After snapping thousands of photos, Mike Yip’s love for birds and photography hasn’t subsided, in fact the local photographer, author, and publisher had declared that Vancouver Island Birds, Volume 3 was going to be his last book.
Turns out he was wrong and his fans can now enjoy his latest publication; Denman & Hornby NATURE.
Since 2005, Yip has photographed, written, and self-published three popular bird books featuring his incredible photographs.
Denman & Hornby NATURE has the stunning bird photos Yip has been celebrated for, but it is a departure from his first three books. Not only does it include photographs of the two island’s bird population, the book also highlights some of their sensitive ecosystems.
Yip has captured an abundance of natural beauty from its landscapes and seascapes to its substantial variety of mammals, plants, butterflies, insects and undersea creatures.
This time around the collection of images gracing the pages of Yip’s fourth book aren’t exclusively his. He has supplemented his butterfly section and undersea photography with photos taken by photographers who live and work on the islands.
Yip’s fascination with Denman and Hornby islands began in the spring of 2010 when he photographed bald eagles on Denman.
On one of his many trips he was befriended by a local biologist and conservationist.
Jenny Balke invited Yip to tag along on several excursions to discover some of the sensitive ecosystems and uncommon flora and fauna of the two islands and that sparked the idea of a new book.
Yip said in all of his previous books his subjects were photographed with a telephoto lens and he was so blown away by what he discovered on the two islands that he took his craft to another level to include macro photography.
“I had never done wild flowers before. Helliwell Provincial Park in the spring was gorgeous. Every week I went there was something new,” he declared.
The wildflower section of his book highlights some rare plant species that can only be found in certain areas and includes the yellow sand-verbena. Yip said it requires a sand dune environment and is found only at Sandy Island. He added the plant is blue-listed which means it is sensitive to human activity and natural events and can easily become endangered.
Another interesting fact about the flower is that is the host of the red-listed sand verbena moth.
“It is only known to exist globally in nine locations, four of those locations including Sandy Island are in B.C. The moth spends most of its life on the plant and is totally dependent on it for its existence.”
Yip said the good news is that the provincial government currently has a recovery plan in place to stop the reverse and decline of the moth populations.
There are 28 species of butterflies documented on Denman. Yip captured some striking images of them in his photographs but there is one which had a whole page dedicated to it in the butterfly section. The Taylor’s Checkerspot is described as a Denman Miracle and was photographed by Balke.
The book also has a section featuring the remarkable undersea nature photography of local scuba diver Amanda Zielinski.
Yip said he spent a lot of time riding on ferries last year and many hours nosing around the islands but it was all worth it to produce his latest book which is hard cover, full colour, and 128 pages.
He said it is a lot of work to self publish but he is extremely proud of his books.
“People keep the books on their coffee tables and that makes me feel good.”
He said even after a year of exploring Denman and Hornby, there is still much to be captured on its world class fossil area, marine mammals and other creatures that lurk in the dark including the Big Eared Bat which Yip has seen roosting in a local barn.
Does that mean we can look forward to Volume Two? He said it is hard to say if there will be another book in the near future, but admitted, “I am keeping my options open.”
Yip’s new book is available in most bookstores, and it is also being used as a fundraiser by the Denman Conservancy Association, Conservancy Hornby Island, and the Comox Valley Naturalist Society. Yip has also donated 100 copies of Volume One to the Moorecroft campaign.