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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Craigdarroch Castle II

Above is a more oblique view of Craigdarroch Castle than that published a few days ago. Below are portraits from inside the castle of its builder, the Honourable Robert Dunsmuir, and his wife Joan. Robert died before the castle was completed but his wife and ten children lived there for many years. Robert Dunsmuir came to Vancouver Island from Scotland in 1851 as an indentured miner for $5 a week. Thirty-eight years later he died the richest man in the colony, worth an estimated $15 million (valued at about $400 million today). His is an interesting story and Wikipedia has a short biography you can read by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


While driving along Beach Drive on my way back from Willows Beach I had to stop when I saw two Blacktail fawns browsing with their mother on lush grasses of the Victoria Golf Club. Victoria has just the right number of deer. You see them fairly often but rarely enough so that it is always a special occasion.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Summer's Here...Again!

After a week or so of weather with an autumnal chill in the air we suddenly had a reversion to summer weather with temps in the high 20s. I figured it was a good time to take a last look at the beach in its summer dress. Above is what Willows Beach looked like yesterday.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Craigdarroch Castle

When I was posting some photos of the Italian Garden at Hatley Castle a week or so ago I mentioned that I intended to take a look at Victoria's other castle, Craigdarroch Castle. Both of these local castles were built by the same family, the Dunsmuirs. The coal baron father, Robert Dunsmuir, built the one pictured above in 1890. One of his sons, James Dunsmuir, built Hatley Castle in 1908. We'll have a closer look at Craigdarroch later in the week.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Atop Mount Maxwell

On a recent trip to Saltspring Island we took a detour and drove up to the look out which boasts a stunning view. Here we are looking southwest with the land on the left Saltspring Island and across the Strait of Georgia is North Cowichan on Vancouver Island. - Fern

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Free Hugs!

I couldn't let summer pass without posting a photo of two of my favorite causeway regulars, Mike and Marcia, who distribute free hugs to anyone who wants or needs one. They make a great contribution to the atmosphere around the Inner Harbour. If you want to find out a bit more about these two generous spirits, visit their blog by clicking HERE.

Friday, August 25, 2017


An afternoon's walk around Chinatown with the Helios 58mm lens.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Young Buskers

I caught this pair on Saturday. There's more kids busking this year than I can remember seeing before, though most don't do it regularly. These little girls don't look so much like buskers - they have the gravitas and dress that made their performance seem like a concert.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Glo Restaurant & Lounge

Glo Restaurant & Lounge outdoor seating is visible in the photo above on the upper right. I had lunch there today - absolutely delicious. Great vegetarian fare and my carnivorous companions both were happy with their non-vegetarian meals. I recommend it highly. Everything about this place is good - the location, the service and the food. It's built on the edge of the Selkirk Waters, near the Selkirk Trestle that crosses the Gorge. Across the water you can see the Railyards condominium development in Vic West.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


It always makes for an interesting musical evening when two of the Causeway's musicians get together for a jam. On the left above is Mather Hewison with one man band Dave Harris on the right. At one point Mather delivered Elvis Presley's version of "Donald, Where's Yer Troosers" and that should give you a hint of the eclectic musical spectrum they surveyed.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bobbo the Clown

I just spent an hour watching Bobbo the Clown make people laugh. He's a very funny performer with a non-stop stream of one-liners and surreal balloon creations. Kids, as you can see in the above picture, stand, watch, listen and laugh and when they finally walk away they are wearing big grins as well as funny balloon hats. Bobbo's been doing this for a long time and he does it very well. If you see him, don't just walk by. Trade a few quips and you too will walk away grinning.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


Walking down Fisgard Street on a summers evening, I glanced up and for a moment wondered if I'd been transported to New York City itself. - Fern

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Homecoming

There is a small open space overlooking Ship Point that is dedicated to the Navy and this statue, The Homecoming, is its centerpiece.It depicts that magical moment when the sailor comes home from the sea to the loving arms of his family. It's a statue that strikes a chord in most passersby, even those of us who have never been in the navy. We all know what it is like to be separated from those we love and the joy of reunion. The sculptor is Nathan Scott.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hatley Castle

Before we leave Hatley Park National Historic Site here is a photo of the castle. I plan to have a look at Victoria's other castle, Craigdarroch, next week.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bokeh 2

