Even though Vancouver Island’s post-colonization history only encompasses the last 150 odd years or so, we do have quite a rich heritage to take in and enjoy.  Our buildings may not be thousands of years old as they are in old Europe, but many of them benefit from architectural cues derived from homes and buildings in that part of the world.  One of our more famous locations is Hatley Park Castle, a place we’ve covered many times before in our photoblog series “A Toad In The Turret“.

Hatley Park Castle - Victoria BC Canada

Hatley Park Castle – Victoria BC Canada –

This is yet another one of those places that takes on a different character with each visit.  The time of year, the light, it all converges here and plays with the old stone facade to cast different feelings and faces to a storied place just outside of Victoria, BC.  Our previous posts cover some of the rich history that features the famous family, the Dunsmuirs, and the indelible mark they left here on the island during the time of colonization.

Hatley Park Castle - Victoria BC Canada

Hatley Park Castle – Victoria BC Canada –

As you continue your way up the walking path towards the castle, a terrific scene comes into focus.  Here we see the incredible stonework of the castle and some of the fine architectural details that make it so special.  You can easily imagine ladies in long dresses enjoying a lovely day overlooking the gardens and the ocean in the distance.  Today these experiences are available to everyone as the castle itself sits on a park that is publicly accessible.  If ever you find yourself in the area we highly recommend a personal visit.  No matter what time of year you come, you will be enchanted by this place that almost seems to hold a magical aura to it, right in the heart of a burgeoning city.

Topaz Glow

 

Topaz Glow

We’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about a brand new product from our friends at Topaz Labs!!  They have just released a new post-processing tool called “Topaz Glow” that comes with over 70 terrific new filters built right in!

From Topaz Labs:

Glow can be used as a stand-alone or a plugin to transform your photos from dull to dazzling. Containing more than 70 unconventional and quirky filters, you can infuse your images with neon, graphic, liquid and other electrifying effects.

The technology behind Glow seeks out the unexplored lines and patterns in your images and illuminates them.

We’ve also posted a brief Topaz Glow Introduction that covers the key features for you to download and review.  Topaz Labs is an industry leader in both the tools they create for photographers to use in post-production, as well as creating great learning content and delivering world-class customer support for after sales questions.  We use Topaz Labs tools in every image we create here at Toad Hollow Photography.

INTRODUCTORY SALE!!  From December 9th, 2014 to December 31st, 2014 you can save on this latest post-processing tool!  Use the coupon code “INTROGLOW” at checkout to take advantage of the introductory price of $49.99 (regularly $69.99)!!  Don’t wait, lock in your savings today and take your images to the next level!

Topaz Glow

Our avid love of photography finds us with some rather strange obsessions.  One of them has to be the natural effects and appearance of rusty things.  The textures and details you can find with such objects represents the tireless work of time and nature against the man-made metals of our generation.  One of our very good friends who hails from the US is always a source of inspiration for these posts as we think of our common bonds and love for old objects, and old trains specifically.  This one is for you Tom.

Ladysmith Railway Museum - Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ladysmith Railway Museum – Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

We’ve said it many, many times before and it always bears saying again.  Sometimes the best things to photograph are right in your backyard off the regular beaten track.  Today’s post features one such find.  On a lovely October day of last year, Mrs. Toad and I found ourselves on the lookout for something unique to shoot.  These are the best days, we find, the days where we get to spend the day chasing dreams with no particular schedule or destination.  The simple act of spending the day together, exploring the wonders in our very own area, always results in some profound new pictures.  It is also usually accompanied with a deeper understanding of Vancouver Island and the history and heritage that brought us to this point in time.

