Looking Back

Posted: 19th October 2012 by ToadHollowPhoto in Island Hoppin', Photography

I find that it’s always important to stop and recognize a milestone when you encounter it.  Today’s post is all about this, as well as serving as a metaphor.  As those of you who follow us regularly know, we’ve just been featured as “Blog-of-the-month” in November 2012’s edition of Shutterbug magazine.  This enormous honor is a reflection of the years of hard work that we’ve put into Toad Hollow Photography, but it also serves as a wonderful reminder that dreams can come true.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

The photographs we are sharing here today are all from Newcastle Island, near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.  A quick water ferry takes you on a quaint trip to the island, and from here your vantage point is looking back at the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  This concept of looking back is in step with the title of today’s post and also allows us to appreciate the island that we live on and that has given us so much personally and professionally.  Toad Hollow Photography is every bit about Vancouver Island.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

As we marvel today in being included in such a great photography publication, it only makes sense to give thanks to the very island that made it all possible.  We’re entirely surrounded by the ocean, and the island is peppered with dense and lush forests, mountain ranges and some of the most beautiful farmland you’ve ever seen.  All of these features are accented by the wonderful and totally unique architecture that makes life on the island so very special.  We really do love it and are ever so grateful for all the experiences we’ve had here since Toad Hollow was launched.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

On page 32 of the November 2012 edition of Shutterbug magazine, Joe Farace wrote some truly incredible words about us and our work.  It was far more than we could have expected and thus came as a complete and pleasant surprise.  Here are a few of the key excerpts in case you haven’t seen it yet yourself:

“The Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement is a day for giving encouragement and support to others, which is something that Scott Johnson, the Canadian proprietor of November’s Blog-of-the-month, does for visitors to his blog.”

“If you’ve got the blahs, the blues, or are feeling a bit down and out about your own photography, a visit to Toad Hollow will pick you up with Johnson’s informative posts and delightful HDR images.”

“If any of these topics are of interest and you want to see how a master of HDR photography creates these kinds of images, you should pop into this blog for a regular visit.”

~ Joe Farace – November 2012 Edition of Shutterbug Magazine p.32

What an incredible honor.  But the truth of it is we couldn’t have done it without you, our friends and fans.  Only because of the constant support, recognition and encouragement from you are we driven to continue our work.  And through this events like this occur; once in a lifetime events.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Many might ask how we got here.  I think the answer to that question is both simple and complex at the same time.  We are driven by incredible passion for the arts and the community we live in.  Vancouver Island is where we call home, and the opportunities to engage with the people who live here and our surroundings is a gift.  It’s all based in determination that is tireless, and an unwavering belief that good will come to those who work hard and keep a pure heart.

Many might ask how we came upon the opportunities we have had, like working with the incredible people at TLC The Land Conservancy of BC.  Once again the answer is both simple and complex.  We started with an idea, and passion to move that idea forward, and then followed all that up with a phone call.  These calls that we make reaching out to local members of the community working on issues and things that are meaningful to us is a key cornerstone to our success here at Toad Hollow.  It’s all about following your dreams.

We believe in the power of good.  By focusing on our dreams and passions and never deviating from our core mission and goals we find ourselves surrounded by like-minded people.  Even on days when we’re tired, we keep on keepin’ on.  It’s really this relentless determination and undying love for the art and work that we do that makes this all come to pass.  In some ways you do create your own destiny, but it is the child of hard work.

We really hope that today’s post will be an inspiration to you to get out there and be all you can be.  Even on those days you just don’t feel like it. That old saying “The only thing holding you back is yourself” has never been more true.

Grab your camera and join us out in the big world, my friends, there are opportunities and wonder everywhere!

We’d like to take this chance to thank everyone for all your support and friendship.  None of this would have happened without your support, that’s for sure.  And in closing we’d also like to encourage you to leave us any comments that you may have as we truly do love hearing from all our visitors.  Many thanks!!




  1. avatar Renee Besta says:

    Dearest Toad: What a great honor and accomplishment you and the Mrs. have achieved. Your work, efforts, amazing articles and images have truly paid off and serve as an inspiration for the rest of us who are passionate about photography and the arts. You help us realize that dreams can come true if you truly believe and have faith.

    You are a wonderful and kind person, and have opened our hearts and minds to what really matters in life. I’m so thrilled you are living the dream in such a spectacular location, and deeply appreciate your enormous contributions to our community.

