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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Night Light

These are a few random shots I took while on a evenings walk through our neighborhood. I like the composition and the color of the sky. - Fern

Monday, July 30, 2012


I have been attempting to take the quintessential photo of "A Day at the Lake." This feels like it's pretty close. This is a pretty little spot is in the Highlands District, just northwest of Victoria. - Fern Long

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Swan Song

The musicians pictured here gathered together on Thursday afternoon to hold a concert on Victoria's Inner Harbour Causeway. The concert was to bid farewell to a long-time musician on the Causeway, Swan Walker. Swan is moving to Toronto and the proceeds of the concert were aimed at helping to defray his moving expenses. Swan's energetic reggae and calypso influenced music will be much missed here.
The video below captures some of the session, which ran for two hours.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Beaches 5 - Gonzales Beach

While not quite as large as the beaches mentioned earlier, Gonzales Beach is very popular. It's easy to miss as you drive along Victoria's coastline since it is only slightly visible from the road. Gonzales Bay is also known as Foul Bay, its original name. Nowadays we generally understand the word "foul" to mean bad smelling or rotten. But this bay was named Foul Bay in the 1790s by Captain Vancouver because its bottom offered no good holding ground for a ship's anchor so it was "foul" in the nautical sense. Whatever its name it's a lovely little beach that has a very comfortable, neighbourhoody feel about it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

New Faces 1 - Blake Andison

I've been enjoying myself a lot lately down on the Inner Harbour Causeway. I've spent some time listening to and watching veteran Causeway Artists but I've also been impressed by some new faces. Above is Blake Andison, singer/guitarist and leader of "Blake Andison and The Solution" although when I saw him he was busking solo. Blake's well worth listening to and a welcome addition to the Causeway Artists roster. Use the player below to listen to some of Blake's music.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

After Dark

The Inner Harbour Causeway is pretty busy during the daytime at this time of year. It's quieter after the sun goes down (around 9:30 - 10) but perhaps even more magical.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oak Bay Village

Oak Bay blossoms out in summer. This is the Penny Farthing, a pub/eatery on Oak Bay Avenue. I haven't eaten there but if the food is as delicious looking as the flowery sidewalk seating it must be very good indeed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Landen Shaw - Guitarist

Way back in May of this year I posted a photo of this young performer and promised a video of his playing "when the weather warms up a bit". Here is the video as promised. I invite you to take five minutes to enjoy a musical medley from Landen Shaw, Victoria's youngest busker.

Monday, July 23, 2012


It's almost mean to put this picture up on a Monday morning when most of us are beginning another work week isn't it? Aaah, but let us dream anyway. - Fern

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The TD Art Gallery Paint-In

One of Victoria's favorite outdoor summer events, the Paint-In was once again a fabulous day of art and sunshine and people. Lots of people. This was the 25th year of the event and included a whopping 161 artists. The incredible variety of materials, subject matter and styles was inspiring. This young art enthusiast was exploring her own idea of what makes for interesting subject matter. - Fern

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jaime Nolan

This week Victoria is hosting its second annual Buskers Festival featuring street entertainment acts from all over the world. Today's portrait is not one of those imported acts though, it is one of our homegrown veteran performers on the Inner Harbour Causeway, singer/songwriter Jaime Nolan. The Buskers Festival is a great addition to our summer entertainment here in Victoria but I encourage everyone who visits downtown to catch some of these acts to take a turn around the Inner Harbour Causeway and get to know the buskers and artists who live here and work hard all summer to make our downtown one of the nicest in the world. They deserve our gratitude and support. Jaime's been singing on the Inner Harbour since 1994 and he's well worth listening to.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Inner Harbour Causeway Tableau Vivant

Many photographers (including myself) now use High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing as one of many methods of improving image quality. Most new models of DSLR have built-in HDR functions. Generally I prefer to do HDR in post-processing because stand-alone HDR processing software (I use Photomatix) offers more control and more options. Usually when I use HDR I prefer it to be invisible. I use it to correct problems with lighting - some parts of the photo may be too dark or light and this can often be improved with HDR processing. But I prefer the end result to look like an ordinary photo. However, when HDR effects are pushed beyond this normal range the results are sometimes more interesting than standard treatments. Photographic purists are revolted by such treatment, but while I don't want all my photos to look like this, sometimes it seems to communicate what I want. In this case what I wanted was a kind of tableau vivant of a typical Inner Harbour Causeway scene. For a genuine tableau vivant I should have posed all the figures but extreme HDR processing like this plus the added distortion of a wide angle lens seems to make everything in the photo appear posed, or perhaps poised is a better way to describe how the figures seem frozen in significant attitudes. In any case, it's a different way of looking at what to regular visitors to this blog must now be a familiar scene: Victoria's Inner Harbour Causeway on a quiet summer afternoon. That's Dwight Hill sitting down on the lower left while some passersby take a look at his wonderful wood carvings.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