Ladysmith Railway Museum - Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ladysmith Railway Museum – Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Ladysmith Railway Museum - Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ladysmith Railway Museum – Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

What surely is tantamount to setting a young child off in a favorite toy store with an unlimited budget and no time constraints, we found ourselves amidst a field of old rusty and weathered trains and cars on this lovely autumn day.  Right in the heart of a wonderful little town on the island, the Ladysmith Railway Museum features this outdoor exhibit sure to tantalize the curious.  As years of weather have taken their toll, the rust and wear of the cars takes on an organic feel, almost as if the rust is dripping down the sides of the cars.  This sensation is fed when you feel yourself immersed in the rainforests and environs of Vancouver Island.

Ladysmith Railway Museum - Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ladysmith Railway Museum – Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Certain vantages frame really interesting perspectives, like this one that reveals an old steam locomotive behind the rusty weathered car we were studying.  I find it to be quite the dichotomy to discover scenes like this that feature so predominantly the contrast between man and nature.  Eventually nature always wins.

Ladysmith Railway Museum - Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ladysmith Railway Museum – Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

From an elevated perspective, context adds further to our emerging story.  If left unattended, this exhibit would surely become completely enshrouded in bush and vegetation and eventually the cars themselves would dissolve and become a permanent part of the place they inhabit.  Thankfully the folks who curate the site will ensure this will never happen.

Thanks kindly for your visit to The Hollow here 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 below.

Footprints are sometimes there even though we can’t see them.  Those who have come before tread on the grounds, leaving behind a little something of themselves.  For those who are acute these ghostly outlines of the imprints are not lost forever, rather they are as evident and as fresh as the day they were left.  As a photographer certain scenes call to us, invite us to seek beyond that which is obvious and to find the stories that lie just beneath the veneer.  Such is the Old Stone Butter Church to me.

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

As we’ve mentioned previously, Vancouver Island does not get a lot of snow over the course of our winter.  When it does come the entire valley takes on a different feel, but only for a very brief time.  The snow melts quickly, and with that life returns to normal.  The scenes are fleeting and pure only for the briefest of moments, and if you are trying to capture great images the window of opportunity is very short.  This past weekend we were hit with such a snow event and the temperatures lingered well below the freezing mark.  We knew we only had a few hours to get up to the church perched atop Comiaken Hill to photograph pure scenes with no footprints.

At least no footprints that were obvious.

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

A quick visit to our online gallery reveals many photographs of the church.  For those with a passing interest this might seem redundant, like we’ve created a record that skips.  But for those who like to look deeper, we find scenes that take on unique personalities entirely dependent on the time of year and the natural light.  And thus we begin to understand why we are called back to this place time and time again.  It’s my muse.

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

As discussed in our previous post “Old Stone Butter Church“, the church was constructed in 1870 and only saw service for a very short time.

Excerpt from original post:

Such a incredible place, it’s even been featured on “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” who referred to it as “The church of no services…in which no congregation has ever gathered.”  While not entirely true, the church was in service for only 10 years before it was abandoned for a newer location in the valley.  Ripley’s goes on to say “the Indians will not go near (it) because all those who actually built it died mysteriously.”  Again, these are stories woven to add to the fabric of the tale, but the words resonate as you stand on the grounds taking in the incredible energies that swirl around.

Fabulous details on the story behind Old Stone Butter Church can be found at “Myths and Legends of the Cowichan Indian People – Coast Salish history“.

Clearly the story of the Old Stone Butter Church just started after the last service was conducted.

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

What once was a doorway or a window is now just a frame to the outside world.  These scenes feed the artist deep within me, always looking for natural tension and a story in a single frame.  We’ve said it before and it bears saying again… the silence is deafening up here.  The only sound that we heard was the crunching of our footsteps in the frozen snow and the occasional expression of amazement as we took in the experience.

View From Atop Comiaken Hill at Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

View From Atop Comiaken Hill at Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

As we turn to leave once again, I begin to look forward to our next visit.  We look out over Comiaken Hill down into Cowichan Bay below and find ourselves in a state of wonder.  A perfect blend of history and the contemporary come together in the place that may be forgotten to many, but certainly is not to us.

