A Walk in the Park.


We are so fortunate where we live in Nanaimo, British Columbia. A 12 minute walk and we find ourselves in Bowen Park. A 36 hectare area, mostly left to the wild. And except for the muted sounds of traffic, you find yourself in the middle of the untouched forest. Given to the city in 1931,it also boasts a rec centre, pool, lawn bowling and volley ball courts.

What made our walk through there different this time is that we left our cameras at home. But we took our iPhones. On the phone I had loaded an app labeled, DSLR Camera. It has been there for a while, but I keep forgetting to use it. But not this time.

The unique feature about this app is that it allows you to take a picture using the RAW format, the same feature that we use on our Nikons. This allows you to shot in a much wider colour spectrum, with many more pixels than JPEG. Great features for post work in Photo Shop and Lightroom.

The local photography club has weekly rambles (in small groups) every Tuesday. The one coming up next week will be down to the water front, but no cameras, just phones. Though not as feature loaded as the camera, nevertheless, some of the basic control goodies are present; white balance, shutter speed, ISO and focus control plus a few more that I need to investigate, including filters for specials effects.

Enough of the preamble, the pics that follow are from the phone, with minimum processing in Photoshop.

The Millstone stream has carved it’s way through the middle of the park. At this time of year, the flow rate is greatly reduced from that of spring. The advantage here is that you are able to stand in the middle on dry rock and get your shots. In the spring some of the trails near the river are closed due to flooding.

This park is such a delight to wander through. Never crowded, and depending on the time of year, you can be rewarded by the many plants and flowering shrubs along your river walk.

In the spring time, with the rains and the snow run off from the mountains, it can be a bit of a challenge finding a vantage spot due to the high water levels. But, not at this time of the year.

Since this was my first venture out with this new toy, I found that there are several things I need to do. I need to dig out my selfie stick, and find out if I can attached a strap or cord to it. I get a great feeling of insecurity hanging my hands out over a bridge or railing and hoping that I don’t drop it in the water. Also, I like to shoot at a slow speed, which means a steady hand, which I don’t have. So, hope I can rig up a tripod, or at least a monopod. More on that in another blog.

Until my next outing, happy shooting (pictures that is), and stay safe. Cheers.

Sugarloaf Mountain, Nanaimo, B.C.


Little did I know that we had a “mountain” in the middle of Nanaimo. To describe this bulge of rock in such a manner, in my opinion, is pushing the word mountain a bit far. That being said, my wife and I and two friends who took us there, did the easy climb to the top. It was a gorgeous day, and the view did not disappoint.

Getting around is relatively easy, and that facilitates taking in a 360 degree view of the mountains and the Salish Sea, all from an elevation of about 250 feet.

The climb starts out on a couple of flights of wooden stairs. At the top of the stairs you have easy access to the rock for the balance of the climb.

This struck me as a lovely spot for a picnic, or just to watch the sunrise or sunset. Cheers.

Dragons, Silly Boats and Bathtubs.


The city of Nanaimo B.C., is known as the harbour city. This month it more than earned that moniker.

Three events took place in the month of July. First was the Dragon Boat Festival. Started in 2003 as a means of bringing cancer survivors together to join in a common social endeavor. Today it is a fund raiser for cancer detection equipment for the Nanaimo Hospital foundation. DSC_0039

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The next event is billed as the Silly Boat Regatta. In its 34th year, its goal is to raise money for the Child Development Centre which help children with disabilities. This event is just a hoot. Silly boats, silly costumes. Actual boat construction starts at 8:00am the day of the race, to be ready to put in the water by 1:00pm. To coin a phrase, ‘build it and they will come,’ viewing room was at a premium, but I got lucky and elbowed my way to the rail.DSC_0330

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The third and final event is the International World Championship Bathtub Race and Nanaimo Marine Festival.

The first race took place in 1967, and took a course from Nanaimo to Vancouver. In the last couple of years it has been run in a loop, up the coast from Nanaimo, in the Salish sea and back. Well represented by local tubbers, it also draws competitors from around the world. Competitors, both male and female, can race in a number of different categories, from stock to super modified.

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We were blessed with perfect weather for all 3 weekend events. That is about it for water events this summer. We still have a folk festival, a blues festival and a jazz festival to look forward to. Until then, enjoy the pics. Cheers.