all in the merry month of May

The celebration of May continues….

00 merry month of may

01 new beech leaves

new maple leaves

new maple leaves

Maple leaves growing

Maple leaves thriving

04 wild sweet peas

dogwood leaves

dogwood leaves

06 pink dogwood

new rose leaves, looking well worn in

new rose leaves, looking well worn in

09 blueberry blossoms

rhododendron blossoms in pink

rhododendron blossoms in pink

11 rhodo buds

12 salmonberry blossom

13 crab apple blossoms

fresh green foliage in the park

fresh green foliage in the park

all images captured May 2012

◆ previously published May 2012 at the now-defunct website:
as user id: christianchen

◆ all images are now © photojourneying 2014


pink waves & the flowers of May

One of spring’s highlights in Vancouver is the pink wave effect. That is not an official term, however it could very well be so. Many of the streets are lined by trees, and a substantial number of them are various types of Japanese cherry trees, about 40,000 of them at the last official count. When they bloom, they are reminiscent of pink clouds, and if you have an opportunity to drive along blossom-lined streets, you really must do so. It is sheer eye candy.

not 1  

They all bloom at different times, with one variety just finished blooming, and the next variety beginning. The first wave usually begins in late March, and the last one ends in late May. Times vary slightly, depending on how early or late the warming spring temperatures arrive.

While many of the blossoms are various shades of pink, there are also white ones. And there are not only Japanese cherries. There are also crabapples, hawthorns, redbuds, honey locusts, dogwoods and more.

It was my first spring with a digital camera, and the Japanese cherry blossoms were in their prime well into May. Even the tulips were blooming this late, and yet the typical blossoms of May, the azaleas and lilies of the valley, were also beginning to put in their appearance.

Here is a short journey down memory lane.

japanese cherries 01

japanese cherries 02

japanese cherries 03

The crabapple blossoms also appear in various shades of pink. These dark ones appear to bloom last, after the Japanese cherry blossoms are long past their prime.

crabapples 01

crabapples 02

crabapples 03

It is not uncommon to see tulips blooming this late in spring.

tulips in May

May’s flowers are also putting in an appearance.

10 flowers of may

But of course, the Japanese cherry blossoms are unforgettable.

11 cherry blossoms
Related posts at pix & kardz:

the next wave
magnolia street


the journey from winter to spring :: March

January had been mild and understated, and February let it be known that it was still winter, after all.

And then came March. The temperatures had warmed up, so there was no longer any snow.

March 5, 2014

However there were some incredible rainstorms.

March 8, 2014



The rain did not last forever, and the next day greeted us in sunshine.

March 9, 2014

This called for a short road trip, and it could not have been a more beautiful day. By the time evening called, ambivalent clouds gathered in the sky. Would it remain sunny? Would there be rain once again?

However, the local mountains were still devoid of snow. Please note this is the source of our local drinking water.
March 11, 2014

Glorious sunshine made a comeback – and so did the mini irises in the park across the street from the office. Such cheerful blossoms they are, and to see them stand up so straight and tall short, they make me smile.

And then came a personal battle with a very nasty cold/flu virus thingy which I happily conquered, and I was up and about and back to work again by the first day of spring. It was a glorious day, with blue skies, and the local mountains had a fresh blanket of snow on them.

The first Japanese cherry trees were blooming. And driving past my favourite magnolia street, I saw that the first blossoms were out. However I was quite tired from my first day back at the office, and so against everything that I normally do, I was happy to make a mental note of them only, and continued driving homeward without stopping for a click.

Seriously, no click. Hard to believe, I know.

But it was obvious that spring had definitely arrived.

The next day proved to be another blue sky day, and so I stopped to capture what I had only made a mental note of the day before.

March 21, 2014 :: on the second day of spring



And that was the journey from winter to spring in my corner of the planet this year. Of course, that was just the beginning. Although this blog has been on a short hiatus, April has continued non-stop with a whole array of new arrivals. Here is a small taste of what has been growing the last couple of weeks.

Interestingly, and not without some controversy, there are massive changes taking place in the City of Vancouver at the moment. Local city council has given approval, and construction developments are taking place in many neighbourhoods for quite some time now, with plans to build high towers, some consisting of 30 stories and more. Towers have always been part of the downtown core, however the local neighbourhoods have been exempt from that until now.

It appears, once again, that change is a constant.

spring april construction

And yet despite that, the small changes of the colours of spring are also continuing, undeterred by council decisions and construction developments. These are the ones that are heartening and make me smile.




fiddlehead ferns

spring april 2014 08 pana

Gotta love spring!

the journey from winter to spring :: February

04 feb 15 After a mild January, February continued with mild weather for at least a couple of weeks. It was hard to imagine some of the cold winter weather taking place in Europe and eastern North America.

Snowdrops began to appear in gardens everywhere, including our own back yard, and daffodil blades continued to pierce through the ground, encouraged and welcomed by the mild temperatures.

