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Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Birds in Bronze

In a photograph of the Legislative Assembly Building I posted in September there is a fountain in the foreground. Around the outer rim of this fountain are sculptures of four animals important in the mythologies of the native peoples of British Columbia. Above is a raven. Below is an eagle. There are also small sculptures of a bear and a wolf and, in the center of this fountain a few stone sea otters.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chinatown Backside

Autumn's russet and rusty brown comes to buildings as well as to trees. And it also serves to remind me that old buildings can have a certain charm in their dilapidation that they may lose when they are "restored." Heritage is fine but the obsession with having old buildings look as if they were new is a little weird. It's akin to face-lifts, botox and cellulite suction pumps. Anyway, I particularly like the precarious porches and the red flowers on this "senior" in Victoria's Chinatown.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Devonian Park

Westward along the coast from Hatley Castle lies a mixed forest of fir, cedar and maples called Devonian Park. When a photographer enters the forest, what he stalks is light.

Sometimes one catches the light......and sometimes one is caught.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hatley Castle Autumn

I went out today bent on capturing some autumn color and I got enough for several days posts. I'll ease into it with a photo of a place we've seen before, back in June, Hatley Castle. That other photo was the opposite side of the castle. Here we see the seaward side of it from across Esquimalt Lagoon. And yes, that is a swan, a Mute Swan to be precise, one of a flock whose ancestors escaped from Beacon Hill Park in ages past.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mermaid Wharf

This sculpture is located on the seaward side of the Mermaid Wharf apartment building, overlooking the Upper Harbor. I suspect because of its location it is meant to suggest wind and waves and... well, gosh, what can I say? It's an interesting piece of work.

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A couple of people have given me an award and have my thanks for this honor. I haven't quite figured out how I will respond so, in day or two....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Halloween is interesting in that it is uniquely North American in many respects, though the festival has roots that go back to the Celtic Samhain and earlier. It's a holiday that is not liked much by church or state yet it persists. I like it because it is not quite politically correct. It's always a little bit wrong and though the PC police keep trying to clean it up and make it safer, they don't realize that its power and popularity stem from its breaking of the rules, its transgressions against the norms and its danger. Halloween is when we let our fears out.

Though we've grown pretty used to it, it is nevertheless very strange that on this one night we encourage our children to dress as demons or zombies or witches and roam the neighborhood to collect candy. And, whether we make these pumpkins into pie or not, if we're a North American householder, we'll probably have one on our porch, suitably carved with an evil grin and, when you think about it, that's pretty strange too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rainy Days II

This photo of the part of the Gorge known as the Upper Harbor was taken the same day as a photo I posted on the 14th of October, from the same vantage point but with the telephoto zoom extended to its full 70 mm. I've grown to like this photo much better than the wide angle one I posted earlier. It has a much rainier and wetter feel to it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Welcome to Samarkand!

This exotic looking skyscape is actually on Victoria's Herald Street, just off Douglas Street, downtown. I don't know what this building originally was - I suspect it was an Indian Restaurant, but it now is the office of a youth program. The photo below shows the building in context and exposes a little bit more of Victoria's downtown.The skyhook visible on the top right is being used to rebuild The Hudson, subject of an earlier post.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Skyline

I've been avoiding posting any photos of Victoria's skyline because it doesn't really have a big city skyline, I guess because it isn't a big city. However, I think this skyline (which includes most of downtown) is actually quite a nice eclectic architectural mix.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Autumn Lawn

Victoria is usually very dry during the summer months and lawns tend to brown out. But with the return of the cool wet weather in fall, while the trees are losing their leaves, the lawns are experiencing a second spring. This lawn was actually greener than in the photo but I turned the saturation down because nobody would believe it otherwise. This photo was taken from a Victoria West condo area called the Songhees, across the Inner Harbour from Fisherman's Wharf and its colorful houseboats.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Selkirk Trestle

After passing under the Bay Street Bridge, the Gorge widens into what is called the Selkirk Waters. Here it is bridged by a restored railway bridge called the Selkirk Trestle. The trestle is part of the Galloping Goose Regional Trail and its use is limited to cyclists and pedestrians. At this point the Gorge leaves the industrial area behind (only small boats can pass beneath the trestle) and from here on it passes through residential areas. The photo below is taken just upstream of the trestle from a small park near where I live called Banfield Park.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Christ Church Cathedral III