Mount Tzouhalem from Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

Mount Tzouhalem from Old Stone Butter Church – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

A final glance at Mount Tzouhalem as we turn to head back to our car…  the skies open just at that moment to let a sliver of sunlight cut across the majestic mountain, highlighting the intrinsic beauty of the mighty rock formation under a light dusting of pure white snow.

Yes, we’ve been here many times before, but with each visit comes a new discovery.  These experiences are tangible and indelible, leaving a mark upon us that can never be replicated or removed.  What will we find on our next visit?

Black Friday 2014 Savings On Topaz Labs Software!

Posted: 28th November 2014 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , ,

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again, the time when many of us look forward to the upcoming holidays, and the time when many of us are looking for the best deals!  For those who love photography, this is a great time to save big on the gear and software that you really want.  And when it comes to post-production software, there simply is no better suite than the plugins offered from the terrific folks over at Topaz Labs!  We love these tools here at Toad Hollow Photography, each photograph we create is finished with at least one of the Topaz plugins.

Topaz Labs Black Friday 2014 Sale!

Topaz Labs Black Friday 2014 Sale! – Use Code “BLACKFRIDAY2014” At Checkout!

First Metropolitan United Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

First Metropolitan United Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

This is one of our latest photographs published featuring the interior of First Metropolitan United Church here in Victoria.  HDR gives us the flexibility we need in terms of being able to capture the full dynamic range of the scene being shot, but that’s only the first step.  It’s post-production where the pictures really come to life.  This photograph was finished off using our favorite plugin in the suite, Topaz Detail.  The results are subtle but incredible, bringing a level of sharpness and clarity to the image without overcooking it and giving it a fake feel.  Almost every photograph we create here finds itself in Topaz Detail for that perfect finishing touch.

We’ve reviewed many of the plugins here at Toad Hollow, always including screenshots and sample photographs we’ve created with this powerful software suite.  Here is the list of previous reviews we’ve completed on the various Topaz Labs post-processing tools:

These reviews cover just 6 of the 15 plugins included in the entire suite!  There are 9 other tools included in this terrific package just waiting to be discovered and explored!

First Metropolitan United Church - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

First Metropolitan United Church – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

This again is one of our latest photographs just published.  This one was captured using a new HDR technique I am working on that utilizes off-camera speedlights remotely triggered.  I love the ability to control the lighting in a scene like this to have fine control over how the image is expressed in it’s finished form.  Once again, Topaz Detail is used here to delicately accent the details in the image and add that perfect finishing touch.

Shawnigan Suite B&B - Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Shawnigan Suite B&B – Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Unsworth Vineyards - Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

Unsworth Vineyards – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

When we are working in the field on a commercial session, image quality is paramount for our clients.  Once again the suite of Topaz tools becomes an important companion in our workflow, delivering consistent results that ensure we produce top-notch work.

In a day and age where quality and service are paramount, it’s important to note that your relationship with Topaz Labs doesn’t end after you’ve purchased the tools, it’s only the beginning.  We’ve had to contact the support group a few times over the years and I can honestly say that they have one of the best software support groups I’ve ever worked with.  This really gives you a feeling of confidence in buying their products.  And beyond that, they have great online resources teaching you how to get the most out of your new tools!

Even at the regular price of $429.99 this set of tools is a terrific value.  From November 28th to December 1st, 2014 you can take that one step further and get the entire suite for only $249.99!!  Lock in your savings today and take your photography to the next level!

Topaz Labs Black Friday 2014 Sale!

Topaz Labs Black Friday 2014 Sale! – Use Code “BLACKFRIDAY2014” At Checkout!

There are as many variations of custom cars as there are enthusiasts who design and build them.  I think that’s one of the best parts about being a “car guy”, there’s always something out there to tickle your fancy no matter what your preference or taste is.  Now that summer is just a fleeting thought far behind us in our rear-view mirror, we can think of no better time than now to reflect upon the summer and look at pictures that remind us of warmer times.  In today’s post we are continuing our running photoblog series “Warmlands Show n Shine 2014” and we’re going to feature a stunning classic Model A Ford Hot Rod.

