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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Weirs Beach

You can live somewhere for a long time and still discover new things or places. Take for example Weirs Beach which is an amazing stretch of sand and clear, calm water out in Metchosin. It's just about as for as you can go out that way. While we were there these two strolled onto the beach dressed in pirate gear and it attracted the kids and their camera toting parents pretty quickly. I will be back! - Fern

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pierre St. Pierre

It's always a treat to watch mime Pierre St. Pierre work his magic down by the Inner Harbour Causeway. He never fails to attract an appreciative audience, particularly youngsters who watch his formalized movements in fascination. (He's also a photographers' dream model - bold bright contrasting colors and periods of perfect stillness coupled with an unvarying and mysterious expression.)

Friday, May 29, 2015

What happens Next?

Ellice Recycling backs on to one end of the Selkirk Waters and barges like this regularly come up the Gorge to gather another load of crushed cars. What I wonder is what happens to these vehicles next. Are they floated away to be dumped in some vast hoppper and melted down for further use, or...?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Purple Martin

The lovely sculpture above is located on the eastern shore of the Gorge where it widens to form the Selkirk Waters. It's called "The Purple Martin". I didn't see any of the birds themselves while I was there but there are nest boxes along the walkway that suggest some are resident. Purple Martins are migratory and I don't know if they have returned yet this year.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fly Season

While not the prettiest subject, I am nonetheless pleased with this portrait because of the eyes. I've always wanted to shoot a macro of an insect where it is possible to actually see the individual facets of their eyes. My main problem with this was that I was usually obsessed with trying to get the whole insect in focus. This is very difficult to do because the depth of field in macro-photography is generally so narrow - you can see this in this photo - the little pads on his front legs and the back end of his wings are clearly out of focus. Now I realize that the trick is to get the important part of the insect (probably the eyes) in focus and not worry about the rest. This is almost certainly a Common Housefly (Musca domestica). This photo was shot using a Tamron 90mm macro lens mounted on a Sony A7r.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Celebrity Infinity

A couple of weeks ago I posted a close-up photo of some cruise ships at Ogden Point. The above photo is is how I see them more often, from the perspective of the West Bay Walkway. This is the Celebrity Infinity.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Wild Rose

There are lots of these blooming now, wild roses, one of my favorite wildflowers.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Spot for Contemplation

We recently went for a walk along Colquitz Creek and while this idyllic spot was on the other side of the creek at the end of someone's property it looks like such a nice spot to sit and enjoy nature. - Fern (photo taken by Rosie)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hidden Gem

Victoria has a lot of restaurants but here's one that many visitors to the city (residents, too) may miss because of its location. It is the dining room at the Legislative Assembly Building. It's actually in the Legislature on the lowest floor. It's not well signposted or advertised and, to be frank, it's a bit difficult to find - several doors and stairways need to be negotiated - though security staff are very helpful in pointing out the way. However, the ambience and service are exceptional (look at those linen napkins!), the menu is varied, the food is excellent and the prices are about half what you would expect in such a venue (three of us had a splendid lunch with wine for $50 and change).

Friday, May 22, 2015

Field Trip

I had occasion to visit the Legislative Assembly Buildings on Wednesday and happened to notice this group of kids on a field trip. Though the concept is not new to me, when I cast my mind back to my own school days I cannot ever remember taking a field trip. I'm glad modern children get a break from classroom walls from time to time.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Air Horns

As well as colorful and fantastic, parades are usually noisy - sometimes too noisy for little ears. The sirens on our local fire trucks were OK but whenever the air horns let out a blast this little boy plugged both ears.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Victoria Day Parade

Congratulations to everyone who guessed the answer the yesterday's question correctly. Of course all those people and many more along Douglas Street were awaiting the annual Victoria Day Parade. Victoria Day has always been a special day in this city named after the young queen and the parade contained most of what you would expect, including the Shriner's ever-popular clowns.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Victoria Day

Here's a bunch of Victorians perched along Douglas Street on Monday. What are they doing?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Vancouver Ground-Cone

Here's an oddity Fern and I came across during our walk around Matheson Lake. When I first saw it I thought it was a pine cone standing on its end. There were two of them and I assumed some kid was playing with them and left them standing upright like that. But when I touched one I realized it was firmly rooted in the ground and looked a little closer. It's not a pine cone but a parasitic plant called Vancouver Ground-Cone (Boschniakia hookeri). In our area it is parasitic on salal and huckleberry plants. It just goes to show that no matter how many times you go for a walk in the woods you might always see something new.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Water Lilies

