We have been working hard over the last nine months to obtain our commercial drone license with Transport Canada so we can offer aerial drone photography services to our clients.  This past weekend we received our first official SFOC to fly at Genoa Bay, a tiny marina community that is hidden deep in the Cowichan Valley.  The weather was picture-perfect, so to speak, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time piloting our drone around capturing a few photographs and a bit of video.

Genoa Bay - Aerial Drone Photography - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Genoa Bay – Aerial Drone Photography – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Genoa Bay - Aerial Drone Photography - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Genoa Bay – Aerial Drone Photography – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

One of the first things that strikes us while we are airborne capturing imagery is that the change in perspective is truly amazing.  From an elevated perch, even if only elevated a small amount, the world takes on an entirely different look.  Scale becomes immediately evident as the horizon tends to now reach towards infinity, and here on Vancouver Island this provides unparalleled vantages and vistas that showcase the incredible beauty of the region.

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Half Car Half Amazing

Posted: 5th July 2017 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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Recently we decided to join the community of electric car owners here on Vancouver Island as I have a crazy daily commute and we were hoping to save some money on gas.  And in doing so, we were also looking forward to further reducing our carbon footprint.  This decision led to a lot of online research to try and find the best vehicle that would suit our needs.  We finally settled on a brand new 2017 Chevrolet Volt, and based on all the online reviews and the official Chevrolet website on the car we had high expectations.  We didn’t expect what we would find once we actually started driving the car.

2017 Chevrolet Volt - Electric Car - Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

2017 Chevrolet Volt – Electric Car – Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

We are now fully in love with this car.  Everywhere we go we are asked questions by the curious who are wondering what it really is like to make such a bold decision in a world where internal combustion engines (ICE based cars) are still the dominant form of transportation.  This led us to decide to create a series of blog posts as we go along with our car talking about real-world use cases we experience, and we’re going to tag this series “EVangelist“.  Make no mistake, this is now a way of life for us, and one we would love to see other people embrace as global warming looms on the horizon as a real problem for us, our children, and our grandchildren.  Only through the act of change can we make a real difference in the world.

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It sure is shaping up to be an amazing year here at Toad Hollow, with many exciting events scheduled that will feature various aspects of Vancouver Island and Canada 150 Celebrations.  Each year for the past 4 years running, one of our highlights is to join the Fort Macaulay Historic Interpretation Event being held in Esquimalt and photograph the event.  As it turns out, this has been the same weekend the Swiftsure Yacht Race has been hosted in Victoria for the past few years, and Fort Macaulay provided a great vantage point to watch the boats as they raced.  This year certainly did not disappoint with incredible weather and scenery for the event, and in today’s post we will take a look at some of the shots we captured here.  We’ll feature some of the shots from the Fort Macaulay Historic Interpretation Event in a future post, so please do stay tuned for that.

Swiftsure Weekend - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Swiftsure Weekend – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

We always arrive early at the event to set up and check out the various exhibits and scenes that present themselves.  For this year, 2017, the day was clearly going to be a hot one with rich blue skies and a gentle marine breeze coming in from the ocean.  From the top vantage point at Fort Macaulay we could see the group of sailboats as they headed out for the weekend’s race at the beginning of the day.  It was amazing to see the flotilla of boats as they came around the point in Victoria and headed west towards Langford and Sooke.  The day was perfect.

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Spring In The Valley

Posted: 1st May 2017 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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Spring has finally sprung here on the west coast of Canada after a really long and cold winter.  I’ve lived here since 1980 and to be quite honest, this was one of the worst ones I can recall.  As with all things in life, once the snow finally disappeared and signs began to emerge that spring was around the corner, we all began to talk about how we are hoping for a nice summer this year, and how we’d appreciate it if it came early!

Red Barn - Spring In The Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Red Barn – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The Cowichan Valley is home to many beautiful and large farms with large tracts of land that support the livestock and harvests the region is well known for.  As soon as winter breaks, we begin to see signs of spring, and they do seem to come quickly.  This barn sits on a huge farm that is nestled in the mountains that form the Cowichan Valley, and on one warm afternoon the light came and went upon the barn as the geese and wildlife in the area took in the weather.

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Beauty In Rust

Posted: 19th April 2017 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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Once again we explore the inherent beauty found in things full of rust, now forgotten and forlorn.  This is one of our loves here at Toad Hollow.  There is simply so much character and personality in these unused vehicles, and you truly have to wonder about the stories that the rusty metal holds secret within.  Today’s feature photographs were taken at different locations at different times of the year here in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, and they both tell a distinct story in the context of a frame.