Valentine’s Day, which has frequently been a day marked by snow in this corner of the planet, came and went, and the mild temperatures continued.

Even the weeds seemed to be making a comeback. Who invited them?

And then came the last week of February. Unbelievably, there had been snow in the forecast. And snow it did. Just a bit at first.

February 22, 2014
05 feb 22
And then the snow continued.

February 23, 2014
06 feb 23
February 24, 2013

The weather forecast called for warmer temperatures by the afternoon, so I decided to drive rather than use public transit to get to work. But it continued to snow. The main roads remained clear however, so that was rather encouraging. The city workers had been busy, salting and sanding the roads.
07 feb 24 (750x699)

08 feb 24

09 feb 24

14 feb 24 (750x660)

15 feb 24 (750x525)

February 25, 2014

But by the next day, the snow had stopped and was already beginning to melt.

The weather changed from blue skies and sunshine to fog, and back again several times that day. My desk faces a wall – a fabric-covered room divider, actually. With lots of room for my calendar, notes, photos, and more.

However if I stand up, I can see the following view of the skytrain – which is actually becoming increasingly less visible year after year, as the trees in front of it continue to grow. When I first started working here, the trees were so short that I could actually see the north shore mountains beyond the track, but I digress.

On this day it was as if every time I happened to look outside, the weather had changed once more.
20140225_081609 (740x416)

Back and forth the weather fluctuated. By lunchtime, when I was walking outside, the skies were blue once again.
20140225_115949 (740x416)
After work, the views of melting snow continued to reappear. Of course I had to stop my car a few times to capture some images.
20140226_154954 (466x740)

20140227_161830 (740x417)
One of my co-workers saw this snow man and snow dog melting slowly in the late afternoon sunshine, and kindly shared the following click with me. Published here with kind permission. Thanks much, Betti!
snow man and snow dog, by Betti (448x750)

February 27, 2014

Of course, the local florist shop had springtime flowers on sale throughout this bout of winter. Such cheerful colours to contrast the blanket of white that had settled throughout most of the city.
20140227_162210 (740x416)

20140227_162159 (740x415)

February 28, 2014

And then came the last day of the month. Winter was all but forgotten once again.
20140228_160415 (2) (740x416)


Please note: A short hiatus is in the works effective immediately. Regular posting resumes April 20, 2014. See you at the next post.

the journey from winter to spring :: January

As you may have heard, winter is a rare occurrence in my corner of the planet. And when it does put in a showing, it is usually a quick one, with spring anxious to put in its appearance.

This past winter, there were a few occasional winter moments. Some of those moments lasted as long as a few days. Here’s how it went down.

The first snow, which was before Christmas, was one of those few-days-of-winter moments. However January remained mostly snow-free.

January 5, 2014

01 jan 5
Yet there were a number of days of fog. The fog was patchy, and moved rather surreptitiously around the city. Near the end of the month it was possible to drive through the fog, only to end up in sunshine a few minutes later. The following two images from a Vancouver parking lot were captured less than half an hour apart and a mere couple of blocks away from the flowers outside a local floral shop.

January 26, 2014

02 jan 26

02b jan 26

03 jan 26

03c jan 26

03b jan 26

03d jan 26

to the Pacific and back again, part 2

continued from part 1

Highway 4 was originally constructed as a route for logging trucks. It is full of twists and turns, and it often hugs the edge of a cliff. The views are stunning, yet the road can be treacherous. It is not for the faint of heart and the best way to travel here is slow. Even those familiar with its tricky corners usually exercise caution, and for good reason.

Some six months later a tragic single vehicle accident will end up costing the life of two paramedics on this very highway as it passes Kennedy Lake. They had just transported a patient to Port Alberni to the east, and on their return trip to Tofino, the ambulance they are travelling will end up plunging down 60 meters into the water below.

The story feels close to home when we hear of it, as it is a road we have travelled time and again in a part of the world that is incredibly beautiful. Yet in some stretches it is very narrow, with an unforgiving solid rock wall to the right, eastbound and a sheer drop-off to right, westbound. Something we have always noted. And in the trips since that tragic accident, as we drive here, we frequently comment on how little navigating room there is if an oncoming vehicle or wild animal would suddenly appear in our lane, and the tragedy comes to mind again.

Some of the footage in the following news clip includes scenes of the roadway, and you can see just how narrow and edge-of-the-cliff-hugging it really is.


Such a sad story. In the meantime, some of the exposed embankments have been reinforced and road improvement projects are ongoing.

This tragic event had not yet happened, however. Even so, many warning signs about sharp curves ahead and slowing down accompany us as we continue westwards until we reach one of my favourite parts of the roadway: a junction.

Turning left, and to the south, takes you to Ucluelet, a logging and fishing community with many charms of its own. However turning right, and to the north, takes you to Tofino and to the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean itself. We turn right.

