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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Victoria Conference Centre

In yesterday's post I mentioned that the Crystal Gardens is now a part of the Victoria Conference Centre. The photo above is a glimpse into the centre's lobby, certainly worth a visit if only to see its magnificent collection of totem poles and other native works of art.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Crystal Gardens

This is the intersection of Douglas and Belleville Streets, one block over from the Empress Hotel and the Inner Harbor. In the foreground of the photo is the Crystal Gardens, designed by Francis Rattenbury, the architect responsible for two other downtown landmark buildings, the Empress Hotel (now known as the Fairmont Empress) and the Legislative Assembly Buildings. The Crystal Gardens was originally erected as a public swimming pool in 1925. It also had tea gardens and dance floors and was very much a social center. In 1925, Johnny Weismuller, the Human Hydroplane, set a world swimming record for the 100 yard freestyle here. Later he became well-known in the movies as Tarzan.

The Crystal Gardens remained a public swimming pool until 1967. Since then the building has been used in a number of ways, mostly unsuccessful. My favorite use was when it was transformed into a tropical garden filled with lush jungle growth. Now it has become part of the Victoria Conference Centre and is full of delegates.

(Yesterday's flowering tree is visible in this photo, near the exact center at the bottom, just to the right of the two green signposts.)

Friday, November 28, 2008


These delightful cherry blossoms are always a special signal for me that spring has finally arrived. Now it's time to get out the sunblock and my shorts and snorkel...HOLD ON THERE, PODNER! Whut in tarnation...?

OMG, it's still November and it's almost another month before we start heading into the light again. But the photo above is not archival. I took it yesterday in front of Victoria's Crystal Gardens (which you'll see tomorrow.) My only explanation for this arborial insanity (there isn't an active bee within a thousand miles) is that this must be one of those Autumn Flowering Cherry trees (Prunus subhirtella). I wouldn't even know there was such a thing if I hadn't read about them on Funabashi Daily Cell Phone Photo a little earlier this year. See, you learn all sorts of interesting things on City Daily Photo blogs.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Winter Sunset

I took some photographs downtown today but when I got home I met this view and thought how nice a change it is from buildings and streets.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Downtown II

This intersection is at the bottom of Johnson Street. Coming in from the left is Store Street. On the right when it leaves the intersection it has become Wharf Street. Behind me as I took the photo is the Johnson Street Bridge. The building on the left is Market Square. On the far right is the Salvation Army building that houses their thrift store and provides other social services to people in need. Further up Johnson is the colorful Paper Box Building and arcade. Yesterday's photo was taken on Yates Street, one block over from Johnson Street, on the right.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I haven't shown much of downtown Victoria so here's another taste. This is the intersection of Douglas Street (Victoria's main thoroughfare) and Yates Street as it was this afternoon about 4 o'clock. It all seems sort of ho-hum but that's one of Victoria's charms too.

Monday, November 24, 2008

M.V. Coho

Since Victoria is on an island, you have either to take a plane or a boat to get here. The BC Ferries Corporation operates ferries to Vancouver and the Gulf islands from their Swartz Bay terminal about forty minutes drive north of Victoria. However, you can come by boat directly to the Inner Harbor from Port Angeles, on the Olympic Peninsula, on the ship that is pictured here, the M. V. Coho. It's a car ferry that travels back and forth twice daily. There is another regular ferry for passengers only called the Clipper that travels between Victoria's Inner Harbor and Seattle. Above we see the Coho leaving Victoria Harbor on its last trip for the day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Viruses, Trojans, Browser Hijackers, Rogues

I mentioned I had a touch of the flu the other day. I recovered but my computer seems to have caught it: a kind of malware called "" that redirected any search result I clicked on to a spam site. Then I found that my anti-virus software was unable to connect to its own website for updates. And all my attempts to connect to other anti-virus or antispyware websites were equally thwarted. The browser simply reporting that it was unable to contact those websites though it allowed me to look at other websites. Now this is a pretty cunning program - it not only takes over your browser but it prevents you from obtaining any assistance. I gave up on Firefox and tried Safari, Internet Explorer and even the new Google browser called Chrome with the same results on all.

