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Photographing Lower Myra Falls in Strathcona Park
If you’re looking for an unforgettable photo experience, Lower Myra Falls in Strathcona park is the perfect destination. This waterfall on Vancouver Island has stunning views that’s sure to take your breath away.
Lower Myra Falls is the shorter of the two falls, while Upper Myra Falls is taller and a longer hike. Lower Myra Falls is easier to access and to me is more photogenic.
The falls have created a natural amphitheater with wide open cliff and an impressive view from the top of falls and lake below.
Table of Contents
The Trip, The Place, The Area
I love adventures. Ever since I was a teenager, I was to drag to places by my parents–especially Dad. Didn’t matter if I didn’t want to go, he wanted the company. I’d be lost, and he would say, “keep heading that way, you’re fine!”
I am really glad that I grew up to be an independent adult. I’m able to go places I had never been. My journal is filled with memories of photo adventures and future photo trips.
This photo adventure I’m sharing with you is one that I enjoy and I often photograph when I need to brush up on my skills for shooting waterfalls.
In Strathcona Provincial Park, there is a well-known waterfall called Lower Myra Falls on Vancouver Island. The fall will take your breath away. It does for me each time I visit.
On this day, grey skies greeted me whole-heartedly, as it often does in autumn on the island. The path to the falls is reminiscent of an old logging road. Well worn and rocky, surrounded by woods. Often you will hear the birds chirping as you hike down the old, worn-out road.
With me is my beloved companion, my dog. She often hangs around the office waiting for me to prepare my camera gear for our next photo adventure. She and I are more than adventurers. We are seekers of the hidden realms of Vancouver Island on this day.
I was well-equipped for this photo trip. I had my camera, lens, and tripod and recorded videos of the adventure. The weather was drizzling as it does here on the island, but in a pleasant way. You could smell fresh water from the falls, wet grass and Douglas Fur as you strolled down the hill.
As I got closer, I could hear the swooshing of the waterfalls. My heart raced as I braced myself for the view that I was about to see. My first stop was at the upper lookout point. Lo-and-behold! The waterfall danced like a ballerina. She cascaded over the rocks with such elegance that I couldn’t wait to take my camera out.
The view is so picturesque. The light glistened on the rocks as the water fell from above. I took my time enjoying the view and several pictures before heading down to the lower falls. It is a short, winding walk with a few switchbacks rambling the trees to the lower portion of the falls.
It’s hard to get lost at the falls. The trail is easy to follow. I had no problem getting to my destination. Interestingly, the lower portion was even more beautiful than the upper.
This hike is so worthwhile. You get to visit one of the most beautiful sights on the Island.
“I’ll be back,” I always whispered this line to myself as I leave this particular falls.
Lower Myra Falls’ Ideal Lighting and Colour
Sticking to the norms for photography, early morning or late afternoon is the perfect time. Lower Myra falls is an opening in the woods. Trees surrounding the area will cast long hard shadows after 10 in the morning. For perfect sunlight from behind. I would suggest getting there at 7. If it’s an over cast day you just may catch the fog rolling in over the fall.
Seeking the Best Light and Colour at Myra Falls
If your wanting to photography vibrant colours I have 2 suggestions.
Plan on visiting the falls just after or when it’s raining. The rocks become wet and the orange-red hue of the rocks pop against the turquoise water. Remember to use a polarizer to cut down on reflection.
Most of Vancouver Island is a rain-forest. Lower Myra falls is surrounded by Douglas Fur, which don’t change in the fall. But some bushes in the area turn a yellowish-orange. With luck, you might capture these bushes when they still have leave.
Camera Gear for Photographing Waterfalls
You will need a DSLR or mirrorless camera that can shoot in manual mode, a tripod, and a cable release or remote shutter. It is also helpful to have a polarizing filter and neutral density filters.
You want to make sure that the shutter speed is slow enough to capture the motion of the water without causing any blur. The aperture should be set as wide open as possible to allow in more light, and the ISO should be kept low to avoid noise in your photos.
You will want to use a cable release or remote shutter to avoid shaking the camera when you press the shutter button. This will help ensure that you get sharp photos every time.
