We are having the dog days of summer here… at last, for those who like the heat, which I don’t, but just in time for our “English” daughter and granddaughters to get in some quality beach time. They will be returning to their home in the UK in a few days so we have been doing a little more than usual babysitting this week whenever mommy has last errands, appointments and visits with friends. Eldest daughter has also come down for a week so things are busy and lively around here with all our daughters and granddaughters here, only missing their partners.

I did catch a few moments in the sunny garden this afternoon to practice some macro photography. I know I really must use the tripod, sigh. Another trouble with shooting in macro is that it is like looking through a magnifying glass, and thus sometimes finding some unpleasant surprises. See those tiny black dots in my lovely purple clematis flowers? They are not part of the flower itself as I thought, they are oodles of busy bugs. Shudder, shutter!

revisiting macro photowork



shell4444.jpg< shell4445.jpg

I fell in love with macro photography about a year and a half ago, going through a long learning process and taking lots of photos for many months.

It’s been an embarrassingly long time now since I took any new macro photos. It’s partly laziness in getting the bigger DSLR camera, the lenses and the extension tube out, especially if I have to change them after husband has used it with other lenses. When it comes to the technical side of photography, my memory does not retain the information for long without regular use. One gets too spoiled with today’s point and shoot cameras but ours does not have a great macro feature. Anyway, I’ve had a strong urge recently to take it up again and relearn it.

Here are some of my first little efforts. Having shot these indoors on a cloudy day, they came out very dark, but with iPhoto and PhotoShop I was thrilled to tease out some exciting-to-me results. The imperfections that I find in this kind of photography actually satisfy the artistic and creative side in me, sort of like the “happy accidents” I like to cultivate in etching and other printmaking processes.

Because I know you will ask what the subjects in these images are, I shall tell you they are small shells in a plant pot on the windowsill next to my computer desk in our home in a city on the west coast of Canada. Enjoy!

beach walk, Victoria (2)

More of my favourite images from our walk on Cordova Bay, on our visit back in May.







Can you spot which of these show the hand of man upon nature?



To see a world in a grain of sand,
or in a coffee stain…

(inspired by Finnish blogger and superb photographer Taina of Vaskooli,
especially this)

beach walk, Victoria




I’m so glad to have my blog back after the server problems – strange how it broke my rhythm in writing. As I’m thinking of what to post, I remembered that I’d not finished describing the latter half of our island getaway in May, after we left Gabriola Island and headed south on Vancouver Island. So to recapture the rhythm, I’ve gone back into my photos and jumped into a series I took on Cordova Bay, in Victoria. We stayed with dear friends in the area who took us for a long walk along this beach in low tide. What beauties to be seen there, even these bluffs dripping with algae and seaweed.

Finnish rock art exhibition


I am delighted to have received an invitation to Ismo Luukkonen’s exhibition Marked on Rock – Photographs of Prehistoric Rock Paintings at the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki. The exhibition is open June 16th to September 18th, 2011. More information and a few photos here.

I know Ismo has photographed rock art in many countries so I queried about it and he confirmed to me that all the photos in this exhibit are of prehistoric rock paintings located around different areas of Finland. Do check out Ismo Luukkonen’s extensive website, especially the Finnish pictographs.

This is a subject close to my heart on many levels so I’m sad that I will not be able to be there for the opening and meet the photographer, nor is it likely that I’ll see the exhibition during its long run (unless the goddess of rock art waves a magic wand and a plane ticket in my direction).

My congratulations and best wishes to Ismo Luukkonen on this exhibition. I hope some of my Finnish readers and anyone else who may be in Helsinki will visit the exhibition and share impressions and photos!

Related: Previous posts about Ismo Luukkonen and his work in July 2004, February 2005, and most recently February 2011.