Well, after fussing around all day I think I have it beat, but my post for today will have to be archival. However, I'm sure you'll agree it's a nice donkey, photographed in the Beacon Hill Children's Zoo earlier this year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


It was another gray and gloomy day today so I thought I'd visit our only downtown mall. This is the Bay Centre, a fairly modest mall by most standards since it lacks a water park, zoo, etc. There are other malls in Victoria but they tend to be on the outskirts of town and are one-level affairs surrounded by vast parking lots. It was quiet here today but on the weekend it will be crowded with people doing their Christmas shopping.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Winter Light II

A touch of the flu has kept me home today so here's another photo from yesterday, just after I left Chinatown. It's the Inner Harbor taken from the Johnson Street Bridge. I like the way the masts of the sailboats catch the winter sunset. (This is shortly after four o'clock in the afternoon.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Winter Light

As winter deepens the sun stays low in the sky even in mid-afternoon and casts long dark shadows. Here the ornate roof of the Chinese Public School adds an exotic touch to this rooftop view over downtown Victoria.


I just came across an interesting photography link. But look out, you can get lost for hours.... (We are talking millions of photographs here!)

All of photographs in the Life Magazine archives have been made available through Google. For those of you who may not be familiar with Life Magazine, it was one of the greatest American magazines during the last century and was especially noted for the quality of its photographs. The archive contains photos dating back to the 1870's and many famous photographers are represented.

Here is a clickable link to it:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nice Clouds

Yesterday's fog has blown away and left us this beautifully clear air and these lovely puffy cotton wool clouds.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

...on little cat feet.

In her comment on yesterday's post, Knoxville Girl dissed Robert Frost so today, in a demonstration of Astral-American poets' solidarity, Carl Sandberg punished me with this bit of weather. Thanks KG. May a thousand grackles nest in your eaves.Readers who were not raised on a diet of American poetry are probably wondering what I'm on about here. An American poet, Robert Frost, wrote a poem about walls, the subject of yesterday's post.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."


Carl Sandberg, another American poet, wrote a poem about fog.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wall and Water Bottle

I've mentioned that my social experience with the City Daily Photoblog community has been very pleasant. Another valuable aspect of CDP blogging is that I've learned a lot about photography, in several different ways. Posting a photo every day means thinking about images every day; first photographing the images and then selecting and processing them. This kind of practice inevitably improves one's work. ("Work" is probably the wrong word here. "Play" is more appropriate in this case.) Equally important though is what I've learned from looking at other City Daily Photo bloggers' photos.

Today's post is the first in an occasional series of posts recognizing some of what I've learned from others in this CDP community, and is dedicated to USElaine of the Willits Daily Photo for what I've learned about walls and doors and windows. We're surrounded by walls most of the time and, if we don't stop and look, we tend to see them as obstructions. They get in the way of the "view." Looking at Elaine's walls taught me to see them as potentially interesting elements of composition. The photos above and below this text I took because they reminded me of her photos. Below are links to some of the walls of Willits, California as photographed by Elaine Hamby. But don't just browse her walls. There's lots of interesting descriptions and photographs of daily life in a small Northern California town. Enjoy:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Ya see anybody?"

"Naw, ain't nobody over here. Hey Red, anybody over there?"
"Nope. Nobody here...."
"Well, let's just keep a lookout until dark, and then...."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bouquet for Lichen Lovers

We live in a world defined by the limitations of our sense organs. Yet if we could focus down to two or three times the resolution of our normal eyesight, what worlds of strange and extraordinary beauty we could discover. I can't afford a true macro lens so I have lately been experimenting with a reversed 50 mm prime lens that provides considerable magnification and the photo above is a first experiment. It is Victoria but a very small part of Victoria, located in my back yard, in a little grove of lichen.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Carnegie Library Building

While I'm on the subject of architecture (about which I know very little), here is a picture of what was formerly the Victoria Public Library building, built in 1905 with funds provided in part by the American philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie provided funds to build over 2,500 libraries in many countries during the early part of the last century. In 1905 Victoria I suspect this was quite an imposing structure and though it now seems quite small and a little pretentious, I like it. I also like the way the modern building next door echoes the design of the Carnegie building, like a nod of recognition to the past. The public library now occupies much larger quarters in a new building a few blocks distant and the Carnegie building shown here is rented to other tenants.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nice Building

The day before yesterday I posted a photo of a couple of new hotels here. One commenter quite rightly called them ugly. Today's photo is of a modern downtown building that I like. Nothing fancy here but there are lines and proportions, colors and materials that are pleasing to the eye. It doesn't take much to make a building attractive. What is most distressing about the Marriott and Belvedere Hotels (scroll down the page to Monday's post) is that they seem to have been designed without any attention to their visual impact. They are utilitarian but without even the force of brutalist style. They're just tacky and these big hotel people should be ashamed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


