By ToadHollowPhoto

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Welcome to Toad Hollow Photography!

As featured in the November 2012 edition of Shutterbug magazine p.32.   Joe Farace included our blog in the “Shutterbug Reader Websites” column.  Here are some excerpts:

“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 Shutterbug Magazine p.32.


Growing up we were all subjected continuously to my Dad and his propensity to photograph anything that would sit still in front of his lens.  My Dad was a kind and thoughtful man who found himself immersed professionally in accounting and computer systems.  His photography was always a medium that allowed him to escape and express the other side of his personality, and as time went along he really proved to be very gifted in this field.  Even if we were the only ones to see his work.

As the years flew by, he lost interest in the practice but never stopped mentioning that he wished he had pursued a career in the field.  This was a lesson I would never forget and still reflect on today.

When he became seriously ill, we spent countless hours trying to find an activity that would take his mind off his troubles.  The one thing we shared was our intense love for still photography.  It was a natural choice.  Weeks went by as him and I went to store after store, trying to find the perfect camera for his style.  Eventually we did, however sadly he didn’t have very much time left to pursue this passion of his.

For me, photography was always a highly technical practice that seemed somewhat mysterious at times.  After my Dad passed away I managed to acquire the DSLR camera we had shopped for together, and I thought it was the perfect way to remember and honor him.  Countless hours were spent online reading technical documents on managing camera settings and in-depth discussions on compositional techniques.  From there, Toad Hollow Photography came to be.

Products and Services

We are available by commission for professional wedding, engagement, commercial, event and portrait photography.  We specialize in several key areas:

wedding and engagement photography services
– event photography
– restaurants, b&b’s, hotels, product, food, portrait, event and other commercial and personal professional services
– the diverse landscapes of Vancouver Island
– historic items and artifacts
– architectural studies
– conservation projects for both wildlife & architecture
– cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles and other toys

Please feel free to call us at (250) 510-7693 or email us today for a free consultation to discuss your specific needs.


Some of our key accomplishments in the field include:

– attendance at the Fine Art Show in the Cowichan Valley in the spring of 2011.  Two of our best HDR images were enlarged and framed for display at the show.
– a print was sold to the Anglican Church of Canada for use in their annual fund-raising calendar.  Our image was selected for the month of December.
– attended a shoot to photograph an extremely rare sports car.
– commissioned to shoot the inside and outside of a local B&B for use on their website and in print for promotional materials.
– began our weekly article on Light Stalking where we compile a list of the best photography found during the week.  This article remains a key initiative for us that reaches an extremely large audience.
– asked to test and write a review for a new software application for the creation of HDR images.
– achieved close to 1,000,000 image views in the last year on our main gallery site online.
– we were granted exclusive after-hours access to 2 local museums due to our reputation and sensitivity to the subject matter.
– asked to participate in the overall revamp of a local heritage museum site by providing the majority of the photography.
– conducted phone interviews on emerging technologies.
– completed our first eBook “The Toads Tog Tips : The f-stops Here”.
– provide professional photography services for TLC The Land Conservancy of BC.
– provide professional photography services for the Victoria Corvette Club.
– provide professional photography services for Western Toad Migration Rescue Project, featured in the Times-Colonist and on CBC Radio
– “Blue Jet” print matted and framed hanging at the Fountain Diner restaurant on display
– featured as “Blog-of-the-month” in the November 2012 edition of Shutterbug Magazine in the column written by Joe Farace “Shutterbug Reader Websites”
– provided professional photography services for One Cowichan community meeting, a meeting scheduled with government and industry officials to discuss the drought and it’s effect on the Cowichan River
– won 1st place in the Professional category for the Land Trust Alliance of BC Fall Photo contest 2012
– won myPQB Photo Story Contest (My Parksville/Qualicum Beach) fall of 2012
– images of Vancouver Island train stations requested for use on Island Corridor Foundations website
Flipboard weekly article published on Light Stalking featured on “Cover Stories” of Flipboard
– Fine Art Photography Exhibit – a selection of our Limited Edition Prints are hanging and on display at the Cow Cafe & Steakhouse restaurant in Cowichan Bay
– conducted guest radio interview on Reinvention Circle podcast, now available online – “How Do I Know When Is It Time to Leave my Job?
– photographs used and featured on the Facebook page for the Ross Bay Villa Society
– participated in Parksville Qualicum Beach QR Code Road Rally 2013
– supplied photos to Ministry of Agriculture for use in two of their Agriculture Water Demand Model reports
– a selection of our Open Edition Prints are on display and available for sale at Imagine That! in Duncan, BC, Canada on Vancouver Island
– featured on CTV News Vancouver Island for project bringing awareness to landmark building in the city in crisis
– joined the TASTEtheCowichan team as staff photographer to provide photography services for businesses listing on site
– finalized arrangements with the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia to photograph both inside and outside of all their churches on Vancouver Island and the surrounding islands
– licensed our Fisgard Lighthouse photograph for use by the Yellow Pages Group for the cover of local directory
– licensed our Ladysmith photograph for use by the Yellow Pages Group for the cover of local directory
– licensed our Kinsol Trestle – Duncan photograph for use by the Yellow Pages Group for the cover of local directory
attended the Modern Bride Show 2015 in Victoria BC as an exhibitor