The polarizing filter will reduce glare on the water and help bring out its colors, while the ND filter will help reduce exposure time and prevent overexposure
Be sure to check out our full post on how to photograph waterfalls
Composition and Angles
You want to make sure that your photograph showcases the waterfall in the best way possible. One of the most important things to consider is the foreground and background of your shot. The foreground should be interesting and provide a good contrast against the waterfall, while the background should be either a beautiful landscape or featureless sky. It’s also important to find an angle that showcases the power and majesty of the waterfall. Shooting from below can give a sense of scale, while shooting from above can emphasize the height of the falls.
History of Lower Myra Falls on Vancouver Island
Myra Ellison, daughter of Price Ellison, who participated in the exploratory survey in 1910 that led to the formation of Strathcona Provincial Park, was honoured by having the falls named in her.
Lower Myra Falls Hike
This 1.6 kilometre loop takes 30 minutes on average to hike. It is listed as a simple trip. Although it is quite a steep hill with an elevation gain of 85 m. It will be difficult for some.
Trail to Lower Myra Falls Strathcona Park
The Lower Myra Falls hike is a short hike that leads to a beautiful waterfall. The Upper and Lower viewing areas are both worth the visit.
This hike starts at the southern tip of Buttle Lake, and it takes hikers to two different falls which are distinct from each other- not different parts of the same waterfall.
The Lower Myra Falls hike is rated as easy, it’s definitely worth the trek for all hikers out there who are looking for an amazing waterfall view!
Getting to the Lower Bowls
Bushwhacking comes to mind when trying to get to the lower bowl at Lower Myra falls in Strathcona Park. There is a path that will lead you into the underbrush. The trail starts out, leading you down the hill. However, as you trek further and further into the obis, the trail disappears. My only suggestion is to listen for the falls. They can be heard for miles. The same path will lead you down to Buttle Lake.
Campbell River to Buttle Lake to Myra Falls Location
- From Campbell River, take the Gold River Highway North towards Gold River.
- Continue onto Westmin RD at the bridge. (head straight)
- Follow Westmin Road until it curves around the southern tip of Buttle Lake
- Cross the bridge at the southern tip of Buttle Lake head up the hill and look for a sign on your right for Lower Myra Falls.
- The parking lot is on a dirt road by a tower.
- Google or Android Auto can lead you there as well.
Parking at Lower Myra Falls
There are a few things you should know about parking. First of all, there is parking available for visitors at the Lower Myra Falls trail head. However, it can be quite busy on weekends, so be prepared to walk a bit further. Alternatively, if you visit during the weekdays you’ll have no problem finding a space.
Another thing to keep in mind is bathrooms There is facilities at the parking lot.
Swimming at Myra Falls
If you’re looking for a refreshing swim on a hot day, Lower Myra Falls is the perfect spot.
The water has a gorgeous turquoise hue, but be warned it is chilly! .The current can be strong, so it’s best to stay close to the main pool. Lower Myra Falls is popular with locals and tourists alike, so be prepared to share the water with others.
There are also some great places to relax at the bottom of the falls. So if you’re looking to take a break from swimming, there’s no shortage of options at Myra Falls!
Other Photo locations in the area
Upper Myra Falls is not Lower Myra Falls
Upper Myra falls is not the same as lower Myra Falls. To gain access to Upper Myra falls, you pass through the Westwood mine. Lower Myra falls has several falls in the area. All these drops are still considered lower Myra Falls.
You can find more on Upper Myra fall (coming soon)
Lupin Falls Trail
Lupin Falls trail is a 0.8-kilometre circular route in Strathcona Park alongside of Buttle lake. Easy hiked in 20 minutes. While the trail is well-used for a quick look-see for hiker, photographers can spend hours at the falls. Along the route, there are some amazing fairytale-like locations.
While the trek to the falls is brief. Head to the beach. It’s a nice place to unwind and eat lunch or a snack.
Karst Creek Trail
Karst Creek trail is a 1.3-km loop route that is close to Lupin and Lower Myra falls at Buttle Lake. Taking about 40 minutes to finish and is an easy hike.
Bridge is missing from the left side route, and lots of large trees are hindering movement on the path to the right. Probably won’t be getting a new bridge soon.
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