Vadym Graifer: Blog en-us (C) Vadym Graifer (Vadym Graifer) Sun, 10 Jan 2021 02:40:00 GMT Sun, 10 Jan 2021 02:40:00 GMT Vadym Graifer: Blog 120 93 2020 summary 2020 is over. Let me try and put together what it brought for me as a photographer. There are landscapes, eagles, hummingbirds, various other creatures, comet Neowise, Perseid meteor shower and whatnot. Whatever your memories of that year are, hope these images help make it a tad brighter!



























(Vadym Graifer) 2020 e-m1x greater images island olympus vancouver victoria Sun, 10 Jan 2021 02:39:39 GMT
Christmas lights at The Butchart Gardens This year The Butchart Gardens had to cancel their annual festive Christmas lighting display. I thought I would put together collection of shots from various years. Most of them without snow, but couple times I was lucky to catch the day when snow has been on the ground. Enjoy this amazing display!





































(Vadym Graifer) BC Butchart Christmas festive lights New Victoria Year Thu, 24 Dec 2020 14:40:09 GMT
Sophisticated Selfie Stick. Yes, Really. No, Not Kidding One thing that always impresses me the most is ability to create something really innovative out of ordinary. Take a mundane thing and make it extraordinary. Want even bigger challenge? Turn mildly annoying thing into immensely useful. There are a few companies in the photography world whose products always impress with this special creativity. They regularly release products that makes you want to keep an eye on them, not to miss their next idea. 

One of such companies is Miggo. If it sounds familiar, it should - we looked at some of their products before, namely at the Splat and Pictar. Latter is nothing short of revolutionary in phone photography, and former rarely stays home when I go on a shoot. Actually, two of Splats keep me company - larger one for the camera and smaller for the light. But I digress.

Let's get "annoying" part out of the way. By now the title surely clued you in, and you can easily identify the product we all love to hate. Or at least love to say that we hate it. It's fashionable to talk about just how annoying it is. Yet guess how many Americans own and use it regularly. According to 2018 survey, about 30% of adult population! You heard that right. As ON1 (editing software company) found during their market research, 70% of their customers routinely shoot with their phones and 47%)!) bought new phone this year specifically for a better camera - and where is photography there is an insatiable need in accessories. So, if you gotta use it, let's do it right and in style. (And if you belong to the segment that wishes for this accessory to be banned from the face of the planet, see if this one at least makes you acknowledge that it's a darn clever design!)

So, what can this thing do except hold your phone and take a shot? A lot, it turns out. It zooms in and out, provides motorized control over the angle of shooting, controls the brightness of your image, applies enhancing presets if you so desire, doing it all via its own phone app available for both Apple and Android. And, as if all that wasn't enough, it comes with its own detachable headlight that allows you add the light with 3 power levels. Instead of usual battery-draining Bluetooth, it uses ultrasonic connection, so your stick won't run out of juice for many hundreds of images (Miggo claims over 800 shots on a single charge; if you need more than 800 selfies in one day, you may want to talk to your shrink). If you are familiar with Pictar, you are no stranger to this very clever way to establish connection between your accessory and your phone.

Let's see how the thing looks. This is front view in folded state:


Here it is, extended - you can see how the controls are placed under your fingertips and used to change the angle:


Zoom control can seen here:

Finally, the (detachable) light with three power levels in use:

Light is held in place by magnet so putting it on and taking it off is quick and easy.  

Miggo launched their stick on Kickstarter via their 6th campaign. Do watch the video clip presenting the stick as it's, while as cheeky as any advertising video, show the use cases very well. 

Pictar Selfie Stick

There are of course more details on the Kickstarter page, so drop by for deeper look.

So there you go - believe it or not, actually very well designed and practically useful selfie stick! Wonders never cease.



(Vadym Graifer) Miggo phone photography Pictar Selfie stick Wed, 26 Feb 2020 14:23:59 GMT
Olympus Custom Mode for standard settings Have you ever set the your camera for certain conditions and then used it under different light, only to find out that you forgot to change it back and now your settings turned to be all wrong? Most often this happens with ISO; set it to high in low light conditions and shoot at 1600 or higher next day in broad daylight, getting unusually high level of noise in the sky. Or setting IBIS to off while shooting on a tripod and forgetting to turn it back off when shooting handheld next day. Annoying, and may cause lower quality or even lost images.  

