Monthly Archives: January 2016

Seinfeld, Leno & Scarfone

Last year my good friend Joey Scarfone asked me to work with him on a project. He wanted to put together a picture book featuring local vintage automobiles, of which there are so many I wager it’s impossible to count. Victoria is a car collecting sort of place, and cars here don’t rust away like they do in the rest of Canada. Suffice to say we worked on the book for many months, Joey taking pictures, and me producing the graphics and the document. This is a labour of love, and kudos to Joey for coming up with the idea, and funding the entire thing from his pocket. The book was printed by one of the best houses in the country, Friesen, and Joey ordered one thousand copies printed. His tiny shop is brimming with the books stacked all over, and they are selling steadily. Here is the cover:


Ever the optimist, Joey insisted that the book be called Volume 1. Meanwhile Joey came up with another idea, which he pitched to the local cable provider, Shaw TV; a TV show about vintage cars! Joey asked me along to help out when we shot the first show, which featured one of the cars in the book, a 1972 Rolls Royce. I am please to announce it here on that Episode One of Vintage Cars of Victoria is now live on YouTube! Click on the photo for the link. After watching you can stay tuned and watch Jay Leno do a spot about the CHIPS cars! I must admit to being thrilled to be in such company.

Joey Scarfone - host of Vintage Cars of Victoria

Joey Scarfone – host of Vintage Cars of Victoria / click photo for link


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Between Wet Squalls

Between wet squalls
sunshine and rainbows
the lake trail calls me

Down the street the trail forks
which is the road less traveled
on a circle?… no matter

I choose right
by far the most frequent choice
I am habituated

Prepared for whatever
two cameras ready
one for close up, one far away

At the floating bridge I wait
at hand the short telephoto
hoping to catch the muskrat

I’ve seen it rarely
small brown rodent in the rushes
shiny wet hairy junior football

Each time I see
it sees me too
I blink and it’s gone

In the bushes I detect
kinglets, hairy woodpeckers, finches
they too elude the camera

Halfway round luck changes
a hummingbird, tired of diving
rests close at hand, flashing green

The sun peeks in and out
the rainbow waxes and wanes
several runners pass

At the Garry Oak meadow something very tiny
another hummingbird
even smaller – maybe a Calliope

Sun in my eyes, I move down
into the grass to look for it
but it buzzes away

While I wait
from out of the trees
a Red Tailed Hawk appears

It makes a line
straight towards the tree
the lone tree it calls home

In the field I look up
there looping about the sky
an eagle soars

Perfectly lit by the low sun
the eagle circles
while I focus

Later on I reflect on pictures
the tiniest and the
mightiest of birds

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Filed under Birds, Photography, Poetry

Street Scenes – late afternoon

The nutrients are working - my hair feels more intelligent already.

"Dude - I forgot my board in your shop!"

"forgot your board? Dope!"

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Filed under Photography, Street photography

Bird Feeder

Gazing out to sea she stood alone at the rail as the ship sped down the fjord, when she became aware of a man feeding French fries to the gulls; a situation that would force a change of plan for the moment at least, or so she thought.


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Filed under Birds, Books and Short Stories, Painting

Big & Uncool

Olympia SG1 - big and cool

Olympia SG1 – big and cool

1-Document (12)

SG3 - big, not so cool

SG3 – big, not so cool

keyboard in white & black

keyboard in white & black



Filed under Thrift shop finds, Typewriters

Endangered Species

Olivetti Tropic- modded

Olivetti Tropic – modded

1-Document (10)

I have plenty of bird pictures, however, and recently many of hawks. While not strictly endangered, I do think raptors are not having an easy time of it. Not far from here a landowner cut down 10 acres of old forest so he could grow hay. There was a hue and cry about it, but the saddest part for me was knowing that the birds and other wildlife just lost another chunk of habitat. A naturalist said that those woods were home to a number of owls, just for instance.

