British Columbia Driftwood Photography


British Columbia Driftwood Photography is a story about ‘Driftwood’ which is often found on ocean beaches and along rivers and lakes. Driftwood is is a very interesting to photograph. It often appears in bizarre shapes and with detailed textures especially after it has been in water for a long time and has been bleached by the sun. Sometimes, the leftovers of trees take on shapes that look like sculptures, shapes of animals or creatures. 

In some waterfront areas, driftwood is a major nuisance. However, the driftwood provides shelter and food for birds, fish and other aquatic species as it floats in the ocean. Gribbles, ship worms and bacteria decompose the wood and gradually turn it into nutrients that are reintroduced to the food web. Sometimes, the partially decomposed wood washes ashore, where it also shelters birds, plants, and other species. Driftwood can become the foundation for sand dunes.

British Columbia Driftwood Photography

The above photo was taken at Florencia Beach on Vancouver Island, BC with the Canon SX60 HS with f-stop f/4, an exposure bias of -0.7 step; ISO speed ISO-100 and an exposure time of 1/800 of a second.

A subset of driftwood known as drift lumber,  includes the remains of man-made wooden objects, such as buildings and their contents washed into the sea during storms, wooden objects discarded into the water from shore, or lost cargo from ships. Erosion and wave action may make it difficult or impossible to determine the origin of a particular piece of driftwood.


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Driftwood has an interesting history tied to itself. Carried by Arctic rivers, driftwood was the main, or sometimes only, source of wood for some Inuit and other Arctic populations living north of the tree line until they came into regular contact with European traders. Traditional Inuit boats such as the kayak were fashioned from driftwood frames covered in skins. Driftwood could be used to make bows and arrows if it was straight grained and in reasonably good condition.