salt spring island

New Book

My latest book, Salt Spring Island Memento, is almost complete and will be off to the printers in the next couple of months. This is a hardcover, 128 page book chronicling life on the island. From the Saturday Market to the Fall Fair, Apple Festival, Parks & Hikes, Artists and their studios to the birds and beasts in the forests, fields and other wild spots on the island.

Each time I publish a new book my goal is to not only improve on my last one but also to differentiate it in such a way that I avoid repetition. I appreciate the fact that so many people choose to follow and collect my work and I feel that it is only fair to continue to bring them all new, exciting and unpredictable work!

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Artists & Artisans: women in their creative space

For the past several months I have been visiting various women in their studios here on Salt Spring Island to record some of their incredible work and amazing processes. Each artist/artisan has a unique space, style and approach to their art but they all share one thing in common: discipline. Day in and day out they can be found in their creative spaces exploring new visions, refining delicate, subtle details and continuing their learning as they create new and exciting pieces.

From ceramic artists to fine art painters to metal sculptors, bronze sculptors, found object specialists, recyclers and more, the diversity of media in this project is quite astonishing. I will continue to work with our island’s creative women until I have a large enough body of work to mount a show and/or a book.

Stay tuned for more! In the meantime, some ongoing photographs will be included on my Project page, click the photo below to visit

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Studio Up & Running!

After closing my darkroom in 2006, I have been waiting patiently for an opportunity to begin printing my own photographic work once again. In the fall of 2013 I purchased an archival printer and prepared numerous files for printing once I had space to set up my computer, the printer and a presentation space.

My brother Geoffrey is a lithographic printer by training (hand printing from stone) but has been unable to print since he experienced kidney failure over 12 years ago. I managed to clean his studio out enough to make it possible for both of us to work in our chosen mediums if and when he is able to get back to work once more.

A bright, clean 400 square foot space is more than adequate for the work that I am currently undertaking...a welcome change from my claustrophobic dark room!

Watch for print pricing & availability through my website in the coming months. In the mean time, if there are any images you are interested in, please email me at mslevy@flatearthphoto.com

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Recent Works

It has been a very busy, very productive summer for me here in my studio on Salt Spring Island.

I finally managed to set up and calibrate my archival printer and have been working on producing many new works in B&W and colour on beautiful papers ranging from 8 1/2” x 11” up to 17” x 22”. The results are much better than I had expected them to be and I am enjoying the precise control that comes with printing using a professional series printer. Subtle, continuous tones, vibrant colours and crisp rendering of the most detailed images make working in the studio a pure joy even in the warm, sunny summer months!

Two new B&W series have come together as a result of some recent work and editing:

The Mists of Time which deals with contemplative images taken on the overcast, foggy days that are encountered so often when living along the coast.

The Excursionists is a series of images inspired by the notion of a time when visiting the next village was a major undertaking. This series explores the day to day journeys that we as islanders must take in order to reach our eventual destinations.

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I’ve also managed to get back out for more (moderate!) hiking and kayaking which has boosted my spirits immeasurabley as I continue to deal with fatigue from my various renal medications. As long as I am able to continue pursuing my photography in the out of doors, fully immersed in nature, then I will be content!


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Full Moon Over Ganges Harbour

I mis-read the time of the moonrise the other night and ended up in town much too early. I thought I’d make the most of it by taking a few photos of the sunset in the harbour before going home for some warmer clothes. Surprisingly, just after the moonrise, the wind changed directions and went from a cool breeze to something more akin to a Santa-Anna: warm but quite blustery. The moon was suspended in a sea of clouds that raced by as it continued to rise higher in the sky. A really magical night!

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Where Eagles Dare to Fly

The weather has been cooperating to such a degree lately resulting in pretty much daily trips down to our local beach to watch the Bald Eagles practicing their hunting, flying, fighting and landing skills. Their aerial ballet is incredible to witness as they use the wind to their best advantage to get the most out of each flight. When they clash, there is beautiful chaos in the flurry of feathers and the tangle of talons

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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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The Back Twenty

I decided to stay close to home yesterday to explore the forest in our back 20 acres. We steward but do not manage the forest so that it is left in a natural state: trees fall, nurse logs flourish and trails are adjusted accordingly. The woods are quite diverse with red & yellow cedars, hemlocks, alders, grand & douglas firs, big leaf maples and arbutus trees. The lowest portion is home to a wetland area where choruses of tree frogs can be almost deafening during mating season!

Sometimes I forget how much beauty there is in my own backyard! A hike through the woods is always refreshing, revitalizing and rewarding!

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Spring has Arrived!

The weather is changing day to day: warm to cool, sunny to cloudy, rain to sleet (less & less!)...sure signs that Spring is here! New lambs are frolicking in the fields, kids are being birthed at the local goat cheese farm and songbirds are serenading everyone with the rising sun!

