One of the places we saw mentioned in Victoria when we were staying there for Thanksgiving was Craigdarroch Castle. It was described as being in the town itself so we decided to swing by as we were heading out of town towards some other locations. The “castle” is a big house up on the hills. It has a pretty good view across the town by the looks of it. I am not usually terribly interested in the insides of buildings like this. The outside is worth a look but the interiors are usually rather old and musty, so we skipped that and walked around outside in the sun.
The building is in the middle of a residential area so it is a little strange to be surrounded by houses but it was a sunny day and the building is interesting so we had a look around before heading off on our way.
Cannon Beach is well known but one of its most famous landmarks is Haystack Rock. This sits on the shore just a short distance from where we were staying so we walked by it a few times and could see it from our balcony whenever we liked. It is a sizeable thing! It sits right at the tide line so, at high tide, it is in the water but, when the tide retreats, you can walk out to it. However, it is a protected site so no climbing.
On gray and stormy days, it looks pretty bleak. When the sun is out and illuminating it with that nice low winter light angle, it looks totally different. I suspect, if I stayed there longer, I would probably photograph it a hundred different ways and still not be satisfied with what I got. I won’t be alone, of course. It has been photographed more times than anyone could count.
The walk from our hotel in Victoria to a favorite breakfast spot took us alongside one of the local shipyards. This yard had plenty of decent sized vessels out of the water and being worked on. I was quite taken by their method of moving the boats around. They have a lift area in the water and then the ships get put on supports on rails. There is a turntable in the yard which allows each vessel to be moved to a different part of the yard. I had seen a hint of this on Google Maps before we went so was interested to check it out when we walked by.
I have posted a few things about Butchart Gardens but this is a slightly silly one. Like any public place, they need to have trash cans around the place for the visitors to deposit their detritus. In their case, they can’t just have a normal trash can. That would be far too out of keeping with the rest of the venue. They need to have something more in keeping. How about these for the best looking trash cans you have come across.
One of our earlier visits to Victoria had involved staying close by a building that was being demolished. They were keeping the façade of the building intact and taking out the interior for rebuilding and development. Three years has gone by since that visit and I was interested to see how the building was looking. While some finishing and fit out still appears to be underway, the building appears to be complete.
They have retained the façade as anticipated and constructed a whole new building inside. In addition, one source of the building had been removed to allow the demolition process to get underway and that now has a new structure grafted on to the building. Consequently, there is a combination of the old and the modern in the way it is finished off. I assume by the next time we are in Victoria, it will be open for business. I don’t know when it was originally scheduled to be done but I assume the pandemic delayed things a little.
I posted previously about the Christmas lights at Butchart Gardens but I separately kept the theme of the Twelve Days of Christmas for its own post. There is a route that you follow through the gardens to see the illuminations and along that route are a series of scenes for the twelve days. The first one you come to is clearly the partridge in a pear tree and you go from there.
I share each of the shots in turn to illustrate what they have. Some are pretty straightforward. Six geese a’laying is not obscure. The Four Calling Birds had a few people puzzle until they realized that they had cellphones. I found the French Hens pretty amusing. The leaping lords were frogs behind a wall and they came up in a varying pattern. Getting a shot with most of them in required some patience. The pipers were just a bit creepy for me.
When you finish walking around the gardens, you think something is wrong. You are back at the start and you haven’t seen twelve drummers drumming. The reason for that is that they are on the arches over the road that exits the gardens from the parking lot. If you aren’t paying attention, you could easily miss them. We had seen this previously but I had forgotten and it was a little while before I remembered and looked off from the area near the gift shop and saw them. The arms of the drummers do move but the photos won’t tell that tale.
Our visit to Victoria over the Thanksgiving holiday coincided with the first nights of the Christmas lights at Butchart Gardens. Pre-booking a time was necessary with COVID precautions in effect but we had planned ahead so that was taken care of. We actually got there earlier in the afternoon to have a wander around while there was still some light before taking a full walk around again when the lights were at their most effective.
There will be a separate post on the Christmas theme to the lights. For this post, I am going to share some shots of the general lighting of the gardens. We were there two years ago and they don’t change much between each year. I think there is a small change each year and that is fine with me because it really looks fantastic. Conveying the impression of the lighting in photos is tricky because the way the eye sees things in the dark is different to the camera with the darks being too dark or the lights blowing out.
However, I hope these shots give some idea of the way it looked. On our previous visit, I had been blown away by the use of green lasers to illuminate the undersides of the trees creating a star-like effect under the foliage. That was there again and looked just as good. I did think to look backwards as we walked around – it is easy to get fixated on what is ahead of you – and that area looked great from a distance too. This time there was an area with some red lasers and, while on a smaller scale, it looked very effective too.
Butchart Gardens is worth a visit at any time of year but, if you get to go for the Christmas lights, do take the opportunity. It is a lovely display and it is very tastefully done. There are plenty of gaudy light displays and, while this one is not understated, it certainly is still tasteful.
The San Juan Islands were our escape a couple of times during the limits on travel that COVID provided. Getting to the islands involves a ferry trip and I will always enjoy that. One of the things that I find interesting about the ferry terminals on the islands is how simple they are. When we lived in the UK, the ferries were constantly expanding in their usage and the terminals were all getting upgraded to accommodate more vehicles. They also had shops and food outlets.
The San Juans are far lower key. The terminals are often in remote locations (accepting that the islands are generally pretty remote anyway) and they are tucked away looking far more like part of the coastline. As we travel on the ferries, we get to see some that we stop at and others we pass. Here are a few of the ones I have photographed from the water.
Having looked through the catalog of images after finding the elevated view of Victory Field, I came across the shots I took when I went with some work colleagues to a minor league game there. It was a lot of fun although I have no idea how the game was. Watching baseball at a stadium is an enjoyable experience that happens alongside a baseball game as far as I am concerned.
The sun was setting as the game got underway and we had some nice light in the sky. I took some HDR and panoramic shots which I have been able to reprocess using the latest versions of Lightroom as opposed to the one available at that time. I also got a few shots of the players at work and had a wander around the perimeter of the field to see how it looked from different angles. Looks like I was using a rather wide angle lens at some point too.
On our previous trip to Orcas, we took in Cascades Falls as part of a hike. We repeated the hike this time but, since we started a little earlier in the day and the days were longer, we didn’t have quite the same pressure to make sure we got back before things got dark. Consequently, when we got to Cascade Falls, I was able to spend a bit more time taking the diversion down to the river to see the falls from lower angles and get some images and video that I hadn’t had a go at on the previous visit. While everything was a lot warmer than last time, there had been a fair bit of rain recently which meant the falls still had a good flow coming over them. As is the way with waterfalls, they look more impressive when you are at the bottom than when you are above them.