The air was so cold it was thick.  I swore that you could cut it with a knife it felt so heavy.  Frost sat on everything exposed in the marine landscape, and even direct sunlight for a period of time wasn’t enough to get rid of it.  And through it all, a light foggy mist had settled over the valley bringing a sense of drama and mystique to the setting.  Such is an early morning on the west coast of Canada.

Cowichan Bay Marina - Cowichan Bay, BC, Canada

Cowichan Bay Marina – Cowichan Bay, BC, Canada

Mrs. Toad was at work this morning and I was left to my own devices.  I had been anticipating the frosty morning for a few weeks given the way the weather had been lately, and all I needed was a semi-clear morning to leave a veil of frost and a low-level fog over the landscape for conditions to be perfectly ideal.  I was not disappointed.

Cowichan Bay is a tiny little town on the coast of Vancouver Island, in BC, Canada.  At times a visit to the little town can leave you with a feeling you’ve visited an entirely different planet, one where strife, violence, hatred and negativity simply does not exist.  It’s an enchanted place, and no matter what time of year you visit the opportunities for photography are boundless.

The town itself rises up from the marina into the surrounding hills.  Quaint little stores and shops pepper the main esplanade through town, featuring all sorts of wonderful little finds that can only exist on Vancouver Island.  The restaurants are varied and typically produce homemade fare that is second to none, and a wonderful meal is easily followed by a jaunt through town that almost always reveals a series of mysteries to the visitor.  You always leave with more questions than when you arrived, but that is always accompanied by a sense of wonder.

This particular morning was cold.  My breath permeated the air, and this caused my viewfinder to fog up more than once.  My fingers had no feeling and I thought my flippers were going to freeze right off.  It was peaceful, too.  Oh, so peaceful.  You could almost hear yourself think.  I parked in a parking lot by the marina and got out of the car to take in the surroundings, looking for that perfect photo opp.  As I turned the corner and came across this scene I knew I had found what I was looking for.

Cowichan Bay Marina - Cowichan Bay, BC, Canada

Cowichan Bay Marina – Cowichan Bay, BC, Canada

The only sounds were those of the waves lapping against the shores and the piers of the marina, and those of the gulls flying high overhead looking for a snack.  The clouds enveloped the valley adding a little to the heavy sensation of the morning.  As I stood readying for this shot, the sun was making intermittent appearances out from behind openings in the clouds, bringing light and a sense of joy to the setting.  Vancouver Island is a wonderful place to live and enjoy, and it’s mornings like this that really show why.

I’ve found over the years that if you expect to find natural beauty in your surroundings, it’s easy to find.  Nothing is too small or insignificant in this wondrous world we live in.  Everything is laid out in front of us to take in and enjoy, if only we’re open and receptive.

Many thanks for your kind visit to our humble little blog today, we sure do appreciate it!  As always, we really do love to hear from all our visitors so we encourage you to leave us any comments or thoughts you may have!




  1. I just love views like this. I can almost smell the sea air and see the fog hanging over the bay. Wonderful pictures my friend and so much more because of the excellent writing.
    You should be employed by BC tourist board, I want to emigrate there now.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Gosh, I am humbled by your fabulous comments here today, Chris, thank you so much my kind friend! Coming from you that means a whole awful lot to us here. Thank you good sir.

  2. avatar Edith Levy says:

    OMG Toad that first image is spectacular. I hope you’ve warmed up but it was certainly well worth it.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Finally got some feeling back in my flippers here, thanks Edith! It really means a lot to us to have you visit here and leave us such wonderful comments, my friend, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 🙂

  3. avatar dragonflydreams88 says:

    . . . an enchanting place to be sure!! . . . I have thought on more than one occasion that I might like to relocate here . . . and your shots here have reinforced that feeling today!!!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What wonderful comments, thank you SO much my kind friend! It really is a special place here on the island, one that we like to visit often. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and leave us your terrific thoughts here, we sure do appreciate it!

  4. avatar Rick Louie says:

    That first image is awesome with the morning light hitting the bay and the mist rising off the water! Well done!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so, so much Rick, that’s awfully kind of you my friend! We sure do appreciate your kind visit and comments here today!

  5. avatar LensScaper says:

    That is a magical shot at the top of the post, Toad. So atmospheric. A morning when your breath hangs in the air. Fabulous

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Coming from you, Andy, these comments mean the world to us my friend! Thanks so kindly for your visit and thoughts here today, we just can’t thank you enough for all you do for us.

  6. I kept coming back to look at the first image. I just love the wisps of fog drifting across the water. They add a wonderful extra layer to this image.

  7. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    That first image is absolutely killer Toad and your prose has made me feel the cold.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      What terrific comments, thank you so much Len! We sure do appreciate you taking the time to pop by and visit us, and for leaving us these awesome comments!

  8. avatar Jim Nix says:

    love the thin mist coming off the water in the first one, and drifting midframe in the second, nice work my friend!!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you, Jim, I really appreciate that! It’s really great to see you pop by today, and many thanks for your great comments!

  9. Especially the first photograph is beautiful. In my opinion Cowichan Bay is most photogenic through fall and winter partly because of the constantly changing scene due to mists and hazes and light and storm…

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Wonderfully said, my good friend, I completely agree! It’s really a special spot in the world and being able to share a little of it here with everyone is great. Thanks so much for your kind visit and most wonderful comments, my friend!

  10. avatar Val says:

    Beautiful photos

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much, Val, that really means a lot to us coming from you! We sure do appreciate your kind visit today!

  11. avatar bonooobong says:

    Absolutely breathtaking shots! I really like that foggy environment it looks like there would be some smoke on the water. And the faded blue colors are awesome as well with the reflection in the water. Did you use any special filter for shooting? Or did you any color adjustment in the post-processing? Stunning shot, big up!;)

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you SO much for both taking the time to visit, and for leaving us these awesome comments! Nope, nothing special used to capture this shot, it is really the ambiance I found at the site in the morning! I focus primarily on HDR photography, which could be the result that you are noticing. I try to do my processing very subtly, to bring out extra dynamic range which is intended to add a little “pop” to the scene. Thank you sincerely for your visit and thoughts here, we really hope to see more of you around The Hollow!

  12. avatar Diane says:

    stunning images of Cowichan Bay and I agree there’s nothing so wonderful as the sound of waves lapping against the boats or the marina … love it

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much, Diane, that means so very much to us! We really appreciate your visit and comments here!