1972 Dodge Charger Limited Edition 440

Posted: 18th April 2014 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , ,

The seventies were a tumultuous time for the fan of the classic American muscle car.  As the early seventies came into focus we saw the first oil embargo hit North America, and with it came the ultimate demise of the era.  Detroit was desperate to maintain the image of producing the finest hot rods, but a public faced with rising insurance and gas prices suddenly lost its appetite.  This harkened in an era where the cars were styled to resemble the muscle cars of the sixties, but lacked in the performance that once saw American cars as kings of the highway and drag strip.  Thankfully, this wasn’t the harbinger of doom for muscle cars.

1972 Dodge Charger Limited Edition 440 - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

1972 Dodge Charger Limited Edition 440 – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

I believe this is a 1972 Dodge Charger Limited Edition.  While certainly not the most desirable to collectors, when we came across this beauty it made me stop in my tracks.  Simply put, this is a car you are likely to never see in person in your life.

Still exhibiting the wide and low stance that made these cars so famous, it creates a striking subject.  We still find plenty of chrome trim, and by this juncture in the seventies the stylization cues for the times were really coming into their own.

1972 Dodge Charger Limited Edition 440 - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

1972 Dodge Charger Limited Edition 440 – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The thing that really made this car truly stand out is the 440 cubic inch engine option it originally came with.  As evidenced by the thick flat black stripes, a carryover from the famous ‘Cudas, Challengers and Chargers of the late sixties, this car was designed to really put you back in your seat.  For this model year, the 440 big block engine platform was seeing itself greatly reduced in terms of power output, and 3 configurations of this particular engine were available as an option ranging from 225-330hp.  I could find no cues that this particular car had the fabled six-pack carburetor setup, likely making it one of the 280hp editions of this platform.

1972 Dodge Charger Limited Edition 440 - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

1972 Dodge Charger Limited Edition 440 – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As the seventies continued, we saw further drastic reductions in the performance offerings from Detroit.  Many of the once mighty muscle cars were found to have 6 cylinder engines that were rather anemic to drive, all to favor the consumer who was faced with rising fuel costs.  The ability to shred a set of tires at one sitting at a light was taking a back seat to the need for a utilitarian vehicle that could transport people and goods safely and with the least amount of fuel possible.  This 440 Dodge Charger was not one of these cars.  Although it had far less power than its predecessors it would still get the groceries in a quick hurry, putting a smile on the driver’s face for the entire trip.

1972 Dodge Charger Limited Edition 440 - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

1972 Dodge Charger Limited Edition 440 – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

In a time before complex engineering, the only way to get power down to the pavement was with a wide footprint.  One glance at this car from this perspective immediately tells you this baby means business.

At the end of the seventies a second embargo came to pass, and by this time the once fabled muscle car was barely a memory.  To put this into clear perspective, the Ford Mustang by 1980 had a single V8 engine option, the 4.6L, that produced a paltry 120hp.  This was a low point in muscle car history, making this the least powerful Mustang V8 ever produced.  In comparison, many of today’s 4 cylinder engines have well over 200hp and are able to deliver some pretty incredible gas mileage figures.  Thankfully the embargo soon passed and with it we saw once again a resurgence of the muscle car.

Many collectors would likely pass on a car like this Dodge Charger.  Many see this as an example of the downturn of the seventies in terms of performance cars, with excessive styling that represented the times.  I see something entirely different.  I see a beautiful example of classic American car design, one of the very last of its kind.

Thank you so much for your visit to The Hollow here today, we really appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have!

