Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt Part 2

Over the past month - July - I was busy for Rinda's 2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. These are the pictures I took for part 2 - most of them during the two weeks I spent in British Columbia.

#1 Open air market

While in Summerland in the Okanagan Valley my aunt and I went to the farmers market there. It was an interesting kind of farmers market - only a few booths that sold fruits and veggies whereas the rest were artists, soap makers, cosmetics. Perhaps it's because there are so many road-side fruit stands in that area that people don't go to the farmers market to shop their own bounty. We actually went there because of the breadmobile that offered hearty whole grain bread. Even the staff spoke German!

#3 City Hall, Capitol or other similar civic building

Our City Hall is really nothing to look at, and I'm almost never there. So I opted for this government building in Vancouver - I hope that this is okay. One of the many fabulous buildings that use much glass and simply look stunning. I took this picture out of the car, I didn't even roll down the window because I had to be quick (the traffic light was changing) - you can see my camera in the photo as well.

#4 Airplane

Well, it's a seaplane. There are so many of them in Vancouver, you can watch them right from the waterfront. There is regular seaplane transportation between Vancouver and all the little islands.

#5 A sunset

The sun sets pretty late along the Sunshine Coast at this time of year. It's always stunning to witness it when the colors are reflected in the quiet waters of the straits. This is at Mermaid Cove at Saltery Bay - very close to our campground. We had "fled" down to the water to prepare our dinner here since there were too many annoying mosquitoes at our campsite. Here, at the water, there weren't hardly any, but bear warnings instead. Apparently the bear's "lust" for mermaids was very low this evening.

#6 Someone or something taking a nap

I could have taken self-portraits since I love to take naps... and I'm not alone in this! These three puppies liked each other's company while napping, and I hope they had sweet dreams. These are three of my friend's puppies that I showed you here.

#8 A tower

There really is no tower around where I live, you have to go down to the city (= San Francisco) for that. Vancouver, however, has the Harbour Centre which I think can easily count as a tower.

#11 An animal in a zoo, aquarium, nature preserve, etc

This is "etc" - in the wilderness. Sorry for the bad photo - s/he was suddenly standing there at the side of this 63 km long gravel road and ready to run into the bushes, so I had to react quickly. This photo was shot through the windshield of our already very dirty car - no, I did NOT get out to get a better shot of the bear!

#12 A cloud in the shape of something (please specify what you see)

When I saw this cloud from one of the ferries we took I thought it looks like an elephant who is jumping for joy. Admittedly an elephant with a very short trunk (in the upper right hand corner) and his hind legs are somewhere hiding... but still!

#13 A fence

Well, yeah, you know how much I like to take photos of fences. That was a no-brainer for me. This weathered fence stood along the main road through Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast.

# 14 A stained glass object or a mosaic

I had to improvise with this one. But when I looked at all the reflections in the glass of the tall buildings in Vancouver I could see art - and yes, call it stained glass. I found it very fascinating.

#16 A windmill

These windmills were just a few of hundreds we saw in the otherwise rather uninspiring landscape in Washington State right before you descend to the Columbia River. I love this way off winning electricity - we use a lot of wind powered energy in Germany.

#18 Your local pub/bar, coffee house or tea shop

We don't have a local pub (we drink our wine at home), I seldom go to a coffee house and I don't drink tea. The closest to a "local" we have had is our Jamba Juice. We went there pretty often this summer because the Geek had found some nifty coupons on the Internet which we used over and over again. All of us love their juices (I prefer the "light" version and I always substitute strawberries for raspberries and banana for mango).

#20 A dinosaur

Since I thought it very unlikely that I would meet a dinosaur this summer, I had already taken some pictures of dinosaur toys in shops. Then I came around these guys on the road to Ucluelet on Vancouver Island - two of them were hanging around there. Wow - I first couldn't believe my eyes. I don't really know why they were there - it wasn't a museum or anything like that. However, they fit perfectly the scavenger hunt!

I'm linking up to Rinda's blog where you can see what other people found for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Daily Vancouver

While in British Columbia, we spent a few days in Vancouver. Just like the first time we were there three years ago, the traffic was crazy, the streets were crowded, the weather was great... and we enjoyed ourselves very much. As my first post about Vancouver, I want to throw some light onto the "little things", that make up daily life. Not the big glass buildings (that's worth its own blog post), the famous waterfront or Stanley Park - just the little daily things that give a city its personality and flair.