For most of my life I've assumed that when builders wanted old buildings destroyed they used a wrecking ball like I'd seen in cartoons. Recently I've realized that I've never actually seen a wrecking ball being used. I don't even know if they exist any more. I know that for big buildings they use explosives. And now I know that for small buildings such as this, they just knock it down with machines. This machine was picking up that big piece of cement and rebar, holding it above the building and then dropping it. In the photo it has just dropped the big chunk of cement. (This makes a lot of noise and dust and looks like it would be fun to do, for about an hour. Then it would be nice to go and have some milk and cookies and a nap....) The building being demolished here was a parking garage attached to what is now becoming "The Hudson" (inner city heritage restoration condo/loft living).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Westsong Walkway

Now that winter has descended on us and my e-bike just died, I think I will accept hibernation and dig out a few chestnuts I saved from this summer's rambles. This is another shot of the Westsong Walkway. It's not the sidewalk in the foreground but the curving pathway down there on the left. It's a lovely walking pathway (no cycling allowed, alas) that winds its way along the shoreline from the Johnson Street Bridge all the way to the West Bay Marina in Esquimalt. (My e-bike dealers have assured me that my e-bike will be well soon, and that its problem is covered by warranty.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Humboldt Street Hotels

Well, yes I know this is not the Victoria you're used to seeing here. The reason is that, although I am sure these hotels are very comfortable and contribute to the local economy, they're not very impressive to look at. This is just a sample of the new hotels that have been built in downtown Victoria in the last few years. These are located on lower Humboldt Street within a few blocks of the Inner Harbor.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Holland Point November

In case you're wondering if you've seen this before, you have. Several times. It's my favorite spot to photograph. It's Holland Point on Dallas Road and I love the way it changes with the seasons and weather.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Goldstream Park - Rain Forest

The rain continues, so today I decided to visit Goldstream Park, a large forested park about 10 miles (17 kilometers) from Victoria. Here is life that loves the cool damp weather and (I have to admit) it was beautiful. If I hadn't been worried about water damage to my camera I would have stayed longer. I shall certainly return in a few weeks for the famed salmon run, when these splendid fish crowd Goldstream's narrow channels to seek spawning grounds upstream. In the meantime, here's a little sample of life in an old-growth temperate rain forest.

(It's dark in the forest. All the above photos were unusually (for me) long exposures. Here's details for those who are interested in such things: the top photo was 15 seconds at f22, above left was 6 seconds at f32 and above right was 10 seconds at f29.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

For Something Completely Different...

...from my usual posts, this photo of a vintage Jaguar. This car as well and others (including a Bugatti Veyron) are available for rent if you want to tool around Victoria in style during your visit here. (OK, I'll confess: I shot this photo last summer and am posting it now since the relentless downpour of rain we've had for the last two days has kept me inside. But I promise I'm going out today.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One of the Joys of Retirement... that one no longer feels compelled even to think about engaging in such behavior. However, despite the bitterly cold wind and icy waters near Clover Point, this fellow seems to be enjoying himself, or at least surviving. I braved the elements long enough to snap this photo. Then, feeling sympathetic hypothermia, I retired quickly to the nearest Starbucks for a hot beverage treatment.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bridge Boogie

You got any dancing bridges in your town?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thank You, Eric Tenin

Today, to finish with the awards, I first want to thank the founder of the City Daily Photo Blogs, Eric Tenin of the original City Daily Photo Blog, Paris Daily Photo. Eric kindly commented on yesterday's post (the ultimate seal of approval!) The civil, thoughtful tone characteristic of the City Daily Photo blogs stems directly from the example he has set. The best thank you gesture I can think of is to post this picture of an iris. A stylized iris, the fleur de lys, is well known as a symbol for France. The one above bloomed last summer in my daughter's back yard here in Victoria. Thank you, Eric!

Thanks also to Stephan Nebel and to Igor, Demosthenes and Ham (London Daily Photo) who built and maintain the portal that represents and connects us all. Their largely unsung work behind the scenes makes it possible for CDP bloggers to present their daily offerings to the world, to keep track of favorite blogs, to become aware of new City Daily Photo blogs as they appear and to participate in theme days and other related activities. Thank you, gentlemen!