The vibrant colors of spring are always a harbinger of the pending season.  With warmer temperatures just around the corner, life is found to be springing forth from everywhere.  Today we are heading back to one of our very favorite treasures in the Cowichan Valley St. Peter’s Quamichan Anglican Church as the beautiful spring flowers begin to bloom, and with it our new hopes for the year and all that it will bring.  For those joining us here now, this post is a continuation of our photoblog series called “The Anglican Church Project“.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The snow is now all gone on Vancouver Island and the daily temperatures continue to climb.  The grasses are the greenest green you’ve ever seen, and wildflowers are popping up all over adding dashes of color.  We find the skies remain grey, but periodically the sun pokes through draping our landscapes in bright warmth.  On the day we visited it was rather overcast out, but this didn’t hold back the the flowers and vegetation as they proclaimed their joy at the coming season with their abundant palettes.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The busy town of Duncan is nearby, as are homes and communities, but as you stand in the heritage cemetery a distinct sense of peace is discovered.  Many local characters are interred here, people who were a big part of the colonization of the valley, and as you make your way around you find graves with recognizable names at every turn.  A wonderful juxtaposition of the graves against the delicate nature of the emerging flowers creates a special harmony.  If you are open, mysteries of life are revealed.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The vignettes of spring create a stark contrast against the same scenes witnessed in the heart of winter where all color is gone, and with it the sense of joy and life.  It is spring now, and Mother Nature herself has beckoned us outside to reconnect with our world.  And with it a feeling of renewal and hope.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As we make our way down the slopes of the hill, we turn to see the church peeking through the barren arms of the trees.  Soon they will be full of life, too, creating a green canopy that will hide parts of the scene that will only be revealed when fall returns once again.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The journey of revelation ends with a rest on a wooden bench.  Introspective moments of discovery are all around, helping us to learn a little more about ourselves and the meaning behind life.  Some secrets are revealed, but most others remain undisclosed.  We believe it’s this very sense of mystery that makes our journeys so wonderful.

Thank you so much for your kind visit today to The Hollow, we really appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have.  Until we meet again!

A Day At The Beach

Posted: 10th April 2014 by Mrs. Toad in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

When you live on a fairly tiny island in the pacific ocean, everyday is a day at the beach.  It is, indeed, pretty difficult to go very far before you find yourself suddenly in paradise with an unrelenting desire to just sit down and relax!  Luckily for two tuckered toads who have literally been hopping as fast as two frogs in a blender, this one came with its own set of comfortable and welcoming chairs.

Marine Scenery - Ladysmith Marina, Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Marine Scenery – Ladysmith Marina, Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Truth be told, I would have to tie Mr. Toad down to get him to stay put in one place for more time than it takes to yell “I see a great composition over there!”.    And while it is true that we have been very busy of  late, we are certainly not complaining.  One of the greatest joys of adventuring all over an island with an endless supply of perfect subjects for our lens is the wonderful people we get to meet on the other side of the camera.  And while most of them tend to be of the human variety, we do occasionally get to meet some of our less conventional neighbours which is always a delight for us but understandably not always for our new friends as some of them are downright tasty on a cracker!

Marine Scenery - Ladysmith Marina, Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Marine Scenery – Ladysmith Marina, Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

But for today we must rely on our bag of sandwiches as our newest friends are of the feathered variety and would surely bite back!  I am not sure if the little boats tethered close together inspired the birds to build a similar housing situation for themselves or if, in fact, it happened the other way around, but either way everyone seems content having traded less square footage inside for an endless supply of it outside.  Complete with a viewing platform offering a bird’s-eye view, this tower of apartments for hip west-coast birds exemplifies the laid-back stress-free lifestyle so many of us have come here to enjoy.

Marine Scenery - Ladysmith Marina, Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Marine Scenery – Ladysmith Marina, Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As we rounded the corner in excited search of our next great shot, we came upon this new friend.  Although herons are very common in our area, we had never been so close to one before.  We realized at that pivotal moment why we had felt so compelled to take a stand against oil tankers invading our pristine coast.  It’s not about politics or economics, we’ll leave that to the good folks who are best prepared to face those types of challenges.  For a couple of unassuming toads armed with a camera, it’s simply about preserving this amazingly beautiful place and the plethora of critters who call it home.