The days are finally beginning to lengthen noticeably and the sun is setting at a more reasonable hour. Blossoms & buds are out on the trees and the mating rituals of animals have begun...a fertile time of the year!

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Last vestiges of winter in late February

I was fortunate enough to witness a very rare occurrence: Ganges Harbour freezing over! Conditions need to be just right for this to happen: calm seas, continuous snow for 24-48 hours and just the right temperature. The snow thaws slightly on the surface of the ocean and then freezes once again forming thicker & thicker ice as the fresh water stays separated from the salt water producing a beautiful mosaic of ice islands!

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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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Comings & Goings

I have been having to venture off the island more than usual this past months: mostly trips to the hospital in Victoria for various tests & check-ups…not always for me!

Every time I leave the scene from the ferry changes depending on the time of day, the height of the tide, the winds, the clouds and so much more. It makes the trip go much more quickly if I wander the decks with my camera at the ready…
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2013 Fall Fair

This year’s Fall Fair certainly did not disappoint! The numerous volunteers organized an incredible event that stretched over two very busy days.

The weather held perfectly for both days: not too hot & dry with just a sprinkle of rain as it all wrapped up on Sunday afternoon. Highlights for me this year were the sheep shearing & sheep herding, the vintage cars, kids 4H livestock show & Odette & Fiera the piggies!…the Lady’s Auxiliary pies were, as usual, out of this world!

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Chance Encounters

On a recent visit to Burgoyne Bay I was fortunate enough to meet a group of travellers who had decided to camp on the shoreline during their visit to the island.

They were from all different parts of Canada, travelling on a whim and enjoying a period of freedom that may never return to their lives. They invited me to sit, chat and photograph for a while as they went about their morning routine…such a friendly group!

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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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Peregrines & Sunsets

I have been visiting the summit of Mt. Maxwell (Bayne’s Peak) for the past 20 years to enjoy the ever-changing skies, flora & fauna in one of Salt Spring’s most visited parks. In those 20 years, I have seen Peregrine Falcons a handful of times: a couple when I was rock climbing on the sheer faces, once in a dense fog for a fleeting moment and twice from the summit as they zipped by me at some incredible speed (they can reach up to 300 kph in a dive!).

Last night I was fortunate enough to see an adult and a juvenile flying together for 20-30 minutes, in and out of the trees as well as high over the Burgoyne Valley. I heard their screeches before seeing them which was fortunate since I may have missed them otherwise! I’ve posted some larger versions of these photos in my Recent album along with some other images from the top of the mountain.

It is definitely an experience that I will never forget and that I feel very privileged to have witnessed!

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Mysterious Pianos

A few days ago, 3 fully functioning and funkily painted pianos showed up in various locations in the heart of Ganges here on Salt Spring Island. Each piano invited people to sit down and play with the simple painted phrase “play your out”.

An elderly woman asked me what the purpose of leaving these pianos outside in the elements (where they would most likely get damaged)could possibly be: “to bring some smiles to people’s faces” was my response because each and every time that I saw someone sit down to play, young or old, good or bad, it brought a smile to their face as well as to those around them!

I decided to venture out after dark to see if anyone was taking advantage of them for an evening serenade…

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Slowing Down at Booth Bay

Summer is here and, along with it, long, sunny days. The skies are blue and the waters are clear: perfect conditions for experimenting with longer exposures down at our local beach.

The water becomes more solidified and yet less well defined: waves & bubbles turn into mirror-like surfaces and delicate tendrils…something that our eyes cannot see without the help of the magic of the camera.

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A Visit to Musgrave Road

Today was the first really hot day of summer: anywhere with pavement was to be avoided at all costs! I ventured out Musgrave Road today which is on the South end of the island. The road is fairly treacherous at times but if you take it slow in low-gear then, chances are, there won’t be any mishaps! I wanted to photograph a set of falls that I have been visiting for over a decade at various times of the year to see what sort of changes come about with the different levels of water that flow through during the different seasons.

I was well rewarded with low water levels that allowed me to set up my tripod right in the stream where I could compose photos that would otherwise have been impossible. The gully was beautifully cool compared with the rest of the island and the water was just the right temperature so that I could wade along in my sandals and enjoy the refreshing feel of the water flowing over my feet and ankles. The water won’t be flowing much longer now that summer is finally here so I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to venture out today and enjoy the last trickles until the Fall!

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Megaliths at Booth Bay

The skies lately have been turbulent and varied: bright blue & clear one minute followed by wispy clouds the next and then onto puffy, cotton candy-like cumulus…typical of the West Coast! I decided to wander down along the shores of Booth Bay to explore the cloudscapes and found myself getting lower and lower down on the beach, practically belly crawling, to get dramatic, low-angle photos of some of the more interesting rocks with the clouds as a distant backdrop.