Rusty Chevrolet - Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Rusty Chevrolet – Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

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2017 Chevrolet Volt

Posted: 10th April 2017 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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Buying a new car is a pretty exciting time, I must say.  Especially when the car you are getting is one you have really wanted for years.  In today’s post I am happy to share with you a few shots I took when taking delivery of our brand-new 2017 Chevrolet Volt from Wheaton GM in Victoria, BC.  As a car guy I’ve been following this car since it was a concept car introduced sometime around 2010-2011 to the public.  It was a revolutionary design and had really interesting potential, and I found it exciting.  Now that a few years have passed Chevrolet has completely redesigned it, improving on features and specifications that really make this car stand out as a “one of a kind” in the car space it lives in.

2017 Chevrolet Volt - Electric Car - Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

2017 Chevrolet Volt – Electric Car – Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

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Seriously Huffed

Posted: 16th March 2017 by ToadHollowPhoto in Motor Gathering, Photography
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The story of The Three Little Pigs saw the Big Bad Wolf huffing and puffing, trying desperately to blow the little piggies house down.  I am pretty sure if he had a huffer like the one we see sitting atop the fire-breathing V8 in this classic Chevrolet Supercharged Nova, he would have been able to verily render asunder the brick house that thwarted that wolf so.  Poor wolf.

Blown Chevrolet Nova - Supercharged Nova - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Blown Chevrolet Nova – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

At first glance from a distance, you may not be fully aware of what lurks under the sheet-metal of this rolling piece of art.  Closer scrutiny reveals several key things that make it rather apparent that this car’s business is speed, and business is good.

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A Haunting Beauty

Posted: 14th March 2017 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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I find myself drawn to very unusual things at times.  Things that people would typically pass by without a second thought harken me like a siren’s song.  These things cannot be ignored or overlooked.  I can stand there and study these things, usually trying desperately to think about the life they have led, and the things they have seen and done.  In today’s post we are going to take a close look at one such thing, an old forgotten wooden boat named “The Seeker”.

The Seeker - Abandoned Boat - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The Seeker – Abandoned Boat – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

No one can possibly argue that this boat wasn’t last moored here.  No anchor is required, even in the most blustery conditions it is highly unlikely that “The Seeker” will break free of it’s mooring and head out to the open ocean.  So, how did it get here?  What was it’s life?  And why is it now sitting here in a farmers field completely forgotten and forlorn?

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The Convocation

Posted: 10th March 2017 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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It has been a cold and gloomy winter here on the west coast of Canada.  We have had our fair share of dark grey days with snow and bone-chilling temperatures.  This has left many of us sincerely looking forward to spring and summer this year, with the hopes that the sun makes it’s presence known one day soon.  With all this being the case, this is still our favorite place, a place we choose to call home, and a place we love with all our hearts.  There is simply so much to see and explore here, in many cases these things are unique to the region.  One of these things is our local Bald Eagle population, particularly in the Cowichan Valley where every winter a large convocation of these majestic birds come together.  As the leaves drop from the trees, a whole new world emerges in the valley, one that is dominated by these incredible raptors as they sit tirelessly in the trees, ever vigilant for their next meal.

Bald Eagles - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Bald Eagles – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

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Vancouver Island history is part of a rich tapestry of stories and events that have unfolded here, creating the communities and landmarks that are so meaningful to those who live here.  These features speak to the efforts undertaken during the early years of colonization, resulting in a myriad of museums and sites to visit that exhibit the pioneering spirit that formed our towns and cities.  Port Alberni sits in the heart of Vancouver Island, and is home to the McLean Mill National Historic Site, a location that is a treasure that shares exhibits from the period the mill was active, and provides a learning opportunity for those who are interested.  Today it is staffed by an enthusiastic group that focuses on maintaining this important link to our past.  This group maintains the buildings and exhibits, including a set of steam-powered machines that seem to come from another time entirely.  This is a place that isn’t easy to leave for those who love this sort of thing.

McLean Mill National Historic Site - Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLean Mill National Historic Site – Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

MacLean Mill was operational from 1926-1965, quickly becoming an integral part of the community of Port Alberni, providing commerce and employment for many who lived here during those times.  Originally a family owned and built business, it exhibits the best of the pioneering spirit that helped to form the towns and cities on Vancouver Island during the period of colonization.  You will find many historic buildings on the site, exhibiting features and items that were a daily part of the lives of those who lived here, alongside a collection of truly amazing machines.  Many of these machines are still active today as the staff fires them up and displays them proudly.  If you love antiques and old machinery half as much as we do prepare to spend a day here, only leaving when the site closes.  You will undoubtedly want to return again, as we do.

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