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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gonzales Observatory

Early this morning while the rest of you were rioting in swinish slumber I was out capturing both the moral and literal high ground. Spurred by a reminder from commenter Dean Lewis, I re-visited Gonzales Hill, which rises above Foul Bay and is capped by the splendid Gonzales Observatory. This is another of those sites like the Fisgard Lighthouse that looks striking from every angle and in every light. Above it catches the first rays of what promises to be another lovely summer day. Hope you have a good one.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Floating Palace

I decided that one thing I can do to see things freshly is go out at different times of day. This photo was taken just after sunset, by which time I am normally at home and settled into a film or a book before bed. The subject is not new - this is the cruise ship Celebrity Infinity, which I have photographed during some of its earlier visits. To me these cruise ships always look beautiful but at dusk they look even better.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A New Day

I've been feeling a little short of inspiration lately. I think it's inevitable after posting one or more photos of the same city every day for more than two years. It's not that the city has no more to offer but that I've got to see it anew or get out of my comfortable ruts. I have no idea how this is going to take place but as a gesture in the direction of new beginnings I offer this shot of my favourite Victoria skyline taken at dawn.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus)

Until my recent visit to the Sooke Potholes I didn't know that we had crayfish in this area. I always thought they were only to be found in the southern USA. These were caught to show to some young children and I happened to be nearby. Although they are edible they were released shortly after this photo was taken. Crayfish are apparently very sensitive to pollution so it was nice to see them in the Sooke River, which is fed by a reservoir that provides Victoria's tap water. These crayfish were about the size of a little finger. I think they are probably Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Sometimes when I am out with my camera I am looking for a specific thing or a specific category such as birds or flowers but often I am omnivorous and just shoot whatever I see that looks interesting. (One of the joys of retirement is that one no longer has to be focused.) So for the next few days there'll be photos of some of the local fauna encountered during my last couple of field trips. The moth above was spotted resting on a tree near the Sooke Potholes. I don't know what kind of moth it is and if there are any lepidopterists out there I hope you will attempt an identification. (It's odd how important size or scale is - if this moth were as large as an eagle we'd all know its name.)

Monday, July 26, 2010


Here is what the Sooke Potholes are locally famous for - the deep green pools at the foot of rocky cliffs.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Boys Fishing for Girls

About 20 kilometers west of Victoria is a string of cold emerald swimming holes along the Sooke River. These deep green pools at the base of steep rock cliffs provide the perfect relief for summer's hottest days. This is the Sooke Potholes Regional Park.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Grace II

It's not only athletes, dancers and children who are graceful, the practiced movements of musicians often display the same physical grace and a harmony in tune with the music they produce. Above is the violinist from the chamber music group called Satori Strings, and the cellist (lower right), while playing on the Inner Harbour Causeway.

Friday, July 23, 2010


While I imagine many sports fans would deny it, I suspect that one of the reasons they sit through long relatively boring events is to see those moments when the trained physique executes a perfect movement with such ease and balance that time seems to stop for an instant. Children such as this boy also often display such grace when they are engrossed in movement simply for the sheer joy of it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

3 at Saxe Point

While out at Saxe Point Park recently I noticed these three people each enjoying the park in their own individual way. At the same time, there were three separate weddings taking place in the park. All these photos were taken within a few minutes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sunny Fog

The weather continues strange - it's warm and sunny but there is a sharp cool edge to the air not unlike autumn and occasional fogs like this on otherwise clear days.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Moss Street Paint-In

Last Saturday Victoria's major art event of the year took place. Over 150 visual artists took part in the 23rd annual Moss Street Paint-In. The Victoria Art Gallery is located on Moss Street, which runs from Fort Street all the way downhill to Dallas Road on the beach. Artists display their art and work on current projects under under the shade of the great trees all down both sides of the street.
While it's mostly painters, there are a few sculptors such as above (top) and potters and artists of other types as well. Add food and music and kids' activities and it's no wonder that about 35,000 people (including the normally shy Vincent Van Gogh - right) turned out.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The West Coast III

The forest trails leading to these spectacular West Coast beaches are very lush and beautiful. Here are a couple of wild flowers I noticed during our visit. On the left is a Dwarf Dogwood or Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) and on the right is a Common Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The West Coast II - Botany Bay

Yesterday's photos were taken on the trail that leads to Botanical Beach, our intended destination. However, we ended up on this beach, which I believe is Botany Bay, the northern end of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail (47 km). To the left we are looking southeast towards Victoria, about 75 km distant. To the right we are looking further up the west coast of Vancouver Island to where the famous West Coast Trail begins.
These beaches are beautiful, there are some sandy areas and there are large waves, but the main attraction here is the tidal pools, many small pools among the rocks that are filled with crystal clear water and a wide variety of shore life such as sea urchins, snails, crabs, anemones, sculpins and millions of mussels. Below are some of the tide pools.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The West Coast

A few hours drive along the coast west and north of Victoria brings one to the true west coast, where the rollers sweep in from the Pacific with only thousands of miles of ocean between here and Japan. It's an incredibly rich, green environment that provides views such as these around every corner of the trail. Tomorrow I'll show you what it's like when you come out of the forest onto the beach.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dawn II