Classic Ford Hot Rod - Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Classic Ford Hot Rod – Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As those who know me well will attest, I am a filing cabinet full of largely useless information when it comes to cars.  My mom used to say to me that the first words I ever uttered were “vrrrroooooooom!!” and I can honestly say at this point in my life I have never outgrown that.  I believe the whole thing is in my blood; my love for cars is something truly inherent in me that forms a part of who I am.  But when it comes to classics of this era, I am going to have to admit that I am less of an expert.  Even with that being said, I know what I like…  and I like this!

Classic Ford Hot Rod - Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Classic Ford Hot Rod – Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

When it comes to custom hot rods like this classic truck, it’s far from unusual to find a Ford or Dodge with a Chevrolet drive-train.  I am pretty sure that’s what we are looking at here, a small block Chevy V8 that has been transplanted into this simply stunning Ford body.  Ford V8 engines have their distributors located at the front of the engine, and Chevrolet has theirs at the back.  In this shot we can see the plug wires routing by the firewall leading me to believe this is a Chevy power-plant.  Check out the chrome on this baby; I am not sure the mirror in our bathroom could provide a better reflection for shaving than the one we see here.  The entire engine-bay is so clean, you could eat right off it…  the prep work that goes into preparing a vehicle like this for a show would melt your mind.  No bolt or no piece of trim goes unpolished, and the results speak for themselves in all the spots we find the sun glinting off the surfaces.

Classic Ford Hot Rod - Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Classic Ford Hot Rod – Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Check out the width of the tires on the back.  You’d really need a footprint that wide when trying to scurry down the road or track, anything that is narrower than this gauge would result in vociferous melting of the rubber as the truck tries it’s very best to find traction to get all that luscious V8 power hooked up and to the ground.  These are all terrific problems to have if you love cars.  There is no wrong answer here.

So as winter descends upon us all here on Vancouver Island, let’s look forward to next summer when these beasts find their ways out of the garages and warehouses they all call home to, and once again roam our streets free.

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

Order Up!

Posted: 15th November 2014 by Mrs. Toad in Photography
Tags: , , ,

Succulent hamburgers, golden hand-cut fries, creamy dahl and sweet basmati rice, fragrant curries, fluffy pakoras, savoury samosas, and decadent chocolate cheesecake. You might think I’m describing a pricey, five-star restaurant that involves knowing the maître d’ just to get past the door, but the only similarity would be that the food does indeed deserve those five stars.

Vancouver Island Event Catering - Vancouver Island Catering - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Vancouver Island Event Catering – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Vancouver Island Event Catering is a gourmet kitchen on wheels that is home to Azam Khan, owner, chef, and current keeper of the family recipes that go back generations.

The family, originally from the remote mountain village of Charoona located in the region of Amazai in the North Western Frontier Province in Pakistan, grew their own plots and raised their own livestock to craft the very recipes that have customers lined up every weekday at his mobile eatery found just off the highway on the outskirts of Duncan, BC. Azam fondly recalls taking a trip to his native village as a child, travelling by air, car, bus, canoe, and finally donkey, to get to the 800 year old village where his father was born. Fortunately for the rest of us, no donkey is required to enjoy the deliciously unique flavours Azam has become famous for.

Vancouver Island Event Catering - Vancouver Island Catering - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Vancouver Island Event Catering – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

A staunch believer in the “100 Mile Diet”, all of the ingredients are locally sourced and prepared to order from scratch from the original recipes. Healthy and delicious, there is no need to feel guilty about eating this “fast-food”!

Planning a special event? Free yourself from the kitchen and let Azam and his dedicated staff take care of the cooking and cleaning so you can focus on what’s really important…having a great time! From picking up your order yourself, to a full service including D.J.’s, live bands and bar tending services, the reasonable prices and variety of menus will have your guests and your taste buds thanking you! Past happy clients include government officials, universities, businesses and celebrity concerts for singing icons k.d.lang and Gord Downey and the Tragically Hip, among many others. And if the party can’t get to Azam, he will happily bring the party to you. His one-of-a-kind creations have found their way all over Western Canada, the United States, and even as far away as France, England and Dubai.

