Shortly after I came out to British Columbia in early 2006 I had a case of severely high blood pressure. It wouldn't have been fair to an employer for me to work for them until I got my health situation sorted out. I was on medications to lower the blood pressure and it took until early 2007 to find the cause. I finally went to a naturopath who found that a microscopic parasite was the cause for all this.

While getting my health in order, I took up blogging to share my photography. This way I wasn't wasting time and others got to enjoy the photos, not just me and those close to me.

In May of this year I had a mini-stroke cause again by severely high blood pressure. I may end up gong to the naturopath again since the specialist and other MDs can't seem to find the cause. This has only been a problem out here. Before that in Ontario, the blood pressure was only marginally high, not severely high like in BC.

Knowledge is good because being forewarned is forearmed!

All that said, enjoy this blog and all the photos I share with you.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

the Western Honey Bee or Apis mellifera

This image of the Carnica bee on Soldago was taken by Frank Mikley, 2006-06-09.
This image of Bees-wings is from PD

Photo, Honeybee landing on Milkthistle, was taken by Fir0002. All images are from the Wikipedia Commons under the GNU Free Documentation License. See these and other photos plus details on the Western honey bee or European honey bee [Apis mellifera] at:
I will soon post about the Colony Collapse Disorder [CCD] affecting the honey bee currently. The microsporidium parasite called Nosema ceranae is one of many potential causes of the die off and collapse of the bee hives in North America, Europe and elsewhere. Meantime, this small sampling of photos will give those that have never seen this bee up close, or that may be affected by an allergic reaction should they be stung by them, a chance to see the honey bee at a safe distance. More information and news coming soon.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The gardens at Vancouver's Stanley Park revisited

Above is a photo of part of a cherry tree and below are some of those blossoms up close.

Saucer magnolias in bloom just covering a nearby tree.

Below are some rhododendron blossoms up close. I have taken photos of these before and they seem to be holding up quite well despite the rainy weather.

Another rhododendron shrub above and the flowers up close below. My guide books are still packed but I believe this variety may be from Asia. I will have to do some research on that to make certain.

Yet another variety of rhododendron shrub and the flowers up close in the photo below. At the time these photos were taken these flowers were soon to open.

Above is a saucer magnolia one of many in this part of Stanley Park. Below is another close up but not of the blossoms above.

There is another close up of rhododendron blossoms and the same flowers from further back. Notice the magnolia tree in full bloom in the background.

Saucer magnolia blossoms up close in the above photo and flowers plus new growth on a larch tree in the image below.

Can you guess what flower that is in the above photo? Well, it's the flower belonging to the skunk cabbage. The plant gets its name from the odour that emimates from it. I hope you have enjoyed these photos and the brief commentary. Expect to see more images as we head into summer.

Hawthorne Rotary Park revisited

On a sunny day earlier this month I took advantage of the fine weather to walk down to Hawthorne Rotary Park, see what has happened since my last visit and perhaps take some more photos. I was not disappointed as you can see by the image above and those that follow. The rhododendrons are coming into more prominence as their blooms open up as seen in the photo below.

With all the flowers about there are surprisingly few bees, flies or butterflies about. I did see a lone honey bee, hoverfly and a bumble bee that flew off when it saw my shadow. I used to have a house in southwestern Ontario until I sold it in the summer of 2005. There were many flowerbeds and numerous blooms throughout the growing season. I had lots of bumble bees, some honey bees, butterflies and hoverflies but then I used organic methods and did not use chemical sprays to control insects and weeds. I used companion planting to control the insects, such as aphids, and used the old fashioned methods of pulling weeds out by hand. It was a lot more time consuming but far better for the environment. Now the latest I am hearing is that the bees are on a decline and disappearing fast. Honey bees are used to pollinate all sorts of fruits trees, vegetables and other important plants. Watch the supermarkets for higher prices if there is a drop in yield. Human beings are going to have to treat their environment and the creatures that live in it better or there will be some dire consequences.

So in the photos above you see rhododendrons, spring heather, hyacinths, daffodils, narcissi and other flowers with plenty of bright colours to perk everyone up after the past few weeks of rainy weather. Now spring is here and the warm weather to stay for a while. Enjoy! I plan to follow this post with another one on the flowers in Vancouver's Stanley Park. Look for those photos!

Monday, April 23, 2007

A cresent moon after sunset

This was the view of the cresent moon a few days ago shortly after sunset. The red streak you see is a passing airplane. More photos are to follow. I just finished downloading over 200 images from my Sony DSLR digital camera. Enjoy this one in the interim.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Volcanoes and hazard plans...

In the previous post you saw an aerial photo and a ground level view of Mount Baker, a volcano in the Cascade Mountains. My apartment faces east allowing me to see this mountain from my window. There is a great view of the volcano from the corner of my balcony. Late 2005 and into 2006 there was an eruption of Mt. Augustine (Augustine Island) in Alaska. The Augustine Volcano is known as a stratovolcano, as are Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier and a number of other volcanoes in the Cascade Range. They are the explosive kind. Mt. St. Helens is another good example. The above map and the photos of the eruption are from the Alaska Volcano Observatory. Go to for further information and photos. Below are a few photos of the Augustine Volcano in action in January 2006.