    A huge congratulations to both of you. I am proud to know you. You are truly inspiring and help keep me afloat when I am discouraged. Thank you for all you do.

    Renee Besta, Paso Robles, California

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Hi Renee! Wow, my dear friend, your kind, kind comments have really moved both Mrs. Toad and myself here today, what a kind thing to say. It’s only because of wonderful people like you who have been a constant source of friendship, inspiration and encouragement that we’ve come as far as we have. You really have given us the courage and drive to get out there and keep on doing the work we do, you really make it all worthwhile. We think the world of you, my dear friend, and if we’ve ever brought a smile to your face then it was a job well done.

      We think the world of you, Renee. Both Mrs. Toad and I hope to one day meet in person. This is a life-long friendship and we are looking forward to what the future may bring us all.

  2. avatar ehpem says:

    Hey Toads – this is indeed a great honour, and is totally deserved. Your unrelenting good cheer and fantastic HDR photographs make a trip to your blog worthwhile, every single time.
    And you are so generous with your support and encouragement to others outside of the confines of your blog; through your Lightstalking weekly annotated list of photos and blogs that recently caught your eye, and your frequent and good humoured visits to our blogs, so often armed with a witty compliment. All this is very welcome, and has made a big difference to my own blogging, as I expect it has to many other’s.
    We have to wonder what honour you will be served up next, something cool I expect.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I am really overwhelmed here today with everyone’s kindness and support. My good friend, your thoughts here mean the world to both of us, especially since they are coming from you. I really don’t know how best to thank you for all you’ve done for us… and that is a whole lot, my friend, a whole lot. Your wonderful comments are really inspiring. We’re not entirely sure what we’ve done to deserve such a great friend in you and your family, but I believe it’s times like these that you don’t take these gifts for granted. So in that spirit, we thank you and the entire Ehpem family with all our hearts and look forward to a lifetime of friendship and memories.

  3. avatar Heather says:

    I can think of no 2 people more deserving. I am so thankful to know you guys. <3

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      And us you, as well, Heather! Both Mrs. Toad and I know you’re going through a very difficult time these days and you are constantly in our hearts, prayers and thoughts. I cannot tell you how much we appreciate you taking the time to leave us your wonderful thoughts here with all you have going on. We totally appreciate it, more than we can say.

      One day, Heather, one day… we’ll be together in person sharing stories, smiles and laughs.

  4. avatar Edith Levy says:

    I saw the magazine and I was so excited for you Toad. I excitedly showed my husband saying…”this is about The Toad’s site” (and he didn’t even give me a strange look as he knew who I was talking about …LOL. Terrific post and images and once again a huge Congrats.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Edith, coming from you this is an incredible set of comments to wake up to this morning. We’ve been fans of yours too for quite some time and receiving your heartfelt comments here this morning is so truly wonderful. I think it’s awesome that we’re part of your family like this, that is really a very personal thing that we appreciate much more than we can properly express. We are so much looking forward to a lifetime of friendship with you and your family and would love to think that one day we could all get together in person. It’s these relationships that mean so much to us, much more than any accolades we receive from the field.

  5. A very well deserved honor sir and ma’am. I am a huge fan and always have been. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors as well.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Sir Mike, what a fabulous thing to read today from you, my good good friend. How can we even begin to thank you for all your friendship and support? You were one of the very first folks we encountered when we joined the community, and you have been an constant source of friendship and joy for us. We think the world of you, and are looking forward to so much more together. Best wishes, Mike, from both Mrs. Toad and I.

  6. Wow Toads, this is so cool! Congratulations to you both! I can’t think of anyone more deserving. All of the hard work you put into your blog has really paid off. You do so much for the photographic community as a whole and it is very much appreciated. I remember when I started following your blog, I was really inspired by your writing and photography skills. The love you have for your home community really comes through in everything you do. Even though we have never met in person, I consider you a great friend. I can’t wait to pick up a copy of the magazine this weekend! I am so excited for you guys! Have a fantastic weekend my friends!

    P.S. Beautiful pictures!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Michael, you too have been one of our first and most valued friends since we’ve come online here. We were so happy to see your great blog featured in Shutterbug earlier this year and we were contacted about being considered for the same acknowledgement we were thrilled to be in such great company. You have been a constant source of inspiration and friendship for us, Michael, your name is mentioned frequently in our house around the dinner table. Thank you so much for all your kindness and support, we are struggling to find the right words to express how much we truly appreciate it. We really hope that you and your family have a fantastic weekend, too!