Marine Scenery - Ladysmith Marina, Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Marine Scenery – Ladysmith Marina, Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

 

Scenery like this makes a priority of protecting great compositions for the next generation of photog-frogs, and to this cause we are toad-ally dedicated!  If you are interested in learning more about this very pressing issue, we have included some links to some really great information.  And a genuine heart-felt thanks to all of you fabulous photogs out there who tirelessly hang from buildings, get up before the birds to catch the blue hour, or lie still for hours shivering in the cold to share your wondrous vision of the beautiful world around us.  You save the world everyday with each click of the shutter.   As always, we love good conversation among good friends, so please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments for us to share!

Until next time!

Warmly, Mrs. Toad

Related links

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TransCanada pipeline safety practices need to improve, finds NEB audit 

Cowichanians reject Enbridge pipeline during town-hall meeting



Paris In Springtime

Posted: 27th March 2014 by Mrs. Toad in Photography
Tags: , , , ,

Beautiful terraces that spill out into the street,  bistro tables filled with warm crusty bread, richly flavoured cheeses and delicate wines, and the soft sound of laughter and friendly chatter wafting through the air might make you think that you have accidentally stumbled into Paris, but really you might just be in Cowichan Bay.

We adventure-seeking toads love nothing more than exploring our extended neighbourhood, and one of my favourite things about being an avid urban explorer is finding that special “something” that in some small way reminds me of my native Quebec while allowing me to continue to avoid the cold weather and blackflies that are, unfortunately, a large part of the Quebec experience.  Having grown up in Montreal and being lucky enough to have visited Paris has left me with an intense appreciation of the art of people-watching and sipping good wine.  Considered almost a sport along the cobblestone alleyways of Old Montreal and the frenzied streets of Paris, many an afternoon has been happily wasted arguing politics or discussing art over baguettes and cafe-au-lait.  So, if like me you crave a little “Paris” in your springtime, let me introduce you to Hilary’s Cheese.

Hilary's Cheese - Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Hilary’s Cheese – Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The only thing more welcoming in this authentic little cheese shop and bistro than the wonderful aroma is the warm smile of owner Sonja Todd.  Formally trained in Hotel and Restaurant Management as well as obtaining her sommelier designation, she leaves no detail overlooked in providing an authentic Parisian experience right in the heart of Cowichan Bay.

Hilary's Cheese - Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Hilary’s Cheese – Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

And while we may be a bit liberal in borrowing a certain “feel” from our French cousins, the experience itself is distinctly west-coast.  Peering out over the marina through delicate beads of rain streaming down the window with the warmth of the fire at your back and a lovely glass of your favourite wine in hand leaves little desire to hurry back to the hectic pace of everyday life.  Time moves slowly and conversation flows easily over an elegant platter of cheese and charcuterie complemented by good friends or perhaps even a budding romance!  And if you are not quite ready to leave the experience behind, oodles of goodies are available for you to take home and create your own special moments.

Hilary's Cheese - Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Hilary’s Cheese – Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

While we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this quaint little shop, we look ever so forward to returning when warmer winds prevail, when you will surely find us nestled comfortably on the terrace, watching the hustle and bustle of life unfold over the rim of our wine glasses!  As always, please do feel free to leave your wonderful thoughts and comments for us to share as everyone agrees that good wine is best served with great friends!

Until next time, bon appetit!

Warmly,

Mrs. Toad

Standing tall and grand right in the heart of Victoria, BC is the landmark building Christ Church Cathedral.  Today’s post marks the beginning of a new series within a series called “Christ Church Cathedral” which is part of our running long-term project called “The Anglican Church Project“.  As we continue to work on this project with The Anglican Diocese of BC we are constantly delighted and amazed by the wonderful parishes we are visiting and photographing, and the wonderful people we are meeting through our work.

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

Constructed in 1929 with 13th century Gothic styling this building demands to be noticed.  Reaching high into the city’s skyline, this magnificent structure casts a dramatic figure in Victoria that is impossible to miss.  The intricate stonework, and all the resultant textures that come with it, frames details and features in the building unlike any other in the city.

