It would seem that the good folks over at Topaz Labs never seem to sleep.  They are constantly enhancing and updating their current set of tools, and in all cases these advancements produce incredible results that make it easy for us photographers to create great images, easily.  In today’s fast paced world, we find it imperative to spend the least amount of time possible in post-production, allowing us to focus on our core business and being on-set in a session working for our clients.

The other aspect of having a great set of tools available is the end result.  Here at Toad Hollow Photography, we use Topaz Detail to finish off every image we create here as this terrific tool adds a controllable level of detail that helps to make the final product pop.  Sometimes, we also would like to add texture or a specific photo effect in the creation of fine art.  Enter the terrific toolset from Topaz Labs.  The Topaz Complete Collection is a must-have set of tools that we rely on time after time in our post-production.

Wood Barn - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

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

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The hands of time relentlessly tick forward, constantly turning the present into the past and creating history.  Sometimes this history is profound, and sometimes it is mundane.  Sometimes it lives in a place that was very remote, meaning it now lives in the minds and memories of only a few.  Jordan River is one such place.

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

At one time, the community of Jordan River numbered around 1,000 residents, likely brought here to service the booming logging industry that thrived here.  Over the years, economic changes have seen these numbers dwindle to somewhere around 100 people.  In the last 20 years or so that we have been visiting this place, it became a destination for surfers and outdoor enthusiasts who enjoyed camping on the shores of the ocean in the local campground.  The article “6 Things to Know about Jordan River, Vancouver Island’s Hidden Surfing Gem” highlights the active surf that is the allure for adventure seekers, and if you scroll down near the bottom there is a small video clip that shows exactly why.

During our visits to Jordan River, we’d frequently grab a burger at Shakie’s Burger Shack, a well known local landmark.  In early 2011 we visited the area and featured the story “No Burgers Today” which sadly discussed the closing of the restaurant.  Shortly after this visit, it was all gone.  A harbinger of things to come.

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It was the car show to end all car shows, the car show of a lifetime.  It was much more than we expected, and we expected an awful lot.  This year’s show was hosted at the brand new, state of the art facility, the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit, a world class track with world class facilities.  Over 600 cars, trucks and motorcycles attended, and the crowds were huge and amazing…  the sheer numbers were astonishing for a show like this.  Exhibitors, visitors old and young alike, and children from points all over the world came together on what was to be a magical day, and we all came away with a sense of excitement as we were both saddened that the show seemed to end so early, and we all looked forward to next years event.  Join us as we explore the 2016 Vancouver Island Motor Gathering.

2016 Vancouver Island Motor Gathering - Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

2016 Vancouver Island Motor Gathering - Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

It was late in September, much later than most of the car shows we visit here on the island typically run.  The weather leading up to the big day was a bit of this, a bit of that, and a bit of everything really.  When we excitedly awoke, we found ourselves with a perfect day, the temperatures were comfortable, light cloud cover overhead helped to diffuse a bit of the light, and the rains held off for the entire event.  A picture-perfect Vancouver Island day to head out and explore the 2016 Vancouver Island Motor Gathering.

2016 Vancouver Island Motor Gathering - Chevrolet Camaro Hot Rod - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Chevrolet Camaro Hot Rod – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Those who follow us regularly know well of our deep love for cars, trucks and motorcycles here at The Hollow.  We have motorsports running through our veins, with a specific penchant for classic cars.  We love both the stock and original versions, as well as the highly customized and modified variety.  It is said that variety is the true spice of life, and we have to admit that this gorgeous 1969 Camaro Z/28 is the hot chili of spices in the context of cars that go fast and look good doing it.

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It has been five years since last we featured the incredible Kinsol Trestle here at The Hollow, and quite honestly I can’t think why.  This massive wood structure forms a very important part of our history, as is evidenced by the cost and effort the community has gone through to completely restore it.  At one point in time vandals had damaged it so badly many thought its days were numbered, yet here we are.

Kinsol Trestle - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Kinsol Trestle – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

To read all about the storied history of this trestle, please visit our previous blog post “A Bridge Of Hope” where we discuss the amazing background behind the trestle and it’s subsequent restoration and grand opening to the public.

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Enchanted

Posted: 12th September 2016 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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Enchantment comes in many forms, it can be found in the mundane and it can be found in the magical.  There is a spot on Vancouver Island called Fairy Lake, just outside of Port Renfrew on the west coast that has such magic.  In it is a tree unlike any other I have ever seen, one that has beckoned us time and time again to capture in photography.

Fairy Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Fairy Lake – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

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As a photographer, every once in a while you see something that catches your eye.  You hope to return later with time permitting to shoot it, and sometimes Father Time is helpful in this regard, and other times when you return the item or subject is gone.  This is particularly true when it comes to buildings.  Many times when I see a building that catches my eye, especially the derelict ones, and by the time we get back to them they are long gone.  Thankfully, this is not always the case.