The map below comes from the USGS and shows the volcanoes in the Cascade Range. These continue north into the Coast Mountain Range in British Columbia (Canada). If you do a Google search for "volcanoes", "statovolcanoes" or related searches, you will come up with all sorts of information.
Last evening I did a search for hazard maps for Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier. The two maps below are the result of that search. When a volcano erupts, there is not only steam venting but there could also be hot ash, flood waters from melting glaciers, mud plus lava. It all depends on the severity and the wind direction as to the land area affected. Personally, I believe forewarned is forearmed. There is less need to panic if a person has escape routes planned and has information on hand on what might be expected. There has been alot of talk to suggest that animals head for higher ground before such events take place. As intelligent as we might think we are, we might benefit from watching how the birds animals are reacting and take heed.

Below is a photo (from of the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the west African coast (Morocco, etc). The dominant feature from the air is Pico de Teide, another stratovolcano of note. There are other welknown stratovolcanoes as well such as Mt. Etna in Sicily (Italy), Mt. Vesuvius (Italy) and Santorini (Greece). Some volcanoes are also known as Decade Volcanoes. Do some research and see what you find in both information and photos. It's a journey of adventure and enlightenment!

There will be more of my own photos coming up soon. I hope you have benefitted from this post and what it has to offer. Comments as usual are always welcome.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Google Earth images from space and one much closer to home...

After a long delay I finally used my Google Earth link that I installed months ago. Here are a few saved images from that source. This resource is great for planning trips, finding a place or just seeing what different areas of the globe look like. Google Earth, together with Google Maps, have great potential. The image (north is at the top) above is of northeastern Poland and the Kaliningrad Oblast (region) of Russia. This is the region where my family comes from. With the changes that took place in 1945 and immediately afterward they were expelled from a region that has family links going back hundreds of years and for some, such as my Old Prussian ancestors, perhaps thousands of years. My grandmother and an aunt died on a freight train of malnutrition near Torun (Thorn) on their way to western Germany in October 1945. Another aunt was lost some where in eastern Germany. It wasn't until the 1990s that I learned that only Poles were allowed food rations. Germans waited for months for transportation to be arranged. The lucky ones had either escaped or were evacuated before WWII ended. Those in the northern half of East Prussia, or what later became the Kaliningrad Oblast, most were taken to Koenigsberg, now Kaliningrad, and sent west from there. The unlucky ones were sent east to Siberia. However, it should be remembered that many suffered, Poles, Russians, and others, not just Germans. The history and culture of the region changed for ever after 1945. Hopefully mankind can learn from other peoples' mistakes and learn to live with each other in peace but it appears we go through the same cycle of upheaval and death from one generation to the next and from one region of the globe to another. Anyway, that is where my family comes from for better or for worse. So enough of this and let get on to something more positive!

The view in the image above is of the CN Tower and the Sky Dome in downtown Toronto, Ontario. At one time during the 1990s I used to work in Toronto's downtown and could see the tower when I looked south down the street. Odd thing is, I had never been up to the top of the CN Tower while I worked in Toronto. The first two times was before I lived there and the third time was after I left the city to return to London, Ontario. The feeling was that I always had the time to visit so the time never came. The Science Centre was another such case.

Now here is London, Ontario where I lived until I moved west permanently in February 2006. The top of the image is actually facing toward the southwest. I don't regret the change of venue, although there have been some challenges along the way but nothing that can't be resolved. They say a change is as good as a rest! I don't know whether that's necessarily true but that's the saying. The next three images are of the Cascade Mountain Range and of Mount Baker, a volcano, in particular. Washington state is to the north of the yellow line and BC toward the bottom of the frame. The first two are Google Earth images and the final one is a photos of Mt. Baker taken from my balcony on a sunny day. I will feature other Google Earth images as the mood strikes. I hope you enjoy these.

Note: The view of the volcano is lovely but luckily the mountain has not been active for a while though it does rumble on occasion from what I have been told!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Great Blue Herons at Stanley Park - a couple more photos

Above are a couple of photos taken a week ago today. It was a bright, sunny day, just the right kind of weather to catch the herons at their best. I am hoping to get more photos of the birds in flight as they return with nesting material but this seems to be easier said than done. Enjoy these.

Great Blue Herons at Stanley Park

The Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias), length of 46 inches, wingspan of 72 inches and weight of 5.3 pounds (2,400 g), are mating and building their nests at Vancouver's Stanley Park. The trees near the tennis courts is the usual spot which is no different this year. Here is a series of photos taken a week ago yesterday. One heron went to a nearby tree to find a branch for the nest and upon his return passes that branch to his partner who places the find in the proper spot. The first photo shows the bird returning. It's like a relay, isn't it? Enjoy the images.

Below is a view of one of the trees filled with heron nests. The last photo shows a heron flying off toward English Bay. There will be more photos as the nesting season progresses. Meantime, I hope you enjoy these.