Finally, thanks to the many visitors to this blog, for looking at a little of my world and reading what I write about it. Your visits and comments are the reason this site continues to exist. Thank you all!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dallas Road November

While autumn definitely brings some brownish hues to the shoreline, things are still pretty green in this photo taken this afternoon. It looks warm and lots of people were out enjoying the sunshine and dramatic cloudscapes, but the wind was cold.

Awards Part 2

The Kreativ Blogging Award (see yesterday's post below) requires me to list "six things that make me happy." In my contrary fashion I instead am going to list 5 reasons why the City Daily Photo Blog World makes me happy.
  • Nice Talk
    In an internet that is constantly cruised by trolls and foul-mouthed cruelies, somehow the City Daily Photo Blog world remains a network marked by truly civil discourse. Its members one and all seem to work consciously at keeping it nice, friendly, and supportive, both in the text of their posts and in their comments when visiting one another's sites. This is quite remarkable: an online community of people from all over the planet, representing many different cultures, political persuasions and religions somehow managing consistently to be nice to one another. The City Daily Photo Blog world is a shining example of Global Village consciousness being realized on a day to day basis.

  • Entertaining
    The photographs that people post are often beautiful and always interesting.The accompanying text is generally informative, usually good-natured and often witty or downright funny. These City Daily Photo Blogs are quite addictive. I'd rather browse them for an hour than watch anything on TV.

  • Photojournalism
    The mix of a photograph and some text is just right for me, both as an online browser and as a blogger. A photograph may be worth a thousand words but a photograph and a hundred words is probably equivalent to about three photos or three thousand words. That metaphor's a bit overextended but you get the idea. That complementary mix of text and graphic information is what made magazines so popular and it works in the blog world too.

  • Discipline and Freedom
    I like the discipline. To post a photo and say something about it every day is not as easy as one initially considers it to be. Yet the supportive, interested atmosphere of the City Daily Photo Blog world makes it a pleasant task to work on improving one's communication skills every day. And while there is that discipline, there is also the freedom to post pretty much anything one wants.

  • Learning
    I learn a lot. Particularly I learn that the world is modernizing rapidly. When I was growing up we thought North America and Europe to be the most technologically advanced societies on earth, the only really modern cultures. This mindset continues for many, as if we constantly move into the future while the rest of the world slumbers in their grass shack colonial past. It's the same kind of jolt I got when I travelled to South Korea a few years ago, expecting to find a somewhat backward Asian country yearning to be modernized. Instead I found a culture more plugged in and online than my own Canadian culture. Thus, it is salutary to see the fantastic malls and skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Tokyo and to learn that the people there are meeting the same types of challenges and problems as I am and share many of the same joys and sorrows.

Well, that's more than enough for today. More, tomorrow! In the meantime, I'm interested to hear what you have to say about this.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


It seems hard to believe that from this......comes this....But this glorious carpet of maple leaves beautifully illustrates why we call this season "fall." Yesterday it seemed all the trees in Mt. Douglas Park decided at once to let go their leaves. It was like driving through a blizzard with big brown and yellow snowflakes. Leaves whirled into waves and drifts along the roadside and winter's black branches stood out against the sky.


There are a couple of blog awards floating around now that people have kindly passed on to me, not realizing that I am hardly capable of getting out of the right side of the bed in the morning let alone following the rules governing the various awards...6 nominees...5 followers...list of happy things...links to...gasp...choke....

However, my thanks first to Rob at Trieste Daily Photo and to niamhphotography, who has two blogs about the Spanish cities of Sitges and Barcelona, for presenting me with the "Blogging Friends Forever Award."And thanks also to Nobu of Tokyo Snap Photo and Funabashi Daily Cell Phone Photo, and to Snapper of Gabriola Daily Photo for presenting me with the "Kreativ Blogger Award."I cordially invite you to visit the blogs named above for beautiful photos as well as intimate insights into other cities and cultures. Really! I visit all of the above blogs regularly and always find something interesting.

Now, I am supposed to pass these awards along to others but I will save that pleasure for tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Squalls Over the Strait

Looking down on Victoria from Mt. Douglas today one can see the rain on the Olympic Peninsula across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.


I've been a bit busy lately so, to all the kind people who have been giving me awards, thank you again for the honor. Tomorrow I will respond appropriately.