Seeing how many folks do this, I thought I'd describe how I handle this to eliminate or greatly minimize my chance to run into this problem.

If you have your camera in any of the PASM modes, it defaults to the last set of settings when turned off and back on. That's convenient in a situation where you have a prolonged shooting session under the same light. You don't have to set your camera all over again every time you have it on again, as it retains all your configuration from before you turn it off. The flip side of this of course is the problem described at the beginning.

Custom Modes to the rescue.

OM Custom Modes

Instead of using PASM, I put my standard configuration on the C1. This mode is my starting point for the most frequent situations. For me such configuration is Manual mode, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/250, IBIS S-IS1, WB Auto, single center point focus in S-AF-M, LSF+RAW, and other standard settings for your garden variety landscape shooting. This way, any changes I make during shooting session won't be retained when I turn the camera on next time. Instead it will default to this standard configuration. No chance of shooting next day with ISO 3200 under bright sun. It's also a quick way to reset everything to the starting point if I change too many parameters and want to cancel all the changes without remembering each of them. Just Off and On, and I am back to my standard configuration.

Configuring camera this way, you can have advantage of both approaches without their respective downsides. If you undertake the long session under the same or close lighting conditions, you use any of the PASM modes, set your camera to your liking and presto - off and on, and your configuration is still there. Done with that - switch to your default starting point, C1. Now when you shoot something different today or tomorrow, none of that session settings mangle your files. While I use the rest of custom modes for moving targets or tripod shooting, C1 is always my standard starting point for everyday's conditions on all my cameras.

(Vadym Graifer) #GetOlympus camera configuration E-M1X Myset Olympus OMD settings setup Sun, 22 Dec 2019 17:46:10 GMT
Explosive autumn colors After a few months of being out of commission, I am finally back to photography. Not fully up to speed yet, mind you, so there are not many images to show, but still was able to catch some of the  autumn colors. They are thermonuclear this year. Judge for yourself.  

















(Vadym Graifer) BC Beacon Hill Park E-M1X Greater Victoria Olympus Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria Sun, 17 Nov 2019 02:49:35 GMT
Spring-summer transition This post covers about 2 and a half months of shooting, and will be the only one for the next couple months at least. I rendered myself out of commission for the next 6-8 weeks with no chance of shooting new images. At best, I might be able to postproocess some of existing photos, but even that is under the question. So, hopefully the wide variety in this collection will compensate for that. You will see tulips, roses, blue poppies, tiger lilies, eagles (I had a run with photographing them both perched and in flight), hummingbirds, sunsets, some experiments with glass ball etc. Hope you like them, and see you in a couple months! 



































































(Vadym Graifer) BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens GetOlympus Greater Victoria OMD E-M1X Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria Sun, 21 Jul 2019 18:48:52 GMT
Early spring This is first really spring-time post, filled with flowers, blooms and all spring-themed sights. There is not much to add to this description as this time of the year speaks for itself. I rushed this post a bit since I foresee way more tulips and rhododendrons in May, so I didn't want to overcrowd the blog post by bunching them all together. I also lightened up my workload considerably in the run-up to summertime, so hope to have more time to shoot. 






























(Vadym Graifer) bc beacon hill park downtown e-m1x greater victoria olympus vancouver island victoria Tue, 23 Apr 2019 20:24:03 GMT
Winter to Spring These couple months were remarkable, in the sheer variety of weather conditions and their unconventional character. That explains somewhat wild changes of the course in the images you are going to see below. We start with quiet evening at the beach, continue with extraordinary hole in the sky that made many look for aliens landing nearby, go on to observe a hummingbird fighting bushtits trying to invade her feeder, observe said hummingbird in the snow, view quite unusual for Victoria snowy landscape and ducks dating on ice, experience relief when see peacocks walking on the grass carefully avoiding snow patches, see the return of the flowers (some peeking through the snow), see the Tsawwassen ferry terminsal (that's me testing new camarea), a very unusual bokeh (that's me testing vintage lens), and finish with a very cute cat. Dizzy yet?


