On our journey together today, we’re going to take a look at something that is a little different for us here at The Hollow.  We typically love to photograph buildings, architecture, cars and other loosely related subjects, but every once in a while you encounter something out of the ordinary that merits a photo-expose.  Today’s topic is one such subject.

When I first started on my photography adventure, I did a lot of work locally here in our heritage cemeteries.  The dichotomy of final resting places contrasted with vibrant nature really does fascinate me.  A lot of folks find these sorts of images to be rather creepy and/or perhaps even a little disrespectful to those who came before us.  I take a different view of the topic; I love the park settings and I find some solace in remembering those who are now gone.  I tend to really spend a lot of time when we’re doing these sorts of shoots, reading all the inscriptions and trying to imagine what it must have been like for those people.  I really try to understand the story of the person with the limited information that is presented.  It is both sombre and uplifting at the same time in a way that I find hard to describe.

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Situated just over a very old wooden bridge, halfway between two tiny towns on Vancouver Island sits the Westholme Cemetery, which belongs to the All Saints’ Anglican Church in Crofton, we believe.    The cemetery is located right in the middle of an area of large farms and acreages, and is actually a little easy to miss as you pass it if you’re not paying attention.  It’s a bit of an unexpected place to find a cemetery, but at the same time it’s perfect.

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

I just love this image.  I really speaks to me of a park-like setting that is cradled in one of the most peaceful little hidden places on the island here.  The textures and details on this gate are truly wonderful to behold.

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

The gate beckons the visitor to come in, and stay awhile.  There is a fast-moving river just beyond the fence of the cemetery, and the rushing water facilitates a deep sense of peace.  The only sounds to be heard are from the river and the local singing birds.  If you notice, everything is a little off kilter here, a little on the crooked side of things.  We really think this lends a lot of character to the place.

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

The Pioneer Memorial Shelter provides a very interesting dash of architecture to the setting.  A lovely, quiet place to sit a spell and remember the loved ones who are interned here.

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Many plaques are affixed to the inner ceiling of the structure.  Many of the folks remembered here passed away well over 100 years ago now, and we believe this to be one of the older cemeteries on Vancouver Island.  There was one plaque, in particular, for a little baby who was only a few days old.  This was a heartbreaking find for myself and Mrs. Toad.  Out of respect, we didn’t feel right to post an image of that.

It’s hard to imagine, with our 24/7 lifestyles these days, but even as recently as 100 years ago, just a generation or two, life was very difficult.  I find this helps me to appreciate the life I now have.

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

The constant march of time is relentless.  It waits for no man, woman or child. Even as we rest eternally we are surrounded by, and becoming part of, life around us.  What are the stories of all these people?  Had I been there with them, could I have helped someone?  Made their lives a little easier, done some chores, helped in some way??…  these questions constantly nag at me while we were visiting.

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

Westholme Cemetery - Crofton BC Canada

As we complete our journey together today, we take the meandering path to the open gate on our way out.  It was a very serene visit in a truly peaceful place.  I find myself both saddened and very hopeful for our own future, at the same time.

These sorts of experiences really help me to find myself in the current universe and world we find ourselves dwelling in.  Things are very complex and fast-moving these days, and taking the time to visit such a wonderful little hidden sanctuary really provides some contrast that allows us to look at our own lives with a different lens, somewhat.

We really hope you have enjoyed today’s post.  Thank you ever so much for taking the time to visit.  If you wish, please feel free to leave us some comments as we truly love to hear from all our visitors.



  1. avatar Fred Norris says:

    Great images Toad,I do agree this is a very unusual cemetery!Thanks for sharing.

  2. avatar Kristi Hines says:

    It’s always sad to see a grave for someone young, particularly infants. I find it interesting / sad to see how much some people are loved by the things written on their headstones, flowers, or other gifts left by visitors. Great photos!

    • Great comments here today, thank you so very much Kristi! I totally agree with you on that, I always am interested in the stories of those who have come before us. Really appreciate your visit & wonderful comments today, my friend, thank you!

  3. I absolutely love the second image – the 8530 gate. Your selective focus and shallow DoF is very effective Toad. Your narrative is so compelling and adds so much for your visitors. I’m sure we all come away with mixed emotions and our own private thoughts.

  4. avatar Jim Denham says:

    The second image was awesome! I agree with you on the cemeteries and do think, with some common sense, they can be very nice places to photograph and experience history! Well done!

    • Thanks so much Jim, I was a little nervous to make this post today and with yours and everyone else’s feedback here I am now rather convinced it was a good idea. We sure do appreciate your visit & kind words today, my friend!

  5. avatar Jerry Denham says:

    Toad I believe that several of us drive by cemetaries and see them as beautiful places to photograph. As you put it, the history behind the engravings combined with the wonderfully manecured grounds make for great images. Your images do great respect to the resting places and the beautiful surroundings. Great job!

  6. avatar Jan Winther says:

    Great series, Toad. Every time I go to Gore Bay, Ont, I pass this amazing tiny native cemetery . I want to photograph it so bad, but I would hate to cross a line that I probably shouldn’t. I’m just not sure what the protocol is.

    • You know Jan, I understand exactly what you mean here. In my opinion, so long as we are very respectful and sympathetic to the subject, I have always felt it’s OK to do these sorts of shoots. I think they are one of the more challenging subjects to shoot and maintain respect and decorum, but when done well the results are truly profound. But that’s just my opinion. Based on what you’ve said here today, my friend, I’d grab my trusty camera and do that location justice. Sure do appreciate your visit & comments today here, Jan, I love a good conversation on these sorts of issues! Thank you so much!

  7. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    That is quite the cool cemetery Toads. I like the plaques up on the ceiling!

  8. avatar chrisdmrf says:

    Really like this blog toad. Wonderful and peaceful you have made a fitting memorial to a place that deserves just this sympathetic treatment

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