  7. avatar Rose Richard says:

    Congratulations go to the Toads of Toads Hollow! Yes celebrate the milestones and hard work. It shows in your wonderful photography and blog

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you Rose! How awfully kind of you, my dear friend! We so appreciate your support and encouragement and are looking forward to years of sharing and friendship. Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful weekend! Thanks ever so kindly for taking the time to come by and see us here and for leaving these comments that will be a source of joy and reflection for us for a long time to come.

  8. What a nice post to come across. Congratulations on this well deserved honour. We who look at your photography always knew the quality of your work and your dedication to top notch photography. It is great to see this sentiment officially recognized in a fine magazine like Shutterbug. Your photos invariably show me the best side of HDR photography.
    I’ve lived here on the island most of the past 47 years and never thought to go to Newcastle Island. Looking at your photos I am not sure why not. Great views shown beautifully.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      We are totally humbled and honored by your kind, kind words here today, Joseph, thank you so much. One of the best parts about our adventures in photography have been the wonderful people we’ve met, like you. Mrs. Toad and I are always saying how great it is that by us reaching out to the world we have made a ton of great local friends and connections. Thanks, Joseph, you encouragement means a lot more than we can properly say.

  9. avatar dragonflydreams88 says:

    congratulations on the recognition so richly deserved!!! . . . it is true, the cream really does rise to the top!!!

  10. Congrats to you both, well deserved! Great scenic shots

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you Mike, you sir are both a true scholar and a gentleman! We sure do appreciate all your kindness and support my friend!

  11. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Congratulations on the feature in Shutterbug Toad. This is so well deserved. I can’t think of anyone I follow that has contributed more to the photography community than you. Your support to others (including me) is very much treasured and appreciated. This post with the great images and prose is just a continued excellence that keeps us following.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I find myself totally humbled with your ever so kind comments here, Len. We really have enjoyed our friendship with you, and following you and your work online here. It’s because of folks like you that we have these wonderful things happen, and we really need to thank you so profusely for all you do.

  12. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Ah Toads, you guys deserve the notoriety and should be spotlighted. The photography is great, but the message you present and the community you have built both here and elsewhere on the internet are direct results of the people you are – generous, caring and just plain good. It’s great to see someone like Joe Farace notice that and highlight it so other folks can enjoy it and learn from it. Chalk one up for the good guys!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Jim, your comments here are tugging on my heartstrings. Especially coming from you. You, sir, were one of the very first people we encountered when we joined the community and all your support, friendship and encouragement over the years has meant an awful lot to us. One day I hope that we may have a chance to meet in person and perhaps even have a chance to get our families together for a nice visit. One can dream, my friend. And in the meantime, I find myself absolutely humbled and honored here with your incredibly kind thoughts.

  13. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    Dang, I totally just want to have a picknick there. I mean a sandwich and bottle of wine with my wife would totally rock with that view! Also, what boat is yours again 😉

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      It’s the big white one, near the front!! LOL 🙂 You always, always, always make me smile Chris. Great comments my friend!! You know how bad we want you guys to come and visit us, the doors are always open up here and you both are totally welcome! Thanks so much for taking the time to pop on by and see us, and for leaving these terrific comments good sir!

  14. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    A huge congrats Toad on being featured in the November issue of Shutterbug!! I love the wonderful work you do on the blog with your fantastic posts and marvelous images! You are truly one of a kind my dear friend, and a big encouragement to us all! Lots of hugs to both you and Mrs Toad, and best wishes and congrats all around! 🙂
    Love,
    Rachel 🙂

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You are just so very sweet, Rachel, how can we begin to thank you for all your friendship, support and encouragement here? It’s all because of folks just like you that this has all come to pass. It’s days like this where we realize how truly lucky we are to have you in our lives, Rachel. Thank you, from both of us, from the bottoms of our hearts.
      Love,
      The Toads!

  15. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Congratulations! What a great honor and well deserving! Love the shots of Vancouver Island. I’ve only been there once, but it’s truly what I remember. Will have to come back for a visit one day.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      If you do come, Rick, make sure you let us know so we can take you around and show you some of our hidden gems! Thanks so much for your kind visit today, and for taking the time to leave us your really wonderful comments, good sir!

  16. avatar Sherry Galey says:

    You really do believe in the power of good and live that way! What a great role model you are in the photography community. Here’s to many more honours. All richly deserved.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What a huge honor to receive your comments here, Sherry! How awfully kind of you, my dear friend! Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement, it really means an awful lot to us here!