Enjoy :)





















(Vadym Graifer) BC downtown Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria Sun, 24 Mar 2019 15:08:37 GMT
Sunny Christmas Winter in Victoria, with its usual sights - sun, rain, and Christmas lights. Wasn't lucky to get interesting rainy images this time, so will offer an aftermath - mushrooms springing out after the rain. Also, couple of Bald eagles gracing Sidney fishing pier with their presence, taking in nice Christmas lights and adding to the holiday atmosphere.



























(Vadym Graifer) Sun, 13 Jan 2019 18:49:11 GMT
Autumnal Glory This post covering two months, October and November, might be a tad lengthier than usual. It starts with a few shots of Abkhazi Garden Teahouse where my prints were on display for 6 weeks, includes fall images from all over Greater Victoria, some food photos, some sunsets... all in all, usual set of seasonal imagery you've come to expect from this blog. 

































(Vadym Graifer) BC Beacon Hill Park Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria Sun, 25 Nov 2018 18:43:55 GMT
Pictar Pro Announcement Have you ever wished for something only to find out that your wish has been granted fairly soon, so you now wish that you wished for a million dollars? Well, just a few short weeks ago, reviewing Pictar by Miggo I concluded with this:


"to return to the promised third reason for my dislike of the phone cameras. It's a difficult-to-see screen during many outdoor scenarios. No matter what advances technology makes, there are still angles and lighting conditions where you can squint all you want, but you are essentially flying blind. Then there is that intimate eye-scene connection that a viewfinder provides, helping achieve much better compositions... If Miggo gives us a creative solution for this, phone combined with Pictar is going to be even more attractive as a camera alternative for many amateurs and as a solid backup for enthusiasts."


What do you know. This fine morning Miggo announced Pictar Pro, and one of the added features is... a viewfinder! 


Bright days is a bane of a phone photography no more. To keep things compact and neat, viewfinder apparently can be folded:



From the press-release: "uniquely connecting the viewfinder that automatically shrinks the image down on the phone to the size of the viewfinder via proprietary technology."


There are added features (for shooting video, among other things) and improved ergonomics over which you can pour on their Kickstarter page, but I want to mention specifically one more here. Press-release promises "wireless charging to keep the smartphone charged for continuous shooting." Is it cool or what? 


There is expanded compatibility with phone models, control addition (rocker switch for smooth zoom instead of choppy jumps), new modes, but... the video at the top of the Kickstarter page and description of the features throughout the page will showcase the gadget and multiple aspects of its use, so I'll leave you to it. Enjoy those humor bits in the video - I sure did.


I am looking forward to try new and improved Pictar when the Kickstarter campaign is over and shipment begins. It seems to address my last remaining reservations regarding phone photography. Meanwhile, gotta test my newfound powers and wish for that million dollars. I'll let you know how it goes. 


(Vadym Graifer) Tue, 02 Oct 2018 14:17:09 GMT
Transition This post will cover approximately two months worth of images, so you can witness this transition from full-blown summer to the beginning of the fall. Transition happened fairly quickly this year, so expect drastically different images from the beginning of the post to the end. As usual, I try to show variety: plants and birds (and one lizard trying to date a parrot!), shore and forest, ships and food, downtown and my beloved Sidney... and we will have a Harvest Moon for the big finale!


























































(Vadym Graifer) bc beacon hill park breakwater butchart gardens downtown greater victoria olympus e-m1 sidney vancouver island victoria Fri, 28 Sep 2018 14:01:56 GMT
Pictar by Miggo Review Phone photography... one thing I've never embraced. I always had a good reason for that. Three actually. And no, they were not lack of interchangeable lenses or image quality. Those are limitations within which you can work, and they become less and less of an issue as new generations of devices come to market. Let's see what really ground my gear (sorry, couldn't help myself).


First, and most important: controls. You know your phone camera has a lot of parameters you can change, adjusting it to lighting conditions and desired look but... how much do you actually use them? Chances are, you tried them when you got your new sparkling phone... and haven't used them ever since. It's not because they are useless or not very good. They are necessary for a decent photography, and can alter the look all the way from very average to stunning. Yet you rely on auto, letting program do all the work. Why? Because those parameters can be controlled through screen menu only, unlike in actual cameras that offer physical controls - dials and buttons which are intuitive and convenient. Diving into menu is tiresome, cumbersome and annoying, not to mention slow. What I can do with camera controls fluidly in a blink of eye takes forever to do in menu. And if you are not a professional photographer or advanced enthusiast taking images daily, you don't remember all the menu and sub-menu settings. Gotta read them every time - who does that? Nobody. We push the button and hope for the best. Often it works. Just as often, or more so, it doesn't. To sum it up: when I want the result, I need controls. Actual physical ones, not the screen menu offered by a phone camera. 


