Victoria, BC

I wasn’t satisfied enough with some of my pictures from Vancouver, so this time around, I thought I’d do my photos through liberal use of manual focus and tripod, if needed. I couldn’t have picked a better day to do so — the BC area was overcast for a few days, and had just started to clear the afternoon we arrived at Victoria.

Though not as quiet as Nanaimo, Victoria possesses a conservative semblance of Vancouver (skyscrapers/buildings aren’t as sexy), with a city life decent enough for urban natives. Plus, from their harbour, you can take ferries to vancouver, port angeles, and Seattle — very excellent indeed!

There’s so much more to say about the city, but I think I’ll let my pictures from the gallery do all the talking for now — gotta pack for the city!

Oh yeah, before I go — check out Promised Love and Fallin’ by Hawaiian pop group Keahiwai. No, that wasn’t a typo: these girls have some amazing vocals, and good lyrics too! The acoustic versions are a million times better than the cd version though, and they’re pretty hard to come by… =\

i am a tourist

You know what makes photography so difficult? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not getting the right ISO for your film, your fstop/shutterspeed combination, getting to that much-sought location, or obtaining the money to buy that expensive body, lens, or whatever. Compared to other 2D media such as drawing or painting, where one must *build* nuances in color and value from scratch, photography accurately captures all that visual information at the release of a shutter, translating smears of charcoal or layers of oil and ink into different readings of light. That said, photography becomes an exercise in composition: you can take the sharpest picture at the most exotic locales using the best equipment, but if you do so without any sense of what to put in that tiny rectangular viewfinder (or LCD), you ain’t got nothing. I must have burned at least three rolls of “film” today (that’s about 60 images) at the dock, shooting away while enjoying the weather and ocean breeze, but when I got home and uploaded my images I noticed how they lacked any sense of unity or aesthetics beyond me saying “ooh, that looks interesting” seconds before I slam on the shutter button. Bummer.

That’s why you keep trying. Every lesson I’ve learned in photography (I am not kidding about this – my Photo I teacher didn’t give much in terms of technical instruction…) was through trial and error. First at the dark room when my prints were either overexposed, underexposed, or – heaven forbid – a combination of both meaning I had to do some manual dodging and burning; and now behind this laptop, where every .jpg or .crw file has to be (1) examined, (2) have its levels adjusted (3) viewed at 100% resolution and (4) checked for sharpness in hopes of finding that lone gem among the pile of mere snapshots. It’s tedious, at times disheartening (especially when all your images suck, or if you have that image that could have been good … shot from different angle), but also fun. I’ve submitted my baskets photo to for some critiques and in the end got “middle of the pack” ratings, but most importantly, feedback … and advice on what could be done to improve it. I really don’t expect to be at the top of that site’s list anytime soon, but it’ll be fun seeing how close I can get.

cathedral grove

Thurs., June 17: With about two days to settle down and get adjusted to west coast time (I already was thanks to insomnia), it was time to take a nice trip around the island. Despite its rather secluded location and appearance as a “sleepy town”, Nanaimo is actually an important spot in Vancouver Island: located about 90 minutes away from Victoria in the southern tip (go any further south, and you’ve sailed into the States) and about an hour forty-five via ferry from Vancouver in the mainland, this quaint city is literally the last bastion before the vast wilderness; an area begging to be hiked, camped, kayaked, driven through with the windows down, you get the picture.

At the west coast of the island is Uculet and Tofino, areas known for surfing (hear that, Marlon?) and spotting orcas (the real “free willies”), respectively. Thursday’s destination takes us at about a third of the way for now: at Cathedral grove. Located near Port Alberni, Cathedral Grove is a forest of ancient trees, relics nearly a millenia old that elucidate the literal insignificance of our existence when compared to the rest of the world at large. I can’t believe that I stood face-to-face with giants that were mere saplings when Columbus landed in the New World in 1492; or served as protectors/providers/etc. to natives many generations before! Clearly, there was plenty to marvel at during my visit; a visit that made me realize that maybe – just maybe – I was more a tree-hugger than some linux fanboy obsessed with the thought that there’s nothing better than writing code and staring at monitors for hours on end … which I think is a good thing. =)

My favorite spot of the day, however, wasn’t the grove, but a location just before it. After taking Hwy 4 (west) to cut through the island and towards the grove, we stopped by a little clearing at Cameron Lake. Walking through a short pass we were met with a literal explosion of greens, and a lake so calm and quiet I could hear myself saying “OMGWTF” in my head. The water was very inviting too, easily enticing one to at least let the cold water envelop their toes if they could not commit to longer kayaking or flyfishing (?) sessions.

For more pics from this mini-trip, check out the portfolio.

procrastination strikes again

holy crap! it’s only been about 4 days since i last updated, and already so much has happened! a trip to a scenic lake and an ancient forest, a weekend stay in vancouver … and i’ve yet to write about any of them (more importantly, post the pics i’ve taken!). argh, it looks like no sleep for me for a while.