The wonderful community of Oak Bay sits just outside the downtown core of Victoria and plays host to some of our most lovely heritage homes and buildings, and forms an integral part of the history of the city itself.  In today’s post we find ourselves continuing our long-running photoblog series “The Anglican Church Project” with a visit to St. Matthias Anglican Church, a lovely character church that sits in Oak Bay as an important anchor to the community.

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

We recently invested in a few new lenses in anticipation of the busy year we have in front of us, photographically speaking.  One of these lenses was a major investment intended to be used specifically in our architectural work, a Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens.  It’s also excellent when applied to landscapes, and I also anticipate I will enjoy it when we visit the car shows this year.  At any rate, with it still being rather new in our camera bag I find myself quite excited to have an opportunity to fully exercise it, as we did on our visit to St. Matthias.

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

I had a great time exploring all the rich woodwork found inside the church, and due to the bright light from the sunny day some of the shots required 11 brackets to fully capture all the details in the bright and the dark areas of the scene.  This is where I find that HDR really shines as an applied technology.  The textures and the roll-offs between the shadow and lit areas of the frame are fully expressed in these images.  We really encourage you to click on the pictures to see them in full-screen to really appreciate the depth of the dynamic range captured.  This, of course, translates to fully capturing the character and essence of the beautiful facility itself.

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Looking towards the back of the building we enjoy a view that shares the true scale of the church, accented perfectly by the stained glass that colorfully compliments the richness of the wood ceiling and surrounding details.  This is truly a warm and inviting space, one that beckons you to visit and stay awhile.

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

St. Matthias Anglican Church - Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

St. Matthias Anglican Church – Oak Bay, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Once all the wide shots were captured, it was time to find the vignettes, the stories within the story.  I’ve been really enjoying working on a new HDR technique lately where I use off-camera speedlights to delicately light certain aspects of scenes, and I have to say I am quite happy with those results.  These details that we find embedded within the facilities we visit really add a great touch of character to the session and the project, and we are very happy to share them here with you.

This blog only features a selection of the 32 images we captured during our visit, if you’d like to see the entire set please visit our gallery: St Matthias Church – Victoria.

Thank you once again for taking the time to visit us here at The Hollow, we really appreciate it!  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.




  1. avatar Frank King says:

    Looooove the interior photos! 🙂

  2. avatar ehpem says:

    Toad, you are making very good use of that lens! Sadly I damage my 16-35 yesterday – it was either the camera or letting my granddaughter take a nasty fall on a bedrock outcrop. My granddaughter is fine, my lens less so – still works but will need a service.

    This is one of those churches where the interior is quite a surprise, disguised by a plain exterior. The glass and wood make a wonderful combination, and very much in the tradition of the local churches in BC.

    Your work with speedlights is excellent – that one of the lectern is very good. I was looking at it thinking, did he luck out with a ray of light, or has he added a vignette to the edges – How did he do that?!? Then I read the rest of the text, and now I know – it works very well.

    • Hey ehpem, thank you so much for popping on by and leaving these terrific comments!! We really appreciate all your encouragement and support here! So so sorry to hear about your lens taking a fall like that, although to be honest we are all quite relieved to hear your granddaughter is OK there. I hope you can get that lens repaired OK and back into service, I absolutely love mine and seem to be reaching for it quite often these days. Best wishes for a great week, my friend!!

  3. avatar Eliz says:

    I was confirmed in this church. My Mum sang in the choir for many years. My Dad attended Easter and Christmas services. Your photos bring back many wonderful memories. During the monthly family service, the minister handed out small gifts to the children who had a birthday that month. One month, an elderly woman shouted out that her birthday was during that month. So the Minister told her to come up to the front to receive a small gift (the gifts cost about 25 cents in the 1970s) and from then on, the adults were also included in receiving a small birthday gift during the monthly family service.

    • Hi Eliz, it’s a true pleasure to meet you here at The Hollow, thank you for your kind visit and your terrific comments!! What a wonderful story you’ve shared here, I am quite sure all our visitors will enjoy reading about your personal connection to St. Matthias and the interesting story regarding the gifts. We wish you a wonderful week, and hope to see you here again soon!

