Steveston Before Dawn / by Craig Roberts

In what has become somewhat of an annual January tradition I found myself heading out, far earlier than anyone should during the first Sunday in January, to make some images of the sunrise off the pier in Steveston BC.  Driving into this small village in the early hours, you can hear every nuance of sound hanging in the early morning mist and fog that won't dissipate for a few more hours; the streets in and around are silent and deserted, broken only by the hum and the yellow hue from the overhead streetlights. As I passed one of the local shop's window display caught my attention - in the darkness it had the appearance of a theatre stage, illuminating just the important characters while the rest hid back in the shadows. In the light of day this dramatic scene would be non-existent, lost to the open exposure in the manner of house lights coming up at the conclusion of a performance.

Store Display Window, 'Bon Retour', Steveston BC Canada
Store Display Window, 'Bon Retour', Steveston BC Canada
Fishing Boats, pre-dawn, Steveston BC Canada
Fishing Boats, pre-dawn, Steveston BC Canada

The docks around here have an ecosystem all to their own, a dance repeated daily, annually - and has been for decades, back when the boats were returning to the docks to offload their cargo to the Georgia Cannery, rather than to the entertainment of tourists. There in an uneasy silence and calm from the water, before the bilge pumps on the boats kick in, the vendors emerge to set up their own theatrical stage and the gulls congregate and circle in search of whatever offerings the sea and boats will provide.

Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage ...", sometimes it takes an effort to appreciate the performance and see if for what it truly is.

Fishing Boats at dawn, Steveston BC Canada
Fishing Boats at dawn, Steveston BC Canada