Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Arbutus Bluff

Exactly four years ago we spent our first night on Gabriola and this was the view from our lodging at Arbutus Bluff B&B, looking west across the Pylades Channel towards Vancouver Island. It was New Years Eve '04 and Mrs. Snapper and I were on our honeymoon. We couldn't have picked a nicer spot and if you ever find yourself heading to Gabe, we highly recommend giving Bill and Liz a buzz. They'll take good care of you and needless to say, the scenery is a bit of all right.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Oddshots Monday > Arlene's Roof

More Oddshots over at Katney's place

And the Monochrome Monday Maniacs are here

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Signage > Deer Crossing

I love alliteration and I'm starting to amass a collection of sign photos so today begins a new weekly theme here at GDP, Sunday Signage. In this image, note the "No Hunting" sign in the background.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day 16

You guessed it. Yep. We got a little more snow yesterday. Gabriola has now been white for 16 days straight. For most of Canada, that's the December norm but from what I understand, it's unprecedented for Gabe. We hiked to the village for groceries and then caught a ride home with an intrepid friend. Actually, the streets weren't bad at all but our truck is still at the end of the driveway, it's path to the pavement blocked by the snowbank the plows left behind. I guess I'll get out there with the shovel and liberate us this afternoon.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Skywatch Friday #10

Skywatch Global Headquarters is here

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Wish

To all people everywhere: Peace on Earth

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Drugstore Reindeer

On a bit of a ruminant roll here at GDP. Elk antlers on Monday, a pair of white tails yesterday and an inflatable reindeer today. Don't know what tomorrow will bring but it won't be moose...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Visitors

A couple of our neighbours dropped by yesterday and we love company here at Chez Snapper. It occurs to me that some of you cyber visitors may be tiring of all these snow photos but this is what Gabriola looks like these days so there ya go. As has been widely reported, this year Canada will have her first coast-to-coast White Christmas since 1971. Ho ho ho!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oddshots Monday > 915 Redux

You've seen these antlers before but not like this.

The Monochrome Monday Maniacs are here

And you'll find more Oddshots over at Katney's Place

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Slip Sliding Away

Songs are such good fodder for post titles aren't they?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hot Pink Yardstick

11in = 28cm and guess what? We're supposed to get 20cm more snow tonight and tomorrow. The first few flakes are starting to tumble out of the sky as I type. I think this is the latest I've ever posted and that's because our power just came back on after going out around 9pm last night. We had a swell candlelit day here at Chez Snapper, hot bread and tea on the woodstove, a visit from our neighbour, a little walk to the village, just a great Saturday all the way around. And there will be Sunday Soup tomorrow.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Skywatch Friday #9

I think the sky is bluest right after a snowstorm clears. All I had to do was wait for the raven to come along and make it interesting.

See the other global Skywatch pictures here

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sawhorse and Woodshed

We got another 8-10cm of snow overnight and there's more coming on Sunday. I'm starting to think maybe Donnie the plumber was right...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Keith Lowe's Danelectro bass set up stage right at The Roxy before the Steve Dawson show

Leica M3, 50mm Summicron, Ilford XP2Super, 1/15s @ f2.8

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Here we have a this-is-what-it-looked-like snapshot of Sunday's snowfall but today's post is as much about the text as it is the image.

Back in Tennessee, we lived at 1800' elevation and winters there were pretty cold for the South. Once we'd committed to moving to Gabriola, we started monitoring the weather so we'd know what to expect in our new home. We kept track of the temps for two full years prior to packing the big yellow truck and what we discovered was that winters on Gabriola are actually milder than those we experienced in Tennessee. The thing is, nobody would believe us! I can't tell you how many times we heard "Oh, you're going to freeze to death up there" at which point we'd calmly present the meteorological data we'd collected only to be scoffed at by our Southern pals. There was one fellow in particular, our plumber, who was totally convinced that our real estate agent had pulled a fast one on us and we were going to discover a frozen wasteland instead of the Shangri-la we'd been describing. Now, I seriously doubt he knows about this blog but Donnie, if you're reading this, don't even be tempted to say "I told you so" because of one slightly snowy photograph!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oddshots Monday > Sawdust

I have bucked a lot of firewood on this spot and with the temperature at -11C this morning, it was time well spent. The stove is roaring and our house is toasty.