Vancouver Island Event Catering - Vancouver Island Catering - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Vancouver Island Event Catering – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

With the Holiday season fast approaching, be the talk of the party scene courtesy of the unique and delicious flavours that only Azam can bring to your celebrations. After all, if it is true that a great eatery always has lots of cars parked outside, what must it say if the happy patrons can’t even make it back to their cars with their orders before taking the first bite?

Time to give Vancouver Island Catering a call and find out for yourself!

Check out the full menu and customer reviews at vieventcatering.com or give him a call at (250)-701-8593.

Celebrating 12 Years

Posted: 7th November 2014 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , ,

Time is fleeting, this is no surprise.  What is a surprise, however, is how the years can fly by, accumulating memories and treasures all along the way.  It’s these very memories that form the fabric of the meaning of our lives, and in my case personally, it’s those memories that make me run home each and every night, excited to see the love of my life once again.  And with that, we form new memories.

An Ode To Love - Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

This picture was taken off the deck of one of our favorite places to visit in the Cowichan Valley, that is the Cow Cafe West Coast Grill.  Over the years of living in the valley, we’ve made good friends with Matt and Jenn Heyne who take just as much care in providing the wonderful dining services they provide as we do with our photography.  We’ve been many, many times, both on a commissioned basis to provide photography for their site, as well as personally just to enjoy the incredible food and ambiance that is distinctly the west coast.

My incredible wife, who we all colloquially know as the wonderful Mrs. Toad, is my pride and joy.  Some 13 odd years ago we first met and my life went from the meaningless and mundane to an existence of utter joy that I feel the need to share and express at every chance I get.  We tend to wander the island, flipper-in-flipper if you will, adventuring and exploring, and learning new things about this great place we call home, as well as new things about ourselves and each other.  This is an undying love, one that does come with strong, ironclad guarantees, for my life without her would be a life of suffering and loneliness.

So, as we take time to celebrate our 12th incredible wedding anniversary together, we find ourselves whisking away to the resort where we honeymooned at.  The days spent at the resort will be filled with all sorts of adventures, and I have no doubt we will be coming home with new stories, new memories to cherish forevermore.

As we wrap up this post today, we find ourselves hurriedly packing our bags and double-checking last minute details.  The sense of excitement has been building here for days now, and the time is nearly upon us to leave.  As we head back out to the very place we spent our honeymoon, I find it’s a good time to reflect back on the miles we’ve traveled together…  they seem fleeting, and yet the time has also passed by like a raft on the Cowichan River on a lazy summers day.  I believe these are experiences that can only be made with the one true person you love, your soul-mate if you will.

I sit here and pen this ode to my wife whom I love with all my heart and soul, and I am overwhelmed with appreciation and gratitude for all she’s given and shared with me all these years.  I cannot wait to see what the future brings, and to bear witness to the new memories we will make together.

I love you, Mrs. Toad.

The Meandering River

Posted: 29th October 2014 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , ,

There is no better way to whittle away some time than to visit and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Vancouver Island in BC.  Trees seem to reach for the skies, the rivers run fast and hard, and the rugged landscapes that the west coast of Canada is famous for are found here.

The Cowichan River - A Serene River Scene - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The Cowichan River – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

In light of how busy we’ve found ourselves recently providing professional services for our clients, it made sense for us to take pause and get back to the roots of Toad Hollow Photography, even if just for a brief moment.  We were asked at a client consultation when was the last time we worked for ourselves, just for fun?  This does happen quite a bit for Mrs. Toad and I, we try to make a point of getting out on missions of discovery whenever we can.  With our schedules being what they are, it’s been a bit more difficult for us to find time to share these experiences with you on our blog.