As much as I enjoy photography, and while I don’t want to get into a debate about whether or not it is or isn’t art, I love drawing and painting in another way. When you take a picture of something it is easy to forget what you really saw there. When you draw something, it really sinks into the mind. Yesterday I painted this picture of a hawk that I photographed just a few days before. I feel like I really got to know this bird better by painting it.

Red Tailed Hawk at Swan Lake

Red Tailed Hawk at Swan Lake


Filed under Birds, Painting, Photography, Typewriters


1-hairy polaroid

I hate this commuting

We live in a strange age. The middle class is dissolving like snowmen in April. Our new government was elected on a promise to borrow huge sums that will be spent on infrastructure, as a way to get the economy going. This weekend I read in the paper about what the major cities hope to build, and most of it seems to be focused on mass transit. Great, but I ask you this; the workers are going to get more transit so they can travel to their jobs from further and further away, but is their pay going up? We know the answer to that. Give the workers more transit; it will distract them from the fact that their standard of living is declining, and their commuting time is increasing.

8-neon crow

I hope they haven’t sold out the latest Stones farewell tour yet

Some cities are hoping to build new arenas and indoor stadiums with the money. Who can afford to go to the insanely expensive events that will happen there? I never attend concerts or sports events anymore, can’t afford it. I saw the Rolling Stones for $12 back in the day. It was fun, although they sucked on stage even then.  NHL hockey tickets were $5 for standing room when I was at university. I watched the Montreal Canadiens battle the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup, for five bucks!! Today a cup of pop costs more than that. The Canadiens moved from the Forum, one of the best arenas in the world, to a new arena which has hardly more seats. Why? Because they could build private boxes for wealthy business clients, boxes that sell for astronomical sums, which they need to pay the players their insane salaries. But in the end who pays? The fans, of course, through the nose. But not me. I don’t even watch anymore. I can’t stand all the damned advertising that’s plastered all over the boards and even on the ice. It distracts me from the game.

6-hmmbrd invert

five seconds and I’m out of here

I heard a story from an elementary school teacher the other day. She can’t teach her class because the students are unable to pay attention for more than five seconds. Meanwhile, every one in the world will soon have a smartphone. Great, but if the ultimate result is kids who can’t think straight, thanks a lot Steve Jobs… I’m sure you never thought that far ahead, and I really don’t blame you, but now what? I was told a similar story about writing skills at universities – kids can’t write anymore. But no one fails either. The professors are intimidated by the power of the students. Everyone loses here however. There are too many distractions for students to pay attention and learn. Maybe they see what’s waiting for them when they get out of school?


I forgot what I was saying

But I have distractions too, like fooling around with pictures. But if you’re supposed to be doing your homework, you better quit looking at this right now and get back to work!

7-hawk sk



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Filed under Animal psychology, Birds, Photography

a day in the life of a blog

Document (9)

Some days I just want to make some marks with a typewriter, if only to justify the collection. Typing is like therapy in a strange way, you press the keys and a physical reaction occurs, leaving you with a mark on paper. It is a feedback loop of sorts, direct, simple, immediate. And it has the added benefit of being quite capable of creating something you can read, criticize, laugh at, enjoy, loath and keep for along long time (almost forever). Typing is like Polaroid photography! My old Professor of Architectural History wrote a book in which he proposed a number of different analogies as ways to interpret the history of architecture. Polaroids didn’t come into that, but had they done so I’m sure my father would have understood; he was a big Polaroid fan and had a number of Polaroid cameras, starting with the original, and ending with the SX 70. His pictures, which were many, were all of what I mention here; laughable, pitifully bad sometimes, yet a reminder of a day or an event that would last and last. Unfortunately all those photos seem to have vanished! So much for posterity. But still, the possibility exists, and that itself makes Polaroids, and typewritten pages different from other ways of recording moments in time…

A blog is like typing and like Polaroids, is it not? You can just sit down and post something, and there it is as a record of a moment in time. How long it might endure is anyone’s guess however. But I do have a shoe box full of the typewritten bits I’ve posted here over the past years, should some future person wish to read them and be amused, or bored..


colourful, good bokeh

colourful, good bokeh

matching warm greys

matching warm greys

how does a neck bend that way?

how does a neck bend that way?

common, yet noble

common, yet noble Robin, your beak is crusty with dirt

cormorant in the last light of day

cormorant in the last light of day, what are you looking at?