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

We’ve wanted to photograph this church for years now.  It’s one thing to imagine what an experience like this would entail, and it’s another to actually be here in person.  Without any doubt, this is the most profound experience I’ve had in my professional career, and one that will stick with me forever.  The sheer scope and scale of the facility is beyond any form of worldly description, and when you consider the craftsmanship and engineering that has gone into the design and construction of the church it leaves you absolutely astounded.

In upcoming posts we will be sharing and showcasing the largest collection of photographs we have ever created with one subject before.  Well over 1,000 individual brackets were taken and used to create the final 88 high-quality images of the church, taken both inside and out in an effort to completely document the building in imagery.  This entire experience has left an indelible mark on us, one we’re excited and anxious to share here with everyone.  The body of work we will be presenting was captured over the course of 2 days.  The first complete day was spent inside exploring everything we possibly could, and the second day found us outside shooting the exterior.

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

One of the most amazing aspects of the inside shoot was most certainly a visit to the bell tower.  We’ve got some great details on the tower and a large series of images of the bells to share in upcoming posts.  The story about the construction of the tower and how the bells were created and installed will definitely be a feature post of its own, and we’re sure you will be utterly amazed as to how this all came to be.

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

Next on our tour was a visit to the crypts underneath the cathedral.  We were struck by the deep sense of care and love that has gone into the devotion and maintenance here.  We disturbed nothing, leaving behind only the sounds of our shutter’s click and our heartfelt appreciation for the opportunity to visit and spend some time.

Christ Church Cathedral - Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada

Christ Church Cathedral – Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada –

The next stop on our visit was upstairs to check out the magnificent pipe organ.  The woodwork, the pipes, and the detailed work that goes into the creation and assembly of such an incredible instrument really comes to life when you spend time with it up close, as we did on this day.  I couldn’t believe how beautiful the scenes were with the natural light streaming in through the windows, gently draping sections of the instrument in glorious light that only served to heighten the wonder of the experience as a whole.

If you feel as we do, by this time in our post you are hungry to see more, anxious to explore the intricate details that go into creating such a wondrous place.  It’s the collective combination of all the intricacies that combine to create the overall, we find, and in the case of Christ Church Cathedral these details are as captivating as they are breathtaking.

In our upcoming posts we will chronicle our visit and all the particulars we encountered during our shoot, as well as the history behind it all.  Further information on Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria can be found at these sites if you are interested in learning more:

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us today, we really appreciate it.  We do love to hear from all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.

Quiet On The Set!

Posted: 24th March 2014 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , ,

There certainly is no lack of excitement here on Vancouver Island these days, we seem to be very busy working on all sorts of terrific projects!  Today we’re going to talk about one very special project we’re affiliated with, a community crowdfunding project that means a lot to us personally and can really do a lot for the island as a whole.

Vancouver Island Panorama

Vancouver Island Panorama

As many of those who follow us regularly know, I perform staff photography duties for a local initiative called TASTECowichan.  Patricia and Drew have put this incredible system together to serve the community, making it easy for local folks in the area to find local small businesses.  We truly believe in these sorts of directories, especially given the delicate state of the economy in today’s day-and-age.  So, when we were approached by the TASTE team to participate in a project intended to bring this terrific directory to the entire island, we literally hopped all over it!

On Set - A Community Crowdfunding Project - TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot - Duncan, BC, Canada

On Set – TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot – Duncan, BC, Canada

It was a greyish Saturday morning on the day we all convened downtown in Duncan to shoot one of the big scenes for the promotional video.  Patricia MacGregor, shown above, runs the show at TASTECowichan and as we discussed the shoot for the day and our lines, you could really feel a sense of excitement building.