2014 Ford Escape at Derelict Industrial Site - Duncan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

2014 Ford Escape at Derelict Industrial Site – Duncan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

I have no idea what this site originally did, but it has been like this for years now and every time we drive by I say I want to return to photograph it.  I have been working on a light painting technique lately for cars and with summer in full swing here I decided to finally head to this old industrial site to use it as a backdrop for a car shoot.  In this shot here, I was trying to create a magazine quality shot with our very own Toad’s Truck, making it pop out of the scene.  I rather like the effect.  We’ve had our trusty steed here for a little over 2 years now, and it has over 90,000 kilometers on it and runs like it did the day we bought it.  I also think it photographs well.

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We awoke in Telegraph Cove very early in the morning, anticipating what lay ahead for us.  This day had been in the plans for months on end, and in some ways it felt strange to find ourselves readying for the adventure that was about to unfold.  We knew that we would be moved beyond our wildest expectations if the encounters proved true, but what we didn’t appreciate at the time was how personally profound the experience would be.  After all, how could we anticipate how it would feel once we were immersed in the natural landscapes and beauty of the west coast of Canada, a land that is rugged and untamed, and a land that the mighty Grizzly Bear calls home to.

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours - Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The morning fog slowly gave way to an amazing day as we boated our way up Knight Inlet.  Slowly the sun began to push the fog out of the still inlet and the features and landscapes began to emerge in the bright light of day.  Our first encounter, the beginning of what was to become a day that we will never forget, found us in awe as we observed Bella and her three cubs on the shore.  Our boat came to a quick halt as the sighting began to unfold, and we stood in awe on the back deck amazed beyond words at what we were witnessing.  A few hundred yards away was one of Canada’s most beautiful creatures with her three young, seemingly oblivious to the wonder we all felt in our hearts as we took in the brief sighting.  As quickly as we noticed and saw them, they disappeared back into the thick forests that surrounded the area.

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Ah, the smell of the ocean breezes, the sounds of lapping waves against the shores as gulls cry in the distance…  sights and sounds that bring an instant sense of tranquility and peace to all.  It’s truly hard to beat the feeling you get while visiting the shore and experiencing all the ambience it has to offer.  One of our favorite places to visit in this context is most definitely Fisgard Lighthouse, a lighthouse that has stood tall and proud for a very long time here on the west coast of Canada as it guided sailors into harbor after a voyage out to sea.

Fisgard Lighthouse - Colwood, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Fisgard Lighthouse – Colwood, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Fisgard Lighthouse forms an integral part of our heritage and history out here on the west coast of Canada, a history we’ve discussed and shared previously in our post “A Beacon Through The Fog“.  It’s been noted many times before that even though our colonial history dates back only around 150 years, there is a deep sentiment formed from the stories that create the tapestry of this history.

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Adventures With Light Painting

Posted: 9th August 2016 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography, The Toad's Musings
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Well, as with most great things in life, adventures always start with a curious drive to see or learn something new.  We are no different, of course, and as opportunities and new techniques come to light we tend to chase them.  In today’s post we are going to discuss a new light painting technique we have begun to include in our repertoire, adding a new method to our bag full of tricks here at Toad Hollow that can be applied to many different kinds of subjects.

2014 Ford Escape - Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

2014 Ford Escape – Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Here we have the “Toads Truck”, a handy all-purpose SUV we bought a couple of years ago to use as we explore the island from top to bottom looking for great things to photograph and share with everyone. Today this vehicle has over 90,000 km’s on it, a testament to how much time we spend on the highways here on the island.  Yes, that is a lot of miles in a short period of time.

During a recent visit with a new affiliate we are working with (more on that bit of exciting news later), we discovered that we needed to look into light painting techniques to achieve the look and feel of the images required for this specific job.  Nothing is more exciting than learning something new to us, so we dove in, headfirst.

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Seeking Rusty Beauties

Today’s post is a bit different from what we usually post here at The Hollow, so please bear with us.  We are extending a plea for help here today as we are actively seeking rusty beauties on Vancouver Island.  We have a very exclusive client who is a private collector of our work, and we have been commissioned to create and deliver some new pieces for his collection.  These pieces are intended to be displayed in his private car garage, a custom facility covering over 7,000 sq feet that cost over $4M to build, and is hosting his multi-million dollar car collection.  Over the past year, we have delivered enlargements of some of his favorite shots of ours, printed using a very special and custom printing process called “dye sublimation on aluminum“.  These prints are 4 to 5 feet wide and look terrific in the context of a beautiful bespoke garage full of wonderful classic collectible cars.

Rusty Antique Car Planter - Metchosin, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Rusty Antique Car Planter – Metchosin, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Visit our blog “Headlights In The Field” for the story behind the photo.

Abandoned GMC Truck - Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

Abandoned GMC Truck – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
Visit our blog “Haunting Eyes” for the story behind the photos.

Rusty Artifact - Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Rusty Artifact – Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The theme for the collection is quite obviously rusty cars and trucks. These pieces are great additions to the space in how they juxtapose against the beautiful and pristine collectible cars that are on exhibit on the floor.  We are now asked to provide 6 more pieces to include in this very special place, and this is where we need to reach out to you, our fans and friends.

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