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Monday, October 31, 2016

From Songhees Point

As I was downtown after dark on the weekend I thought a few night shots of the Inner Harbour might make a nice break from all those delightful mushrooms we've been seeing recently on our forest walks.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Long Neck

Here's another from our walk at Killarney Lake earlier this week. I just couldn't help but see this tree with it's roots sprawling out like this as a reclining figure; a tree man who just took a seat for a moment and then never got up again. - Fern

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Killarney Lake

This tiny crystal-clear stream exits from one end of Killarney Lake.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Little Brown Mushrooms

Mushroom season has just begun but before I get too far afield with the exotic varieties, here's a photo of the common folk, the little brown mushrooms that are all over the place at this time of year. There are probably many species, all looking pretty much the same except to experts. But I like them, standing up so bravely despite their minute size and the surrounding forest full of giant trees. These were photographed in Mount Douglas Park, which is due for a revisit - at this time of year mushrooms pop out of the ground overnight.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Killarney Lake Mushroom

Every year I look forward to discovering a mushroom new to me and this year our Killarney Lake excursion provided a new find, pictured above. This reddish cap with green-tinted stalk is quite unusual.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Killarney Lake

I have more photos of mushrooms to post but today's photo is just to give you some context. The glassy stillness of the lake will give you some idea of how deep the silence was in this park. Aside from the occasional deep-throated raven calls it was so quiet we often found ourselves speaking in whispers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

M-M-M-Mushroom Season

Fern and I spent the afternoon exploring part of Mount Work Regional Park, specifically the area around Killarney Lake. Mushroom season has definitely begun!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Royal Roads University Forest

The grounds of Royal Roads University are bracketed on the east and west with two strips of old growth forest, trees that are hundreds of years old. It is impossible to walk among these ancient giants without feeling inconsequential. I went there looking for mushrooms, some of the most transient of the forest's beauties. I found a few though the season is still just beginning.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Downtown On A Rainy Night

Lately I seem to be downtown more often in the evening and it's really one of my favorite times to take pictures of the lights at night. Especially if it's just rained and there are lots of reflections on slick streets. Usually these tables outside of Starbucks are full all the time but everyone scatters when it gets wet. - Fern

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Arbutus Extinction?

I've noticed recently that there seem to be a lot of dead or dying Arbutus trees. These are a native tree here and I have often photographed them over the last 8 years. There seems to be a popular belief that many more are dying than is normal but there is no consensus as to the reason or even as to whether this is true. Some scientific opinion is that the trees are dying due to a variety of fungus diseases. Others think that these diseases are more common now because of environmental changes such as global warming and fire control. It may also be that those I see along the walkway are all more or less the same age and are leftovers from when the area had more wild bush. I quite like that the city is not rushing to remove the dead trees since they are like silvery tree sculptures but I hope that there will be young replacement Arbutus trees visible soon.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Inner Harbour

Lots of rainy days lately have made the air so clear it is almost like a lens. Here's the view looking towards the city from the West Song Walkway. That's Songhees point on the left and the green on the right is Laurel Point.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel

I had the good fortune to have lunch at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel yesterday and took advantage of my visit to photograph the pool (above) and the rear portion of the hotel (below) that overlooks the pool/spa area. This hotel was recently erected on the site of the former Oak Bay Beach Hotel that for many years was a main social center for Victorian society. Lunch in The Snug (one of several dining venues) was delicious and though the weather was overcast, the view was impressive.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Victoria International Marina

A chunk of the waterfront on the Inner Harbour is being developed as a small marina for super-yachts, the Victoria International Marina. The project was stalled for a while due to a shortage of steel piles but has now commenced building. There has been considerable early and ongoing local opposition to a project which promises little more than a place for rich people to park their big boats while blocking the kayak, canoe and paddle-board route along the shoreline of a very busy harbour. A petition gathered some 7,000 signatures in opposition.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

MS Westerdam

This is the MS Westerdam, one of the last cruise ships of this year. It usually goes from Seattle to Alaska and back with four or five stops on the way. To the right of the Westerdam you can see the Coho, a car ferry that travels between here and Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula in the USA. Also visible is one of the Harbour Air seaplanes taking off on a flight to Vancouver.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Mount Douglas Maples

One of the reasons I like to visit Mount Douglas Park at this time of year is that the lower part of the park has some of the biggest Bigleaf Maples in the area and they always provide a fine and photogenic carpet of newly fallen leaves.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Westsong Walkway

Always changing, always beautiful. - Fern

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Happy Birthday Benjamin!