We welcome you to contact us directly to see if we can be of service to you.  Please call (250) 510-7693 or email scott@toadhollowphotography.com to arrange for a complimentary meeting to discuss your specific photography needs.

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The more I read of your work and research, and the accompanying images, the more I realize how important ‘oral’ history really is, and how careless we are with it. My parents are long gone but we have inherited many items from them – many now older than a hundred years and I am sure that at some time (more than once) they told me about them: where they came from, their age, their history. And those facts went straight in one ear and out the other. And now it’s too late. Those facts cannot be reclaimed. It’s a sobering thought that if something has historical significance, even within the family, we should write it down.

~ Andy Hooker (LensScaper) – LensScaper’s Blog | LensScaper on Twitter


Blue Jet Owner;

As they say, all good things come in three’s or in layman’s terms, it was a “WIN, WIN, WIN” situation!

As the privileged owner of this iconic Corvette Grand Sport, I can say that having my favourite car photographed with a beautiful backdrop at the best time of day was an awesome experience. As you can imagine, a considerable time was spent in preparing the Corvette for its debut photo shoot, just a few short months after finding it, but where else… online!

I had been dreaming of owning a Corvette since my teenage years and with my wife’s blessing AND on her birthday no less, we made it a dream come true!! How sweet was that! But wait.. .that was my first Corvette 3 years ago. Since then, I had learned so much about the much admired and coveted Corvette that last fall, my wife again (after viewing my Corvette screen saver) gave me the green light and said, “Go ahead and buy that beautiful Jet Stream Blue Corvette. This time, the hunt was on. Knowing exactly the features, trim level and, of course, low km’s; I finally found it and quickly snatched this 1 of 252 Grand Sports manufactured in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2011 with all the right stuff.

Then came the big day! I had dreamed of this day to come with the right weather conditions, right time of day and the right photographer for the job. As with so many others, I’m a photographer wannabee, but compared to the professionalism of Toad Photography© , well what can I say… the photographs speak for themselves. If ever a recommendation comes without hesitation, it’s all goes to him. What a privilege and honor it was to have the best photographer, take these awesome photos with the best backdrop and, of course, the best Corvette to shoot. Like I said, it was a win, win, win situation. Thanks so much for these one-of-a-kind photos.

~ Blue Jet Pilot; Wolfe


Seasons Above The Bay Guest Suites and B&B;

We recently made the decision to employ the photographic skills of Scott Johnson, and his Toad Hollow Photography in the marketing and promotion of our new bed & breakfast, Seasons Above the Bay, in Cowichan Bay, on Vancouver Island. From the very beginning, we found Scott to be extremely accommodating. Our satisfaction with the finished work was paramount, and Scott carried this attitude through to the very end. We would not be finished until Scott knew that we felt the job was complete and perfect.