As Benjamin and I strolled around Matheson Lake last Sunday we both agreed that water lilies are challenging to photograph as they are often kind of 'messy' looking. This is one a took of them which I quite like in the end. - Fern

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pacific Starflower

When Fern and I walked around Matheson Lake earlier in the week the forest floor was thickly dotted with these bright little Pacific Starflowers.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Matheson Lake

While out in Metchosin on Sunday Fern and I also visited Matheson Lake where I always take a picture of this small island in the lake because it reminds me so much of the paintings of the Canadian artist group known as The Group of Seven. The sign at the left was posted at the entrance to a pathway leading to the lake. Being a daily photo blogger is not without its risks!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pedder Bay

Fern and I were out in Metchosin on Sunday and visited this small marina at Pedder Bay. It seems to be particularly popular with fishermen. Not too surprising if the 72 lb. salmon on the wall of the Marina Coffee Shop (left) is a possible catch.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

House Finch

While we're on the subject of backyard birds (from yesterday's post of the hummingbird) here's a photo of one of our local House Finches taking a break from the crowd at the feeder. He was posing so prettily yesterday I couldn't resist taking a photo of him.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbirds are resident here year-round though we don't see them much during the colder months. Pictured above is a mature female. Another hummingbird we see is the Rufous Hummingbird but I have yet to see any this year. They migrate to Mexico in the fall and may not have returned here yet.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Edge

The moment when one thing ends and another begins;
When the solid surface gives way to the shifting depths
And you know that change is the only constant. -Fern

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Walbran Park

Here's a view of MacNeil Bay that has never graced the pages of this blog before. We are here looking east from a tiny green space called Walbran Park. It's very close to Gonzales Observatory but seems to be a separate summit of the same rocky hill formation. However, while Gonzales provides beautiful views looking over the city and strait westwards, Walbran offers spectacular views looking towards the east. See Mount Baker on the far left.

Friday, May 8, 2015

They're Back!

The cruise ship season has started once again and between now and October about 200 of these behemoths will dock at Ogden point and disgorge between 2,000 and 3,000 passengers for a brief visit to Victoria. Each ship's visit will drop about $50,000 into the local economy between Harbours Board fees and passenger expenditures. The two ships pictured above are the Norwegian Sun and the Celebrity Solstice.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Highrock Park

While spring is well-advanced now there are still lots of blooms appearing. These apple blossoms in Highrock Park inspired me to exploit the watercolor processing in my camera once again.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Christian Tatonetti

While down on the Inner Harbour Causeway last week I was happy to see Christian Tatonetti and his sitar. The lovely coiling melodies of the ragas he plays always induce a peaceful, meditative mood in me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Looking Southwest

I think this is the best view overlooking the city. Here we are looking southwest from the top of Christmas Hill. In the foreground is Swan Lake.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Christmas Hill (Continued)

Fern mentioned yesterday that Christmas Hill has lots of good views over Greater Victoria. Here's one looking northeast. That hump on the left is Mount Douglas (Pkols). Despite the woodsy look, what we are looking at here is mostly residential - Victoria is a very well-treed city.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Christmas Hill

Benjamin and I spent a lovely afternoon on Friday up in this truly magical park. It is a great look out spot, affording views in all directions but I love it most for exploring the many paths that take you through the garry oak meadows. At this time of year it is so lush, green and purple thanks to the camas. - Fern

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fort Rodd Hill - Garry Oak Learning Meadow

Just above the tenting facility pictured yesterday is another relatively new project at Fort Rodd Hill, the Garry Oak Learning Meadow. As well as fairly common wildflowers such as the Buttercups and Camas Lilies in the photo above, there are less common indigenous treasures such as the Red Columbine on the left. In addition there are personable Parks Canada staff working in the meadow who are very knowledgeable and happy to provide information about the Garry Oak Ecosystem.

Friday, May 1, 2015


For the last couple of years Parks Canada has offered tent accommodation within Fort Rodd. The tents are visible on the upper right of the above photo. It seems that it might be a fun and relatively inexpensive idea for families with three or four young children who want to spend some time "camping" in the historic park environment and avoid most of the work involved. You can find out more about the program by clicking HERE.