Today is a special day in Victoria as Benjamin is celebrating another pass around the sun and another year of providing excellent coverage of the daily goings on about town. Hats off sir! Much love and best wishes for many more. xoxo Fern

Friday, October 14, 2016

Mount Douglas Beach

Mount Douglas Park the only park I can think of that includes both a mountain and an ocean beach within its borders. This is part of the beach, looking northeast. The park's trees are such a mix of evergreen and deciduous that although autumn is well advanced now, the foliage still looks quite green.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Mushrooms 2

During mushroom season in the fall a casual walk in Mount Douglas Park will usually yield a dozen different kinds of mushroom. Yesterday I only saw two - above is the second kind - these distinguished gray fungi I nearly missed in the forest floor leaf litter.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I went out to Mount Douglas Park today to take a specific photo down on the beach. Afterwards I decided to check some of the best mushroom spots to see if our recent rains have brought any to the surface. It's a bit early for them but I was pleased to see these little orange ones. I love mushroom season. They are so photogenic.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Saxe Point Itself

The bays on both sides of Saxe Point are favorite scenes for me - so much so that I seldom photograph the point itself. This is remedied above. Like most of the "points" that mark our local coastline it reminds us that Vancouver Island is fundamentally a very large rock.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Saxe Point - The Western Side

Last week we looked at a few views of Saxe Point's eastern side. Here is a view of the western side of the point, another of my favorite views. The hills in the distance are the Metchosin Hills.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Night Time Walk

This was one of those moments where you hold up your camera and in that instant something happens that makes for a perfect shot. This fellow appeared out of the dark and and as quickly as he'd come he disappeared. - Fern

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Saxe Point 3

This view looks different every time I photograph it.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Saxe Point Park in Black and White

Here's the photo I wanted to take yesterday. Or, at least it's close to the photo I wanted to take yesterday. I wanted to get away from all the rich, west coast colors for a change because sometimes, let it be known, the days here are bleak and gray and horizon disappears in the mist.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Best Laid Plans....

I have some local views that I am particularly fond of and I had planned for today's photo to post a view of Saxe Point taken using a different technique. However, when I got to Saxe Point the rain was just a little too heavy for me to feel comfortable taking my camera out of its bag. So, above is an archival photo of Saxe Point, taken in 2009. Tomorrow, with any luck, we may see a different one.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Holland Point

I posted a photo of Holland Point in Beacon Hill Park a few weeks ago. It's not the first time I posted a photo of that particular spot - it's a favorite landscape of mine and I've posted a picture of it almost every year since the beginning of this blog in 2008. However, despite its unusual name I've never until today wondered how it came to be called Holland Point. A little googling led to a great little site by local historian Janis Ringuette devoted to the history of Beacon Hill Park.In an appendix she gives an extensive history of Holland Point, including how its name was given.
After extensive research, Assistant Provincial Archivist Madge Wolfenden concluded the point was named after George Holland, an undistinguished Hudson’s Bay Company employee. Holland Point was not mentioned on maps or charts before 1848, when Captain Henry Kellett’s chart of Victoria Harbour (#1897) was published. Kellett surveyed the coast in the H.M.S. Herald in 1846. Wolfenden wrote:

A study of Kellett’s charts of Victoria and Esquimalt harbours reveals that a definite plan of naming had been followed, in that the names in and about Victoria distinctly pertain to the Hudson’s Bay Company and that those of Esquimalt derive from Navy personnel. (Madge Wolfenden, “The Naming of Holland Point,” British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XVIII, Jan.-April, 1954, pp. 118)

George Holland was a seaman on the Beaver’s maiden voyage to the northwest coast in 1833-36. After serving on the Beaver and the Cadboro, he taught school at Fort Vancouver in 1939, was appointed Postmaster at Fort Langley in 1843 and then transferred to Fort Victoria in 1846. He went to London, earned a Master Mariner’s certificate and returned to serve on the Norman Morison under Capt. Wishart. After disagreements with the Captain, Holland quit and nothing further is known about his career. (Wolfenden, pp. 117-121) She found no evidence Holland distinguished himself in any field or any reason his name was selected for the point.

Dr. J. S. Helmcken, who met Holland on the ship Norman Morison, later wrote: “Holland was not much of a sailor or anything else...he and the Captain being so different did not get on well together.” (Helmcken, Reminiscences, Vol II, p. 120)

Though the name of the point is not very exciting, looking for it did lead to the Beacon Hill History site. I spent a happy afternoon browsing there and recommend it highly for anyone interested in the history of this area.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Work Point from the West Bay Walkway

Here's another photo I took on a recent walk along the West Bay Walkway. Right next to the West Bay Marina and its float homes is a small RV Park, visible on the right in this photo. We are looking southwest towards Work Point, the western side of the entrance to the Inner Harbour.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Stan Thompson Auto Upholstery

This has been on the corner of Cook St. and Caledonia St. since forever. Well, okay not that long but for a long time and being nostalgic I love the old sign. Here's what the website says, "Stan Thompson Auto Upholstery was started by Stan Thompson in 1952. Self-employment was very appealing to Stan, and his business’ longevity has proven that his choice was a wise one. A second generation business, Stan’s son Steve Thompson is also an upholstery specialist. He has been working with his father since the age of 5, spending weekends learning the craft from his father." - Fern

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Fall Colors

We have lots of Arbutus trees (Arbutus menziesii) here and while their leaves don't change color or fall off during autumn, they do produce rich clusters of bright red berries at this time of year to participate in the season's colors.