Leica M3, 50mm Summicron, Ilford XP-2super, 1/250 @f16

More Oddshots from around the world at Katney's place

Also, check out the Monochrome Monday page

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Change Of Plans

This isn't the photo that I had in the queue for today. But then the weatherman changed his plans too. We were supposed to get maybe 2-4cm of snow. Well, there's at least 15cm piled up and it's still coming down. Normally, this feline would be outdoors about now but being a native Southerner, he's wisely chosen to hang out on the couch by the woodstove and just observe winter wonderland from the warmth of the living room. The photographer is doing the same.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Watching The Sky

We had our first winter precipitation yesterday. The sky couldn't seem to decide whether it wanted to send down rain, sleet or snow but one thing's for sure. Winter has arrived.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Skywatch Friday #8

Clouds scudding across the December sky reflected in a tide pool at Malaspina Galleries

Skywatch Central is here

Thursday, December 11, 2008

'49 GMC

This beautiful old pickup made it from Saskatchewan to BC but it looks like Gabriola is the end of the line. She may not be up and running but she certainly has a gorgeous patina.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Autumn Leaves #2

After seven monochromes in a row, I guess it's time for a splash of colour.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Most Gabriolans heat with wood which means you'll find a woodshed behind most houses on the island. A typical structure has a tin roof and slat sides which make for nice shadow patterns in the afternoon sunlight.

This image has been in my files unposted for months because it's crap technically. The highlights are totally washed out (see some the the log ends and the end of the axe handle) due to the limitations of my digital camera's autoexposure system. Why post it now? Well, as a counterpoint to yesterday's picture I guess. Maybe I'll reshoot this on film someday and get those highlights perfect but I realized this blog isn't supposed to be about picking photographic nits. It's supposed to be about showing the world what Gabriola looks like so here ya go, warts and all.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oddshots Monday > Picnic Table At Sunrise

A fully manual camera + black and white film + a handheld incident light meter = the ultimate in photographic control. I suppose the same result is possible in the digital realm but not with my point and shoot cameras.

Leica M3, 50mm Summicron, Ilford XP2-Super

Monochrome Monday HQ is here

More Oddshooters here

Sunday, December 7, 2008

New Books

Another photo from the library. When you enlarge the image, you'll see that there are two shelves for new releases by local authors. Quite a few writers have chosen to live here including at least one Governor General's Award winner.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Photography 101

Even after all these years behind a camera, I still can't resist a nice S curve

Friday, December 5, 2008

Skywatch Friday #7

Arbutus trees photographed yesterday afternoon at the Malaspina Galleries

Click here to see the other Skywatchers from around the globe

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bookworms R Us

The Gabriola branch has the highest use (checkouts) per capita in the entire Vancouver Island Regional Library system

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

No Complaints

Today's photo was taken last month on Remembrance Day and the veteran's name is Peter Eastick. During World War II, he was on a troop ship in the North Atlantic when it was hit by four torpedoes from German Uboats. The vessel went down in two minutes flat and he was one of only 21 men who managed to get into a lifeboat. It was his 18th birthday. It took rescuers seventeen days to find them and when they did, only nine were still breathing.

So...whenever I catch myself ready to whinge about some trivial thing like not getting tickets to the concert I wanted to attend or my neighbour's barking dog, I just think about Mr. Eastick or someone like him and the complaint never leaves my lips. Works like a charm.

Leica M3, 50mm Summicron, Ilford XP2-Super

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Global Theme Day > Circles/Spheres

Today's global theme is circles/spheres

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

It's also Monochrome Monday. More about that here

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Foggy Day On Harrison Way

Lots of fog on the island yesterday

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Autumn Leaves

Leica M3, 50mm Summicron, Ilford XP2-Super, 1/125s @ f8

Friday, November 28, 2008

Skywatch Friday #6

Today we have a first at GDP: A guest photographer. That's me on the ropes and Mrs. Snapper was on the shutter button. Her timing's excellent eh? The rope swing at Whalebone Beach from yesterday and also 15 September.

