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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reaching for the Light

Here we are at the turn of the year once again. The days are getting longer now and here in Victoria spring's first green shoots are peeking out of the ground. I take this opportunity to wish all my visitors a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Inner Harbour From Johnson Street Bridge

Here's a little panoramafrom 5 photos stitched together with Hugin. (Hugin is free and easy to use if you want to play with it.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Joseph Despard Pemberton

The above photo of Government Street shows what it looks like at this time of year. Last June I posted another photo of the building on the left, the Pemberton Building, built in 1899. There is a brief history of this building HERE and a video of Government Street that includes this building, shot in 1907 HERE. The film was shot by William Harbeck, who died on the Titanic a few years later. The Pemberton Building is named after Joseph Despard Pemberton, one of Victoria's early citizens. He was involved in many aspects of life in the early years of the city and province but most notably as a surveyor and mapmaker. Thus it is only fitting that one side of the building named for him should bear the map of Vancouver island pictured below.

To the right is my first slightly successful food photo using a home-made light box built roughly according to instructions contained on a very useful and interesting blog, "Food Photo Tips" by fellow Daily Photo Blogger, Canarybird, a former resident of Vancouver Island who now blogs from Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Her Tenerife photoblog is an interesting blog with great photos of a little known part of the world.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Street Lamps

Victoria has many different kinds of street lighting but these mock gas lamps that light Bastion Square are my favorites. (The thumbnail to the right is today's macro experiment, some delicious looking, organic Gala apples.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dallas Road Shoreline

I've been a little bit engaged lately with macro-photography experiments - very interesting to me but not yet ready for prime time. So here's another from the archives of one of my favorite bits of coastline along Victoria's Dallas Road. (The thumbnail to the right is a sample of the macro photography I've been attempting.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Spirits

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Well, here it is Christmas Eve again. Season's Greetings to all my visitors, friends and family.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dallas Road Rockscape 2

Any tropical paradise can have sandy beaches but if you want rocks, real rocks, you should come to Victoria. These are much cleaner than sand and keep our beaches free of the unsightly sun-bathers that clutter up less favoured areas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dallas Road Rockscape

The beach along Dallas Road provides such splendid views that it is easy not to notice the lovely micro-landscapes of the rocky beaches such as this.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Recorded Christmas carols relentlessly fill one's ear during this season so it was nice to hear some live voices providing the music. This group of young carollers singing on Government Street were provided by the Downtown Victoria Business Association.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Colours

Here's some Christmas colour from a recent trip to one of our local malls. All the red and green we see at this time of year has me wondering about the colours we associate with certain festive times. Christmas is clearly red and green. The poinsettias in these photos are a good example and branches of holly are another. This colour theme is further expressed by Santa's red suit and the evergreen Christmas tree and other green decorations that are so common at this time of year. Other holidays have other colours. Halloween is denoted by orange and black. Easter seems to be a little less defined but I always think of yellow and purple.
For the techies: I am still shooting with the Super-Takumar 1:1.8 55 mm manual focus lens and grow fonder of it every day.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lazy Evening at the Red Bridge

This old red bridge that crosses the Similkameen River outside Keremeos, BC, was built in 1907 for a now defunct railway. The bridge is now used for cars as an access to the Ashnola River Valley. It's also a good spot to cool off on a summer's evening.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Yellow Lake

Yes, I know. But that's what it's called. Another from my summer holiday, this lake is located between Keremeos and Pentiction in the southern interior of British columbia. It doesn't look too pleasant for swimming but it seems the fishing is good.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

St. Ann's Church, Hedley

Between Christmas shopping and rainy days I am forced to fall back on the archives from my summer holiday once again. Here's a photo of a little old church on Highway 3 between Hedley and Keremeos in the Similkameen Valley of southern British Columbia. It is St. Ann's Church, a Roman Catholic church about 100 years old. You can read a little more about it HERE.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Shopping

This post isn't so much about Christmas shopping as it is about our weather lately. In a word, it is wet. I tend to scuttle from place to place with my head down. Anyway, here's a shot of our main street, Douglas Street, at a downtown intersection on the 16th of December, 2009. I hope your Christmas shopping is going along OK.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Sometimes on these short winter days it seems the only warm colour we see is around sunset.