Scott saw the possibilities in each area he was asked to photograph, and demonstrated a knack for encompassing all of the important details in beautifully artistic shots. But it is the exquisite nature of the lighting he employs which truly makes Scott’s work stand out from all the others. It is unique and distinctive, and it does enormous justice to each subject. Whether an interior shot of a room, or a flower bed in the garden, the clarity of lighting, the trueness of color and the unbelievable intensity of the detail proclaims that this is a photograph by Scott Johnson, a work of art with its own merit.

In no place was this more true than the work which Scott did for us, documenting the breakfast foods which we serve at the B & B. On this occasion, Scott worked side by side with his talented wife, Laurie. As a team, they employed complimentary skills, and we knew that we were in good hands. We were not to be disappointed by a single shot. These photographs are small masterpieces, and we are so proud to have them, as well as all of the other shots Scott has taken for us, featured on our website, and used frequently in social media.

We recommend the work of Scott Johnson whole heartedly.

Bev and Jim Oliver
Seasons Above the Bay Guest Suites and B & B
Cowichan Bay, B.C.


Susan Quackenbush from Cheers Cowichan Tours;

Scott and Laurie immediately understood the image I was striving to create for my company. The photo shoot itself was a blast. I was a little nervous about photos of myself, but I was quickly put at ease. We went to various locations and I was impressed with their easy balance of spontaneity and professionalism. I’m thrilled with our results and highly recommend Toad Hollow Photography for personal or professional images. (Plus as a bonus, they’re just really kind interesting people!)


Azam Khan from Vancouver Island Event Catering;

My name is Azam Khan and I operate Vancouver Island Event Catering, a up and coming successful catering company in the Cowichan Valley. I have had the privilege to hire Scott and Laurie from Toad Hollow Photography do take my personal and food pictures for my website. It was a pleasure from the moment I met them and the patience and quality of work was second to none.

I look forward to working with them in the future and can’t wait to see what they come up with next. If you’re looking for that truly personal experience with quality give them a call at 250-510-7693, you won’t regret it.


Andrew Teufel, RMT, CSE of Applied Somatics Clinic;

Thanks for your amazing talent and artistic photo session to capture still life and colour; you have managed to preserve many great moments in time for our long term enjoyment. I have worked with many photographers over the years and you and your art photography is beautiful and amazing. I wish more people knew of your true talent.

  1. avatar AliquippaGirl says:

    You certianily have the same gift your father had. I like your hometown series. You know something the best things are right under nose daily. When went back to my hometown of Aliquippa, I lived there for over 40 years, and took pictures of places I always been around I realize how unquie my dying steel mill town really is.

    • Thanks for commenting my friend! I really appreciate your feedback. As I open my eyes in our locale, I am finding more and more interesting subjects for future shoots. I LOVE your old steel mill town, those shots are some of the best. That dichotomy and all the textures and details they present are wonderful to behold in my mind. Many thanks my good friend…

  2. avatar Elbert says:

    This might be a shot in the dark…but would you by chance know who
    owned the bright yellow 1960ish 4X4 pickup that was in the Lake Cowichan
    annual classic car show?
    Here is a picture of it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/toadhollowphoto/6026169812/in/photostream/


    • That was a beautiful truck, that’s for sure, Elbert. Sorry to say that when I zoom in I can’t make out the phone number as it’s partially blocked. Sorry I couldn’t help. Thanks for taking the time to visit, and for the comments.

  3. avatar Salmon Moon says:

    I love it. Your shots, your choice of shots. I’d like to come back often. But I think I’m having trouble with your calendar, and I’m hoping it’s just me who can’t figure it out. I was hoping leaf back the months to start at the beginning of the blog and go forward. But it won’t let me see any months other than current. Is it supposed to work this way? If so, any other way to navigate your archives?

