I took this image as I disembarked from the ferry to Victoria a few years ago. That was my first time visiting Vancouver Island, and I remember being thrilled at all the new sites. So, before arriving in town, we stopped here to walk around and take pictures of the scenery.
I used my first mirrorless camera, the Sony A7R. Now, as I go back and look at old photos I haven’t processed, I’m surprised at how well the images hold up, even against newer cameras. So I find myself going back to explore old RAW files with more modern tools and each time, I come away with few surprises.
The trip was the beginning of a week on the island, and some of my all-time favorite images came from that trip. There are different climates all across the island, and the geography varies widely. As a result, I was pulling over all the time to take pictures. That meant it took us hours to get anywhere, but since we weren’t on a schedule it wasn’t a problem, until the last day when we had to be at the terminal on time for the ferry back. That’s when I got a speeding ticket, but that’s a story for another day.
I took this about four years ago when I was in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. It’s a part of the Wild Pacific Trail that traces the coastline. It’s a well-maintained trail with benches like this every half mile or so.
I was here in late August (or “Fogust” as the locals say) when a thick fog would roll in most afternoons. You could see it sitting just offshore, and then at the right time it would approach and before you could say Foghorn Leghorn, you were in it. In this image, you can see it about a mile offshore.
Benches or empty chairs in an image allow us to imagine sitting there in the scene. Our eyes follow the direction it points, similar to a leading line, only with a different device. When a photo makes us look in a particular direction, it has captured our imagination as we weave our own story in the scene. However, if it has thick fog, that would be something different entirely.
Here is another image from Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island. I cannot fathom living eight-hundred years. Imagine the stories these trees could tell. After that length of time, I suppose the stories would go on and on.
After looking at these images, I am pining to go back. Knock on wood I’ll have a chance soon. Short of that, I’ll just have to lumber along here in Florida. Forgive me dear blog reader, you do not deserve to be pun-ished this way.
One good thing about living eight-hundred years is that the statute of limitations is on your side. Whatever you did in the last century is forgotten, unless, of course, you’re a tree. In that case, your neighbors know your business. Do trees forget?
If you’ve found this blog post informative, then I’m clearly not doing my job today.
This is from Cathedral Grove in British Columbia. It’s a relatively small area filled with Douglas Fir and Red Cedar. Some of the trees are 800 years old and 250 feet high. The forest is considered rare and endangered, the trees are prized by the logging industry. You can find out more about that here.
Having walked through it on a couple of occasions I can say there is a special feeling you get. There aren’t many places like this remaining on the planet, so I hope we can preserve it and the forests around it.
We passed by here on our way to Ucluelet from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. We were so moved by the size and grace of the trees that a week later we stopped again on the way back. On each occasion, we walked in quiet reverie induced by our surroundings. I took a lot of pictures and am just now getting back to some of these images that remind me of this special place.
A couple of years ago I was in the small fishing village of Ucluelet, British Columbia. In the center of town on a hill, I noticed this old church that seems to be in need of a paint job. Its rustic appearance piqued my interest and I took a photo that I haven’t processed until now.
The reason I waited so long is that the church is actually obscured by all kinds of wires. What I did was to use Photoshop to remove all of the wires. Because there were so many it took me hours of detailed work to get this image. To get a sense of what the scene really looked like, take a look at this image from Google Maps.
For me, I prefer the version without the wires. I know it’s not real, but I do these things because it resonates with me as I look for an aesthetic amongst the chaos. I think the image is more interesting now, even though it’s not completely real. And besides, the process of removing the wires was almost like a meditation on removing complexity. There is probably a nugget of wisdom in there somewhere.
I took this a few years ago at Elk Lake in Victoria BC. We had just arrived on the ferry and stopped several times on the short drive into town. The scenery around Victoria is pretty awesome and you don’t have to go far to see something. In this case the sun was setting as it highlighted the trees along the lake. A tranquil scene that I tried to capture with my camera.
I’m going back to Vancouver shortly so I may hop over to the island and have a peak around. I was here in summer last so the change of seasons always shows things in a different light. Obviously it will look very different.
