How Blue The Ocean

Posted: 29th June 2018 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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The Pacific Ocean creates a totally unique canvas every time we visit here on Vancouver Island.  The time of year, the weather, the various forms of life that are evident, they all come together in harmony to render a painting unlike the one you saw before.  As winter gives way to spring and finally summer, the temperate climate of the island serves as a perfect backdrop to see and appreciate something new with a fresh set of eyes.  Late this spring while we were volunteering and shooting an annual event we love to take in, we encountered a handful of scenes in Victoria, British Columbia that truly stood out for their epic beauty.  Let’s join those lucky enough to be plain sailing in a sailboat under the beautiful blue skies of Canada.

A Sailboat and Boats and Ocean and Mountain View - Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Boats and Ocean and Mountain View – Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

As the fresh sea air graced us we looked out over the waters to see a large gathering of sailboats navigating their way through the predesignated path for the Swiftsure International Yacht Race.  Every year at the same time those lucky enough to own a sailboat converge in Victoria to begin this grueling race.  In doing so they all create a wonderful tapestry for those who stand on the shores looking outward to take in.  Minute by minute, the scene changes as boats come and go across your vantage point.

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We are very excited to be a part of the growing field of aerial photography services for real estate professionals and developers on the west coast of Canada.  This past year has seen an increase in our clients coming to us to shoot and produce short videos and capture still photographs from a perspective you can only reach with a drone.  We are properly licensed and insured here in British Columbia to provide these services in specific areas, and we love to fly.  In today’s post, we are going to show you a few photographs and two videos we created for local realtors in the Cowichan Valley that highlight properties and listings.

Aerial Drone Photographs - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Aerial Drone Photographs – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

In today’s world, many people understand the value of using tools like drones for capturing great shots to augment the ability of the real estate professional and developers to showcase a property from a unique perspective.  Budgets are always a consideration when it comes to creating these presentations, and historically these types of images were only able to be captured and created from expensive airborne platforms like airplanes and helicopters.  Today we are happy to see this has changed with the advent of new generation drones.

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We do love love here on Vancouver Island, and whenever we get a chance to share in an engagement or wedding with someone by providing the photography services we really enjoy it.  Earlier this year our friends Kristy and Blair got engaged and asked us to do their engagement shoot, and even though it was winter here in Canada we found a great weekend to head out to the forest to do this session.  Due to the rains we get here at that time of year we felt we were all very lucky to meet at Bright Angel Park in the Cowichan Valley where the exciting day awaited us.

Kristy and Blair Engagement Portraits - Bright Angel Park, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Kristy and Blair Engagement Portraits – Bright Angel Park, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

We were also joined on this picture-perfect day by Carter.  He was a wonderful subject who put up with our posing requests with nary a single complaint.  As you can see, he’s a very photogenic little person and we were delighted to have him along for the celebration.

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Every once in awhile you get to meet a car that has personality.  In this case, we’re talking about a lot of personality.  Last summer we were lucky enough to spend some time with friends of ours who live just down the road from us who just happen to have one such car, a new C7 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.  Those of you who follow us regularly know that we love to photograph these cars as you can see here in our portfolio section dedicated to the Corvette.  We’ve shot our own 1987 Corvette Roadster, a 2011 Corvette Grand Sport, as well as the Vette to Victoria event in 2012 along with others.  But with all that being said this 2016 Stingray is something truly special, something with personality and character that stands out in a crowd.

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray – Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Shooting a car like this takes plenty of planning.  The weather has to be right and it takes time to setup the scene, compose the shots and grab all the frames you need to bring it all together in Photoshop later.  We decided to place the car in front of the heritage home that our friends so lovingly restored recently as the combination of the house and car was very meaningful, and it created a perfect setting for such an outstanding machine.  We had a great time shooting the house at an earlier session for the local Arbutus Magazine publication and you can see those shots posted in our gallery “Hoey House – Duncan“.

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As you wander through the forest in the heart of winter in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, shadow and light play with each other creating special vignettes that are ever so quintessentially Vancouver Island.  The region is home to a huge temperate rainforest full of wildlife, flora and fauna that are completely unique to the region.  They also play a very important role in oxygen turnover for our beloved earth.  In many ways, rainforests are widely considered to be the lungs of the planet.  And for those who seek, hidden within them are magical secrets that can be found at every turn.

Bright Angel Park Forest - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Bright Angel Park – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

In the early part of this year, in the middle of a rather wet winter, we were commissioned by a local hotel that was under construction to provide all the artwork for the new facility.  This exciting opportunity found us working with a terrific group of people in realizing the artistic vision they had for the new hotel.  One of the requests was for us to photograph the various mossy trees found in our thick forests.  We were all too excited to comply as we headed out to Bright Angel Park in the Cowichan Valley to explore all the huge trees and their mossy coverings.

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As we drive by our one year marker in our adventure with the new 2017 Chevrolet Volt, we thought it was high time that we posted an updated review on our experience.  Make no mistake about it; this car have been a true game changer for us in many different ways, exceeding all of our expectations and making it fun to drive again.  And then there is the whole aspect of fuel cost savings and the vastly reduced carbon footprint.  Today’s post is an addition to our running blog series “EVangelist” where we talk about our personal experiences with this electrical platform with the hopes of inspiring others to follow along.

