for me this year and I’ve really been enjoying experimenting with neutral density filters to slow down the shutter speed and blur the flowing water. It’s also been a good excuse to get out and visit new locations.

Sandstone Abstract #2

Sandstone Abstract #2

This weekend I followed up a suggestion by George Bowron and checked out the Oyster River “bowls.” The Oyster River cuts through what looks like sandstone at this location and the water has sculpted the rock into a series of bowls of all different sizes. The landscape is stunning and surreal.

Sandstone Abstract #4

Sandstone Abstract #4

Since my Nikon D600 is being serviced for a second time with Nikon Canada (more dust and oil spots appeared despite a shutter replacement back in April —don’t be tempted by the current low price of this model, it’s not worth the hassle) I had the opportunity to try out my Fuji X100S. It definitely limited what I would normally do  in terms of composition in comparison to using my 16-35mm lens and B+W filters.

Sandstone Abstract #6

Sandstone Abstract #6

In this case, I was forced to think with a 35mm equivalent field of view rather than going super wide and use a fairly “thin” ND filter  (a Hoya ND8 – equivalent to about 2.5 stops) rather than the 6 or 10 stops that my B+W filters provide. I started looking for smaller scenes and more abstract combinations of water, stone, and rounded bowls.

Sandstone Abstract #7

Sandstone Abstract #7

The Fuji X100S performed extremely well. I couldn’t figure out how to access the longer shutter speeds so ended up using the Bulb mode. Holding the shutter down manually for 10 to 15 seconds with the camera on a tripod didn’t produce any noticeable camera shake and the image quality of the X-trans sensor was excellent.

At the end of the afternoon I was really happy with what I had captured. Sometimes photographing a small part of a place reveals more than the larger landscape!

More photographs of the Oyster River bowls can be viewed and prints ordered via my SmugMug site at Dave Ingram Photography: Oyster River Bowls.


  1. Mike Nelson Pedde says:

    November 25th, 2013 at 10:29 pm (#)

    Dave: This might interest you (or at least those w/o a powerful ND filter!) Photographing Moving Water – http://www.wolfnowl.com/2010/12/photographing-moving-water/


  2. IslandNature says:

    November 27th, 2013 at 9:24 pm (#)

    Interesting read Mike – I’m thinking of trying something similar to stack a long exposure that blurs the water with a faster exposure that freezes moving plants that are often blurred during longer exposures.

  3. Mike Nelson Pedde says:

    December 19th, 2013 at 12:59 pm (#)

    Dave: Although you couldn’t do it in Lightroom, you could stack multiple images to create the moving water effect, then layer that with a single image for what you want to be non-moving and use a layer mask to edit out the moving plants, etc. Might be tricky depending on the scene, but certainly possible

  4. Beth White says:

    August 10th, 2015 at 4:21 pm (#)

    I am new to the Courtenay area and wanted to hike to the Oyster River Bowls. Can you help me with directions??


  5. Dave Ingram says:

    August 12th, 2015 at 12:48 am (#)

    Hi Beth,

    It’s an easy walk down to the river – check this post with detailed directions: http://islandnature.ca/2013/12/sandstone-and-water/

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