On Set - A Community Crowdfunding Project - TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot - Duncan, BC, Canada

On Set – TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot – Duncan, BC, Canada

After going over the key details on the day’s activities, it was finally time to start rolling film.  Patricia’s husband, Drew Harling, performed video camera duties filming us all as we tried diligently to say our lines and not feel too self-conscious in front of the camera.  As a photographer, I can honestly say that was a bit of a weird feeling for me as I am usually the one behind the camera.  After a bit of practice, we all became quite comfortable in front of the lens and did our best to share the message.

On Set - A Community Crowdfunding Project - TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot - Duncan, BC, Canada

On Set – TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot – Duncan, BC, Canada

On Set - A Community Crowdfunding Project - TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot - Duncan, BC, Canada

On Set – TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot – Duncan, BC, Canada

On Set - A Community Crowdfunding Project - TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot - Duncan, BC, Canada

On Set – TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot – Duncan, BC, Canada

On Set - A Community Crowdfunding Project - TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot - Duncan, BC, Canada

On Set – TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot – Duncan, BC, Canada

On Set - A Community Crowdfunding Project - TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot - Duncan, BC, Canada

On Set – TASTEtheISLAND Video Shoot – Duncan, BC, Canada

Everybody took their turn in front of the camera, and I do declare the entire event was a total success.

Once the camera stopped rolling, the work in the processing lab began in earnest for Drew.  We think the end result is rather terrific, sharing the message in a way that everyone can relate to.

So, if you’re looking for a great project to be a part of, why not help us grow local business here on Vancouver Island?  The video and all the details on this very important campaign are all posted live on the Indiegogo page for TASTE THE ISLAND, hop on over to check it out!  There are some fabulous perks for everyone who contributes to the campaign, including a selection of 7 of our very own Limited Edition Prints.  The team has also created this great Press Release which has all the details.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us today, we really appreciate your consideration.  We always love to hear from all our visitors so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.

Standing armies of tiny white and purple flowers invade every inch of the yard, melodious frog-song ripples through the still evening, baby lambs and piglets frolic and romp in the pastures, and love hangs in the air as thick and heavy as the warm, mossy scent after a gentle rain.  It is finally Spring here at the Hollow, and our hearts are as light as the breeze that is gently flowing through the window as I write.

It makes perfect sense to me that Valentine’s Day just happens to herald springtime.  It is by its very nature the most romantic of the seasons, as is evidenced by the baby bunnies and quail chicks in the backyard.  And when my thoughts turn to love and romance, I can think of no better way to celebrate it than a day away from having to cook and wash dishes!

Food is a part of every celebration in every culture and corner of the world, so it should come as no surprise to find happy folks roaming this way and that way in search of the perfect location to enjoy the tasty treats that will lovingly complement any happy occasion.  When it is my turn to find the perfect spot, I always tend to follow the “locals”.  Better than Michelin stars hanging proudly on the walls, a burgeoning parking lot is the highest testament to great food.  And if it also happens to have a place to tether your horse, then you really know you’ve found something special.

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Located just minutes up the road from our quaint town of Duncan, BC, in a charming and eclectic little place called “Whippletree Junction“, sits the famous Pioneer House restaurant.   Food-savvy locals here have been taking their sweethearts to this rustic log house since the 1970′s.  Current owner Gerald John, and until recently his mother Shelagh, have been the reason folks have kept coming back since 1977.  Featuring a menu of mouth-watering home-style cooking, the only problem is trying to decide what to order first!

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Coming through the ornate front doors takes you on a trip back in time to when guns and whiskey glasses dotted the bar and cancan girls danced gaily to jovial piano tunes.  This antique bar, found quite by accident in a deserted mining town near Butte, Montana by Whippletree Junction founder Randy Streit, brings authentic wild-west charm and feel to the log building that was specifically constructed to showcase it.  Still shining proudly with the original finish, it has undoubtedly witnessed many an evening filled with much merriment, and as legend has it, perhaps the occasional gun fight as well, as it graced the St.Francis saloon from 1890-1971.