Yesterday's photo was taken from Songhees Point, one end of the Westsong Walkway, the other end of which is Westbay Marina in Esquimalt. Today's photo was taken from the same place at the same time but facing more westerly towards the houseboats and fishing boats of Fisherman's Wharf. That's the Shoal Point Condominium in the background.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Taken just at sunrise last week, Captain Vancouver atop the green dome of the Legislative Assembly Buildings catches the first rays of the morning sun while the Port Angeles ferry, the MV Coho, awaits her morning departure.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica)

In late spring and early summer roadsides and waste areas near the shorelines are decorated with the brilliant orange of California Poppies. And even when summer's drought has turned the grasses golden these hardy little flowers continue to bloom. They're one of my favorites.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Day II

What better way to spend a summer day?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sea Princess

To provide a little contrast to yesterday's post on the tiny little Harbour Ferries, just around the corner from Fisherman's Wharf is Ogden Point, where monstrous cruise ships such as this, the Sea Princess, tie up to disgorge their passengers.

I'm going down to Seattle for the next few days so until Thursday these posts will be going up automatically (I hope!).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fisherman's Wharf II

I mentioned yesterday that fisherman's Wharf has a number of shops and eateries. Above is Barb's Fish and Chips - one of the more popular, though everything I've tried on the wharf has been tasty. The kids to the right are obviously enjoying their ice cream cones while waiting to get aboard the nearby Harbor Ferry. Fisherman's Wharf is one of the scheduled stops for these cute little ferries that will carry you anywhere you like to go in the harbor or up the Gorge.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fisherman's Wharf

Victoria is a tourist town. I quite like this and I often feel like tourist here myself since I enjoy many of the things that visitors do. One of the places where I often go is Fisherman's Wharf. As well as being home to a number of bona fide fishing boats, floating fish and seafood markets, snack bars and art galleries, it is also the site of a community of houseboats such as those pictured above. These picturesque homes are surprisingly inexpensive (compared to house prices here in Victoria). The home to the left is for sale now, priced at $199,000.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Day

Victoria's summer has finally arrived. It's nice and hot. I like it but I'll bet there were a lot of sunburned backs last night. Here's a photo of Victoria's favorite place to lie in the sun and dip in the Pacific - Willows Beach in Oak Bay.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer Night II

This is a little closer and lower down from yesterday's photo. I mentioned music in the air yesterday and you can see to the left in the above photo a trio of musicians. This is Satori Strings, a chamber music group comprised of a violinist, a viola player and a cellist. Their music seems admirably suited to Victoria and the genteel ambience suggested by the nearby Fairmont Empress Hotel and the Legislative Assembly Buildings. I'm sure the city's namesake Queen Victoria would approve.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Night

Victoria's Inner Harbour Causeway on a summer evening is a delight. There's music in the air (that's one man band Dave Harris in the lower left), jugglers, mimes, artists, beautiful boats and lovely reflections, all lit by the dazzling Legislative Assembly Buildings in the background.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Freakish Weather

Those of you who visit here on a daily basis will remember that I said I was going out to Saanich yesterday to pick strawberries. Morning dawned wintry gray and wet, not a day for picking strawberries. Yet by mid-afternoon the the clouds had blown away and here's what it looked like downtown on the lawns of the BC Legislature. According to the weather prognosticators summer has finally arrived here (we've had weeks of cold cloudy days). It looks like a real summer day outside this morning so check here for strawberries tomorrow.

Monday, July 5, 2010

One Man Band

Lately I've been featuring artists and performers on the Inner Harbour Causeway. Today I'm going out to the Saanich Peninsula to pick some strawberries or, more accurately, to photograph other people picking strawberries. But before I leave the causeway I have to post some photos of the most enduring Causeway performer, one man band Dave Harris, whose music has enriched the Inner Harbour for thirty years.
Dave's a consummate musician in the long tradition of minstrel one man bands stretching back to the middle ages and before. It's a pleasure to listen to him play and sing and it's always interesting to see the variety of spectators that watch and listen spellbound.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


It's interesting to consider how persistent is the idea of human/animal combinations. I am tempted to cite the "current" fad of vampires except that it is not really current so much as ongoing. In film, one only needs to look at Nosferatu (1922) and the dozens (if not hundreds) of vampire films that followed. Right now we have the Twilight series which features both vampires and werewolves. Humans may assume other animal forms in other cultures. In West Africa the leopard is often the chosen form of black magic or juju priests. The combination is not always dark and horrible - here on the Inner Harbour Causeway we have a charming mermaid. This is Hilarie Ann Higgins who performs with her accordian as the Mesmerizing Mermaid.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Though we never really lose our curiosity completely it does seem to be one of those characteristics that fades as we mature. I suspect it has to do with the growth of confidence and decisiveness. You can't act with confidence unless you feel sure that you have a firm grip on the nature of reality. There is no place for wonder in such a state of mind. Yet curiosity is what enables us to explore the world, meet new people and learn new things, a process that should never end.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Cooper Sisters

Though they're playing under an overcast sky, The Cooper Sisters manage to inject some sunshine into the environment with their sweet voices. Both girls (Jillian, left, and Brittany, right) have had considerable musical training and it shows in their polished performance. Their CD, entitled, "Inspirations," containing nine original songs is also a delightful listen. You can find out more about The Cooper Sisters on their website by clicking here. To catch them on the Inner Harbour Causeway this summer, check the Causeway Artists Schedule by clicking here.