    • Hi there, thank you so much for your visit and wonderful comments! We’re sorry you are having a hard time navigating with the built-in calendar on our site. It maybe something specific with your browser that is causing the issue, but just in case this helps here’s a screenshot that shows you how to go backwards in the calendar. Unfortunately, it appears to only go back one month at a time. It’s a built-in control from our blog host, so unfortunately I don’t have source code here to make any changes.

      Screenshot of Calendar

      Also, for convenience, here is the link to the first posts ever on our blog: December 2010

      I hope this helps you to find your way around; if not please don’t hesitate to ask for help, we’re happy to try and help!

  4. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos. I am enjoying them and learn from them.

  5. avatar Adam Seguin says:

    Very Nice work here. Your historical captures are awesome.

  6. avatar Larry says:

    Hey Toad! Really enjoy following your blog and adventures. I will be retiring in 6 mos so I am hoping I can get to VBC soon after. Keep on keeping on, Brother!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks so much, Larry, your support and encouragement here means the world to us! If you do make it out here, let us know if you’d like to get together at some point, it would be our pleasure and honor!!

  7. avatar Diane says:

    Followed a link at Sherry’s Galey’s blog to here. I see we’re practically neighbours. We’re slightly up island in the Parksville area. Nice to see someone else so close by.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to visit, and for leaving us your comments! We really appreciate it! It’s always a highlight for us when we have a chance to connect with someone local to the island here, hopefully we’ll see you here at The Hollow again!!

  8. avatar Leona says:

    I live on the mainland and am coming over to Visit in Parksville for a few
    days next week.
    Viewing your last newsletter I noticed that you take a lot of Heritage
    images. Which are awesome.
    Was wondering if you know anything about the old abondoned vehicles
    on Valdes Island, and if so, how does one get there.

    Thanks for your response.


    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Hi Leona! First, thank you for your kind visit and comments of our work here, we really appreciate it! Gosh, I have not heard of these vehicles you mention but I did a bit of poking around online and I am led to believe that these may be the remnants of logging gear? That’s something I would just love to visit!!

      An excerpt from VancouverIsland.com states regarding access:
      There is no ferry service to Valdes Island; access is by boat and floatplane. Water taxi services may be available from Chemainus, Gabriola Island, or Nanaimo.

      If you can access it via the watertaxi’s in Nanaimo, that’s a short trip, very reasonable and quite fun! We’ve used them before to get to and from Newcastle Island nearby. Best of luck with your adventure Leona, please stay in touch, I’d love to hear the outcome from your trip and see any photos if you are going to publish them online!

  9. Lovely blog! Thanks for connecting with us on Twitter! Keep up the great work!

  10. Hi Scott and Laurie: This was my original email message and I was trying to send a “normal” email that was not in the Social Media!
    “Love your web-site” (like it a little less now after all this trouble).” I spent 2 hours looking at a tiny bit of it! I’m the Presentations Chairperson for the Camera Club and I first saw your images at Imagine That! and wondered if you would do a presentation for the CVCC. We have a Guest Photographer every two months and I need people who will inspire our “old” and new 100+ members. We meet at the Agricultural Hall on Wednesdays and presentations are 1 – 1 1/2 hours long. I still have a couple of dates available. Let me know if you are interested. Cheers, Trish Rankin”

    • Oh wow, what an honor, Patricia!! I will be contacting you via email today to discuss this!! Many thanks for reaching out, and we are truly sorry for the difficulties you experienced.

  11. avatar Renee says:

    Love your pictures.

    Is there any way that you can contact me privately with regards to these photos – we are in the process of updating our St. Peter, Quamichan website.

    • Hi Renee, we’re delighted to see you pop by here today! Thank you for your kind comments, we really appreciate that a lot! I’ll be reaching out to you immediately to discuss your inquiry for the updated St. Peter, Quamichan website. I am hoping we’ll be able to help you out with that in any way we can!

  12. avatar Teresa Hellwig says:

    Hi can someone please contact me.. As i did grow up in the abandoned Jordan River home.
    What a beautiful piece u did on it.