A Busy Month: April 2014

I found myself busier than I’d expected to be in April. So many changes in the air that I just had to keep venturing out for more photos!

The backyard & garden is full of life in the form of birds, blossoms & new flowers. The island is teeming with life as well as the leaves begin to appear on the trees once more and the migratory birds return to nest for the summer.

I have been somewhat neglecting my other duties as a result: website upkeep (!), cleaning out and organizing my studio, taxes (who ever enjoys those?) and much more that is not related to actually being out photographing. Now I am past due for catching up!

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Winter's Arrival

Winter is upon us: snow & ice, wood fires burning steadily and islanders bundling up as they go about their day to day chores. It is a time to reflect on how Nature adapts, shutting down to a certain degree to conserve energy until the spring thaw.

One thing is for sure: it is an inspiring time to be out and about with my photo equipment

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Forest Dwellers

A journey out to a small waterfall on the South end of the island yielded some beautiful late-Fall images. My sister Barbara and friend Jaime accompanied me and shared in the splendour of the scenery. They were both singing along to the trickling water of the falls and it created a perfect environment for me to photograph not only the natural environment but the people in it as well.

The timing couldn’t have been better for my friend Jaime: she is just leaving for a 3 month tour of Southern India where the landscape, flora & fauna will be so much different from our West Coast island. Hopefully this trip into the woods will help serve as a reminder of what she will be coming back to following her journey.

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Last of the Autumn Colours in the Mist

The island and much of the West coast has been blanketed in fog these past few weeks. Some days the fog is only in the low-lying areas and there are blue skies above, other days it is dense and covers even the tallest peaks.

The compositions that emerge from this phenomenon are quite unique: from finger-like tendrils reaching across land and sea to silhouetted figures on a barren looking landscape. I truly love this time of the year as the seasons are changing and we prepare for the shorter, darker days of winter.

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Tofino in Colour

After an eight year absence I finally made it back out to the west coast of Vancouver Island to the remote village of Tofino. Perched on the edge of Clayoquot Sound, Tofino boasts some of the most incredible coastal scenery in the World. From ancient rain forests to long stretches of open ocean beaches it definitely has something for everyone on land or sea. Just the trip out to the coast is awe inspiring as you make your way from sea level through the snow capped peaks of Vancouver Island with placid lakes and raging rivers interspersed along the narrow, winding mountain roadways.

This is the first time that I have visited Tofino without a kayak or camping gear which was, at first, quite strange. After a long day of driving and a couple of exciting days out photographing in various conditions I came to appreciate the amenities in our small ocean side cabin…especially the warmth & hot water!


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Herons in Booth Canal

On my home from Ganges the other evening, I decided to take the backroads and visit Booth Canal to see what was happening at high tide during the sunset. A couple of Great Blue Herons were feeding in the shallows of the canal, their silhouettes and reflections reminiscent of Zen-like paintings with a golden light as a background. As I was photographing the herons, a large flock of Canadian Geese began to arrive to settle in for the night…another incredible feast for the senses on Salt Spring!

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Dew Drops

Despite the fact that it is mid-winter here on Salt Spring, there is still plenty of life in and around our garden. The birds that don’t migrate can be found searching for berries & seeds, spiders continue to weave tenuous webs and the plants continue to thrive, some even producing winter buds!

It is an especially pleasant time to venture out early to see what patterns the dew has formed on the various fauna. Tiny lenses on each bud & leaf that magnify the world around them creating miniature, upside-down versions of the garden. The textures and colours show up particularly well in the overcast conditions where there is even light to illuminate every tiny detail…beautiful!


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A New Year

A new year is upon us and, so far, it promises to be a very good one indeed! The skies have been cloudy, misty, foggy, clear and everything in between creating diverse opportunities in the photographic landscape of Salt Spring Island.

It is a time to reflect back on the year gone by, to sit by a warm fire and enjoy the deep quiet of the winter months. Stacking wood, cooking soups & stews in the kitchen and relaxing with friends and family for good food and good company! Cooking is another one of my passions and during these cold and dark times I find that spending time in the kitchen keeps me busy & warm and I am rewarded with a great feast at the end of my work: a win-win for sure!

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Back to Life

Now that the rains have begun in ernest, the levels are rising in our local creeks and streams and the greens are beginning to “pop” once more in the woods. Virtually all of the leaves have fallen from the Oaks, Maples, Alders and other deciduous trees and the first frosts are greeting us in the early morning.

It is a time of transition from Fall to Winter when the forests come back to life despite the lack of leaves on the trees. The earth is nourished once more by frequent rains and you can feel the relief as the plants and animals hydrate as much as they please once more.

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Arbutus: the peel sessions

It’s the time of year once again when our local Arbutus trees begin to peel their old, russet coloured bark to reveal fresh, avocado & lime green new bark beneath: quite a breath-taking display of textures and colours! I particularly love to capture the delicate curls of “skin” as they peel away from the trees and hang on by an invisible connection until the wind, rain, heat, cool or someone’s/thing’s touch breaks the last bond to set them free...a very improbable looking process that last a few days at most.

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Mid-Summer

The summer is finally in full-swing here on Salt Spring Island and, despite the cooler than normal temperatures, it is going quite well so far. I have been puttering around our property more and more these days exploring the garden which is teeming with life: ladybugs, butterflies, damselflies, bees, wasps, dragonflies and spiders all going about their daily business. My time spent in the garden is well rewarded with new, exciting compositions of colourful insects on budding flowers...compositions that will be sorely missed in the winter months!

