Two Toads at a Fine Arts Show; we blended right in, I am sure you can imagine.  The artwork posted at the exhibition was extremely diverse, created by a truly gifted group of local artists to the Cowichan Valley.  Mrs. Toad and myself had the best time getting to know some of these wonderful folks and seeing what kind of work they all create.  Today we take a quick look at a few of the buildings at the Quw’utsun’ Cultural and Conference Center.

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

This was the main building that we used during the show, it housed the exhibition portion of the event.  As you approach the cultural and conference center, your first glimpse of the facility doesn’t truly show the scale and size of the overall site and accompanying buildings.  Only when you enter the grounds are you greeted with several wonderfully architected buildings and other local artifacts.

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

This is the back of the main exhibition building; it overlooks the mighty and beautiful Cowichan River.  This is a very typical structure for Vancouver Island, and it reflects the native influence of our area.  The wonderful wood work is beautiful in both texture and color.

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

The Riverside Cafe was home to the Gift Shop of the Fine Arts Show, and this is the building that Mrs. Toad and myself spent the vast majority of our time in during the show.  Once again, the beauty and color of the wood used in construction is truly something to behold.

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

This building wasn’t part of the Arts Show, so we didn’t have access to it directly.  It is a large building that is adorned with native artwork.  I believe the art symbolizes the eagle, killer whale and salmon, but I am not completely sure.  Once again, this building directly faces the rushing waters of the Cowichan River.

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

I was led to understand that there are one or more private businesses located in this facility and I believe this building is home to one.  The woodwork really stood out as a wonderful element of interest, and the extended roof section was an absolutely fabulous architectural piece.

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

I am not entirely sure what the overall purpose of this building is for sure, but as a hungry Toad who spent a very busy week here I was left hoping it was some form of a Fly Storage Facility…  I could be wrong on that point, but it seemed somewhat plausible, so I’ve gone with it.

We also managed to capture a large series of images of the Totem Poles at the center here.  These will be the basis of a future post this week, so please do stay tuned.  Thanks for visiting today, and as always, we encourage you to leave us a comment as we truly love to hear from all our visitors!!




  1. avatar Kristi Hines says:

    I love the artwork displayed on the outside of the centre. Great job capturing it from different angles!

  2. Great set of shots, Toad! Always enjoy visiting the blog!

  3. What a wonderful conference center and setting. Absolutely compatible with its environment. This rustic, nature-friendly center certainly calls for “jeans” optional attire!

  4. avatar Dave says:

    Great location, great art, great weather and a great set of images to show us all too. Sounds like you both had a terrific time.

  5. avatar Jason Hines says:

    Beautiful images Toad! I especially like the artwork on the side of that building, it’s really great. Thank you for sharing your work and for all your great comments and support. You are definitely the nicest Toad I’ve ever met. 🙂

    • WOOT! Thanks so much Jason, your comments mean the world to us here today! Thanks for popping by, we’re thrilled you enjoyed the images. Stay tuned, my good friend, we’ve definitely got more coming!!

  6. avatar chrisdmrf says:

    Excellent shots and write up. Would love to visit

  7. avatar Heather says:

    That place looks just amazing Toad! I bet they will want you pictures for advertising purposes!!!

  8. avatar a.barlow says:

    Nice shots man!

  9. WOW!! Not only a cool and beautiful place but boy do your photos show it well!! OK…is this w/your 50mm? Do you shoot w/a Nikon, Canon, or other? And three…do you do your processing in Photomatix? Your work is awesome Toad!

    • You’re the best Cathy, thanks so much for your visit and wonderful comments today my friend! Let’s see, where to start:

      1) 50mm, nope not yet… I have a few test shots I did at Beacon Hill Park with it I’ll be posting soon (maybe today, haven’t decided yet)… this lens is incredible, the ability to finely manage the DOF is the bomb…. sharp and crystal clear images, it’s probably the lens I will use at least 60% of the time moving forward here….

      2) I shoot with a Sony a200 that I got when my father passed away. The story behind that is here on our blog in our “About” page which has a link at the top of this page.

      3) Yes, I sure do! I love Photomatix! You have such fine control over how you detail enhance and tonemap the image in this application, it’s definitely my personal favorite. I am a software engineer by trade, so I love all the fiddly little sliders and all that, gives me fine fine control over the work being produced.

      Great questions today Cathy, really glad to have a chance to talk about ’em! If you, or anyone else, has further questions please don’t hesitate!! 🙂

      And thank you so much for your ongoing friendship & support Cathy!! 🙂

      • Thanks so much for the fabulous reply Toad! I’m just hopping back here after commenting on your fabulous post/trees/landscapes today w/your 50mm prime! I agree, I think it will be on my camera as my “go to” most of the time. I also have a Tokina 100mm macro that I love for both macro and distance…it’s super sharp like the 50mm.

        Photomatix is the bomb! I’m still trying to get the hang of all the fine tuning. I study your photos and try to figure out what settings you used 🙂 There’s a certain look to a photomatix image that I just love! I have about 12 presets that I’ve saved and I use them most of the time. Then I like to run the images through Nik Color Efex pro when I want to pick up some extra details in the shadows…their tonal contrast filter is what I use for that. I’m guessing you use a tripod…I prefer the spontaneity of handheld but can see the benefit in using a tripod for bracketing.

        Your love and passion for your photography shows through in every image. I really love coming to your site each day for inspiration! Keep up the great work my friend!

      • I had to stop everything and read Mrs. Toad your comments here Cathy, what a wonderful thing to say! I am totally honored and delighted. I can share a few more details for you just to add a bit of background that I think may be important:

        1) I try to use a tripod each and every time. In truth, it happens probably less than 25% of the time. Some of the work I do is in questionable areas of town and I need to be quick to be in and out and grab my shots and I need to blend in as much as possible. My hand-held shots are done with my Sony camera which has a bracket feature; it’ll grab 0,-1,+2 with one shutter press, 3 separate shutter clicks occur. I also turn on my steady shot feature.

        2) I LOVE Photomatix and would be hard pressed to really move away from it. I’ve loved it since the first time I found and used it. I find 2 things to be true for my work with Photomatix, a) always have the Strength slider set to 100, no deviations and b) each image needs to be done completely by hand and each and every setting needs to be carefully adjusted to achieve success. Also, the histogram is a huge huge thing in terms of processing; avoid clipping highs or lows wherever possible. Other than that, each image is it’s own unique and distinctive piece of art that requires careful processing by hand. This is a shame because in my humble opinion, the batch processing feature is not terribly useful.

        That’s my $0.02 on topic for what it’s worth! 🙂

      • I’ve enjoyed our conversation so much Toad (and Mrs. Toad!) Just like you, many of the places I photograph downtown are questionable so I totally get the “get in and out” quick! 🙂 I’m going to follow your suggestions for Photomatix with the strength slider and adjusting each image from scratch. I have not paid much attention to the histogram but will start. This is such an amazing and fun journey learning so much from great people like you! Thanks again for sharing and have a wonderful evening my Friend!

        • Fantastic, thanks so much Cathy! I really appreciate you taking the time to pop by and leave these wonderful comments. Never hesitate to ask any questions, I love talking about this stuff… ask poor Mrs. Toad! 🙂

  10. Top notch work Toad. You really conveyed the atmosphere of the place.