  4. avatar Don Barton says:

    Toad, it was such a pleasure to wake up this morning and see this post in amongst about 20 emails that arrived overnight.

    I opened it first as I always enjoy seeing the vision you have captured and reading your sensitive stories behind the images.

    I spent some time viewing the photos of the stained glass windows inscribed with epitaphs. They are beautiful and come alive when you realise they were commissioned in memory of men and women long since passed and otherwise forgotten.

    For me, the real delight was the shot of the old pedal-powered organ. I would love to know the story behind this.

    Isn’t the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens a wonderful tool? I used this lense extensively to photography my church. http://goo.gl/WpocDO

    • I LOVE our new lens addition to the family, I find myself reaching for it quite often in the field these days!! Thanks so much for your kind visit to our humble corner of the internet here, Don, that means an awful lot to us. I spent some time going through your photo gallery of your church and really enjoyed each image you’ve posted, what great photography!!! I LOVE the rafters in your church, they are absolutely beautiful my friend. One of my favorite features to explore on our ongoing photo project with the Anglican Diocese of BC here. Thanks for visiting, Don, we sure do appreciate all your support my friend!

  5. avatar LensScaper says:

    Wonderful interiors Toad. The combined warmth of the stained glass and the wood is a magical combination. And those little details have added a whole new dimension.

  6. Love those interior shots Toad, well done. Congrats on the lens, I have the 2.8 version and it is normally always on my body, love it for sure. Have fun with it.

    • Many thanks Mike, both for your visit and for your terrific words of encouragement!! We always appreciate it when we see you’ve popped by to visit us here at The Hollow, my friend!!

  7. avatar Edith Levy says:

    You did a beautiful job documenting this wonderful church. While your new lens is a great one (I’m jealous) I think the photographer my have had something to do with how great these shots are 😉

    • Gosh Edith, you are far too kind to us here, thank you so much from the very bottom of our hearts!! 🙂 I can’t begin to tell you how much your friendship and encouragement means to us!

  8. avatar Lisa Gordon says:

    Those interior mages are absolutely amazing.
    Gorgeous color and light.

    Wishing you both a wonderful week ahead!

    • Thank you so, so much Lisa, it’s a pure delight for us when you pop by to see us! Thank you for your kind wishes, and please know we send you the very same in return!!

  9. avatar LuAnn says:

    I have been “exploring” Vancouver Island with your photo blog ever since my daughter and her husband said they were moving to Victoria (from Buffalo, NY) over a year ago. Between your blog and Terry Reksten’s book More English than the English, I feel well-prepared for my trip to Victoria next month. I greatly look forward to seeing many of the places I’ve admired from afar in your wonderful HDR photos (another thing I learned from your blog). Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh my gosh, what a wonderful comment to receive, thank you SO much LuAnn!!! Mrs. Toad has family that originated from the Buffalo area and she sends her regards to you and your daughter! You are going to LOVE your visit to the island, LuAnn, there is an endless amount of things to do and see here. Both Mrs. Toad and I send you our BEST wishes for a wonderful stay! 🙂 You might like it so much you might decide to stay out here, and we would certainly welcome that!!! Drop us a line if you have time and inclination and let us know how you enjoyed your trip! Safe travels, our good friend!

  10. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Sorry for the late visit Toad. It seems like I have been traveling forever (not complaining). Terrific images of this church, especially with the interior shots.

    • If you are traveling Len that can only mean good things for us who love your photography! Can’t wait to see what you’ve come home with my friend! Thanks for your kind visit and comments here today, good sir, we really appreciate all the friendship and support you give us here at The Hollow! 🙂

  11. avatar Sartenada says:

    How beautiful church! I love especially Your inside photos, because it has full of feeling.

  12. […] St Matthias Anglican Church, Victoria – join us here at Toad Hollow as we continue our long-running Anglican Church Project where we are working on photographing all the churches, inside and out, here on Vancouver Island that fall under the Anglican Diocese of BC.  This project is likely still a few years away from completion, and in this installment we visit a terrific parish and I discuss a bit about how I go about shooting these places and with what gear. […]

  13. avatar bert tipton says:

    this church is in fairfild district of victoria about 5 blocks from the oak bay boundary

  14. avatar Jim Nix says:

    lovely set of photos my friend, really well done!!