Archive | May 2016

Common Merganser

Common Merganser Male 1

I started this month with photos of a pair of Hooded Mergansers and I’m going to finish the month with photos of Common Mergansers.

Common Merganser Female

Of all the ducks that overwinter in Stanley Park, these two are what I like to call the Odd Couple. He looks so dignified with his tuxedo look, and she ― well, her crazed hair style always makes me laugh.

Common Merganser Male 2

Canada Place

Canada Place 1

There’s been some big-time reminiscing going on this month in the Vancouver media about Expo 86. Yup, it’s been 30 years since the World’s Fair came to town.

More than 22 million people checked out Expo 86 between May 2 and October 13, 1986. That’s an awful lot of people and Expo has long been considered a turning point in our city’s history. According to Wikipedia, Vancouver went from being “a sleepy provincial backwater to a city with global clout.” A tad excessive on both counts, I’d say, but that’s Wikipedia for you. At any rate, you get the idea. Expo 86 was a really, really big deal for Vancouver.

I wasn’t living here at the time, so my Expo experience was limited to three days at the height of summer when I made a visit home to my parents. I remember some phenomenal pavilions and, yes, a lot of time spent standing in line to get into those pavilions.

The Canada Pavilion was located at what is today known as Canada Place. One of the better legacies of Expo 86 and now an iconic Vancouver landmark, Canada Place is home to the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Hotel, and Vancouver’s cruise ship terminal.

One other fun bit are the Heritage Horns located on the roof of the Pan Pacific Hotel. Every day at noon, the ten horns sound the first four notes of “O Canada.”

Depending on which way the wind is blowing, I can hear them from my place, more than two kilometres away.

Canada Place 2

Through My Lens: Pike Place Market Mushrooms


Look at these beauties!

One drawback of arriving in Seattle by cruise ship is you’re looking for something to do early on a Sunday morning when most attractions are still closed.

But one advantage of arriving in Seattle by cruise ship is you get Pike Place Market all to yourself ― before the crowds arrive.

Which is where I was last Sunday morning.

Through My Lens: Moon Over Los Angeles

Los Angeles Full Moon

Before I went to Los Angeles last month, a friend told me to be sure to check out the view from the Griffith Observatory.

Here it is. That’s downtown Los Angeles to the right and, yes, a full moon to the left.

The Getty

Getty 1

I first read about The Getty in a magazine article, well before it opened, and knew I had to see the place if I ever made it to Los Angeles. And so, during my first-ever visit to Los Angeles some years ago, I made a beeline for The Getty. I was so enamoured with the architecture that I barely made it inside to look at the art.

Last month, on my second-ever visit to Los Angeles, I made a beeline for The Getty. This time I did make it inside, where I enjoyed some fine art, but, once again, I was awe-struck by the architecture of this world-class art museum.

The Getty sits atop a hillside in the midst of the Santa Monica Mountains (well, Angelenos refer to these hills as the Santa Monica Mountains, but, you know….). It overlooks the San Diego Freeway and offers a spectacular view of downtown Los Angeles. Look west, and you see the Pacific Ocean. Look east, and you see the San Gabriel Mountains.

Richard Meier was the architect and it was The Getty that catapulted him into the starchitect stratosphere. It was built from 1.2 million square feet (that’s 16,000 tons, folks!) of Italian Travertine stone. There are five pavilions of galleries, linked together with exterior courtyards and terraces.

I expect on my next visit to Los Angeles to yet again be making a beeline to The Getty.

Here’s why.

Hooded Merganser

In honour of Vancouver Bird Week (who knew we had such a week?), which started today and ends next Saturday, here are my photos of some Hooded Mergansers I found at Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park.

This is the male, much more colourful than the female, as usual.

Male Hooded Merganser

And this is the female.

Female Hooded Merganser