The musicians who play on the Inner Harbour Causeway are always worth listening to - they have to prove their talent at springtime auditions before they are granted a license to perform. But sometimes passersby will get a bonus when two or more of these talented artists team up and play together. Here is our famed one man band, Dave Harris, dueting with Victoria's youngest busker, guitarist Landen Shaw.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beaches 4 - McNeill Bay

This tiny bay and islet provide a perfect resting place for this group of kayakers out for a paddle. This place marks one end of McNeill Bay. The three ocean beaches I featured last week are all on the eastern side of the southern tip of Vancouver Island. McNeill Bay is just around the corner and faces south rather than east. This bay and rest of Victoria's beaches are on the south and west sides of the island and are generally pebble beaches rather than sand. They are not so kind to bare feet and are hence less popular with beach people. The eastern beaches also seem to be more sheltered from the prevailing winds.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


We escaped the city this weekend and headed north to Lake Cowichan. I would take breaks from doing nothing to spend time hanging off the dock attempting to capture the fluid beauty that is water. This one comes close to having the effect I was looking for with the rich colors of the wood so vivid as the water washes over it. - Fern

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stormy Weather

Victoria has been having some stormy weather of late and while I haven't been lucky enough to get a shot of all the recent lightening, I did witness some amazing 'skyscapes' as the sun was coming up. - Fern

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Beaches 3 - Willows Beach

This is generally the most popular beach in the Greater Victoria area, Willows Beach. It's a long, sandy beach and closer to the city center than either Cordova Bay or Cadboro Beaches. It's got a food stand with a terrific summer menu - french fries and hot dogs and all kinds of other fast food. But you can also sit down and have a nice cup of tea if you like. This is Oak Bay, after all.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Beaches 2 - Cadboro Bay

Closer to the city's centre than yesterday's featured beach is Cadboro Bay, reputed home of the famed Cadborosaurus (Cadborosaurus willsi) or "Caddy" as she is affectionately known by the locals. This sea monster lurking in the bay doesn't deter sailors such as the young lad learning the ropes above. And Cadboro Bay's sandy beach seems like an inviting place to doze and get a start on one's tan.
In 1842 when James Douglas, the founder of the city of Victoria, first sailed along this coast, he anchored in Cadboro Bay and the bay was named after the schooner he was on, the Hudson's Bay Company ship, the Cadboro.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Beaches 1 - Cordova Bay

Well, here it is mid-July and we have definitely been having some beachy weather lately so I thought I would take a look at some of the beaches in the Greater Victoria area. The south coast of this island is sculpted by a series of bays almost as if someone had been taken great bites out of the coastline. Today's pictures feature Cordova Bay, along the coast northeast of Victoria.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bilston Creek

Every time I go to Witty's Lagoon in Metchosin I take a photo or two of Bilston Creek because it is always such a luscious, ferny dell. The creek runs through the park and feeds into the lagoon after tumbling down the dramatic Sitting Lady waterfall.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Telephoto Fun

This city has a nice location lying at the foot of the towering peaks of....Just a minute there buddy, this is Victoria. See the red roof and spires of Craigdarroch castle on the right and the Shoal Point Condominium on the left. (Click the photo to see a larger version.) Where did that humongous mountain come from? The photo was taken from Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park using a 300 mm telephoto lens. The vast peak in the background, while it is occasionally visible from the city, is never so large as it appears in this photo. Its immensity is because of the foreshortening effect of telephoto lenses. The further away something is the more it is enlarged in proportion to closer objects. The mountain is Mount Baker in Washington State, about 130 kilometers (85 miles) distant from where I took this photo.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fuzzy Birds

Continuing my exploration of Metchosin I went last week to Albert Head Lagoon and was alternately excited and depressed by the bird in the above photo. He was one of a group of 4 or 5 similar small birds running around in the muck at the edge of the lagoon. He looked unusual to me and I was happy to add a new species to my list. At the same time I was depressed because I couldn't seem to get a clear photo of this bird. Even when they were standing still they seemed fuzzy. It wasn't until I got home and was able to look at the photos at higher resolution that I realized what I had seen. These birds are fuzzy because they are still wearing their chick fluff. These fuzzy little birds were young Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus). Standing guard a little back from the edge of the lagoon was a larger, trimmer Killdeer, most likely the mother, still watching over her chicks (below).

