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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Night Market - The View

As well as music, the night market on Ship Point Pier has all sorts of crafts and arts for sale and services like massage too, but whether you buy anything or not, while you browse you can enjoy the view. It always looks pretty good but is especially magical just as the sun goes down and the lights on the legislature begin to twinkle.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Night Market Music - Dave Harris

When I left Karly Summers and walked down Ship Point Pier through the night market I was happy to find our fine local one man band, Dave Harris, at the other end of the pier. Dave was in excellent form and I always enjoy his music. Once again, I initially was photographing using a wide angle lens (24mm) in the above photo and then I switched to the portrait lens (85mm) for the photo below. And, once again, as in the pair of Karly Summers photos (yesterday's post) I prefer the portrait photo below. It's a difficult choice that ultimately comes down to whether you want context or not.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Night Market Music - Karly Summers

Friday night I went down to the Inner Harbour to check out the Night Market. As I neared the end of Ship Point Pier I heard a voice that reminded me of Carole King - that kind of warm friendly sound. The singer in this case was Karly Summers, a Victoria singer/songwriter. As I had planned to shoot the Night Market I was using a 35mm wide angle lens when I took the photo above. Then I decided that I would experiment with an 85mm portrait lens and took the photo below, which I much prefer. You understand now why I find photography such an interesting hobby - I get to think about all that left-brain technical stuff while my right brain is enjoying the sight of a lovely young woman making beautiful music. To give you a taste of that music I have embedded one of her videos below. It's not one of my videos, it's from her YouTube channel where there are more videos.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

On the Periphery

This little shack is like most of it's kind; tucked away behind a strip mall, in a vacant lot. It's original purpose has been long ago forgotten and time, blackberries and graffiti artists have their way with it. - Fern

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Nothing speaks so strongly about the power of live performance and the value of performers who bring their music to the streets as the kind of rapt attention they get from small children. I suspect a lot of kids think music is a noise that just comes out of speakers so when they see and hear a live performance it opens up a whole new world. In the background of the photo is Karly Summers, a local singer/songwriter who was singing on Friday at Victoria's Night Market on Ship Point Pier. We'll have a little closer look at Karly and her music next week.

Friday, August 26, 2016

NOT a Beach...

...But just about a good as a beach. I always enjoy seeing this giant watering can in Beacon Hill Park. It squirts water from spouts here and there all over it and responds to a number of buttons set at kid height. In the summer there's always a half dozen families with small children running around and squealing as the jets spray on them. The buttons make it squirt but not from any predictable place.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Gonzales Beach

Gonzales Beach in the late afternoon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Desert Island?

This view always reminds me of what I might see on a desert island but it's actually the western side of Gonzales Beach, a lovely little beach right in the residential area of the city. We'll have a closer look at the beach proper tomorrow. Those mountains in the distance are on the Olympic Peninsula of our American neighbours.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Deja Vu

When I saw this pair on the weekend I felt for an instant I was back in Haight-Ashbury in the sixties. But no, this is Victoria - it's nice to see the spirit still lives on.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Beach Days - Willows Beach

Our coolish summer turned hot last week so I decided it was time for my annual tour of Victoria's beaches. Above is probably the most popular, Willows Beach in Oak Bay.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


The days are getting shorter (sigh...) but the light is so beautiful at the end of these hot August days that it's okay. - Fern

Saturday, August 20, 2016

More B T Williams Quartet

In June I posted a photo of the B. T. Williams Quartet. Left to right in the above photo are Austin Nicholl, Lee Whitehorne, Zach Smith and Seán Maynard. I was lucky enough to hear them again on Thursday and this time I recorded a bit of their repertoire in the video below. In the video clip they are playing Taylor Swift's I Knew You Were Trouble, arranged by Jenny Wabich.

You can hear some more of their music and find out more about them by clicking this link to SoundCloud.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dragon Boat Festival 3

Here's a little closer look at one of the dragon boat crews, a pretty fit looking bunch.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dragon Boat Festival 2

Five boats compete in each race. The races are short and fierce - more like sprints than races. The course runs from Laurel Point on the far left in the photo above to near the Causeway in front of the Empress Hotel, where I was standing when I took this picture. Grandstands were set up on Ship Point Pier - on the far right in the above photo of a race starting.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dragon Boat Festival

Above, two dragon boat crews strain to cross the finish line first. The Dragon Boat Festival took place last weekend. It's a very popular event and for a good cause - it raises funds for the BC Cancer Foundation. We'll have a little closer look at the dragon boats and the races over the next few days.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Here's another view of the Legislature with Queen Victoria's statue. This statue is on such a high plinth that you can't see it well from up close. This was shot with a telephoto lens from across the street. The statues Euro-Canadians erect are perhaps a little analogous to First Nations totem poles. In the background we have another totemic figure on top of the Legislature - Captain Vancouver.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Special Occasion

Friday night was a special occasion on Victoria's Inner Harbour Causeway. August 12th marked the 60th birthday of the city's best-known busker, veteran blues musician Dave "One-Man-Band" Harris. The date also marked Dave's 40th year as a busker here in Victoria. In celebrating his birthday Dave was joined by a large crowd of friends, fans, and fellow musicians and buskers. Many of his fellow musicians joined him onstage.In the photo above the musicians are (from the left), Landen Shaw (guitar), Charles Gates (snare drum), Mike Kraft (banjo), Dave Harris, and Clark Brendon (bass). Dave's wife Jane somehow provided cake for everyone in the happy crowd to cap what was truly a memorable celebration. Happy Birthday Dave!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Keeping An Eye On Things....

