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.

Buenos Aries


Prior to our cruise, we wanted to spend some time exploring the sights of Buenos Aries and the Iguasu Falls. Our trip to the falls will be covered in my next blog. What follows are just a few of the pictures that were taken in Buenos Aries.

After about a 35 hour flight from Vancouver Island, we arrived at our hotel Saturday evening. Our plan was to spend Sunday and Monday exploring the city. A number of the streets were closed to traffic, while others were bustling with market goers.

The Obelisco De Buenos Aries is located in the Plaza De La Republica. Erected in 1936 to commemorate the Quadricentennial of the first foundation of the city. Its’ height of 68m is fully illuminated with coloured lights on special occasions.

One of the attractions within walking distance was the Ateno Grand Splendid bookstore. Opened in 1919, as a theatre, later turned into a movie house, and finally reopened at the start of the 2000’s as a bookstore. Now it entertains more than a million visitors a year.

The gentleman below appears to be in a hurry, actually he is not moving and his coat and scarf is rigged to look like it is a windy day.

The young man with the “alp” horn was doing a mean beat to the music. The sound was rather intriguing.

Our last stop of the day was at La Recoleta Cemetery. Established in 1822, it houses some 5000 vaults covering 14 acres. Just a few of the dignitaries resting there are Eva Peron, presidents of Argentina and various Nobel prize winners. A few of the vaults are newer, but most are showing the wear and tear of the years.

We finished our day by walking to a recommended restaurant to sample some Argentine beef. The tenderloin came in at just over a pound, so it was shared. It did not disappoint. A bottle of Malbec, a shared desert and we waddled back to our hotel!

Little did we know what was waiting for us down the road. Our 31 day cruise with Holland America around the Horn was still 5 days away. Our first week cruising went well and as planned. Then the plug was pulled. Stay tuned.

Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, British Columbia


Unlike Europe, Canada comes up a little lacking when it comes to castles.

Craigdarroch Castle, Vicoria, B.C.

Not intended as a castle, but as a manor house for coal baron Robert Dunsmuir. Completed in 1890, and situated on 28 acres, it boasts 4 floors, many glass windows and much intricate wood work. Sadly, Robert passed away before completion, leaving the manor to his wife Joan, 3 daughters and 2 grandchildren.

We were fortunate on our visit day. It was during the mid week and also a rainy day. This meant that not too may other people would be in the view finder.

The first sight to greet you is the magnificent staircase. The impressive woodwork for the most part was milled in Chicago and shipped on five rail cars.

The large salon-double style drawing room would have been the main entertaining area of the home.

Mrs. Dunsmuir sitting room.

One of the many stained glass windows. This one in the library.

The dining room, with seating for 14. The fireplace has a bent-flue to allow a stained glass window. This feature is also in the library and breakfast room.

Just one of the landings in the grand staircase.

The main hall and the beginning of the grand staircase.

Craigdarroch Castle stretches over 2,000 square metres and houses 39 rooms. It is believed to have cost around $500,000 when first built. The construction includes granite from British Columbia, tiles from San Francisco and an oak staircase that was imported from Chicago. While the castle is still dressed in 1800s’ Victoria-era furnishings, it is known for its stunning stained glass designs and intricate interior woodwork.

The castle’s name, Craigdarroch, means “a rocky oak place” in Gaelic and its design lives up to that name. The exterior is made of beautiful gray granite while the interior is given a warm atmosphere through the extensive use of wood. During the time period, it was thought that being surrounded by artistic beauty, such as the decor in the castle, would lead to a better development of personality in those that lived there. (Canadian Traveller).

I would like to visit the castle again. I could not get my camera to the right settings, hence, the hue is off in some, and a bit grainy in others. I had more success with my iPhone. More practice needed. Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two for the Price of One


Strathcona Provincial Park, located on Vancouver Island, is big. At 250,000 hectares, it was designated as a provincial park in 1911, and is the largest in British Columbia.

Within the park are several campgrounds, one of which is at Ralph River. So for a couple of days last week, my wife and I packed up the car and drove for over 3 hours to what turned out to be the most desirable campsite in the park.  

Little did we know, is that Wednesday was to be our best day weather wise. Thursday was wet and cool. After wandering around some of the shoreline of Buttle Lake, (named after John James Taylor Buttle, a surveyer and cartographer of the mid 1800’s), we decided to take a short drive to Mayra Falls. The pictures to follow are just before the final plummet to the lake.

The last time we were here, we walked out on these rocks, but not today; too wet and slippery.

On our way home Friday we stopped at Lupin Falls, just a short walk from the highway. Just like at Myra Falls, the rain had brought out all the hidden shades in the rock. This is an entirely different falls; not as much water, higher and in a much more lush setting.

Red -Ryan’s Photo Challenge.


Autumn is a season of many colours. There is a flavour here for everyone. But I must admit that I am partial to red, yet at the same time it is hard to ignore the others dancing about.

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Japanese maple from our back yard.

I was hoping to be horticulturally correct and include the Latin nomenclature for these samples, until I found out that there are hundreds of varieties of Japanese maple. So we will leave it at that and just enjoy their splendid display.

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Another Japanese maple that leans more towards the purple side.

And now a red that is every bodies favourite. Whether it is in the morning or evening, a red sunrise or sunset has always drawn people to it’s magic. The picture below was taken a few days ago just as the sun came up over the Salish Sea here in British Columbia. Enjoy.

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Photo for the Week – 14 – Red