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Tuesday, September 30, 2008


...2 3 4

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cyclists Dismount

...but watch that first step!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"I don't believe it!" "That's not real!"

What are these people looking at?

And what is happening?
You may find it hard to believe that the living statue Causeway Artist known as Plasterman evokes these reactions, but it is a tribute to his skills as a makeup artist and mime that he does. Visit his website to find out more about him.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Further Up The Gorge

I've mentioned before that the Gorge is an arm of the ocean that winds its way through much of Victoria and adjacent communities. I've posted many pictures of the Inner Harbor, the first part of the Gorge. And a couple of weeks ago I posted some photos of Rock Bay, the next part of the Gorge, lying between the Johnson Street Bridge and the Bay Street (or Point Ellice) Bridge. This posting is about the next portion of the Gorge as it moves inland. The photo below was taken from Point Ellice looking down the gorge towards the Bay Street Bridge. The Rock Bay photo posted earlier was taken from the opposite shore just on the other side of the bridge.The sloping walkway here is where one catches the Harbor Ferry, just visible in the distance. This photo is just on the edge of my neighborhood since I live about three blocks from the far end of the bridge and shop at the tan colored shopping center on the far right. The photo below is the view to the right of the photo above and looks up the Gorge towards the Selkirk Trestle - restored for the Galloping Goose trail, not for vehicles except bicycles.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Father and Son

Inside Ogden Point Breakwater.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


...that human beings can fly......but only when they are ten years old.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Point Ellice House

Before I leave summer there's a few images I like and I'll never be able to pass them off as any other time of year. So just pretend it's mid-August and let's go for tea at Point Ellice House.And, after tea, what could be nicer than a game of croquet?
Point Ellice House was built in 1861. (See comments) The O'Reilly family who lived in it from 1867 until it became a historic site. The interior of the house is pretty much as it was when they lived there in Victoria's early days. Apparently they never threw anything away. (We all know someone like that.) But it's wonderful that they kept so much because all those household furnishings, knick-knacks and little personal items make it seem like they just left yesterday and will be back soon. They were definitely upper crust and an invitation to the O'Reilly's meant you had really made it.On the left is a photo of Peter O'Reilly. As Gold Commissioner during the gold rush here in British Columbia he was a very important man. On the right is a photo of his wife, Caroline. They had four children, one of whom died young. The other three lived in the house all their lives except for the time they spent schooling in England.

Point Ellice House is open to the public for a modest charge and is a fascinating place to visit within a few minutes drive from downtown Victoria.I'll close this post with a photo of one of the rooms of the house, looking as though it is just waiting for the O'Reillys to return from some outing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Victoria West Community Corn Roast

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I'd spent the afternoon at a corn roast in my neighborhood and above is the poster announcing it. I very much enjoy these small neighborhood events and I am happy to live in a city where most neighborhoods have something similar a couple of times each year. This kind of event is more typical of small towns and contributes a great deal to building a real sense of community in this city. My hat's off to the Vic West Community Association for making this happen. Thanks.

Below, two of the event's organizers finish off the corn maze they constructed with the corn shucks. I did not take this photo. A gentleman more intrepid than I scaled a nearby post box to take his own photo and was kind enough to snap this one for me also. The corn roast events took place under the awnings visible on the top left.Below on the left is the corn pot full of delicious sweet corn. On the right is one of the entrants for the Zuchini Nascar Race.

It's a neighborhood that is rich with talented musicians and below are only two of the groups that performed.

Children of Celebrities

Balkan Babes
This event also celebrated the sixth anniversary of the Spiral Cafe, a great place that I'll write more about soon. Well, there were other good things to eat including some great apple pies, and interesting neighbors to meet and talk with, including our local member of parliament (Denise Savoie), a brief rain shower, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, a farmer's market, face painting...but I imagine that if you have read this far and you're not from Vic West, your eyes are glazing over. So I will just let you imagine just how nice it all was on this warm afternoon in late September and leave you with the photo below, when some of the local children came up to draw the winning tickets in the raffle.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Holland Point September

I spent a delightful day at a community corn roast here in my neighborhood of Vic West and took a lot of photos. As soon as I decide which ones I want to use I'll post them. In the meantime, here's a shot I took this evening of my favorite bit of coastline, Holland Point. I earlier posted a photo of it taken in August from just about the same spot and one taken in May from further back. If I didn't have photographic proof I would hardly believe that the landscape could change so dramatically.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dave Harris

