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Friday, July 31, 2015

Lee Mong Kow Family 1905

A half block east of the Gate of Harmonious Interest (yesterday's post) are a group of murals by local artist Jeff Maltby. He's a remarkable artist and if you ever visit Victoria take the time to seek out his many murals in this city. Pictured above is one mounted on the wall of a parking arcade on Fisgard Street, just opposite the Chinese Public School. The inscription (blocked in this photo by the tree) reads, "Lee Mong Kow Family 1905". It's a wonderful group portrait of a Chinese immigrant family. Click HERE to see more detail and enjoy the distinct expression on every face.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gate of Harmonious Interest

I thought it would be a nice change from beaches and parks to spend a few days looking around Victoria's Chinatown. Above is its most striking feature, the Gate of Harmonious Interest on Fisgard Street that was built in Victoria's Chinese sister city, Suzhou. The entire district is a National Historic Site of Canada. It's the oldest Chinatown in Canada and in North America only San Francisco's is older.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

One more from Saxe Point Park

Here's another from Saxe Point Park, looking southeast towards Macaulay Point with some more of those thunderheads on the horizon.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Saxe Point Park

As well as having some spectacular ocean views Saxe Point Park in Esquimalt is a wonderfully bushy little forest park. By this time of year many of the paths are completely overgrown like green tunnels and I always think it must be very like this in a rabbit warren. The one above, photographed just after our thunderstorm on Sunday had the additional attraction of a steamy mist rising from its floor.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Victoria's distinctive weather does not generally include storms with thunder and lightning and most years we will have only one or two. This year's was welcomed yesterday afternoon. First a bit of thunder, a few deep growls, then a real downpour for a couple of hours. We've been having a bit of a drought for the last few months so this was very welcome. The skies blew clear after the storm and I went out to Saxe Point and took this photo of the tail end of the big clouds that brought the storm. I'm very fond of this view because it is for me so completely characteristic of the Pacific Northwest coast. You can see by all the brown and yellow how dry it has been.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Homeward Bound

I haven't had much opportunity to spend time aboard boats but I sure enjoy the beauty of them. - Fern

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Marina Music - Oak Bay

After lunch at the Marina Restaurant (see yesterday's post) I strolled out to the end of the parking lot where I found this cool jazz group playing. Their jazzy renditions of popular classics fit perfectly with the warm afternoon sun and the spectacular view.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Marina Restaurant - Oak Bay

I had the pleasure of lunching at the Oak Bay Marina Restaurant earlier this week and recommend it highly. The food was terrific and the views are lovely. That's the restaurant on the left of the above photo, with the boats at the marina scattered picturesquely before it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


As well as having a nice beach, Cadboro Bay is home to Cadborosaurus willsi, a large sea-serpent. What we see here is a playground representation of "Caddy" that is much enjoyed by younger visitors to the beach. You can find out more about Caddy by visiting the Wikipedia link HERE.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cadboro Bay Beach

Cadboro Bay is named after the Hudson's Bay Company ship Cadboro. It was the ship that carried James Douglas to Victoria when he founded the settlement here. Cadboro Bay is a relatively large bay (compared to Foul Bay, for example) and the sandy beach is quite extensive. In the photo above, the cluster of sailboats on the left are moored at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Gonzales Beach 2

This photo was taken from the same vantage point as yesterday's photo, at the western end of Gonzales Beach, looking eastwards. It's not a large beach but it has a very pleasant neighborhoody atmosphere.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Gonzales Beach

Gonzales Beach is another favorite of mine. It consists of the shore of Foul Bay - not a very attractive name but here "Foul" refers to the nautical character of the bay as an unsafe anchorage due to the nature of the seafloor. Although it doesn't show much of the beach, I have chosen to use the photo above because it provides a good orientation to the location of the beach. On the eminence we can see the white Gonzales Observatory atop Gonzales Hill, which gives its name to both the observatory and the beach. A couple of years ago I posted this photo of the beach taken from the observatory should you wish to see what this intimate little beach looks like from above.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

To Be Contrary

Here is a place, dim and grimy, away from the sunshine and crowds of holiday-makers. - Fern

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Beach Burial

One of the things I love about beaches is that people (especially kids) feel free to engage in positively useless, silly, inane activities, such as burying yourself in sand. There is a problem, however. How do you bury your arms and shoulders when they are doing the burying? The answer to this and many other problems is below: with a little help from your friends.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Willows Beach

I like Willows Beach best of Victoria's beaches, mostly because it has everything a good beach should have: sand, water, a nice view, a pleasant scattering of people, great refreshment stand (best fries in town), lots of places to sit down and finally, a lazy ambience you can feel in the above photo. There is also a nice sidewalk just above the beach for those of us whose aging ankles are not up to trudging through the sand. In the photo immediately below you can see the beach proper. That's Cattle Point in the background. In both these photos we are looking roughly northeast.
In the photo below we are looking in the opposite direction, southwest, towards the Oak Bay Marina whose sailboat masts can be seen in the distance.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Another Postcard

Since this is the beach time of year here I had planned to start a series on our local beaches today. However I am running a bit behind schedule so today's photo is another postcard style offering taken last week. It's the causeway again - we've seen it before but I never get tired of it. Beaches tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