So, let’s take a moment today.

As most of you who follow us regularly know, we love the island and we really do try to get involved as much as we can in local efforts to preserve what we’ve got going on here.  After having lived here since 1980, you’d think we’d run out of things to explore…  and I’m here to tell you this just isn’t possible.

A few weeks back we decided to take an afternoon just for ourselves, and to head out to Lake Cowichan, my old stomping grounds and haunts that we used to frequent as teenagers.  At the back of our mind was to capture shots we could share with the various environmental groups we work with.  At the front of our minds was the pure experience itself.

The Cowichan River feeds from Lake Cowichan, a huge lake located on Vancouver Island.  It’s an important river with a heritage designation, one that supplies food, entertainment and water for much of the Cowichan Valley directly and indirectly.  As Mrs. Toad and I stood on a footbridge overlooking the serene river, it struck us how peaceful the setting was.  The river meanders, seemingly forever, and dotted all along it’s shores you will find homes and docks.  In the summer the river is filled with enthusiastic rafters and people floating, taking in the delightful temperatures and landscapes of the island.  In the winter, it turns into a peaceful place, a place you can come and commune with nature and spend a few private and intimate moments with someone who means the world to you, or just yourself.

Thanks for popping by The Hollow today and sharing a moment with us, 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 below.

Silent For 100 Years

Posted: 27th October 2014 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s been nearly 100 years since last these guns unleashed a barrage of heavy artillery towards our own 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles in the European war theater of WWI.  In 1917/1918 these German Field Guns grew silent as the Canadian forces overwhelmed the German infantry and took possession of them.  Today they stand proud in Esquimalt’s Memorial Park as war trophies, reminders of the horror that is war, and the tools the armies used to try to annihilate each other.  Completely refurbished over the course of the early months of 2014, they have recently been re-installed at the Memorial Park.  The spirits of those who fought for and against these formidable weapons are almost tangible, and these links to our history, be it good or bad, are important for both current and future generations.  After all, the horrors of World Wars are something not to be forgotten and the lessons we should take away are those of peace, understanding and acceptance of everyone, no matter where they came from or the history that preceded them.

German Field Guns - German 77mm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art Field Gun, Reg. #595 - Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada

German 77mm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art Field Gun, Reg. #595 – Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada –

For those who follow us regularly, you all know of our deep love for the history and heritage found here on Vancouver Island.  Many of our citizens from the island participated in all the major conflicts in the world, and WWI is certainly no exception.  Therefore it comes as no surprise that artifacts and items like these artillery guns are personally important and meaningful to our veterans and their families.  For those, like us, who have no direct family members affected by WWI, they stand as artifacts that when observed and touched in person create links to a global history of incredible significance.

German Field Guns - German 77mm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art Field Gun, Reg. #595 - Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada

German 77mm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art Field Gun, Reg. #595 – Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada –

German Field Guns - German 77mm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art Field Gun, Reg. #595 - Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada

German 77mm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art Field Gun, Reg. #595 – Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada –

German Field Guns - German 77mm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art Field Gun, Reg. #595 - Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada

German 77mm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art Field Gun, Reg. #595 – Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada –

You can just imagine my surprise and delight when I learned the refurbished guns were going to be exhibited by the ocean several days before they were to be re-installed at the park.  Our good friend, a local military historian, invited me to attend the exhibit and shoot it, and I can honestly say this was one of my key photography highlights for this year.  Opportunities like this are few and far between. The German 77mm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art Field Gun was widely used in this conflict by the German Imperial Army, with 5086 of these weapons commissioned and engaged during the war.  It was considered to be a workhorse and was used in all fronts and all battles.  This gun was captured at the second battle of Cambai on September 29th, 1918.