One part of Vancouver's daily life is the arrival of giant cruise ships which anchor at Canada Place. I loved how the orange taxis lined up ready to take the tourists to town. They obviously were prepared for groups as you can tell from all the vans standing there. Many Vancouver taxis are actually Prius' (what's the plural of that?).

Biking is big in Vancouver! Often bicycles have their own lanes, get their very own detours and there is parking space for bicycles everywhere where you can lock your bike to. As far as I know you can even rent bicycles to get around, but I didn't get into that. We were happy with the very good public transport there, mainly buses and the SkyTrain.

Oh, and apparently you also get your own lane when you roller skate!

As everywhere... Jesus saves. But why are these guys always so angry??

Little street cafés seem to be everywhere even if the space is very limited. I got the feeling that the people in Vancouver relish summer and appreciate every day it doesn't rain to spend as much time as possible outside.

Here in Gastown which brims with tourists I found this white rose on the black bench. Did someone forget it? Has someone left it there on purpose? Is it a final good bye to some lost love? For what ever reason, I loved when I saw it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Best Place on Earth

A small Inukshuk someone had built at a beach along the Sunshine Coast

A few days ago I came back from the North, from a province that calls itself "the best place on earth"

Right at the border between Washington and British Columbia

Of course I am talking about British Columbia, on the West Coast of Canada, our neighbors to the north.

We love British Columbia. It truly is very close to heaven - but is it the best place on earth?
Yes, I think so - or at least a very close second to Sonoma County.

British Columbia has far more forests - including beautiful rain forests - than we do in Sonoma County - and they have a wine country that makes excellent wines, especially if you like white and rose wines. Their Riesling and Gewürztraminer are fantastic and remind me a lot of the wines in Alsace and Germany.

At Stanley Park in Vancouver

What I love most, though, are the sounds and straits that you find right at Vancouver's doorstep, between Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast and up the entire Canadian West Coast. That truly is a "place of my heart".

But that's not all. There is the humor and wit of the Canadians, the kindness of the people - Canadians are such nice people. British Columbia is refreshingly clean and coming back to the US from there is a bit of a shock. Have you ever noticed how trashed our country is? It's a shame.

Canada Place in Vancouver, right at the waterfront

Canadians are just as proud of their country and fly their flag a lot. However, at least one member in our family isn't less proud and shows her support for Canada freely.

Even the mail boxes here are happy and colorful!

When we did this "test" we scored so high we could actually apply for citizenship! (if it were that easy)

And just so that we don't forget how beautiful it is here, every British Columbian car reminded us of that - as if we needed that!

There will be more posts about our time in British Columbia - I still need to organize my photos and make a selection. I just wanted to let you know that I am back and that there is more to come.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Warming Up Wings

During my walk around the lake last week I saw this turkey vulture sitting on this dead tree, turning his wings towards the sun in order to warm them up. He was well aware of my presence, but somehow he didn't mind me standing there and happily clicking away. I love the colors in his wings. Usually we don't really pay attention to turkey vultures, but they belong to my favorite birds. I just love their graceful flight.

For the next couple weeks or so I will take a break from blogland. I hope you will still be here when I return. Have a lovely Fourth of July and enjoy the lazy days of summer!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fog Over the Lake

One morning last week when I woke up I saw that it was foggy, so I decided to walk around the lake and take some fog photos (my favorites).

I was there a few minutes after seven, but the sun was already working hard to get through the fog and send her warming rays to planet earth.

You can see who would be the winner in this battle.

However, there were some beautiful moments before the fog burned off. Yes, in the left bottom corner you can see a black-crowned night heron, sitting on a log and waiting for the breakfast fish.

Mother Nature - as usual - proved herself an incredibly talented artist.

Almost around the lake, there were still some patches of fog hanging in the valley. By the time I returned to my car it was completely gone.

It was a beautiful though very short break from the heat. After that this was waiting for us:

They were quite optimistic with their outlook on the temperature - we actually hit 102! We are sweating here on the West Coast. The ceiling fans are my best friends at the moment! Stay cool!