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


once upon a day in May

The last post featured some images from a previous encounter between spring and my first digital camera which took place about six years ago.

The other day it was gloriously sunny, and my cell phone camera was kept busy from the early morning until the evening, since my camera was not with me.

It all began with some early morning moments as I headed out the door:



It continued midday while on a break at work:




Welcome home again!
And of course it kept right on going when I got home again with Timmy, our self-appointed welcoming committee of one, making sure that I was duly welcomed. Such a bundle of purrs! He never fails to make me smile.

Disclaimer :: capturing an image of Timmy in welcoming mode is quite a challenge, as he is exuberant and is seldom still enough for a sharp click. This was as good as it got.

All images captured — with a cellphone camera — on May 7, 2014

Other recent spring moments:

whether or not

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 3

Continued from part 2

And so it is a very relaxing vacation, with one glorious view after the other to savour. The weather varies, and creates magic on both cloudy and sunny days.

 another Storm Break! Hurrah!!

another Storm Break! Hurrah!!


various shades of grey

various shades of grey


driftwood gathering at Wickanninish Beach

driftwood gathering at Wickanninish Beach


At the tip of Pettinger Point along the northern edge of Cox Bay there is a rock which has a crack in it, resembling the mouth of a giant creature.

looking like a giant sea creature

looking like a giant sea creature

The first time I saw this fissure was a few years ago, when it was just a minor crack visible at sunset during a low tide, however it has been growing rapidly over the years and is now visible all the time, unless momentarily covered by the pounding surf or during a very high tide.
another wave crashes onto the rock, momentarily hiding the "creature's mouth"

another wave crashes onto the rock, momentarily hiding the “creature’s mouth”

glorious view of Wickanninish Beach from the platform at the Visitor Centre

view of driftwood and Krummholz at Wickanninish Beach from the platform at the Visitor Centre

If it looks like the tree above is on the wrong side of the railing, it is not. A number of giant Sitka Spruce trees had long since taken up residence well before the visitor centre was built, and so the platform was built around the trees, their trunks emerging as if from the deck although they extend down to the ground below from where their roots work hard at keeping them anchored as well as providing nourishment to the branches above.

the tide rolling in

the tide rolling in

Most days it was cool, but frequently sunny, causing the tide-tossed algae to cast a shadow on the sand.

tiny shadows

tiny shadows

Miles and miles of almost-empty beach.

the vastness of Wickanninish Beach

the vastness of miles and miles and miles of Wickanninish Beach

Such is the vast wonder of Wickanninish. Regardless of the weather, this view is still my favourite on the planet so far.

Sunsets are anything but predictable. They can be brilliant or subtle, or they can be a no-show. But not today. The sun is setting on a cloudbank which looms above the western horizon.

the sun on a cloudbank

the sun on a cloudbank

The restless surf continues to pound, as wave after wave rolls toward the shore. Some moments are simply timeless in their beauty…. Abba you sure are an artist!

And so ends another day….

And then the last morning of our stay at the Pacific arrives. There is time for just one more walk on the beach and a Farewell to Cox Bay.

Farewell Cox Bay!

Farewell Cox Bay!

The car is packed, and we head home again. The fresh snow which recently fell on the shores of the Pacific was but a fraction of the new blanket which has covered the mountains. These are some of the views we are enjoying on our journey back along Highway 4, eastwards towards the ferry terminal in Departure Bay, Nanaimo.

a fresh blanket of snow

a fresh blanket of snow

One beautiful vista after another comes into view. Our time at the Pacific west coast may be over, but our vacation surely is not.


We stop at an official rest stop, Taylor Arm, where a cheeky Stellar’s Jay hides in a tree just as my camera gets ready to click. However the lack of foliage makes it easy to capture an image anyhow. There are mixed feelings about this delightful bird which can be a nuisance to farmers since it manages to get into the chicken feed. But it has beautiful colouring and I enjoy the challenge of trying to photograph it, even though it moves very fast.

It is the official bird of the Province of British Columbia, incidentally.

in hiding - but far from hidden

in hiding – but far from hidden

how glorious is this!

how glorious is this!

It has been said that the journey is already part of the destination. How true it is. We are surrounded by sheer eye candy as we continue ever westwards.

driving through Cathedral Grove

driving through Cathedral Grove


Before long it is time to board the ferry which will take us back to Vancouver. It will actually take us only as far as West Vancouver, and from there we will continue driving home. But there is something about disembarking on the other side. Something that feels like home.

view of the mainland from the ferry between Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver

view of the mainland from the ferry enroute to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver

This has been our road trip to the Pacific, and back again in 2010. The vacation is over, but life awaits. Looking forward to the next adventure!