2017 Chevrolet Volt - Electric Car - Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

2017 Chevrolet Volt – Electric Car – Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

When you buy a new car, you are promised all sorts of things from the manufacturer.  In many cases some of these things are true while others are not.  In our case, everything promised is indeed true, along with an exciting handful of bonuses that we didn’t expect in real-world conditions as we transitioned from gas powered vehicles to electric ones.

At the time of this writing, we are just over 35,000 kms into our journey.  We have saved well over $7000 in fuel costs compared to the 4 cylinder SUV we had before, and the savings just continue to pile on.  But, that’s not the only terrific aspect of owning an electric car, there is also the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to a better world by almost eliminating your carbon footprint entirely, in terms of transportation needs.

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With the month of June just around the corner, this marks almost two years since our visit to Telegraph Cove and Glendale Cove on our whirlwind Grizzly Bear viewing expedition.  This trip was seriously one of those trips that many would deem “a trip of a lifetime”, one that has left a permanent mark on our souls and a never-ending yearning to return to spend more time with the bears and the rest of the wildlife and scenery we saw.  To call it breathtaking just doesn’t begin to do the whole thing justice.  It was beyond amazing.  If you’d like to see the other posts we made on this tour check out our “North Island Toads” link which will take you on our adventure.  Today’s post features one of the highlights of that trip, time spend playing with the Pacific White-sided Dolphins that joined us as we returned to Telegraph Cove after a magical day with the great Grizzly Bears of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Knight Inlet - West Coast, British Columbia, Canada

Knight Inlet – West Coast, British Columbia, Canada

The day started very early for us as we anxiously awoke at the break of sunrise with excited expectations for what the day had in store for us.  As I had mentioned previously, this trip was to mark my 50th birthday, and Mrs. Toad had spent an incredible amount of time planning for the excursion and we were very eager indeed to get out on the water to see the Grizzly Bears in their natural habitat.  After quite some time of traveling through Knight Inlet on our way to Glendale Cove, where we spent the majority of the day immersed in incredible landscapes that the bears all called home to, we arrived at our destination.  The morning was amazing, revealing magical scenes as the boat cut through the waters and the islands and inlets arose from the ocean creating layer upon layer of rugged silhouettes that lined the waterways of our journey.

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Dare To Dream

Posted: 19th February 2018 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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Sometimes Mrs. Toad and I find ourselves roaming the myriad backroads here on Vancouver Island as you just never know what you’ll find.  The island is full of things unusual, many of them whimsical or slightly magical in nature, all of them beckoning a further look once encountered.  Chemainus is a town that is particularly full of these sorts of things.  You can visit this community often and never really see everything that there is notable to find, making it a perfect adventure destination.

Playhouse - Chemainus, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Playhouse – Chemainus, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Playhouse - Chemainus, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Playhouse – Chemainus, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Who as a child didn’t dream of having a playhouse or a tree fort?  This one in particular sits on a lovely lot that hosts a marvelous heritage home that is full of rich Victorian architectural features, providing the perfect setting for a lovely afternoon’s tea, or a visit from Mr. Rabbit himself.  Ahh, the imaginations of those who are young, or even just young-at-heart.  The details found in this playhouse speak to someone who lovingly designed and created this abode, specifically with a mind to create the perfect setting for young minds to run free, imagining all sorts of worlds and friends, and all sorts of adventures to be found within them.

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The history of the Freemasons began on Vancouver Island during the earliest time of colonization on the west coast of Canada.  Many of the early members of the organization were integral in establishing the communities we all live in today.  In this post we will take a look at two of the Masonic Lodges we were lucky enough to be invited into to photograph, those being the Temple Lodge No.33 in downtown Duncan and the Ashlar Lodge No.3 in Nanaimo.  These facilities have a deep historical background on Vancouver Island and today are cherished as important heritage buildings in both communities.  We believe it’s important to acknowledge the impact the Freemasons have had in our cities, and to appreciate the heritage value of the buildings of the Lodges as an important link to our history.

Ashlar Masonic Lodge No.3 - Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Ashlar Lodge No.3 – Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Ashlar Masonic Lodge No.3 - Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Ashlar Lodge No.3 – Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

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It has been over a year and a half since we visited Glendale Cove on our epic Grizzly Bear viewing adventure, a vacation that my wonderful wife, Mrs. Toad, put together to celebrate my 50th birthday.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime, and one that we still talk about whenever the chance arises, reminiscing about how beautiful the landscapes of that remote part of the British Columbia coast are, and how amazing the bears were to see.  Bears hold a special place in my heart, and have my entire life.  They are a threatened species that always seem to be on the verge of becoming an endangered species as development and hunting reduce their fragile population.  If this is your first visit to our blog here, you may wish to see some of the previous posts we’ve made from our trips to this part of British Columbia, cataloged here in our series “North Island Toads“.  In particular, you may wish to see our post that specifically talks about our visit to Glendale Cove to see the Grizzly Bears titled “The Grizzly Bears Of Glendale Cove“.

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The day started early in the morning one day in June as the fog slowly drifted over Telegraph Cove creating a mystical air that spoke of the wonders that were to come.  We followed the lead boat through Knight Inlet on a rather long journey to the remote region where Glendale Cove is to be found.  The waters were still, the air had a bit of a chill to it, and a sense of the excitement that was about to come was palpable in the boat for all the adventurers.

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

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