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Day at the Lake.

One of the best ways to spend a hot summer day is floating on the lake. In this case Durrance Lake, part of Mount Work Regional Park is our favorite. After a refreshing dip, ice cream is mandatory! - Fern

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Victoria Tradition

For the last 75 years these beautiful hanging flower baskets have been a fixture on the downtown streets of Victoria, to be enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. As someone who has grown up in Victoria they are a sure sign that summer is close at hand. - Fern

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Crown Brodiaea (Brodiaea coronaria)

I rode out to Witty's Lagoon yesterday and was happy to discover a small patch of these lovely little flowers beside the trail that leads from the parking lot down to the lagoon and beach. Their common name is Crown Brodiaea (Brodiaea coronaria) but they are also known as Fool's Onion since they grow from an onion-like corm that is reputed to be both nutritious and tasty and was prized by Native Peoples and early settlers to this area. Witty's Lagoon is named after one of those early settlers. The same man donated the land for the building of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin that was featured here a few weeks ago. Both the church and the lagoon (a Capital Regional District Park) are located in Metchosin, one of the Western Communities.

Friday, July 6, 2012


The Pacific Coast of North America is sometimes referred to as "Lotusland", generally by easterners who view themselves as more pragmatic or realistic. But there's lots of hard-nosed materialism out here as well and not many people wear flowers in their hair any more. Don't despair though - the real Lotusland is just a thirty-five minute ferry trip from Victoria. The sign above is one of the first things you will see when the ferry docks at Fulford Harbour on Saltspring Island and while it by no means sums up the island, it does give some idea of the island's character. The sign is made from old surfboards and lists a pretty good menu of counterculture interests. But Saltspring's unusual character runs deeper than a few hippy stores. The island has its own flag and currency. Albert Einstein is quoted on the $5 bill:"How I wish that somewhere there existed an Island for those who are wise and of goodwill. In such a place, even I would be an ardent patriot."

The island probably has a higher population of artists of many kinds than anywhere else in Canada. Check out the Saltspring Music website to see what I mean. For those interested in the visual arts, check out the Salt Spring Studio Tour. If you would like to find out more about this extraordinary little island, click HERE to visit the Saltspring Consciousness website.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

St. Paul's Church, Saltspring Island

Victoria is located on Vancouver Island, a very large island (460 kilometres [290 mi] in length and 80 kilometres [50 mi] in width at its widest point). However, Vancouver Island is not the only island in what is now known as the Salish Sea. There are hundreds of other much smaller islands that form the archipelago called the Gulf Islands. These islands are in Victoria's back yard, scattered over the waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The largest and most densely populated of these islands is Saltspring Island (pop. about 10,000). Saltspring is a fascinating place and an interesting bit of its history is that many of the early settlers were immigrants from Hawaii who intermarried with First Nations families already in residence on the island. You can find out more about these islanders in a very interesting article HERE. Many of the original Hawaiian settlers are buried in the churchyard of the the church they helped to build in the 1880s, St. Paul's, pictured above. Saltspring is a very idiosyncratic island for many other reasons and we'll have a closer look at it over the next few days.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gay Pride Week - Drag Ball

Baseball has never been so much fun as Drag Ball, one of the kick-off events for Gay Pride Week (July 1- 8) here in Victoria. Above, members of the Queens team add a whole new layer of meaning to "stealing a base."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Over the years since the familiar red and white Canadian flag was adopted in 1965 it has become a popular tradition for Canadians to wear something red on July 1, Canada Day. It can be a sun visor or a pair of socks, a t-shirt or maybe a bit of body-painting but almost everyone manages to sport a bit of something red while out on July 1. These photos were taken on the Inner Harbour Causeway here in Victoria on Canada Day 2012.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Canada Day Living Flag

Every year as part of the celebrations on Canada Day, they create a huge Canadian Flag, made of people on the lawn of the Legislature Buildings. The final photo, taken from above is quite impressive, see here. As a participant though, you just have to have faith that it all makes sense. - Fern

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Queen Anne's Lace

Sometimes when the days are so grey, dusk can still be a magic time for taking pictures. - Fern