I've posted a couple of pictures of the outside of Christ Church Cathedral but I was a little daunted by the interior. First, I was a little shy of taking pictures inside. However, when I went inside there were some very nice people there who said I was perfectly welcome to take some pictures since there was no service or other activities. Secondly, as can be seen, taking photos inside a cathedral presents some difficult problems of lighting and perspective/focus. Anyhow, it's beautiful inside and I hope this photo suggests a little of the peace and awe that this church inspires.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blacktail Buck

I went out yesterday to photograph some old brick. A few blocks from my house is the marshaling yard of the E & N Railway, which has several large old brick buildings. It is surrounded by new condominiums and is soon to be developed as a heritage mall and social area. While I was lurking around in the bushes in the back of these buildings trying to find some good shooting angles, I heard some rustling. I looked up to see this beautiful young buck disappearing around a corner of the building. I followed and the result is this photo. I took a few others but the buck is not so clear although the skate board park shows up well (off camera to the right in this photo).

What is amazing about this sighting is that this neighborhood is very near the city center, not rural at all and not even on the edge of any bushy or forested areas. I suspect he must have come in at night along the railway tracks from outside the city, perhaps in pursuit of a doe since this is rutting season. I worried about him getting mixed up with city traffic but then I realized that he's probably safer here than out in a forest full of neanderthal Nimrods with big guns. Hunting season on blacktail deer opens next week.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Christ Church Cathedral II

Adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral is a small park with a few weathered tombstones that are the remnants of the church graveyard. The first cathedral on the site, a wooden church, burned down in 1869. Its dean was the Very Reverend Edward Cridge, and the gravestone in the photo above (and in closeup below) gives us some insight into the hardships of life in colonial Victoria. It records the deaths of four of his children in a single year, 1865.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Christ Church Cathedral

Like many cities, some of Victoria's most interesting and beautiful buildings are religious. Christ Church Cathedral is an Anglican (Church of England) church. Construction of the cathedral began in 1926 but was spread over many years for political as well as financial reasons. Victoria's downtown has a half dozen interesting church buildings. Though Christ Church Cathedral is not the oldest, it is is the largest.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Point Hope Shipyard

In yesterday's post I mentioned the Point Hope Shipyard. I like it because it has a dry dock where they haul big boats up out of the water to repair and repaint the parts that are usually under the water. There are often two or three propped up like this one. The road I ride home has this shipyard on one side and the Dockside Green development on the other.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rainy Days

Well, today it drizzled all day and was the kind of cold and gloomy afternoon that would have kept me cozily inside in my pre-City Daily Photo Blog life. But I sneered at the weather, leapt on my trusty steed and flew into the teeth of the gale. OK, I compromised by spending most of the afternoon poring through stuff that other people didn't want at my favorite thrift store here in Victoria, but I did have to cycle through the weather to get there. And I took this photo through their back window, that looks out over the Gorge. Those interesting light lines in the sky are the reflections of the florescent lights in the store. I like shopping in thrift stores, especially on rainy days.

On the extreme right of this photo is a red roofed building that has "Point Hope Shipyard" painted on its gray wall facing the Gorge. We will be visiting this shipyard soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Gorge and Yates Street

Here's a shot I took a few hours ago from the top of the Yates Street Parkade, with some of the Yates Street heritage buildings in the foreground. That's the Johnson Street Bridge on the left and further up the Gorge is the Bay Street Bridge.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Hudson

While I'm on the subject of residential initiatives here I'll post these pictures of The Hudson, currently under construction on the corner of Fisgard and Douglas Streets (i.e. downtown). It's called The Hudson because for many years it was the Hudson's Bay Company department store, known as "The Bay." For those of you who may not know, the Hudson's Bay Company was responsible for the exploration/exploitation of much of Canada, especially for the fur trade.