All the Causeway

Here's a final fisheye in this series, Victoria's Inner Harbour Causeway - ALL of it - from the southern end at the old Greek-style CPR Terminal (far left) to the northern end, Milestones Restaurant, where it meets Ship Point (far right). Of course, the panorama function on modern cameras (and even phones) can match this but it's still interesting to see it all in one shot.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fisheye Fun

Fisherman's wharf struck me as an appropriate place to try out a fisheye lens - another of these old Takumar lenses I like. This one is a 17mm f:4. The distortion increases towards the edges of the photo. In the center the perspective is almost normal.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sunset at Fisherman's Wharf

Houseboats and pleasure craft catch the last rays of the sun at Fisherman's Wharf.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mini Vacation in Vancouver

When you live on the island, it's nice to take a trip over to Vancouver and be a tourist for a little while. Last week we did just that and even though the skies were overcast we enjoyed it, especially riding bikes around Stanley Park. The top picture is of the Lions Gate Bridge which goes from the park across to North Vancouver. The second picture is of a group of totem poles at Brockton Point commemorating First Nations culture and history in the area. There is even more to see in this great park of course but there is just never enough time is there? This last picture is of English Bay at dusk. It's a beach popular with both the locals and tourists. It was still a bit hazy due to the wild fires burning further north but still beautiful none-the-less. - Fern

Saturday, July 11, 2015


To finish this series of photos of the Legislative Assembly Building, here's a shot taken just after the sunset last night with the building lit up like a fairytale palace.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Legislative Assembly Building

Above is the chamber where the Members of the Legislative Assembly meet to debate provincial legislation. Opposing parties are seated to the left and right with the speaker's chair at the far end in the center.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Rotunda

I like this part of the Legislative Assembly Building very much, mostly I think because of its sumptuous colors and generous gold leaf. In the photo above we are looking almost directly upward to the central dome. You may find it easier to orient yourself in the photo below, taken from the same place but looking across the rotunda instead of upwards. "SPLENDOR SINE OCCASU" is the provincial motto and is translated as, "Splendor without diminishment".

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Legislative Assembly Building

Here's another postcard shot to usher in a few days of photos taken inside the above building. There's a couple of reasons for this: one is that with so much smoke in the air, the kind of light we are getting outdoors is the kind that sucks the color out of everything. See the sky in the above photo. Secondly, I have a 20mm wide angle lens that I haven't really exploited yet and I want to see what it can do with the building's interiors.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pride Parade Potpourri

Here's a sample of the Pride Parade photos I took. Though there's a lot of them I still feel that I have barely managed to suggest the wide range of individuals of all ages and orientations who took part and organizations and businesses of many types that were represented.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Strange Skies

As mentioned yesterday by Benjamin there are a lot of wild fires burning across BC right now and that means the air is thick with smoke, casting this strange yellow light. We're all hoping for some rain. - Fern

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Victoria is Gay

Here's a quick snap of today's Pride Parade taken only a few hours ago. For many years the city's Victoria Day Parade was the big parade of the year but there is no doubt it has been eclipsed by the Pride Parade which must have drawn tens of thousands out this year. Macdonald Park where the parade ended was jammed with thousands more who came out to celebrate many kinds of diversity. Now if we can just keep up that spirit of tolerance and acceptance for the rest of the year!

The weird colored sky is the result of the many forest fires that are burning in BC and neighboring Washington State. They cast a very strange yellow-orange light over everything.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Cadillac Country

The above Cadillac from the early sixties was one of the classic cars displayed on Gorge Road on Canada Day and I thought it would make a good image for today's Independence Day Celebrations in neighboring USA. This vehicle harkens back to the days when we all dreamt that there was an endless supply of raw materials to satisfy our needs and when we had little understanding that one of our most cherished customs, that of driving everywhere, could result in spoiling our planet. Those bubbles have burst and most of us have some regrets for the excesses of those times. But that era had some good dreams as well and some splendid, exuberant creations such as this Cadillac (and the Corvette pictured a few days ago). Greetings and best wishes to our friends in the United States of America on their Independence Day today.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Kennedy Family

Here's a musical group I was lucky enough to catch earlier this week down on the Inner Harbour Causeway. This is the Kennedy Family, consisting of (from the left) son Cairo Kennedy, father Caleb Kennedy and daughter, Autumn Kennedy. They serve up a spirited repertoire of popular music, specializing in energetic Rock n Roll that always draws an appreciative audience. Check out the video below for a sample.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Canada Day on the Gorge

Usually I spend Canada Day out in one of our nearby wilderness areas because, much as I like my fellow Canadians, I don't enjoy the huge crowds that assemble on our national holiday. However, this year I decided to try and taste a more neighborhoody celebration and went over to the Gorge where Gorge Road was blocked to traffic for much of its length and turned into a large block party. There were sauntering groups of families and friends, displays of various kinds, including classic cars such as this Chevrolet Corvette, lots of food vans, and driveway bands providing music. I particularly enjoyed this 1960 Corvette because of its Canada Day red and white colors but also for its splendid classic style. This car looks as good now as when it was produced, a work of art.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wish You Were Here....

After listening to Clay George and Dave Harris jamming (see yesterday's post) I walked through the warm evening air to the observation platform above the Causeway and paused to take this postcard shot of Victoria's most photographed view. Today (July 1) is Canada Day and today this same Inner Harbour Causeway will be wall-to-wall Canadians wearing red. There'll be lots of visitors from other countries as well, of course.