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The dining room is warm and cozy and the large fireplace makes a great place to sit and snuggle with your beloved as “Frank” the buffalo, a celebrated antique in his own right, keeps an ever-watchful eye on the goings-on beneath.  Western-themed artifacts and antique bric-a-brac adorn the walls and shelves creating a unique atmosphere to complement the hearty food and cheery chatter.

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

With nooks and crannies abound, it is an easy task to find the perfect spot to suit any occasion.  And if you happen to be dining without a family of your own, it is not unusual for the one at the next table to adopt you for a spell!  The friendly staff knows most of the patrons by name, and even if it is your first visit, you quickly feel welcome and a part of the festivities.

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

If you and your sweetie happen to have any room left after your dinner, you can enjoy a romantic tete-a-tete and steaming mug of coffee over a colossal cinnamon roll made just for sharing!

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Pioneer House Restaurant - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Pioneer House Restaurant – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

So if you happen to be near Whippletree Junction anytime soon with a tired horse and a hungry sweetheart, mosey on down to the Pioneer House restaurant, order up a cold sarsaparilla and set a spell.  Gerald and his friendly team will be more than happy to take care of the cooking and cleaning, and your honey will think you’re sweeter than a heart-shaped box of bon-bons!

Thanks for joining us today as we ride off into the sunset with full bellies and warm hearts.  As always, please do share your thoughts and comments as we love them all dearly!

Until next time!

Warmly,

Mrs. Toad

Pioneer House Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The sixties were a great time in the world of cars.  Engineers were working tirelessly on advances that saw leaps in horsepower ratings, bringing back direct experiences from the track to the shop to make core improvements in the underlying engineering.  Often times cars were over-powered and under-advertised, almost as if there was a secret brewing within the community.  This, to some degree, led to the creation of almost mythical creatures in the world of muscle cars, and even today many of the rarer models are talked about in hushed whispers almost as if to keep the underlying demon at bay.  What this really translates to is an avid community of enthusiasts who love the genre.  Today we’re heading back to the “Beverly Corners Show and Shine 2013″ where we continue our running photoblog series “The Toads At The Sportsplex“, taking a brief look at one of the awesome cars on display there; a 1968 Dodge Dart GTS.

Classic 1968 Dodge Dart GTS - Duncan, BC, Canada

Classic 1968 Dodge Dart GTS – Duncan, BC, Canada –

The last three years of the sixties, ’67, ’68 and ’69, are today considered almost legendary.  Many different car models came out during that period that are still celebrated as some of the best classic muscle cars of the era.  Ranging in size from pony cars all the way up to full-frame models, you could get into the hobby with almost any budget and interest.  During that time Dodge created their own version of the smaller sized car, the iconic Dodge Dart.

The Dart was available in many trim levels, with a myriad of options available for drivetrains.  This included the well-known inline 6′s that were deemed to be bullet-proof by the community, all the way up to HEMI editions of V8′s that were almost exclusively big blocks.  Some of the rarer models, like the 1968 Dodge Dart GTS we see here today, were produced in very limited production runs and in our current times we just don’t see many of them anymore.

This makes finds like this all the more exciting.  By 1968, the Dodge Dart GTS was available with two engine options; one being the venerable 340 CI small block, and the other was the 383 CI big block.  According to some articles and reviews out there, the 340 small block version was much more streetable, providing a reliable and predictable platform from which to perform feats of power and might on the streets of our cities at night.

Body style changes were often times subtle, and those who are very familiar with some of these nuances can use these to pick out the exact year of production.  For this car, I referred to the front turn signals to properly identify the year as that was really the only obvious change between the 1968 and 1969 model years.

