There are many reasons why we love Vancouver Island so much.  It’s home to the most glorious oceanfront and beaches, mountains, history and heritage, and of course some really great architecture that expresses the true character of west coast living.  And barns.  I love barns.  Especially old weathered barns.  As we have mentioned before, one day we hope to write a book on barns photographed here on the island.  There is no time like the present to build that part of our image library, so with this in mind today we’d like to share a set of shots we captured during the recent Parksville Qualicum Beach QR Code Road Rally 2013 event we attended.  This post is part of our running photoblog series “The Toads At The Rally“.

Weathered Barn - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Weathered Barn – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

It’s been a tad bit of a dreary spring and summer here on the island so far this year with many days on end finding us under the cover of grey skies.  This has a tendency to mute colors and tones.  Sometimes this can work to our advantage when trying to capture a certain feel.  So, needless to say, when we came across this scene in the middle of the big rally we literally had to put both feet firmly on the brakes and wait for the smoke to clear before jumping out of the car to grab some brackets.

Weathered Barn - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Weathered Barn – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The weather here on the island is the most temperate in Canada.  We don’t see winter temperatures dipping into the double-digits with feet upon feet of snow.  As a matter of fact, here on the island those days that it does snow are considered special.  As is evidenced by our distinct lack of snow removal equipment.  We do live in Canada, so that is a little strange, but I do digress…

Even with this all being the case, winters and summers can be rather brutal on wooden structures, like this fabulous barn here.  Days of pounding rain followed by stretches of blazing sun and heat eventually leave a mark, creating incredible textures and details that can only be created and found in nature.  Aren’t those textures good enough to eat?  I’d recommend against it, you might end up with a mouth full of splinters.

This shot has to be my favorite of the set.  Look closely at the big doors on the facing of the barn and you will notice some hinges are old and rusty and other are new.  Also, the set of doors on the left have a bit of bow in them at the top, visible here by the shadows which give a little dimension to the feature.  Talk about character.

Weathered Barn - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Weathered Barn – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The warm tones created by years of weathering really add a great touch here.  As your eye follows the barn, you encounter the bright red garage door at the end, adding a terrific splash of color to a scene dominated in earth-tones and greens.  Look closely, my friends, Mrs. Toad discovered a terrific treasure in this scene in the pair of very narrow doors that are cut into the side of the structure to the left of the rightmost window that is fully visible.

I would love to see the inside of this place, it has to be full of great artifacts.  To those who tend the land here, this is a structure that keeps livestock and implements in good shape under shelter, but to fine art photographers this is a scene full of island character way too good to pass up.

In the meantime, we’d like to thank you very much for taking the time to visit us here today.  We really do love to hear from all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have!




  1. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Yeah, old weathered barns are the best! Well captured my friend!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Jim, I won’t lie here, when I was shooting this one I was thinking of you and some of the great barns I’ve seen you shoot before! We sure do appreciate your support here my friend, thank you!

  2. There is an inherent character to all old barns that I think is the challenge to bring out in the photographs of them. I think you did a bang-up job with this one.

  3. Toad and Toadette

    What I truly love about your photography is the interesting things you photograph, the realism in your HDR (not overdone), the perfect saturation, shadows, and highlights. You are an amazing force in the HDR arena. Thank you for writing and sharing your passions. I look forward to see you guys in September. I will get you a date soon.

    Spencer McDonald
    one23images.com

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I just don’t even know how to begin thanking you for all your friendship, kindness and support here Spencer, you sir are both a scholar and a true gentleman! Since Mrs. Toad and I saw your comments here all we have been talking about is how great a time we’re going to have and how excited we are to finally meet you! Let us know when you’re coming, we’ll roll out the proverbial red carpet for you my good friend!

      Thanks so much Spencer, for everything. Your comments and thoughts here today really mean a bunch to us.

  4. avatar Edith Levy says:

    I, too, love old barns and you’ve brought out the delicious details in this one Toad. I agree…I’d love to see the inside as well.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      There were a lot of no trespassing signs everywhere with this one and I couldn’t find anyone to ask for permission so we had to stay outside the fence when shooting this one. Since I was a little boy I’ve been fascinated with what surely must be inside old places like this and with any luck one day we’ll find one where we get invited inside!! In the meantime, thank you so much for your very kind visit and comments here today, Edith, we really appreciate it!

  5. I’m with you and everyone else in loving the character and charm of old barns. They provide endless photo opportunities, and you obviously took great advantage of that with these images.

  6. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    The details and textures are outstanding Toad. These old barns are perfect for them. I agree with your choice of the best image.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks, Len, you’re comments here have me beaming from ear-to-ear this morning! 🙂 I sure do appreciate your visit and you taking the time to comment!

  7. Barns are a very interesting side branch of architectural photography. They have their own styles and more often than not show themselves standing in a historical context. This barn is of a very classic style and you portrayed it beautifully.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You, sir, are a true gentleman, thank you Joseph! These are some of my personal favorite subjects, and this one was a gem to find. Many heartfelt thanks for your visit and comments here good sir!

  8. avatar Erin Duke says:

    Love the tones and textures here. Weathered barns beat “new and improved” barns any old day! 🙂

  9. avatar LensScaper says:

    As these barns age they mellow and gracefully merge into the rural environment. Nice set Toad

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      How can we even begin to thank you, Andy? We sure do appreciate all your support and friendship here, that’s for sure! Many thanks for your visit and taking the time to comment!

  10. avatar ehpem says:

    I too love the way the wood weathers around here – the golden tones mixed with greys and near blacks is terrific.
    I like the idea of a car rally where you bring along a camera and tripod and spouse and go for a “Sunday drive”, stopping for photos. A great way to get out and see new roads and sights.

  11. Well I’ll be your first customer on that barn book! I have loved old barns for as long as I can remember. So much character exudes from them – I can’t even explain it. There is just a feeling you get when you see them. It’s no wonder you had to stop and shoot this one! Beautiful job Toads!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you Michael, we really appreciate all your kindness and friendship here, it means an awful lot! I’ll let you know when we get that book on the go!! 😉

  12. avatar Heather says:

    Would love to know where this barn is… Please 🙂

    • Hey Heather, thanks for popping on by and seeing us here at the Hollow today! This post was done over 3 years ago now, so I have to go by memory, but I *believe* we found that one on the backroads around Qualicum Beach.. sadly, I can’t remember the exact backroad it was on, but there aren’t that many up there so hopefully if you poke around you can find it again. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Thanks for visiting, my friend! 🙂