As evening falls on a cloudy September day, chilly office workers hurry home sparing little more than a glance for the lone musician setting up to begin his day's work. The musician is Dave Harris, a causeway artist I have featured briefly in an earlier post. I have always been a bit timid about attempting a more detailed post on him for fear of not doing justice to his amazing artistry. Dave is a one man band. This may not seem like much now when, with sound loops and synthesizers, artists can easily accompany themselves on a variety of instruments. But Dave is a true one man band in the traditional sense that he plays a number of instruments simultaneously. At various times during his performances he sings and plays the violin, harmonica, banjo, guitar, mandolin, drum, cymbal and fotdella, usually two or three and sometimes four at a time. You begin to understand why I fear to run out superlatives when I add that he plays all of these instruments superbly.

It's easy to be mesmerized when he picks up his fiddle and accompanies himself on the harmonica, but the mind boggles when you hear the steady thumping bass line he's adding with his right foot on the fotdella and the crisp cymbal accents from the "high hat" cymbal he's playing with his left foot at the same time.

In this photo can be seen (from the left) the fotdella (looks like a bloated guitar and doubles as a cd rack), the suitcase bass drum (that black suitcase with a poster on it), high hat cymbal, tambourine and other percussion instruments, a banjo (in the back), two violins and two steel bodied guitars. Dave's playing a 12 string guitar and wearing a harmonica rack.

His wide range of musical skills enables him to express his respect for and profound knowledge of traditional American music, especially the blues. He's a true scholar of this musical form with a collection of aged recordings numbering in the thousands. Sit down and listen to him for an hour and it's like a short course in the history of the blues. He always gives credit to the artist who wrote or originally sang the song and may throw in some background information as well. It's a rich experience and a privilege to sit and listen to this musician. Below is a photo I took earlier this month that conveys a little of the warmth and humanity that mark his performances. If you're ever in Victoria, make sure you set aside some time to see him play. Skip the famous gardens and castles if you must, but don't miss Dave Harris, a matchless entertainer.

Below is a video of Dave performing Goin' to Chicago.

And, Shake, Rattle and Roll
More Dave Harris to come....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Victoria City Hall

Riding home tonight in the early twilight I realized I've not yet posted a photograph of this building, Victoria's City Hall, one of our older buildings and very pleasant to look at in any light. It was built in 1877 and has been in use as the City Hall ever since.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Big Ears

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Here's a photo that was deleted to the trash because the colors were so washed out and I was shooting almost directly into the sun. But the image kept sneaking back into my mind so I retrieved it from the trash and put aside my obsessions with color and blue skies.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Victoria's Inner Harbor is a favorite haunt of mine but the hanging flower baskets are so luxuriously colorful they tend to dominate other aspects of photos in which they appear. In color, I liked this photo of two young men having a conversation on top of the seawall. But the eye was inevitably drawn to the gorgeous reds and blues of the hanging flowers. It works much better in black and white because the flowers are muted and become a part of the composition rather than being the explosively colorful central focus.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Inspired by fellow CDP Bloggers Blognote of Arona Every Day, Snapper of Gabriola Daily Photo and Kim of Seattle Daily Photo I have been experimenting with black and white. Above is a band concert on Ship Point Pier. I liked this photo in color but it wasn't until I started to work with it in black and white that I was able to bring out the two tubas like I wanted. The tubas are shiny in color but much shinier in black and white.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Radial Symmetry - Cyanea capillata

For the last week or so I've been hearing about big jellyfish washing up on the beaches so today I decided to look for some. Above is one floating near the Ogden Point Breakwater. I think it's dead because it was not moving at all. Several others nearby were moving but were not so photogenic. This is Cyanea capillata or Lion's Mane Jellyfish, the largest known species of jellyfish, with tentacles that have been measured up to 120 feet in length. The one above was about the size of a dinner plate, more typical of those found in warmer waters. Local experts say that this rise in sightings is not the result of global warming or ocean pollution but is a part of the natural four-year cycle of these animals.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Autumn's First Blush

After a really delightful summer (and it's still hot today with a prediction of an even hotter tomorrow), I saw this first hint of autumn today in the chestnut trees below Beacon Hill. I went there this afternoon because I realized that although I often have featured Beacon Hill Park on this blog, I have never discussed its name. It's called Beacon Hill Park because of this hill above the ocean, where there used to be a beacon to guide ships. I took this photo from near the top of the hill. Behind me, over the crest of the hill are the Children's Zoo, the giant watering can, the cricket oval, the heronry and all the other delights of the park. I hope your summer's been as pleasant as mine.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Paper Box Building

In yesterday's post about Michael Williams I mentioned that he had received awards for his restorations of downtown heritage buildings. Here is an arcade in the Paper Box Building that he restored in 1988. this is one of two joined arcades that link on the ground floor of the building. Below left is an interior passageway between the two arcades. On the right is the Johnson Street entrance to the second and main arcade.

