Stopping at the Kennedy River Canyon on the Way to Ucluelet

The long winding drive from Port Alberni to Ucluelet is demanding and I usually try to make at least one stop along the way to take a break and do some photography. The challenge is to find new locations along the Kennedy River where the river has carved channels through the rock and then smoothed the stone.

Kennedy River Cliffs
Steep cliffs line a narrow part of this section of the Kennedy River.

Earlier this year, I stopped at a new location that I heard about from Vancouver Island photographer Thomas Dawson. It’s a gorgeous spot with steep cliffs overlooking the Kennedy as it flows through a narrow canyon. Viewpoints are a little tricky and the cliffs are steep but it does look possible to work down to water level. I’m not a fan of heights but was able to find several good safe vantage points.

Around the Bend
It was tricky getting a good angle that included both the river and the narrow canyon opening.
Kennedy River Canyon
A closer look at the short waterfall in this section of the Kennedy River Canyon.

These photographs were taken using a B+W 6 stop ND filter that allows a slow shutter speed (around 15 seconds) to create a milky effect with moving water.

I’ll definitely be exploring this area more fully over the course of the summer. I have a feeling that there are other good stretches of the river upstream and downstream.

*Use common sense around fast moving and deep water—always minimize your risk and photograph from a safe location.