I'm continuing to shoot with these old manual lenses. This photo was taken using the Super Takumar 1:1.8 55mm. prime lens.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Backyard Snowscapes

A little more snow overnight but this looks like it will be gone by noon today. Both photos were taken with the SMC Takumar 1:2.8 105mm prime lens.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sleety Morning

Well, it looked like snow coming down but turned to sleet quickly and soon melted away. You can see a little bit of it on the bike seat to the left. These are some more shots taken with the Super Takumar 55mm lens this morning. All were shot with the lens wide open at f1.8 and at various shutter speeds.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dave K.

Just to continue with shots made with old lenses, here's another of a very interesting and entertaining gentleman I met while on holiday earlier in the year. Like the shot I posted on Thursday, this one was taken with the Takumar 105mm lens (but without the extension tubes). These Takumar lenses, originally made for Pentax 35mm film cameras, are renowned for their sharpness and colour and although one must manually focus and set the exposure and shutter speed, they are still very popular.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Frost Crystals

I don't know which member of the cole family this is but I'm guessing it's one of those ornamental cabbages one sees these days. In any case its colour combination is a treat, especially with a dusting of frost crystals along the veins.

This was taken with the same set-up as yesterday except I used a Super Takumar 1:1.8/55mm lens instead of the SMC Takumar 105mm lens.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


While the rest of the country has been suffering from severe snow storms Victoria has had relatively mild weather though it has been windy and colder than usual. After I mentioned a week or so ago that we had not yet had a freeze, the temperature has dropped so it is freezing every night. I've actually been looking forward to snow since it makes the environment more picturesque but we have none yet so I decided to make do with frost. Above is what it looks like in my back yard this morning.

Lenses: For those interested in technical stuff, I also went out this morning to test some of my old legacy lenses with an extension tube I picked up last week. The above was shot using a Super Multi-coated Takumar 1:2.8/105mm lens and pair of extension tubes totaling about 2 inches (5 cm.) The tubes and the lens are M42 mounts and I use them on my Sony with an adapter.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

7 O'Clock

Since Victoria's major employers are government and tourism, it's symbolically appropriate that the ends of the Inner Harbour Causeway are bracketed by the Legislative Assembly buildings on one end and this tower on the other end. The structure pictured above rises above the Victoria Visitors Information Centre, which provides services for tourists. It wasn't built for this purpose. It used to rise above a gas station. If you look closely you can still see the indentations that identified it as an Imperial Oil station.

This is also an archival shot from August of this year. Seven o'clock in the evening right now is dark. With the weather lately (it was -6 degrees Centigrade this morning when I got up) I shall probably continue with views from the archives.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nk'Mip Resort

Architecture with a distinctly New Mexican feel about it distinguishes the resort condominiums at Nk'Mip. There's also a swimming pool, conference facilities and a couple of gourmet restaurants as part of the resort complex. While the adobe construction may be faux, it fits very well with the desert environment.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre

The vineyard pictured yesterday is part of a larger complex that includes the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre, which celebrates the local desert ecology and the cultural richness of the Okanagan native people. The striking wall on the right side of the above photo of the award-winning Cultural Centre is made of rammed earth.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nk'Mip Vineyard

British Columbia has several wine-growing areas now but perhaps the most successful vineyards are those in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. Here is a view from Nk'Mip (pr. In-Ka-Meep) vineyard and winery - North America's first aboriginal owned and operated winery. It's an extraordinary place carved out of the desert above Osoyoos. I'll share a few more photos of it over the next couple of days.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


According to the technician my place is not likely to be dry until Monday so we will continue with more photos from my spring and summer jaunts to the Similkameen Valley.

Though I don't pay much attention to astrology it always strikes me as more than coincidental how much of my life was spent in close contact with people born under the sign of Capricorn. That influence seems to be waning in my life but I still like to see goats such as these I met last spring in the Similkameen Valley.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I'm still under siege from the drying machines so I'll continue to mine the archives from earlier this year. Here's a bit of spring.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Crab Apples

I'm still drying out (see yesterday's post) so here's another from the summer archives.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Morning Glories

A couple of days ago I was leaving my apartment when I felt a drop of water hit me on the forehead. Looking up I discovered that the ceiling above my doorway was dripping. I re-entered my apartment to find other drips coming down from the ceiling. A broken water pipe continued to seep into my place for the next 24 hours. Now the drying-out process is underway but everything is all piled up in a few dry patches so...for the next few days we'll have photos from my summer holiday archives when I spent a week in the beautiful Similkameen Valley.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Clouds on Clouds

We're having lots of this kind of weather here lately. This is unusual for Victoria which is usually much sunnier and drier. At least it's warm - I don't think we've had a freeze yet - and these clouds are beautiful even if a bit somber.