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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stand Up Paddle Surfing

Here's a type of watercraft I've noticed more commonly in our coastal waters this year. It's basically a surfboard that is designed for the rider to stand on and comes equipped with a long paddle. It seems to be more or less a variety of surfing though the woman above is obviously not expecting to catch a wave in the Inner Harbour. After doing a bit of research I find that this is a sport with growing popularity. You can read more about Stand Up Paddle Surfing on Wikipedia by clicking HERE.

Friday, June 29, 2012

World's First Boy Scout

While browsing among the daisies in the graveyard of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Metchosin I came across the plaque to the left. In 1907 when Lord Robert Baden-Powell inaugurated the first Boy Scout Camp to test some of his ideas, one of the boys in that first set of campers was the scion of an old British family, George Bridges Harley Guest Rodney, who later became the 8th Baron Rodney. One of the ideas that Baden-Powell wanted to test with this first camp was to mix boys from all levels of society to see if his ideas for the development of young men could have universal application. Clearly, young George Rodney must have been one of his choices from the nobility. Rodney would have been 16 at the time. How he came to finish his life in Metchosin sixty-six years later is another story - one that I wish I knew.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Church of Saint Mary the Virgin

One of the Western Communities that lie along the coast westward from Victoria is the district of Metchosin.While riding through it yesterday I chanced to notice this lovely old church and stopped to enjoy the peace and beauty of its grounds and the adjacent graveyard. This is the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. It is the third oldest Anglican church in the province and is no longer in use as a church but is now preserved as a Metchosin Historical Site. It looks rather overgrown but this is part of a strategy to allow the native wildflowers to propagate. I think it's easily as beautiful as the well kept lawns that cover most graveyards.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jump Ship

Last weekend saw the second annual Jump Ship competition at Ship Point. This is a mountain bike acrobatic competition involving some of the best riders in the world. A series of dirt mounds were erected on a barge tied to Ship Point Pier (adjacent to the Inner Harbour Causeway) and riders leapt with their bikes from a high tower, bounced up and down off these mounds and engaged in impossible stunts while airborne.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Concrete Sky

Sometimes it's an interesting challenge to take a photo that "failed" and create something new with it. - Fern

Monday, June 25, 2012

Depth of Field Study

On a walk out in North Saanich, I was fooling around with depth of field and really like the way it works in this photo of some barbed wire. Something that we normally wouldn't look at suddenly becomes interesting in it's texture and structure. - Fern

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mystery Flower

I went up Bear Hill a few weeks ago specifically to check out the spring flowers and photographed this lovely little flower. I saw about a half dozen of these plants here and there along the trail to the summit. As I usually do, I photographed this flower intending to identify it from my field guides later. Well, I've not been able to find it in my field guide so I'm hoping someone out there can tell me what it is.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Black Velvet

There is so much interesting entertainment available on the Inner Harbour Causeway that I often neglect the many performers who provide music in other downtown locations. Above is a musician I look forward to listening to again. His name is Michael Thompson, AKA "Black Velvet" - a name that goes perfectly with a voice that sounds marinated in whiskey when he sings the blues on Fisgard Street. Michael says he has to sing because he has all these songs in his head and his neighbors complain if he lets them loose when he's at home. I'm glad his neighbors have got such poor taste since I found it a real pleasure to sit and listen to this accomplished performer.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chinatown Night Market

Victoria's Chinatown is always one of the most busy and colorful parts of the city and this year they have added another feature, the Chinatown Night Market. Fisgard Street is blocked off and booths selling arts and crafts and things Chinese and promoting organizations and activities line the street. There's also food - see the fried dumplings being prepared on the left - and music and free entertainment, as well as the usual rich colors and smells of Chinatown.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

This is probably the iconic view of Victoria and one that travels to every part of the world in the countless photos taken by visitors to the city every year. It's no wonder - it's a view with a lot to interest the eye and on a warm sunny evening like this, locals as well as tourists enjoy a stroll.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bigleaf Maple Seeds

Before taking up photography I used to associate maples with autumn because of the vibrant shades of red, orange and brown their leaves display at that time of year. However, now I look at things a little more closely and find maples pretty spectacular at any time of year. Above are some maple seeds with their wonderfully evolved "wings" that will carry them a good distance away from their parent tree. Earlier this spring I published some photos of the maple flowers.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blacktail Deer

A trip to the Fisgard Lighthouse and Fort Rodd Hill always yields some good photos of the lighthouse but I often see deer and other wildlife when I am out that way. The Esquimalt Lagoon Bird Sanctuary is very close and Fort Rodd Hill is also surrounded by quite an extensive forested area that is home to this deer and others. They are quite tame although they discreetly move away if you approach them.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gordon's Beach

This lovely spot is just past Sooke on West Coast Road. It's dotted with picturesque cabins along a lovely pebble beach. When we were there it was a pretty typical summer day...wet, windy and cold. We enjoyed ourselves none the less. - Fern

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Happy Father's Day to all dads everywhere. This is a shot I snuck of my own dear Dad on one of our photo outings and I think it captures him in action nicely. I feel so lucky to have you as my Dad, thanks for everything you do all year long! - Fern Long

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Vic West Skateboard Competition 2

There are some really excellent photographers who specialize in taking photos of skateboarders. Google it and you'll see what I mean. It's challenging - whether they are coming towards you, going away from you or going past you they are going pretty fast and often the trick involves sudden dives upward or downward meaning that parts of the skater suddenly move out of the frame. I'm aware of my difficulties as a photographer here but I'm in awe of what these kids are doing with these little pieces of plywood on wheels. Above, this boy has somehow managed to jump himself and his board up onto that railing fast enough so that he is sliding along the railing on the middle of his skateboard. Pretty neat, but the awesome bit is that he's sliding backwards, a situation that, frankly, I hope I never find myself in. Below, the same boy has launched himself into the air after building up speed by skating around the bowl (very similar to an empty swimming pool).
Sometimes the skateboards seem mysteriously glued to the skater's feet, but other times they are able to detach the board and flip it around in mid-air while floating above it.

