Category Archives: Historical

The Beaver – A Watershed Engineer

This morning I was watching a pair of beavers eating the bark off of water soaked branches with their large orange incisors and preening their fur to remove dirt and straighten matted fur. The beaver is an emblem we’re reminded of every time we fish a nickel out of our pockets. The beaver nearly became extinct as a result of the fur trade, luckily Europeans took a liking to silk hats and the demand for beaver pelts disappeared. They are a keystone species in temperate and boreal forest aquatic ecosystems. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in Autumn, British Columbia, Historical, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Summer Days

The Johnstone Strait area gets over 150 cm’s of annual rainfall. It creates a very lush and green environment. This photo was taken in the village of Alert Bay on Cormorant Island which is the home of the U’mista Cultural Centre and museum. It has an amazing collection of First Nations potlatch artifacts. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in British Columbia, Historical, Summer, Travel, West Coast | Leave a comment

The Grand Old Lady of Granville

Today I spent some time exploring the Orpheum theatre with my camera. It was built from 1926 to 1927 and is a National Historic Site. At the time of construction storefront property on Granville street was expensive. Joseph Langer found a way around this by purchasing a small piece of property for the entrance and then built the theatre itself on the next street over, Seymour street, where land was more affordable.

The Orpheum Theatre was designed by the Scottish architect B. Marcus Priteca, who designed nearly two hundred theatres from San Diego to Alaska. Priteca was a master at economically creating the illusion of opulence with plasterwork on reinforced concrete. 

The design contains a number of different architectural influences – the vaulted ceilings of the main concourse and foyer and the terra cotta undersides of the marquees and the travertine walls and pillars are Italian influenced, there are exotic ceiling motifs, crests of British heraldry, chandeliers of Czechoslovakian crystal, Moorish-inspired organ screens, and Baroque ceiling and dome covers. 

When I walk around the Orpheum, the combination of the red carpet and the eerie light cast from the chandeliers, reminds me of Stanley Kubrick’s movie The Shining. To scroll through the gallery of images click on the first image and then use the left and right keys on your keyboard.

Posted in British Columbia, Historical, Summer, West Coast | Leave a comment

Walker Evans: Depth of Field

I was fortunate to see an exhibition of the American photographer Walker Evans at the Vancouver Art Gallery. He was a photojournalist best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) documenting the effects of the Great Depression. Much of Evans’s work from the FSA period uses the large format, 8 x 10 inch camera. Many of his works are in the permanent collections of museums. I really enjoyed looking at some of his cameras and street photography which included photos of store signs. I would recommend seeing this exhibition which ends on January 22nd.

Posted in Black and White Photography, British Columbia, Historical, Inspiring, Photographers, West Coast, Winter | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving

Vancouver Island is a great place to visit and live. Island life is more laid-back when compared to the hectic pace of the Vancouver lower mainland. I was fortunate to experience some sunny weather when I was exploring with my camera. One of the things I noticed was at night when I was sleeping it was pitch dark and eerily quiet, you couldn’t hear another sound. In the lower mainland you experience noise and light pollution 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Some of the communities on Vancouver Island seem to be struggling like many small towns in Canada. Click on the image to see a larger version.

_dsc0874

Posted in Autumn, British Columbia, Historical, Holidays, Inspiring, Travel, West Coast | Leave a comment

The Train Station Platform

During the Winter Olympics in Vancouver a heritage electric railway was built for tourists. There is a station platform at the end of the line which is never used anymore. The bushes or vines are slowly creeping across the concrete of the station platform. Click on the image to see a larger version.

_dsc0615

Posted in British Columbia, Historical, Night Photography, West Coast | Leave a comment

Spuzzum

In the Fraser Canyon is the Alexandra bridge which was built in 1926 for the Cariboo highway. The last time automobile traffic was allowed across the bridge was in 1964. The Niaka’pamux and Sto:lo First Nations have lived in the area for over 9000 years. Because the canyon becomes narrow at this point it was an important fishing site. The first European people to visit the area were Simon Fraser and his crew during their expedition down the Fraser Canyon in 1808. I had the bridge all to myself and enjoyed exploring this vanishing part of British Columbia. Click on an image to see a larger version.

_DSC6108

_DSC6102

_DSC6094

_DSC6115

Posted in British Columbia, Historical, Spring | Leave a comment

Gino Odjick

_DSC6053

As I was driving across traditional First Nations land I came across this house with a sign showing support for Gino Odjick. He was born just outside of Maniwaki, Quebec on the Algonquin Native Reserve and played for eight seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. Number 29 was a very popular hockey player with fans and in First Nations communities across Canada. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in British Columbia, Historical, Inspiring, Spring | Leave a comment

Life Finds A Way # 2

This tree is growing in the middle of an alley behind some condominiums in downtown Vancouver. The trunk of the tree is surrounded by concrete. Cars and garbage trucks squeeze past this tree every day. I’m amazed it hasn’t been cut down by the city and the tree has found a way to survive. Many years ago this area was covered with trees like this one, but this is the last of it’s kind.

_DSC5547

_DSC5533

Posted in British Columbia, Historical, Inspiring, West Coast | Leave a comment

In the Spirit of Brassaï

Brassaï was a Hungarian photographer who took pictures of Paris in the late 1920’s. He wandered the streets of Paris late at night and captured the essence of the city in his photographs. Making photographs in the dark bistros and darker streets presented a difficult technical problem. Brassai’s solution was direct, primitive, and perfect. He focused his small plate camera on a tripod, opened the shutter when ready, and fired a flashbulb. I have his book Brassai: Paris by Night and would recommend it to any photographer. Last night I was out taking some images in the spirit of Brassai. Click on the image to see a larger version.

_DSC5222
_DSC5198

Posted in British Columbia, Historical, Night Photography, Painting With Light, West Coast, Winter | Leave a comment