And we turn in at our regular, favourite home on the beach, Pacific Sands, a family run place which really feels like a home away from home. There is some well-maintained landscaping with gardens which had have been lovingly created by the original owner who has since passed away. Throughout the grounds there is also an abundance of naturally occurring shrubs and trees, in keeping with the original gardening plans. A fresh new salmonberry blossom outside the office is in bloom right next to the remnant of one of last year’s berries.


We have a room with a view. The room is comfortable, but almost as importantly, here’s our view….


Note the puddles accumulating on the pathways to the beach from one of the many rainfalls…. However, the clouds are breaking up towards the west. Clear skies are surely on their way soon. The tide is high and the air is thick with the smell of salt. And the roar of the ocean….. it really is as incredible as all this.

Introducing one of our many neighbours at Pacific Sands. The rains bring the dew worms and other bugs to the surface, and the robins enjoy their spring feast.


We usually buy our bread at the Common Loaf in Tofino. Their Three-Grain is my favourite.

Across the street from the bakery there is a small memorial garden. A hydrangea blossom is in bloom there, and its leaves are fresh and green. So it is actually hard to tell if it is a remnant from last season or if spring has come early.


But of course, the main attraction in this corner of the planet is the beauty and the roar of the Pacific which are still as awe-inspiring as ever….


Our first morning begins with brilliant sunshine above us, but a dark sky is looming in the west across the Pacific. One of many storms is on its way…..


Another morning holds a surprise for us – there is snow on the ground! I think the tulips in the garden are in a bit of a shock, but they continue blooming stoicly.


I have never seen snow in Tofino before. But then it is the first week of April, probably the earliest time of the year I have been here. Even so, local reports indicate that snow is a lot less common there than it is in Vancouver.

After breakfast a walk on the beach reveals some snow on the driftwood. It is rapidly melting in the morning sunlight, but even so the sight is most unusual. It is so unusual, that the previous two sentences appeared with exclamation marks, but that seemed overkill, so they have been converted to periods instead. But for the record, it is a very rare sight indeed.


The local mountains are also displaying a fresh blanket of snow. It may be spring, but winter is obviously rather reluctant to make its retreat this year.


The snow up there does not melt like the snow on the driftwood, and they are the mountains we will be passing through on our return journey home. But not yet.

We are still enjoying our time on the western edge of Vancouver Island. Many storms come and go. One day about halfway through our stay, this is as close to a clearing sky as we would get ….

It is indeed another storm beginning to clear, yet another one would come overnight.


But of course, all the stormy weather did not stop us from enjoying the great outdoors. There were others who felt the same way, such as some crows which appeared in a previous post. To get there, just click on the image below and you will find a series of three photo images at Cox Bay. And clicking on the third of the three images there will take you back to this post.
treasure seekers

There are certainly treasures to be found here. A rather common sight here at Cox Bay is the appearance of sand dollars. Years ago, when we first stayed at Pacific sands, there was a photo on display in our living room of a beach strewn with these treasures. My first impression was that somebody must have arranged them for the photo. However, it turns out that after a storm, many of them are tossed onto the sand, and it is a very typical scene indeed.


Even the broken ones have a charm all their own.


The beach is vast, and often it feels like you have it to yourself. Yet there are a few others out here, some with their dogs who don’t seem to let the cool temperatures dampen their fun at all.


Eagles are at home here, too. Beyond the surf on nearby Lennard Island, an eagle is guarding its nest. An aerie it is called. The quality of the inset image is unfortunately very grainy, but that is how it was captured, and it does reveal details which the landscape view does not. So it is included here in this collection.


The weather varies greatly, as winter and spring duke it out between them. Here is a sunny bench with a view.


It was a bench such as this that my beloved Tante Ulla enjoyed so much on her visit here in October 2008. Somehow to see the benches here again reminds me of her, and I smile as I remember how much she enjoyed her time here. And the view from the bench is of course sheer eye candy, even on a cloudy day.


all images captured April 2010
to be concluded in the next post

April Showers, April Flowers

It was my first spring with a digital camera in hand. No blossom was safe, but was captured with due diligence and great excitement. And I discovered that the old adage of April flowers bringing May flowers was not at all true. Or at least not entirely.

04 April did not need to wait for May at all. Showers there were, and plenty of them. There were even a couple of short-lived snowfalls, although most Vancouverites would deny them.

But in any case, the sun always came out again. And there were more more than enough blossoms to enjoy without having to wait another month.

Here is a sampling of a few of them. Some of the images are a bit grainier than I would have liked. But these were early days, and all part of my new photo journey.


00 cover (750x588)

01 checkers anyone

02 unexpected snowfall in mid-April

03 junior daffodil

08 junior rhodos

07 morning rainfall

05 a good soaking

06 camelia

all images captured April 2008

◆ Originally published in April 2008 ◆