All images captured April 2010.

to the Pacific and back again

It is an annual tradition going back to more years than I can believe possible: a roadtrip to Vancouver Island’s unforgettable west coast.

Sometimes it means going twice a year, as early as April and once it was as late as early November. I have always gone with as many as four or as few as two others. And once there were even six of us. I was one of the drivers that time. The route is usually the same one, and yet the weather can vary considerably, and that not just dependent on the time of year – and this always changes the views.

1 postcard (640x481) official

There are only two of us on this occasion, and it is a cool and blustery April day. However the weather does not matter since we are Pacific-bound once again.


Windy and cold it is, as we travel by ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo’s Departure Bay. But we brave the elements and step outside for a few minutes, and then quickly return back to the warmth of the ferry.

Our first stop after disembarking is in a small place called Coombs. No reference calls it a town or village. The best I could find is that it is a community.

Regardless of the moniker, it is definitely rural Vancouver Island and home to the famous Coombs Country Market with goats grazing on the rooftop, high above exotic oils and vinegars and a unique gift shop and more.

During the summer and early autumn that is. That is when the goats are found grazing on the rooftop. However, it is much too cold for a goat to be outside today, and the only things to be found on the rooftop are springtime flowers.

The market itself consists of several different buildings. We head for the Root Cellar, as we usually do, for some fresh fruits and vegetables. Later in the summer there will be lots of local produce available here, including fresh honey.


The main market building has a bakery, a restaurant featuring fresh sandwiches and homemade soup, a gift store featuring items from around the planet, many colourful displays and more.


After our car is loaded up, we continue westward until we reach our next stop. An unofficial one, but a must-see place.

an unofficial must-see rest stop

an unofficial but must-see rest stop


There is is plenty of room to park and check out the view. Depending on the time of the year, the water level varies greatly. I haven’t seen it this high in a long time.


Why does the song go, “I’ve got peace like a river?” I wonder. This river is bouncing and churning, splashing and gurgling, even roaring in parts. Ruching and racing, constantly surging onwards, it is held back only by its banks …..
Trying out the macro function of my camera, I train the lens on some pussy willows growing near the river’s edge.

And I discover that they are covered with these black bugs! The zoomed in view makes the tiny critters appear like giants. So much for an idyllic, peaceful postcard view! C’est la vie… But I do like the bokeh. 🙂
The mountains around us have a fresh snow covering, and they appear to the right and left of us. But the road before us is bare.

We return to the car and resume driving westward along Highway 4. It will have been more than five hours from our departure at home by the time we arrive at our destination.

all images captured April 2010
To be continued

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 ◆

lupines and more lupines

As posted elsewhere, I recently travelled to Germany for the purpose of celebrating a 75th birthday. Quite a milestone. My camera was with me on my travels, of course.

01 IMG_1821 (710x473)

02 IMG_1824 (710x473)

A favourite travel destination in Germany has always been the beautiful Black Forest. And this year was no different. Off we went.

03 IMG_1840 (710x473)

Many of the roadways afford incredible views of the Black Forest.

black forest vista

On a very clear day it is sometimes possible to see the Swiss Alps in the distance. Although I have enjoyed such glorious vistas on previous trips, those majestic snow-covered peaks were rather shy this time, and kept themselves hidden.

11 IMG_1818 (710x473)

One day an unexpected road closure caused two of my friends to take an alternate route, one which did not show off those faraway peaks either, however it led them past literally thousands of wild lupines in their prime.

05 IMG_2002 (2) (710x465)

06 IMG_1966 (2) (710x473)

Although they have been at home in the Black Forest for more than 30 years, they had never happened to travel this route before while the lupines were on display.

07 IMG_1969 (2) (710x446)

And on display they were, in various shades of purple and white.

08 IMG_1833 (710x473)

They enjoyed this unexpected scenic drive so much, that it prompted the decision to go on a leisurely drive later that day, with five of us enjoying the view of countless blossoms lining the roadways.

09 IMG_1827 (710x473)

The weather changed throughout the afternoon. At times the skies were overcast, and there were also moments of sunshine.

10 IMG_1993 (710x473)

A breeze was blowing, and occasionally there were some strong gusts of wind, causing the usually upright blossoms to dance and sway.

04 P1080001 (710x471)

12 IMG_2061 (710x473)

Photos do not really do them justice, but it was a delightful challenge to try to capture the utter extravagance of this incredible springtime display that greeted us mile after mile.

13 IMG_2006 (710x473)

It was spring in all her glory, and sheer eye candy. An incredible gift, pure and simple. Another one of those moments hard to put into words.

14 IMG_1844 (710x473)

All I can say is that it was definitely one of the highlights of this trip.

15a IMG_1974(710x473)

all images captured June 23, 2013
Header image courtesy of BR & used with permission. Many thanks!