We took an evening stroll and as we passed the City's Public Works Yard I had this feeling of being watched. Sure enough, looking out an upstairs window was the most curious sight. I'm not sure why or how this fellow got there but it was a surprise. - Fern

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Yesterday's totem stands peacefully among tall trees. Today's totem is in the heart of the city, directly opposite the Legislative Assembly Buildings.

Friday, August 12, 2016


As I was leaving Hatley Park I noticed this strikingly fresh and new totem pole near the entrance to the grounds. Totems are always interesting pieces of art and cultural expressions but I have seldom seen one looking so fresh and new. Like this they are even more stunning. The pole was erected in late 2015 and a nearby plaque reads as below.
Commemorates the 75th Anniversary of Royal Roads (A Naval and Military College from 1940 to 1995 and a British Columbia public university since 1995) and honours the indigenous people on whose ancestral land we learn and celebrate together.

Created by
Tom LaFortune assisted by Howard LaFortune Jr.
(Tsawout First Nation)

Commissioned and Donated by
Wayne Strandlund
Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Governors Royal Roads University
September 2015

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hatley Castle 6 - Italian Garden

Before we leave Hatley Castle here's a look at the Italian Garden. I love Victoria City's hanging baskets but in the Italian Garden at Hatley Castle the hanging baskets are so lush and luxurious they make the city's look pretty tame.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hatley Castle 5

When the castle's owners had died and the children were all grown and had moved out, they decided to sell the castle as the upkeep was very expensive. Unfortunately, the first thing they did was to auction off all the furniture so there is practically none of the original furnishings left. Added to this is the fact that the castle has been used by both the military and the university for a number of different purposes so the rooms are a bit barren looking. Above is the drawing room where Laura Dunsmuir would hold her gala evenings. It is still an impressive room. Below in the games room is one of the original pieces of furniture, a full size pool table that has never left the room. It was built there by a team imported from the UK.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hatley Castle 4

This is the entrance hall of Hatley Castle. In the photo above we are looking back towards the entrance doors. Apparently in one of the X-Men films, Hugh Jackman (the Wolverine) jumped from this balcony for some reason. In the photo below we are standing in front of those doors and looking up into the gallery that is above the hall.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hatley Castle 3

Before we go inside the castle, above is the classic postcard view of the main entrance, the porte cochère. Below is the opposite view, taken from inside the porte cochère looking up the hill towards one of the Royal Roads University buildings. The reason I've included the view below is the step-like structure in the center foreground, just beside the trash container. This stone construction was placed there to enable the ladies of the house to mount their horses easily and gracefully when they wished to go riding. It was also used by guests descending from carriages.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Cavity Curiousity Shop

Every town and city has it's staple chain stores but it's the little shops tucked into the downtown core that give a place some individual flavour and this is a great example found on Johnson Street. There is a little of something for everyone; books, music, art, t-shirts, memorabilia and more. It's tiny but you could spend a whole afternoon exploring it's shelves and find all sorts of treasures.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Little Privacy Please

Although James Dunsmuir and his wife had a long and successful marriage (10 children) they clearly had different agendas as they aged. The door above is off to one side of the castle and is a discreet private entrance to the building insisted upon by James Dunsmuir so that he could bypass his wife's penchant for large social gatherings and slip unnoticed into his study, the door of which was directly opposite this outer door. You may also notice that the doorknob is higher on the door than is usual - that was to discourage small children from using this entrance.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Hatley Castle

Before we take a look at the interior of Hatley Castle here is a look at the exterior as seen from one of the gardens. The castle and grounds are a Canadian National Historic Site. The castle was built in 1906 by Lieutenant Governor James Dunsmuir. His father had made the family fortune in Vancouver Island's coal mines and had earlier built Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. Hatley castle now serves as the administrative center for Royal Roads University, also on the grounds. The castle has also been used for several Hollywood films, most recently, X-Men. It is also a popular venue for weddings, banquets and other social functions.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Another Young Musician

This makes a nice transition from yesterday's photo of a young girl playing a violin - here we have a cherub playing a mandolin. He's perched above the gardens surrounding Hatley Castle. I went out there yesterday to take a look at the interior of the castle since in the past I've always gotten sidetracked in the magnificent gardens. We'll have another look at those and some of the rooms inside the castle in the next few days.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Youngest Busker?

I don't know if this is the youngest busker on Victoria's streets but I've not seen a younger. She and her carefully chaperoned group were out busking on Government Street on Canada Day Weekend and played some very lively fiddle tunes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Little Later... the evening after the photo posted yesterday.

Monday, August 1, 2016

BC Day

Today is BC Day and seeing as I took this nice postcardy view of the Inner Harbour and the BC Legislature a few days ago in the early evening this seems an appropriate day to share it.