German Field Guns - German 77mm Nahkampfkanone L/27, Reg. #9739 - Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada

German 77mm Nahkampfkanone L/27, Reg. #9739 – Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada –

This gun, the 77mm Nahkampfkanone L/27, was captured by the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles at Vimy Ridge on April 9th, 1917.  Combined as a set, both these guns together form two of three First World War German Field Guns in the province of BC today.  Close scrutiny reveals pock marks and signs of active fire against the guns, all of which serves to bring us closer to the story in the realization that real men stood on those fields during WWI, in the face of great personal danger to themselves.  As we all know, many of them never returned home.

German Field Guns - German Military Reenactors - Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada

German Military Reenactors – Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada –

German Field Guns - German Military Reenactors - Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada

German Military Reenactors – Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada –

German Field Guns - German Military Reenactors - Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada

German Military Reenactors – Esquimalt, Victoria, BC, Canada –

On the day I visited to photograph the guns, two very authentic looking reenactors from The Victoria Esquimalt Military Reenactors Association (VEMRA) were dressed in full uniform at the site to add a great layer and dimension to the pictures.  I believe I even heard them speaking in German as they setup to provide striking poses for the photographs, making me look around nervously just in case an invasion was indeed imminent.  No invasion came, I am happy to report.  The only real shooting that happened on this day was with my trusty Canon 6D. To see the entire catalog of 22 images captured at this exhibit, please visit our gallery “German 77mm Field Guns“, or click here to see them in a full-screen slideshow.  Further information on the guns and their storied history can be found at two Victoria News articles: “Rare First World War trophies in Esquimalt echo Canada’s military past” and “Esquimalt’s big guns coming out party“.

Qualicum Beach Museum

Posted: 21st October 2014 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Of all the places we frequent, Qualicum Beach and Parksville remain some of our very favorites with stunning landscapes, seascapes, heritage and sights and sounds to take in and enjoy.  Each season reveals a very unique tapestry, with the summer season being bright, warm and active with countless visitors making their way here for vacations and getaways.  The winters are more quiet, leaving the visitor with the sense that you have the entire place to explore, all to yourself.  Treasures are found everywhere, and the deeper you dig into the foundation of this fabulous community, the more wonders are revealed.  In today’s post we are featuring a selection of photographs of the Qualicum Beach Museum, a place that tells a story that is simply amazing to explore.

Qualicum Beach Museum - Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Qualicum Beach Museum – Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

What today is a mecca for locals and visitors alike, Qualicum Beach was once a playground for the rich and famous.  In future posts we will be sharing shots of the Crown Mansion Boutique Hotel & Villas and share a bit of the history behind it.  These stories all intermingle as the community was being founded, resulting in a true destination that has something for everyone.

Qualicum Beach Museum - Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Qualicum Beach Museum – Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

One of the buildings on the premises was actually once the original power house for the community.  Today it’s a wonderful old brick building, literally beaming with history and heritage.  Inside the museum, all sorts of mysteries and stories are shared, many of which are a surprise to even people like us who have lived on the island for years and years.

Qualicum Beach Museum - Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Qualicum Beach Museum – Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Qualicum Beach Museum - Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Qualicum Beach Museum – Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

On the day we took these photographs, the museum was closed.  We have since returned and visited when it was open, and we have to say it was a terrific experience.  Displays covering paleontology, local history and folklore, and video presentations are all exhibited, providing a detailed look into how the area came to be.  Many of these features leave you wanting to see and learn more.

Qualicum Beach Museum - Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Qualicum Beach Museum – Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The doors and entrances into the facility have murals painted on them.  These colorful representations give you a glimpse into what the area and life was like back then.  Even though 100 years or so has passed since these sights were commonplace, you find reflections of the period everywhere.

Qualicum Beach Museum - Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Qualicum Beach Museum – Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Perhaps one day we’ll have a chance to shoot some of the artifacts on display in the museum as this is something we strive to do with all the community museums on Vancouver Island, where possible.  We would really enjoy that.  In the meantime, we really encourage everyone to come and visit in person, learn about the Qualicum Beach/Parksville area, and take in a myriad of adventures that are so quintessentially Vancouver Island.

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