This is an old picture that I happened to notice as I was browsing my archives. It brought back memories and it reminded me of that trip. The other night I decided to scroll back on my iPhone images. The iPhone is ten years old and sure enough I have images going back to 2007. As I scrolled through I took a walk down memory lane and before you know it an hour had gone by, and I only made it to 2010.
This is a dancing fountain at Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC. The gardens are carved out of an old quarry and have become a big attraction for the region. I’m not a gardener but this place was way better than I expected. I will go back without hesitation next time I’m there.
It’s hard to imagine the amount of work that goes into maintaining such an expansive display. There are favorites like roses as well as exotic species I’d never seen. There are streams, brooks and ponds throughout. As well there is an outdoor venue for concerts.
It’s the kind of place you want to take a couple of days to explore, or maybe more if you’re interested in plants or gardening. If I lived here I could see visiting on a regular basis for no other reason than to soak up the energy. If plants have feelings then those here are very happy and being around happy plants might not be a bad idea.
There’s too much to take in all at once, though I tried. I took hundreds of pictures of flowers as well as the landscape. This fountain was towards the back. I recall thinking there couldn’t possibly be more to see and then came upon this.
I took this in British Columbia while returning from a whale watching trip at a group of islands just offshore. Patches of fog started to form in the afternoon as we made our way back to port. The coast of BC can be treacherous and only the most experience sailors have any right to navigate here. There were buoys with bells and fog horns everywhere. The fog renders your eyes useless and so without electronics you must navigate by ear; not for the faint of heart. Even so it makes for ethereal scenery, especially from a boat.
There is an automated lighthouse in Ucluelet not too far from here. Basically the horn begins sounding whenever the fog rolls in. I’m sure it’s reassuring to sailors because from what I saw the fog rolls in pretty fast. I was told the month of August is also known as “Fogust”. Standing safely on shore I could hear the bells of the buoys and the horn of the lighthouse for miles around. When I first arrived the sounds were new and unusual but by the time I left they’d become an integral part of the sights and sounds of these costal communities.
There are many forms of water in nature but perhaps not so often do we think about it in it’s gaseous state. Yet it can shroud the sky, land and water in a cloak that despite it’s willowy nature, becomes impenetrable to all but the most skilled among us. It was after staying here a week that I gained a whole new respect for sailors and, for that matter, pilots too.
The coast of British Columbia is made up of islands, one after another, as far as the eye can see. I imagine this scene must have remained the same for the nine thousand years that the first nations inhabited this area. These were solely inhabited by indigenous tribes up until a couple centuries ago. I know this because when I took this picture I was standing on the grounds of the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver. The MoA is largely dedicated to preserving remnants from those people.
The MoA contains artifacts, writings and art from these cultures and I left there with a new sense respect. A good museum does that, takes us outside of ourselves and provides different perspectives we can use to understand the world. I think that whether I descend from these people or not, we inhabit the same space and share the same planet and based on that we are more alike than different. I know that’s a little bit cliche, but it helps me understand their story just a little bit, starting from what we have in common. It’s a stretch, but it’s a start. Regardless, I left feeling a little bit conflicted about the current state of things. A problem for another day perhaps.
The next day I was walking through a crowded park in the city. Along a trail by a pond was a young lady holding her right hand out. I thought that was a little odd so I continued looking as I approached. In fact she was holding out bird seed and feeding some small finches as they landed on her hand. She did not look at me as she remained perfectly still, hand outstretched. I smiled and walked on, not wanting to disturb her communion, but I did think that was an odd sight, not something I see everyday. Is it possible that centuries ago this might not have appeared so unusual, that it might have been as common as, say, sending a text message? I have no way of knowing, but it made me think that we moderns and those ancients are probably closer at the things that matter than we might know.
This is a shot of the mist on Wick beach in British Columbia. Actually the name of this place is Wickaninnish, but folks around here just call it Wick. In any case, this is at the southern end of a very long beach that stretches for miles up the coast. There is a WWII memorial here as well as a lodge with a restaurant that has a few local dishes on the menu. It was a chilly day so we asked for comfort food and we got a local favorite. I can’t begin to remember the name of it but it seemed to have fish and rice all mixed in and it really hit the spot. This area is known for surfing, fishing whale watching. Or, if you’re like me, just long walks on a long beach followed by comfort food.