Skywatch Global HQ is here

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rope Swing At Whalebone Beach

Remember that slightly sinister looking rope swing I posted back in September? Here it is again, this time in colour and in use.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Contemplation Station

Photo made in the Whalebone neighbourhood, looking northeast toward the mainland

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oddshots Monday > Straws

The moment this image popped up on my monitor, I realized I need to spend more time washing windows and less time climbing trees. For the record, the pane is now spotless.

More Oddshots at Katney's Place

Monochrome Monday HQ is here

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stairs At High Tide

Yesterday evening at the water end of Harrison Way

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Heading Home

Leica M3, 50mm Summicron, Ilford XP2-Super film, cropped

Friday, November 21, 2008

Skywatch Friday #5

Most homes on Gabriola have skylights. They really help brighten a room during the short daylight hours of winter. This one is actually in a garden tool shed which is brilliant since no electricity is needed.

Other Skywatch images from around the world are here

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Gabriola is known as the Island of the Arts and it's a well-deserved moniker. The epicentre of all things creative is Artworks in Folklife Village which is run with style and a smile by Kathy Ramsey. Today's photo is the guest book and a self-portrait at the recent Clint McCartney show in the upstairs gallery space.

Tech info: Image made with a Leica rangefinder camera on Ilford XP2-Super film

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday Walkers

The Gabriola Walking Club meets each Wednesday morning, rain or shine. These folks know every trail and back road on the island. This morning, I'll be tagging along as the group explores the 707 park via the Tin Can Alley entrance.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


There are more than 70 petroglyphs carved into surface rock on Gabriola. Dating them is an inexact science but it's estimated that they are between 200 and 2000 years old. Most are on private land and are, like this one, unprotected. Photographing them is tricky as many are quite faint. It helps if the rock is wet. Also, I boosted the contrast considerably on this shot. Best to enlarge it to really see the image. A sea serpent? A waterfowl? Your guess is as good as mine. For further reading, a nice little overview article may be found here

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oddshots Monday > Up A Tree

I climb this arbutus tree once a month or so, just because I can. Arbutus lose their bark naturally as they grow and the bare wood feels amazing under hand as you scale the branches. The photo was made from the place where I usually stop which is about 40-50 feet up. Any higher would make Mrs. Snapper nervous. I don't usually stay too long because there's no comfortable perch at that height but there's a nice crook to rest in on the way down so sometimes I hang out there for a while. I have seen eagles from this tree and maybe someday one will cruise right over my head, just above the treetops.

More Oddshots from around the world over at Katney's place. Look on the righthand side of her front page.

HQ for Monochrome Monday is here

Today, GDP topped 4000 visitors and I'd like to thank everyone who has stopped by and especially those who've taken the time to leave a comment. Much appreciated.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Poets Everywhere!

Today is the last day of the 5th annual Poetry Gabriola Festival. It's been an inspiring weekend with lots of laughs and plenty of food for thought and I'm already looking forward to next year's event. Organizer Hilary Peach hit the nail on the head at the opening night ceremony when she said "I love living in a place with a population of only 4000 that supports and embraces a poetry festival." Indeed. The hall was packed to overflowing and there was a grin on every face. Today's photo is my well-worn copy of the program with cover painting by local artist Sheila Norgate. Thanks to Hilary and all the poets who gave us their time and their words.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Mrs. Snapper and I try to avoid the big box stores and keep our business local so we have an account at Arbutus Building Supply for home reno stuff. Fair prices, good selection and great one-on-one service make it easy and not having to leave the island is a big plus. The tricky part is making a lumber yard look good in a photo but sweet morning light sure helps.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Skywatch Friday #4

You don't often see the words "Canada" and "palm tree" in the same sentence. But these fronds are flourishing on a property up in Phase Four. Gabriola is full of surprises.

Click here to see Skywatch photos from around the world.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mystery SUV

This SUV sits in a glade near The Village. It never seems to move yet it seems way too nice a vehicle to be abandoned. Can anyone solve this mystery?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Green Bikes Project

I am working as a volunteer on a public bikes project here on the island. The idea is to provide a free bicycle to anyone who needs one on a short term basis. The initiative is modeled after similar programs around North America, specifically the Yellow Bikes Project in Portland, OR. All of the bikes are donated as is the labour to maintain them. Today's photo ran on the front page of The Sounder back in September. That's Green Bike #1 which was donated by Bruce Mason. Here is the article. A blog about the project is here.