Saturday, March 29, 2014

Where's Waldo?

You know that series of books where you have to find Waldo in a crowd of people?

Now imagine that you are a king penguin living on South Georgia island in the sub-Antarctic and you have to find your mate and your shared egg among 100,000 penguins who all look identical! And they are all just standing together in one big crowd doing nothing much.

Suddenly finding Waldo doesn't seem like that big an accomplishment, does it?

My wife and I watched an IMAX movie last weekend... Penguins. We learned that penguin mates learn to recognize each other through their respective calls. There is no shortage of penguins on this tiny island so obviously this system works and lets them get on with some penguin-on-penguin lovin'.

Swan Lake near our house features these similarly two-toned ring-necked ducks. I gotta wonder if they go through the same sort of identity crisis when they breed?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Watcher

Moai is the name given to the enigmatic statues of Easter Island in the Pacific. Typically each statue is about 13 feet high and weighs about 14 tons each.

It is estimated these statues were carved about a thousand years ago. How they were carved and moved to their present locations on the island is unknown although the best guess is that they were 'walked' across the terrain. Similar to how we would move a piece of heavy furniture in our house.

I wonder what the first Europeans thought of them when they first arrived on the island? Did they evoke unease, superstition? 

They were a big part of author Erich von Daniken's 'Chariots of the Gods' theory that suggested they were inspired and/or engineered by alien visitors to earth. The primitive cultures that came into contact with these aliens revered them as gods and expressed that awe through carvings and statues.

THIS sentinel watches visitors from the fountain pool of Victoria's Butterfly Gardens and was featured not long ago in this blog here.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Ancients

Looking like some combination of wood and stone, this is one of the tortoises at Victoria's Butterfly Gardens...

Tortoises have walked -- slowly -- across the face of the earth since the age of dinosaurs-- 200 million years.

They are also among the longest-living animals on earth. The oldest tortoise ever recorded, and one of the oldest individual animals ever recorded, was Tu'i Malila, which was presented to the Tongan royal family by the British explorer Captain Cook shortly after its birth in 1777. Tu'i Malila remained in the care of the Tongan royal family until its death by natural causes on May 19, 1965, at the age of 188.

Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise living on the island of St Helena is 182 years old and may well be the current oldest living animal on Earth.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Last weekend we took my nephew to Victoria's Butterfly Gardens. I'm still testing my high-end point-and-shoot and the extreme lighting overwhelmed its ability to handle contrast.

I liked this particular photo but no amount of quick tinkering could get it to an acceptable level of resolution / digital noise for me. So I've applied a little digital trickery to try to salvage some use out of it...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


delicate purple
but it is not yet spring here
victoria rocks!
I know nothing about flowers but I'm pretty sure these are crocuses. I tweaked this photo various ways to try to 'improve' on it, but came to realize that it had an almost painterly quality as is so I did nothing to it except to re-size it.

These were growing in front of our local municipal hall.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Lonely Puppet

Wait... did that thing just move?
Wait... did that thing just move ever so slightly?!
What's a lonely dummy to do on a rainy day in Chemainus but stare creepily out the window at the people passing by?

Some people get weirded out by clowns... for me, it's ventriloquists' dummies. They watch you with wide, dead unblinking eyes, waiting patiently for you to fall asleep, so they can slip into the kitchen and grab that butcher's knife with your name on it...

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Signs of Fan Tan Alley

Colourful signs overhead line Victoria's Fan Tan alley in Chinatown...

According to Wikipedia, it is the narrowest street in Canada. At its narrowest point it is less than a yard wide.
Further down Fan Tan Alley, you come across this colourful address...