Filed under Animal psychology, Birds, Photography, Poetry, Typewriters

City Life

8.30am at 7-11

8.30am at 7-11

Long ago, in the era of film, it was fun to shoot street scenes. They only thing that curtailed my shooting then was the cost of film, processing, and printing; among other things, like the need to attend school, etc. We always shot in black and white too, as colour was much too expensive, besides which black and white was the medium on the street beat, and could be developed and printed in a home darkroom without an enormous investment in equipment. Digital has changed all that, mostly for the better, with the exception of the tendency to want to buy a new camera every few years. My Minolta SRT 101 lasted 25 years, and was every bit as good as the finest cameras money could buy. Not so today.
Nevertheless, my present DLSR is certainly good enough, even if it is already technically obsolete. This morning I had an hour to kill while getting some work done on the car, so I brought the camera along and wandered around the downtown core. I converted these images to black and white, because I feel that they have more impact when you remove colour as a consideration; it’s all about subject matter. That is the point of street photography. I tried not to shoot photos of people right up front and in their faces, because I’ve never felt comfortable doing that. Today in fact I shot a picture of one fellow who passed me on the sidewalk and heard the click of the very noisy shutter of my Pentax K50. He stopped and turned to ask me if I’d taken his picture. Since I had a photograph of only his back I replied I had not, hoping he would drop the subject, but he didn’t. He told me to show him that I hadn’t taken his picture. I told him there was nothing to see, and walked away. He then called me an f-ing goof. Some street people are known to suffer from paranoia, so I guess he was one of them. I will not use the picture of his back in any case.

setting up at a cafe

bet he's unemployed


heading to work

church that still is one

intense concentration on a piece of paper

someone likes pigeons

the pigeon roost

spare change?

trash bin alley


PS: last day for the free ebook!


Filed under Cameras, Street photography

Sunny Today, Rain Tomorrow

Peregrine Falcon

the fastest animal on earth

Winter is the season of extreme moods. Rain on a summer day can never be as miserable as the grey gloom of winter. Today was one of those winter days we treasure – sunny and all blue skies. I felt like I couldn’t get enough sunshine. The birds responded with displays of beauty too, and I was lucky to get some good pictures. The Pileated Woodpecker was hard at work on the tall stump again, although he refused to come around to the sunny side of the tree. I caught a pair of Stellar’s Jays in a bush right in front of us, and a pair of Ravens high up in an oak, well lit by the sun. On the water I watched ducks for a while, hoping some of the Mergansers would come a little closer. Unlike the Mallards which make their year round home here, these Mergansers come infrequently, and I suppose they aren’t quite as comfortable around humans as the Mallards are. They have this reflex to stop and turn away at a distance of about 15 yards. I came home and hung about doing things like starting a loaf of bread, but always with an eye out the window, with a feeling that the beautiful sunshine was going to waste. So at 4 pm I grabbed my camera again and went back down to the lake to enjoy the last of the sun. I caught a Song Sparrow in the golden light, amongst a crowd of others hanging around some feeders. Then I spotted something far away, coming across the sky and heading for the top of one of the tall firs, about 40 or 50 yards away. It was impossible to recognize at a distance but with the 500mm lens I saw it better, although it was still a mere blip on the screen. I took some pictures and stood there waiting for about 10 minutes with my finger on the trigger, hoping to catch it in flight. When it finally took off my reflexes were just too slow, or my camera was, but in any case all I caught was air. It was another Peregrine Falcon, not exactly rare but then again not a common sight hereabouts. They are distinguished by their Elvis sideburns, although to be fair, falcons had them first. Not every day you see the fastest animal on earth. They dive at 250 km/hr (155 mph).

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