We’re heading into the summer season and the somewhat monotonous days of nothing but clear blue skies. Sure, a welcome change from the months of grey, overcast conditions but I like a little bit of something to break up those huge blue expanses once in a while!
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A Bit of This and That

An early morning stroll through the Saturday Market yielded some much welcome rewards: a few prints by a local artist Gillian Gandossi for my sister’s upcoming birthday as well as a few pieces of pottery by Louise Goodman to add to my collection.

I enjoy cooking: the preparation, execution and, of course, presentation & eating! This varied set of small & medium bowls along with a serving platter are great to use for all of the above. Roasted red pepper & tomato soup with basil pesto; fresh honeydew melon; clean-up and a plate of dry potato & carrot curry with peas. Bottom photo: Louise at the Market


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Back Home on SSI

After my somewhat lengthly stay in Vancouver, I returned home to Salt Spring to find our friendly Rufous Hummingbirds had returned from their winter sojourn down south. We now have a very happy and active couple that are nesting nearby as well as our resident Anna’s Hummingbird who seems to have found her own mate for the season. I expect to be seeing some baby hummers sometime soon: what a treat that will be!

The males have their full mating plumage grown back after a low-key winter with more subdued throat plumage. The feathers are incredibly irridescent and seem to change from moment to moment as the light hits them from different angles…a tiny flash of red or gold buzzing by lets you know there is a rufous about!

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A visit to the Market

As of Easter weekend, the Salt Spring Saturday Market has officially begun. Vendors have dusted off their display just in time to present their new works from a busy winter of production. It’s always great to drop by and see, first hand, what people have been doing to keep themselves busy during the darker months.

New vendors pop up each year, old ones retire and others keep going year after year with new and exciting pieces to display. The farmers are happy to bring down the first produce of the season and it gives all of the locals a chance to get back to picking out their produce and having a nice chat with the people who grow it…a great way to spend a Saturday morning!

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Herring Spawning

A few years ago, Herring decided to visit Salt Spring to spawn in the inner harbour of Ganges. There was quite a show to be enjoyed as the water bubbled & frothed with the spawning of thousands and thousands of fish.

Booth Bay, Vesuvius Bay and Fernwood Dock were on the Herrings’ itinerary this year so I wandered down to Booth Bay to see what I could see…Herring Roe were covering virtually every rock that had seaweed or kelp attached to it: millions & millions of eggs that will, if all goes well, hatch in two or three weeks from now which will attract all sorts of birds to feed. Can’t wait until the eggs are hatched!

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Migrants in Booth Bay

An unusual number of ducks showed up in the waters of Booth Bay this year: Mergansers, Common Golden-eyes, Buffleheads, Mallards, an American Widgeon and even a Loon! It was exciting to watch then paddle about in the canal, Booth Inlet and the bay itself as they wandered far and wide in search of food.

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Spring Lambs

Another visit to the Harbour House to see the new life that has recently sprung up in the past few weeks: lambs bounding through the front yard! Incredible to see their connection to each other as well as to their mothers…visiting regularly for a “top up”!

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Maple Sugar Day

Hard to believe but there are active maple syrup, good maple syrup, producers west of the Rockies! I grew up sampling the sap straight from the trees in Quebec before it had been boiled down into thick, rich, delicious syrup. There was always a good amount of snow on the ground and I had to take my mittens off to keep them from getting sticky as I scooped the sap out of metal buckets hanging from spigots in trees. Fond memories from a few decades ago!

Imagine my surprise when one of our local hotel/restaurants (The Harbour House) began tapping the maple trees nearby to produce their very own maple syrup. As most other people were, I was skeptical at first so when this year’s annual Maple Sugaring -off came around I decided to go have a taste and decide for myself! It turned out to be excellent syrup and, to top it off, a great little celebration where families could watch tree-tapping demos, wander through the organic gardens and sample fresh syrup on miniature pancakes. I’d recommend it highly to anyone in the area next year!

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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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Cloud banks, snow & ice

Periodically throughout the year, here in the Gulf Islands, we experience a weather phenomenon known as an inversion: high pressure systems swoop in above low pressure systems and we have clear, blue skies hovering above low, dense clouds. If you happen to be lucky enough to gain higher ground on one of these days, you’ll find yourself with a very privileged view of the islands as they float amongst the clouds!

Yesterday was such a day and I managed to make my way along Musgrave Road in the South end of the island where the views from Mt. Tuam towards the mainland are some of the best that you can hope for. It was a perfect day to wander among the clouds…


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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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Fall Colours

The autumn colours are almost at an end: one more storm and most of the leaves will be gone from the trees. It is an interesting time of the year to be photographing especially as the conditions change so quickly: from overcast to cloudy to clear blue skies and back all in the same day at times! The low cloud and mists creeping their way through the woods are eerily beautiful and lend an alpine feel to the world around the island.

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