Victoria founder James Douglas arrived here in 1843 to set up the Hudson's Bay Company Trading Post that became Fort Victoria. Such trading posts were widespread throughout Canada. In more recent years the company was represented by a chain of department stores across the country. With the decline of department stores and their replacement by suburban malls, this building became vacant for some years since it was too nice to demolish but no longer usable as originally intended.

In its transformation to The Hudson, most of it has been demolished except the fa├žade and interior flooring. Those creamy columns are terracotta, a kind of ceramic. Saving attractive old buildings, rebuilding them and increasing the residential areas within the city are initiatives I'm happy to see and I will be watching The Hudson as it develops. And, while not as revolutionary as Dockside Green, The Hudson is nevertheless being rebuilt with some sensitivity to environmental concerns. Below is a wider angle shot of the building in context.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dockside Green Arbutus

Further to my post of Wednesday, here's a little more Dockside Green. I noticed some time ago that the construction crews are very carefully preserving the only large tree that was growing on the site before construction started. It is the large Arbutus tree in the center of the photo, behind the blue and white cement truck. I think the preservation of this tree is another good sign that this project is serious about their commitment to the environment.

This will make an interesting historical photo since the buildings are going up all around this tree and in six months I expect this scene to have changed totally except, I hope, for the tree.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Open

"Open" is one of the most under-appreciated words in the English language. If I was going to start a religion it would be called "Openism." The church would have a great big flashing neon OPEN sign that would always be on and the door would always be open. "Open" is almost always associated with good things - open source, open learning, open-minded, it's a long list. And for me, it's constant challenge to try to be more open to people and ideas and things I may not like. I like to see signs that say "OPEN" because they remind me to relax and open up to what's around me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Biomass Thermochemical Gasification Plant

Constructed in 1862, this fine old brick building in the Second Empire Style...HOLD ON THERE, PODNER! Whut in tarnation...?

Many of us City Daily Photo Bloggers tend to be a little conservative, reveling in the old/settled/heritage/historical/retro aspects of our cities, with lots of good reasons. Often what's left over from the past has been left over because it was well-built and beautiful. Also there is a bit of nostalgia for the days when species weren't threatened, nobody knew there was an ozone layer and gasoline was cheap and harmless. However, those "good ole days" got us to where we are now and today's problems with energy and the environment stem directly from our own giddy carelessness in years gone by.

Anyway, while some of Victoria's waterfronts are being condomized (condominated?) in an environmentally thoughtless and exploitative fashion, there is a currently abuilding a large condominiac development with some differences. It's called Dockside Green. It promises well and the Biomass Gasification Plant above is only one of its environmentally sustainable features. The plant will process wood waste to meet the heating and hot water needs of its several thousand residents and, "...is expected to be greenhouse gas positive from a building energy perspective."

If you're interested in the technical aspects you can read more about it on their website by clicking here or the links above. They also have a closed water system with their own sewage treatment plant and the waste water being re-used. Since the developers are conveniently erecting Dockside Green along the route I regularly cycle to get downtown, I will be posting more photos and information as the construction continues.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mushroom Time

Was wandering in the forest with some good company on Sunday looking for some of these guys without any luck. Then today, on the way home from the supermarket, I saw this mushroom just popped up on my neighbor's lawn. Autumn is definitely here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Listen...

gulls cry
slow waves
slap and sigh

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Autumn Winds

Waddington Alley's wood block paving glistens on a wild and windy afternoon. While I was taking this photo I heard a crash behind me as a gust of wind blew my bike over.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

APW Painting & Renovating - More Trompe l'Oeil

It looks like APW Painting & Renovating is no more to be found at this address but they left behind an excellent bit of trompe l'oeil. Nice attention to detail can be seen in the upper arm in the blowup below. To fit with the indent in the wall surface the artist has constructed a small plywood upper arm to span the gap. This painting is by Milroy Wonderworks.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ouch!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Phone Booth

Victoria's Chinatown is small but nice attention has been paid to details, such as the bright red color of many features, including this phone booth, the bench beside it and the street lamp poles in the background. Although they are so small as to be very difficult to see in this photo, the street name signs are also in red. In Chinese culture, red is an auspicious color, denoting prosperity and good fortune.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Have a Nice Day

This is Honky Tonk Tom and his miniature piano adding a little musical warmth to Wharf Street.