My energy has been less than stellar so I have had limited access to my usual hiking trails and have been exploring the farm up in the Cranberry Valley as well as other easily accessible areas like Ruckle Park, Burgoyne Bay and Booth Bay. I did manage a short hike partway up Mt. Erskine yesterday and photographed the Arbutus trees which are shedding their leaves and beginning to peel...incredible to witness every year!

check a few updates to my RECENT WORKS page!

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adjustments

Summer has finally arrived on Salt Spring Island and with it blue skies and warm weather...perfect for getting out to capture new images! The winter seemed particularly long this year stretching all the way through spring and bumping up against summer. I had a challenging time keeping my energy levels up and am still struggling against daily fatigue but I am staying very productive despite having to piecemeal my work.

The fields at Fitz-Roy Farms are in full production mode, our garden and all of Salt Spring is teeming with life: animal, vegetable & human! Tourist season has arrived, the harbour is full and the Saturday Market in the Park is thriving. All is as it should be

Updates to RECENT WORKS & FITZ-ROY FARMS

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A morning stroll at Ruckle Park

I decided to forego my morning coffee session this past Sunday and drive down to Ruckle Provincial Park instead...albeit with a “to go” coffee in the cup holder! The park was fairly free of people in the early morning so I had a fairly free run of the farm area where I took advantage of the solitude to get close to the resident turkeys.

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The hummingbirds were busy in our garden this morning flitting from one honeysuckle flower to the next at lightning speeds!

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Eagles at Booth Bay

It’s May on Salt Spring which means that, as usual, the Eagles are busy at Booth Bay teaching their young to fish, fly, survive and thrive in the World that awaits them as they approach adulthood. The juveniles begin to moult and lose their spotted camouflage to become true, majestic Bald Eagles with white tops & tails. I love to watch as they swoop and glide in the air above my head just out of arms’ reach sometimes but well within the range of my telephoto lens! The Great Blue Herons put on a pretty good show as well...

Updates to two of my galleries, EAGLES & HERONS and B&W DIGITAL include some more of my recent photographs of these incredible aeronauts.




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Sunny day at the farm

Since my recent return from Vancouver the weather on Salt Spring has been anything but co-operative, until now that is: warm and sunny with a cool breeze means ideal conditions to get out for some photo ops!

I haven’t been up to Fitz-Roy Farms in about a month and was expecting to see some changes in the fields: I wasn’t disappointed. The green house is in full swing, the garlic is going mad and the fields are drying out enough that planting is now going ahead almost full tilt. At 3pm the sun was still almost directly overhead so there was a good 6 hours of daylight left...summer is definitely just around the corner! I enjoyed catching up with Dan and Celeste and captured a few photos of them around the farm along with some of my usual documentary works.

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Earth Day & more

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than getting out into the heart of Nature? I launched my friend’s wooden kayak from the end of Long Harbour this morning and paddled around to Chocolate Beach in Ganges Harbour for a 3+ hour tour. It was a mix of sunny and overcast with a light breeze at times but nothing worse: perfect conditions for a day out in the boat! I enjoyed playing with perspective alongside the BC Ferries dock at Long Harbour Terminal working with the various pilings in the foreground and other terminal structures in the background to give a sense of the monumentality of these forms when seen from a kayak (see RECENT WORKS)

I’ve also been diligently working through my archives scanning slides and negatives so that I can finally retire film based photography for good. It’s been quite a process going through the older works but it has also given me an idea of what I need to aim for with my digital work (in some cases at least). Viewing my B&W negatives in their positive state has lead me to begin working in the digital darkroom to process my colour work into something other than tweaked RAW files. At this point I am enjoying the process of desaturating some images while working in faux B&W with others and everything in between. Photographing with an end goal of an almost monochromatic image in mind has opened up new and exciting alternatives in the digital world for my work...more to come!

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Lambs & Goats & Spring

The sun has been rather reluctant to come out for more than a few hours but that’s just enough to get people out to enjoy some vitamin D! When I ventured out this afternoon the sun was high in the sky and shedding warm rays across the island. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at my destination for the day, Salt Spring Island Cheese, the sun had decided to hide behind some rather intense looking clouds. No worries, I merely adjusted my ASA and began to explore the farm and to photograph all of the new, young lives that were gambolling across the fields and sleeping in the hay.

The Spring brings with it new growth in the garden as well and when I’m not off running around the island there is much to see in my own backyard. Recent Works features some of my latest Spring time images: enjoy!

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Musgrave Road Spring Falls

a seriously perfect day for getting out to shoot some local waterfalls: the light was diffused, temperature not to hot or cold and the streams running not too high and not too low. I managed to work my way along Musgrave Road to two sets of falls that occur along the same stream: the first was cluttered with lots of debris from the recent wind storms that we’ve had but there were still many compositions to be found in the smaller pools below the falls, the second set of falls was the opposite with lots of clutter below the falls and the headwaters clean & clear.

Slogging through the streams in gumboots is the only way to get the shots that I’m after: low-angle compositions mid-way into the flowing waters to give the viewer the sense of being in the midst of the rushing water and chaotic sounds that accompany even the smallest set of rapids. There is a feeling of life flowing along the streams, over the stones and through the roots of the trees & ferns along the banks. Spending time around fast flowing water and waterfalls always gives me a bit of an energy boost: I feed off of the same life force that keeps the forests alive.

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