If anyone knows any of these skaters' names please let me know since I'd like to give them credit for their skills.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vic West Skateboard Competition

The Vic West Skateboard Competition was held last Saturday and it was an inspiring event. It reminded me how different skateboarding is from most of what we consider to be sports. It was the first truly urban sport, the first sport that developed in and utilized the modern urban environment of cement and curbs and railings. It also seems to me to be the sport that is most driven by kids themselves. I can't remember when I last saw a bunch of kids playing soccer or baseball outside of an adult-organized situation. Kids like those sports but they seldom seem to play them unless there is a lot of adult assistance and motivation. If you drive by the skateboard park, however, on any day when it's not raining you will see dozens of kids out there bouncing around and working on their skills, interacting with each other and teaching and learning from each other. It's exciting to see kids so focused on learning something that takes effort and concentration and often results in hard landings. Kids of all ages and both genders took part in the competition and my hat's off to them all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dave Lang & The Twin Otters!

I've been wanting to introduce some of the new performers on the Inner Harbour Causeway this year but the weather has been so inclement lately that I have found it difficult to catch new acts. Here, however, is one new group I am happy to have encountered, Dave Lang & the Twin Otters. That's Dave Lang in the center and Otters to his right and left. Dave Lang has a website where you can listen to some of his music and where he describes the group as follows:

Dave Lang & The Twin Otters
Featuring Jeff Poynter on clarinet and Alex Remple on upright bass this trio is performing nearly every day on Victoria's inner harbour causeway. They also have a regular gig at The Superior in James Bay. They're recording a CD the old fashioned way - everyone playing together at the same time in the same room!

This is a very classy act - interesting music (witty and intelligent) well played. I captured a small sample in the video below. If you happen to catch these musicians playing, sit down and listen. You'll be well rewarded.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fisgard Lighthouse 5

This is what I consider the classic view of the Fisgard Lighthouse. It is taken from the seaward side of the lighthouse with sun behind me so the sky and the clouds always have better definition than shots taken from the other side. Nevertheless, as I stated in the first post in this sequence, this lighthouse looks good from every angle and in any light.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Water Lilies

I cannot help but take lots of pictures of these lovely water plants, there is a certain romance about them somehow. No wonder Claude Monet dedicated himself to painting them. - Fern

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Undulating Waves

Down at Fleming Beach,the strong winds were making waves; both on the sea and in the long grasses. Dramatic but chilly! - Fern

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fisgard Lighthouse 4

This lighthouse is so attractive because of the fundamental architectural elements that compose it and their juxtaposition and contrast with the untamed and natural forces of sea and wind, water and rock. The lighthouse is rigorously composed of squares, triangles, circles and a cone and the contrast of these strict formal shapes with the water and the rock that surround and uphold them is very satisfying. This contrast is further enhanced by the red and white of the lighthouse, colors that contrast perfectly with the blue and green of the environment.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fisgard Lighthouse 3

With this photo of the Fisgard Lighthouse I like it that the lighthouse itself, though nicely placed as the center of the composition, is blurred while the foreground trees are crisp and sharp. That reversal of priorities creates an interesting dynamic.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fisgard Lighthouse 2

This photo is taken from a little closer to the lighthouse and with the sun on my shoulder rather than shooting into the sun like yesterday's shot.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fisgard Lighthouse

Last Saturday's bright and sunny day took me out the Fort Rodd Hill and the Fisgard Lighthouse, my favorite photographic subject. It always looks good at any time of day, in any light or weather and in any season. Usually I get closer before I start to click the shutter but on Saturday I decided to see what I could get from further back.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Oak Bay Tea Party

In a society where many of the fun things we used to do when we were kids are now off limits for children as too dangerous, it's nice to see that midway rides still offer some extreme experiences that feel dangerous even if they aren't. The kids above are enjoying one of my former favorites, the Tilt-A-Whirl, on the midway at the annual Oak Bay Tea Party, last weekend.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Artistry Above

As well as photography I like to paint and the sky is a constant source of inspiration to me. So often what is going on above our heads and in plain sight is a work of art beyond anything I'm capable of with a paintbrush. - Fern

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thetis Lake Park

This is one of Victoria's gems, I never tire of this park. Only 15 minutes from Victoria and you're in the woods. We've had so much rain that the colors are glowing. - Fern

Saturday, June 2, 2012


It's always fun to watch the Harbour Seals at Fisherman's Wharf greeting the tourists and sharing some sashimi. However, I was surprised to see this year that another harbour resident has learned about the free fish - that's a River Otter popping up there to see what the tourists have to offer.

Friday, June 1, 2012