Below is the exterior of the Paper Box Building.
One of my favorite City Daily Photo Blogs today celebrates its six month anniversary. If you haven't yet visited there, I recommend you check out Willits Daily Photo. Congratulations Elaine!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Michael Williams

I mentioned in yesterday's post that Michael Williams is immortalized in an unusual piece of public art. This is a life-size statue of him that I think is unusual because it is so unpretentious. It's just a man sitting on a park bench. Why is he there? The tiny park is opposite Swans Hotel and he is gazing at it. And why is he thus immortalized? He led an interesting life, arriving in Victoria originally as a dog breeder and kennel owner. Yet, through the twists and turns that fate often hands us, he ended up owning a substantial chunk of downtown Victoria, especially old buildings in the city core. As he did with Swans Hotel, he restored them superbly and I'll share some photos of some of his other award-winning restorations soon. But what is more, when he passed away, the bulk of his multi-million dollar estate and the many valuable art works he collected as a patron of local artists were all left to the University of Victoria, for the benefit of future generations.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Swans Hotel

I've wanted to show you a picture of our train for some time and here it is, the E & N Dayliner, at its Southern Terminus and Station at the bottom of Pandora Avenue. The cream colored building just visible beyond the train is Swans Hotel, pictured below. Swans is one of my favorite downtown buildings. Built in 1913 as a granary and feed store it was transformed into a popular brewpub restaurant and hotel by the late Michael Williams, who lived in the top floor penthouse. He is immortalized in an interesting piece of public art nearby, which I will save for tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rock Bay

Victoria is not all parks and groves and delightful little bays with seawall walkways. It has its industrial side as well although tourism and government are probably the primary employers. I've mentioned the Gorge before as a long arm of the ocean that reaches into Victoria. The Inner Harbor is the first area on this arm. After passing under the Johnson Street Bridge, the Gorge enters the predominantly industrial neighborhood known as Rock Bay, pictured above. The photo below is just to the right of the above shot and shows the backside of buildings on Store Street in downtown Victoria. The Johnson Street bridge is directly to the right side of the photo below and the Bay Street (Point Ellice) Bridge is just to the left of the photo above. And if all that doesn't confuse you thoroughly, I give up.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Harbor Seal

Now that the kids are back in school and the weather is cooling down, the tourist core of Victoria is much quieter and I have begun to explore and re-explore areas a little further from the Victoria city center such as Macaulay Point and Fleming Beach in Esquimalt, where I chanced to meet this Harbor Seal enjoying a placid swim near the dock. I like this picture because the seal is looking up at me. As he approached he was focused on the bottom then he bent his head up and gazed at me. A few seconds later he surfaced and had a better look at me. If I'd had a fish (or maybe a ball) we could have had a little more conversation. But since nothing was forthcoming he rolled over and continued his leisurely survey of the bottom. The water is about a meter and a half (five feet) deep here and he was about a half meter below the surface when I took this picture.

Monday, September 8, 2008


One of the nicer features of the sky over Victoria at night is the bright light pictured above. It's made from natural stone and operates by reflected light (solar powered!) so is environmentally sustainable. It's also quite attractive and I suspect other cities will try to obtain their own once it becomes more widely known. Below is another environmentally sound light that I noticed tonight while cycling past one of the new condo development projects nearby, Dockside Green, which has an admirable number of other green initiatives. Yes, that is a solar array above the light.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Evening Sunlight - Cairn Park

Cairn Park is a small park, really just a rocky hill, in the midst of a dense residential neighborhood near where I live. This photo was taken just before sunset. I like the way the slanting sunlight catches the dry grass.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Reference Subject

Above is a subject I photograph almost every week so it seemed like a good reference subject for me to try out a new photo-processing technique. For those of you who don't recognize it, the above is an example of an HDR or High Dynamic Range image. The above is actually faux HDR since it is extracted from one RAW image rather than several images. However the effect is the very nearly the same. Below is the same image as it came from the camera without the HDR processing. Click on these to look at the large versions for comparison.