Here's one more from the Italian Garden that shows the slightly "swirly" kind of bokeh that is characteristic of the Helios 58mm lens.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


I mentioned in a previous post the term "bokeh". For the non-photographers among visitors to this site, "bokeh" refers to the out-of-focus areas in a photograph, the blurry areas. I like nice crisp images but lately I've begun to appreciate the blurry parts of the photo as well. Different lenses produce different kinds of blur, some more pleasing than others. One of the reasons I like this Helios lens I've been using lately is because of the bokeh it produces. In today's photo I've thrown caution to the winds and used bokeh to more accurately express the experience of a hot summer afternoon in the Italian Garden at Hatley Castle, the way one is thrust into an overpowering profusion of shapes and colors. Wikipedia has a good article on bokeh HERE.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hatley Park Italian Garden Flowers 2

Here's a few more blossoms from the Hatley Castle National Historical Site Italian Garden. For those who are interested in the technical side of things, all yesterday's and today's flower shots were taken with the Russian Helios 58mm lens I mentioned a few days ago. It continues to impress me with its sharpness and interesting bokeh.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hatley Park Italian Garden Flowers

Being in the Italian Garden with a camera is a little like suddenly being transported to a French p√Ętisserie - such a wealth of delicious things.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hatley Castle Italian Garden

Here is a glimpse of the Italian Garden at Hatley Castle. The Italian Garden style is very formal with clearly defined beds of flowers laid out symmetrically. Despite the formality there is such a wealth of exotic blooms in this garden it is quite overpowering.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hatley Park National Historic Site

I went out to Hatley Park National Historic Site yesterday to take a look at the Italian Garden that is adjacent to the castle. It was just as splendid as usual and we'll look at a bit more of it next week. Above is one of the four seasons garden statues that stand around the edges of the garden.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Canada 150

As part of the Canada 150 celebrations a very large CANADA 150 sign was installed on Ship Point Pier and quickly became a popular jungle gym for kids.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Backyard Jungle

I've been experimenting with old lenses this week - today's photo and yesterday's were taken with a lens that is about 60 or 70 years old and proudly proclaims itself as "Made in USSR". It's a Helios 58mm lens I bought in a thrift store for $10 and I'm thinking it's probably the sharpest lens I own.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Garden Fireworks

With all the action downtown and on the beaches, it's easy to forget that some pretty spectacular things are happening in the back yard, too.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


I couldn't let summer pass without at least one photo of perennial causeway performer, "Plasterman", whose living statue mime enthralls everyone, and especially enchants kids -->

Monday, August 7, 2017

Serena Jack

Accomplished musician Serena Jack fitted in perfectly with the beds of flowers on the upper Causeway this weekend. She provided some lively jigs and reels for an appreciative audience.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Surreal Sky

My cellphone camera doesn't do justice to the intensely strange light created by the smoke that has drifted down from the wild fires in the interior of BC. - Fern

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ghost Cat

Sculptor Fred Dobbs has two sculptures on display in Oak Bays Arts Alive program. This one is on Beach Drive. It is called "Ghost Cat". According to the artist's website, "The title for Ghost Cat came from a description of cougars, as elusive, secretive creatures, seldom seen and were more like ghosts."

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Gatekeeper

Here's another of the sculptures that are on display in Oak Bay as part of the Arts Alive program. This striking piece is entitled "The Gatekeeper" and is by sculptor David Hunwick.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Phat Funk

You may notice a slight orange cast to the colors in these photos - we are suffering from smoke from forest fires so the light is a sort of ominous yellow-orange. Couple that with higher than normal temperatures (about 30 degrees C when these photos were taken) and it sounds like a prescription for finding a cool, shady spot to rest. None of that deterred this group of young musicians who bounced around producing some high energy music so stimulating that a large group of small children couldn't help but dance. (See the short video clip below)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Shadow Play 2

The same sun that makes those interesting shadows in yesterday's post poses a real difficulty for photographers since causeway performers almost always sing and play with their backs to the sun. It is very challenging to get a good photo of a performer when the sun is behind him or her. Sometimes however, that can become an advantage - if you like shadows. Providing the shadow above is Blake Andison, a very talented young singer/songwriter.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Shadow Play

The Inner Harbour Causeway faces westward so that in the late afternoon and evening interesting shadows form on the sidewalk and back wall.