Roger Fidler exhibition


It is my pleasure to introduce friend and fellow printmaker and photographer Roger Fidler. Roger has an exhibition of his photographs, photo-etchings and photoworks opening next Sunday at the Havana Gallery. Everyone is welcome to the opening, details below:

Opening Sunday May 1st, 4 pm – 7 pm
Havana Gallery at the Havana Restaurant
1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC
The exhibition continues to May 14th
Hours: Sun 10am -11pm, Mon – Thurs 11am – 11pm, Fri 11am – midnight, Sat 10 am – midnight


Here are some of Roger’s words about his work:

Most of my work is photographic in some way. My real interest in photography began some 40 years ago when I lived in the Peace River region of British Columbia. The landscape inspired me to buy my first SLR camera, and I have been taking pictures ever since.

My preference has always been for black and white photography. The graphic image, a step further away from reality has always appealed to me. I often experiment with alternative techniques, and over the last year I have been learning to become a printmaker. I specialise in photo-etching.

The subject matter has changed over the years. My current portfolio falls roughly into three groups: still life, classical sculptural detail, and larger more experimental works.


Mercy Island


I am thrilled and honoured to have one of my very favourite and special-to-me photographs on the cover of Mercy Island, a collection of new and selected poetry by Ren Powell and just published by Phoenicia.

Ren (Katherine) Powell is a writer, translator, poet, and native Californian living on the west coast of Norway. She has published four full-length collections of poetry and eleven books of translations, and her poetry has been translated and published in six languages. (more)

See also the press release on Ren’s blog* with which I’ve been delighted to recently get acquainted. I can understand Phoenicia’s editor Beth Adams’ feeling for a certain kind of connection in Ren’s Nordic home and my own Nordic roots and love of rocks in making this choice of image, with Ren’s approval as well. As Beth wrote elsewhere: “I’m so grateful for the artistic cross-fertilization that goes on here!” I am too, with my heartfelt thanks to both Beth and Ren.

Now I can hardly wait to hold and read the book. I hope interested readers will consider purchasing a copy directly from Phoenicia Publishing where more of your purchase goes to the author and to the support of independent publishing. Best of success to Ren’s new “baby” as it goes out into the world!

You may be interested in visiting my old blog post concerning this image, which I’ve always called ‘fetus rock’. Do you see another connection there?

March 24th, 2011: More about Mercy Island, including a review by Rachen Barenblat at my post called lichen

March 31st, 2011: Another most interestingly written review including some gratifying comments about the cover by Carolee Sherwood. Thanks for sending it to me, Beth!

*August 2, 2011: I’ve just discovered Ren Powell has changed her blog and some of its contents. Visit it here.

street furniture

London Underfoot #6

The other day I posted about my series of prints called London Underfoot. I’m very gratified by the lovely reactions, including from my friend Jean, a Londoner. We have had a bit of an email chat about my use of the phrase ‘street furniture’ in describing those utility covers on the streets and walks of London which I had photographed and made into this series. Jean felt the phrase described only things like benches, mailboxes, lamp posts, that sort of thing – which is what I originally thought it meant as well. The first time I heard the term (and I had to search hard for that post!) was in comments to some photos I’d posted of drain covers here in my own neighbourhood in Vancouver.

Well, dear Jean went on to find and kindly send me two very interesting links, one with lots of photos and history of other London manhole covers and one about street furniture! I love those great designs in manhole covers and the fascinating history and most of all, this English language! As I wrote to Jean, some of the utility covers that I’d photographed were too small to be manholes, so there’s another intriguing thing! I now wish I’d made notes of each location of each metal plate that I’d photographed but at the time I didn’t know how this project was going to grow!

All this also made me recall a link I’d bookmarked a while back and which I finally found called drainspotting, about a book of photographs of Japanese manhole cover art which are truly amazing. One sure learns a lot on the ‘net!

walk in the country Dec.24th




As I wrote last week, we’d travelled to the Thompson River region northeast of us to spend Christmas at the home of one of our daughters. It is such different country from the southwest coast, with its own kind of beauty, as every place does. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve day, while the younger ones were preparing the feast to come, my husband and I headed out for a walk in the area. Hope you enjoy these photos that aim to capture the character of this region, and as you can see, without much snow cover down here in the valley.

You may also recall the photos of our visit there last summer.