Classic 1968 Dodge Dart GTS - Duncan, BC, Canada

Classic 1968 Dodge Dart GTS – Duncan, BC, Canada –

A quick peek under the hood of this beast reveals a car that has seen much love over the years.  A great deal of expense, time and expertise have been applied to this car to bring it up to the standard we see here today.  I am not entirely sure if we are looking at a small or a big block, but a couple of subtle cues lead me to believe it’s a small block.  An expert in Dodges can probably verify or dispel this; please let me know if I have misidentified the powerplant.  The big blocks were well-known to produce almost stratospheric numbers in terms of power, but the small blocks revved a lot faster and weighed less.  In the case of a car the size of the Dodge Dart GTS, this meant the difference between burning up a set of tires in a sitting or booking on down the track.  Neither way is wrong, they each have their own character and personality that suits the owner.

As we find ourselves in spring up here in Canada, I begin to plan and think of visiting our local car shows once again this summer.  Compositions are challenging with all the activities that go on at these events, and this is all part of the fun of a visit with the idea of coming home with memory cards just full of photographic magic.

Thank you so much for popping by to see us here at The Hollow today!  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have.  And on that note, I must bid you all farewell until next time!

Our love for Vancouver Island is no secret, that’s for sure.  We are lucky enough to call this wonderful island home, and we just love living in the picturesque Cowichan Valley.  Even after having lived here for years now, we still find and learn about new treasures in the area.  In today’s post we’re going to take close look at one of these discoveries in our running photoblog series “The Anglican Church Project“.  Today we visit a parish right in our very own backyard here at The Hollow, that is The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Just before Christmas in 2013 we were invited to visit and perform a full session photoshoot at St Peter’s Quamichan.  This winter has brought us several snow events and the day we visited we were lucky enough to come upon the lovely little parish right after a fresh dusting of pure white snow.  This set off the entire shoot with the perfect mood, and both Mrs. Toad and I can honestly say this was one of our favorite visits to-date.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As you come up the tiny path that leads to the church you are immediately taken by a sense of time melting away.  This parish is believed to be the oldest one in the Cowichan Valley that still serves the community.  Originally built in 1866, it was completed in 1867 and the first services were conducted in the spring of that year.  10 years later is was replaced by the building we see here today with more than double the capacity of the original structure.  On June 14, 1877, this church was consecrated and services began and still continue here today.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

One of the things that strikes you most about the church is the incredible amount of woodwork here.  Every detail is meticulous in design and construction, adding so much to the authentic feel of a visit.  The shape and wood used in constructing the door seen in this shot is one example of this.  I love this door and shoot it each time we visit.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Quamichan Lake, visible from our property at The Hollow, is just around the corner from the church.  The lake is an important local landmark.  It’s a key part of the ecosystem and history of the area, creating the perfect park and recreation place for a visit as well as being a crucial part of the local ecosystem as a whole.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As with many of the buildings constructed during this time on the island, wood is a dominant element found in every aspect of design and construction.  As the official St. Peter, Quamichan site notes, even with this broad application of wood we find the inside to be warm and inviting.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Often time rafters are overlooked in terms of their design and underlying engineering and architectural beauty.  At St. Peter, Quamichan, they form an integral part of the interior of the facility and add so much character.  Looking towards the back of the church, the wonderful charm reveals an overall sense as well as great finer details, as noted in the pipes for the pipe organ.  Let’s take a closer look at those.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Beautiful lines and shadows add to the overall drama found inside the church.  With all this warm wood, the overall feeling of being enveloped in a safe and charming setting overwhelms you.  The rope we see dangling here from the ceiling is attached to the bell in the tower that we see in the outside shots earlier in this post.  This adds so much to the special nature of this beguiling church.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As our visit comes to a close, we begin to focus on some of the details and vignettes found within the church.  The craftspeople who designed and created all these wonderful details have taken so much effort to ensure that each piece is as perfect as it is unique.

