A Photographer's Dream

Photography - Photo Opportunities in Sooke, Vancouver Island, BC

Vancouver Island photo


Photography on Vancouver Island




Sooke, British Columbia


West-coast scenery - Vancouver Island, BC

The natural coastline of southern Vancouver Island is a magnificent place for photo opportunities. Maybe it's the division between the green foliage and the dark sea or the contrast of barren rock against a thick forest. From seascape to landscape, the East Sooke area is a wildlife and nature-photographer's dream come true. Whether you're a professional photographer or you just like taking photos, photo opportunities abound.

Located 20 minutes outside of the city limits of Victoria, this ocean-side paradise has it all including:

  • Rocky outcroppings along the Coast Trail in East Sooke Park;
  • Mesmerizing views of the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains;
  • Mountain top vistas of the surrounding rainforest;
  • Abundant wildlife in their natural environment;
  • In autumn, colourful foliage envelopes the hiking trails and creates a colourful tunnel amongst the trees.

At The Cottage

Madrona Cottage is located in the centre of this natural beauty. Perched on a hill on a rural acreage, this oceanfront Sooke vacation rental features unobstructed views of the entire Sooke Basin. It offers a prime vantage point for spotting eagles, owls, blue herons and hummingbirds in flight. You only need a basic telephoto lens to capture these birds close up but need to be quick as they soar, float and buzz by.

In the morning, enjoy a cup of coffee on the deck and watch the sunrise over the Sooke Hills. In the summer, the sunrises are yellow and bright but are even more spectacular in the winter. Streaks of red, purple and orange radiate off the low-lying clouds which soon burn off as the temperature rises.

The early daylight hours are also an active time for birds as they dry their wings of morning dew and start their daily forage. Hummingbirds and finches dart from tree to tree looking for a sweet nectar meal, geese stretch their wings over the calm ocean waters, owls return to their forest roost after a night of hunting. It's an amazing spectacle to photograph birds flying above, below and all around you.

In the afternoon, look for eagles on the trees on the nearby island. They spend hours perched on the moss-covered branches, observing the goings-on in their territory. Heron are often spotted fishing for a meal. You have front row seats to take photos of the wildlife that go about their lives around you.

Along The Coastline

The rugged coastline of southern Vancouver Island can be captured while venturing on a short hike in East Sooke Park. The eastern shore is exposed to the open Pacific Ocean and the wind-ravaged trees show the power of these ocean storms. Battered rocks, weather-beaten foliage and water-worn terrain show the harshness and beauty of Canada's west coast.

The eastern shores hold other photographic opportunities including:

In The Rainforest

Most of the trees on southern Vancouver Island were felled in the 1800's to build the burgeoning city of Victoria. However, the second-growth forest is now over a hundred years old and thick with Douglas firs, Maple, Arbutus and Hemlock trees. Because the terrain is hilly, there are ample photographic hot-spots.

Venture to the top of Mt. Maguire to capture panoramic views of the Olympic peninsula and surrounding Sooke Basin. Hike into the Matheson Creek valley and capture the swamp lantern in full, yellow bloom. Look for monster Douglas Fir trees with circumferences of over 20' between Roche Cove Regional Park and Matheson Lake Regional Park. These trailheads are within 10 minutes of Madrona Cottage.


East Sooke is known locally as Nature's Gallery. A wildlife paradise, it is home to birds, deer, raccoon, black bear, cougars, and wolves. In the water, you can find river otter, seals and whales. The larger forest animals are harder to photograph since they become aware of your presence before you spot them. However, if you are patient, there is a better chance of capturing a photo of them around dusk.

The larger sea creatures like seal and sea lion are most abundant during the salmon spawning period (September to November). Salmon return from their journey to the Sooke Basin where seal anxiously await a hearty fish dinner. At this time of the year, it is common to spot the seal hunting in the nearby waters.

Incidentally, whales can be found on the Juan de Fuca side of East Sooke. To the benefit of the salmon, the channel into the Sooke Basin is too shallow to allow their entrance.

Taking Photos In East Sooke

  • Bring a tripod, as the thick rainforest dampens the natural day-time light.
  • Bring protective rain covering for your equipment.
  • Make sure you leave enough time for your return hikes. Darkness falls quickly after the sunset (and it gets very dark here!).
  • Spectacular shots can be had by climbing on rocky outcrops and moss covered boulders. Only attempt on dry surfaces with good footwear. It could be a long and bumpy ways down for you and your equipment!

Vancouver Island photo

Ready to plan your trip to Sooke? Contact us for availability and rates!