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.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Yesterday afternoon I was watching a program on tv hosted by Rick Steves.  It was about Christmas traditions in Italy (Rome) and Switzerland (Gimmelwald).  We are, after all, half way through the month of November with Christmas and the end of the year just around the corner.  It dawned on me that Gimmelwald was familiar for some reason.  When I checked the maps for the area, I found out why.  I had been to the same mountain valley back in 1972.  Above is one of my photos I took at the time of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and the Staubbach Falls, where the water drops about 900 feet to the  bottom and is more like vapour (hence the name Staubbach, Staub meaning dust or it could refer to vapour in the case).  The maps is from one of the local websites from the area.  Check it out! - V

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

view from Sapperton

This past Sunday I went for a walk to check out a new grocery store near home. These are just a few photos that I took along the way. Above is a view to the northeast of Eagle Mountain where I had done three hikes this summer. You can see the microwave tower (red and white) just to the right of centre. There is a great lookout there with an awesome view below.
The second photo show the Fraser River as seen from near the top of the Fraser Cemetery in Sapperton. The image below shows the view of the mountains to the northeast from the same location.
Then there are photos of a mighty oak tree in the cemetery, one of the crown, one just looking up near the base of the tree and another looking at the moss on the bark of the trunk of that tree.
There is also a Monkey Puzzle Tree in the Fraser Cemetery. The photos below show the tree and a close-up of the crown. I hope you've enjoyed the photos.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Strasbourg, France - Strassburg, Frankreich - more photos from summer 1972

Here are some more photos of the city of Strasbourg in eastern France (Alsace) taken during the 1972 trip that summer. You can clearly see why I was drawn to the region three times in a row and I am hoping on another visit at some point in the future. There are a lot of picturesque spots in the inner city (Altstadt) in and around the cathedral (Dom) that is captivating feature in the centre of the city. The image above was taken not far from the swing bridge and the photo below was taken on the River Ill which flows parallel to the Rhine River in a south to north direction. There were numerous tour boats taking people on excursions and there still are. The people of Alsace speak a dialect of German very similar to what is spoken in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) region of Germany across the border. French is the national language but many locals understand German. Its a complicated history that I'll discuss at some other point in time.
Above is a photo of the Kammerzell House facing the cathedral square (place in French or Platz in German). The image below shows the front entrance to the cathedral. Its impressive, close up or at a distance.
Then I found a street just filled with flags hanging with coats-of-arms from various towns in Alsace. Can you identify some of them?
The next few images show scenes of a part of the inner city called "Petit France." I find it very picturesque, don't you?
The photo above shows the lock on the canal system. The swing bridge is off in the distance (background).
I also found this fountain in the River Ill and as I've said there are picturesque houses from the middle ages everywhere. That's the swing bridge in the photo below.
Even Alsace is known for its chocolate (Chocolat Schaal). Try taking a street view (Google) of this city and see what it has to offer. Perhaps you'll see how much has changed since 1972 and how much hasn't. I took a journey through Strasbourg using street view over the last two days and found a few changes and other spots I had missed on previous visits. I hope you've enjoyed the photographic journey through Strasbourg's inner city! - V

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Strasbourg, France - Strassburg, Frankreich - summer 1972

During my trip to Europe during the summer of 1972 I visited three places in France, Carcassonne, Paris and Strasbourg. This is a street scene I photographed looking up a small street in the inner city. The cathedral is in the background. Its very historic and you can't miss it. This is one of my favourite regions in France: Alsace! When you see the rest of the photos, you'll know why. There are more photos coming along with descriptions. Meantime, enjoy this one! - V

Monday, October 17, 2011

monkey puzzle

On my way to Burnaby Mountain on Sunday afternoon, I decided to walk to the SkyTrain station. This took me past an excellent specimen of a monkey puzzle tree a few city blocks away from home. You're looking at the crown (top) of the tree which is native to the Andean Mountains of South America. The tree's Latin name is Araucaria araucana. You can clearly see the cones (brown). There are several interesting specimens in the lower mainland. This one in Sapperton (New Westminster) is but one of them. There is another in the Fraser Cemetery, at least one on Capital Hill (Burnaby) and some near the Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver. There are others as well. - V

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hope for Wildlife I | Knowledge Network

Hope for Wildlife I Knowledge Network

When you have the chance, check out Hope for Wildlife. They do some awesome work rescuing andreabilitating injured and found wildlife. Have a look at some of the videos. They are awesome! - V

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

alpine flowers and other stuff

I started a vegetable garden in the spring of 1969 some months away from my 16th birthday. I was mostly vegetables of various sorts but also some flowers which I started from a few packet of mixed alpine flower seeds that I had ordered from a seedhouse in Ontario, where I lived at the time. This series of photos documents my first attempts at gardening.
Above is a view of the garden from the back looking toward the house. I also tried growing grapevines as well as red current bushes. The red current bushes grew very big before I decided that where they were at the back of the vegetable garden was not the place where I wanted them. I started new bushes from cuttings and planted those cuttings next to the cedar hedge on the west side of the property. The original currant bushes were discarded. They were taking up too much space. The image below shows the corner that ended up containing the alpine flowers, etc.
Above is a look at the scene from the patio near the house. The photo below was taken from one of the upper windows of the house.
The bell flowers (Campanula latifolia) start to send up flower stalks (above). Below is an example of my attempt at growing grapes. When I moved the alpines to a flower bed in the front yard near the porch, I used the stones you see here as an edging in the new planting to give the bed some height on two of the three sides (the new planting was triangular).
Onions, carrots and kohlrabi were vegetables that I grew amongst others such as green beans. I also included herbs such as parsley as well. - V

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eagle Mountain - September 4th

Well, I've edited most of the photos taken on the September 4th hike up Eagle Mountain, the one on the Labour Day weekend. The top one is of some wild geranium flowers found in bloom along the Coquitlam Crunch Trail. There is a photo of wild asters as well. The mountain is Mt Baker across the border in Washington (state). The last photo has some huckleberry bushes in it. I was eating the berries as we went along. They are related to the blueberry. I'll let the images speak for themselves. Enjoy! - V

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


In the 1970s I started growing various kinds of alpines and other flowers suitable for a rock garden or along a flower border. Veronica (V. longifolia) was but one of them. Campanula latifolia was another. This is a series of photos (all Veronica) taken in 1977 (London, Ontario) in the back garden. I later moved the alpines to another flower bed in the front yard. I had ordered a few seed packets from a seed house that contained mixed alpines and veronica was one of those included in the mixture. There were still some of these flowers growing in the garden when I sold the house in 2005. As you can see, the bees loved them! - V

grey squirrels

Let's take a small diversion from the photos taken in Europe to have a look at the antics of a grey squirrel back in late summer of 1977, in London in southwestern Ontario. The photos were taken in our backyard. Squirrels, rabbits and many birds frequented the yard. I'll let the series of photos speak! - V