Every church we visit reveals something special and unique to us as we endeavor to capture the character and details of the facility.  Our visit to St. Peter, Quamichan was extra special due to its close proximity to our own home.  We hope we’ve managed to convey a bit of its story with you here today in our post, and through that we hope to have shared a little of the character of the Cowichan Valley.  If you have a chance to visit St. Peter yourself, whether it be to take in a service or if you are visiting to enjoy the building and the surrounding grounds, it will certainly be a visit you won’t soon forget.

Thanks for your kind visit today, we really appreciate it.  We love to connect with all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us any comments or thoughts you may have below.  Adios, my friends, until next we meet again!

The entire set of 28 HDR high quality photographs of St Peter’s Quamichan is available on our gallery.

Sweet Desolation

Posted: 6th March 2014 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Vancouver Island is a finger of land located just a few miles off the west coast of Canada.  Separated from the mainland of BC and Washington State in the US by a series of straits, the island itself is largely unpopulated with huge tracts of land having never had the opportunity to bear witness to a human being.  With over 12,000 square miles of land and less than a million people populating it you can travel vast distances on the rugged terrain or across serendipitous bodies of water in total solitude.  It’s this seclusion that makes the hundreds of miles of Vancouver Island coast so gorgeous to see, creating a wonderful and unique adventure for those who like to explore and wander.

Ocean Scene - Vancouver Island Coast - Cowichan Valley Region, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ocean Scene – Cowichan Valley Region, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Our coastlines are some of our favorite treasures.  Many of the bays and inlets are only accessible by boat, or in some rare cases by traveling across harsh and rugged logging roads.  But, that’s far from our only natural attraction, the island also hosts a large number of species of soaring trees.

Wikipedia: Vancouver Island says:

Vancouver Island lies in the temperate rainforest biome. On the southern and eastern portions of the island, this is characterized by Douglas-fir, western red cedar, arbutus (or madrone), Garry oak, salal, Oregon-grape, and manzanita; moreover, Vancouver Island is the location where the Douglas-fir was first recorded by Archibald Menzies; Vancouver Island is also the location where some of the tallest Douglas fir were recorded. This southeastern portion of the island is the most heavily populated region of Vancouver Island and a major area for recreation. The northern, western, and most of the central portions of the island are home to the coniferous “big trees” associated with British Columbia’s coast — western hemlock, western red cedar, Pacific Silver Fir, yellow cedar, Douglas-fir, grand fir, Sitka spruce, and western white pine. It is also characterised by bigleaf maple, red alder, sword fern, and red huckleberry.

This very convergence of forest and ocean creates simply magical places unlike those found anywhere else in the world.

Ocean Scene - Vancouver Island Coast - Cowichan Valley Region, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ocean Scene – Cowichan Valley Region, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Winters can be harsh to the standards of the local residents.  We typically get very little snow in the winter, and when it comes it dusts the gorgeous landscapes in pure white that adds so much character to the scene.  Far more normal is a climate in the winter that sees the island immersed in rain, ranging from a delicate mist in the air to downpours described as “the heaven’s opening up”.  Stalwart trees often struggle to survive in this setting, growing in the strangest formations almost as if reaching out to the sky for help.

Ocean Scene - Vancouver Island Coast - Cowichan Valley Region, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ocean Scene – Cowichan Valley Region, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

A visit to some of the bays and inlets reveals vignettes that illustrate the relationship between man and our environment.  The tall trees are dominant in the scenes, and people who make these enchanted spots their homes tend to carve out just enough land to place a house, completely surrounded by the thick and towering trees that create a lush green blanket over the island.

A sense of sweet desolation is found everywhere.  This leaves you feeling as if you’re the only living soul in the world, surrounded by nature and creatures that are simply beyond description in their beauty.  Cities and communities dot the coastline as you make your way primarily north and south on the island, but between the bustling communities is mile after mile of raw nature.

No two days are alike here on Vancouver Island.  You can visit and revisit and revisit the same spot, experiencing something special and new with each sojourn.  Come see for yourself!!

Thank you so much for visiting us here at The Hollow today, we really do appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have!  Adieu, my friends!