Second is ergonomics. The way people hold the phone to take photo (those extended hands in front of the face) is very unnatural for a photographer. There is no stability - where do you think all those blurry shots are coming from? There is no connection between eye and scene facilitated by a viewfinder - this is where awkward compositions and all kinds of distractions in the frame come from.


I'll leave the third one for the end of this post. Let's speak of the first two for now. Enter the phone attachment Pictar by Miggo. I like how these guys think when design their accessories. You may remember my article about their unusual and very useful tripod, Splat. When they announced the gizmo designed to turn your phone into a camera, I was intrigued. On paper it promised to solve just those two problems I described above. At the time of the release it worked with Apple phones only though, so being an Android guy I couldn't test it. Recently good folks from Miggo kindly offered me to try their Pictar with its new capabilities covering Android phones now as well. Needless to say, my curiosity was piqued. 


What is a Pictar? It's a grip for your phone - grip allowing to hold a phone as an actual camera, equipped with actual controls that interact with your phone via an app. Here is how it works.


You get a (very well designed) box, take out the grip and insert your phone in it. There is an adjustable ledge at the bottom that grabs your phone's bottom edge, and you click the upper one in, securing the combo. Depending on your model you may have to take off protective case first. This is how it looks:



Considering the sheer number of phone models on the market, Pictar comes in two sizes accommodating various dimensions. Here you see it with my son's LG Stylo 3 Plus. Being in investigative state of mind, I tested it on all the phones I could get my hands on within family circle: that LG above, Motorola G3 and Samsung Galaxy S7. Larger model (Pictar One Plus MKII) fit perfectly to the first two, and smaller one (Pictar One MKII) felt snag with Samsung. I fished out ancient Motorola G2 and successfully paired it as well. Here is the smaller one with Samsung so you can see the combo:



After fitting the phone into the grip, you switch it on and open the downloaded in advance app. This is where the real fun begins. First time you open it, it guides you through trying all the controls - to test the connection and to familiarize you with how things work. It's quite neat. And so is the way the grip communicates with your phone. To avoid the battery-draining Bluetooth Miggo went another, and quite inventive, route. When you turn the dials or push the buttons, they make sounds beyond human perception. Phone's mike picks up the sounds and gets its instructions from them. Neat, isn't it? Well, my first thought was: what about dogs? Sure enough, I went about testing it on family and neighbors' dogs. Sunny never reacted on dials being turned within 4 feet. Neither did Nula. I even found neighbors' Jordi the Cat honoring our backyard regularly with its presence to observe the hummingbirds - he ignored the dials as well.


Here are those controls that put the zoom, shutter speed and aperture at your fingertips:




Does this look cool or what?


Upon finishing the "break-in" part, app offers you links to the guide and video, to further familiarize yourself with all the capabilities. There are different modes and effects, fairly close to what actual camera offers, including Manual mode. There is an extensive array of settings, including adjusting to an external lens if you use one with your phone (starts sounding like DSLR, doesn't it?) If some function offered by grip is not supported by your particular phone model, app will inform you about that - nice touch, so you don't guess why something doesn't work. Being a Luddite when it comes to phones, thus not having the latest and greatest (I still tend to think of them as devices to make phone calls - I know, how 20st century of me, right?), I run into that couple times. 


That nice box I mentioned at the beginning contains one more thing aside of the grip itself. It's a posh black pouch, convenient to carry the grip or a gripped phone. You can  use it with a hand or neck strap, both enclosed, easy to attach or take off. 




What is this 5-legged blue thing, you ask? That's a younger brother of that Splat. It's a flexible lightweight compact tripod for smartphones, smallish cameras and action cameras. The same principle as the big sibling, so you get an idea how it works. It's a separate accessory; can be used with phone without Pictar using this adapter:



...and here it is in action, with Samsung phone in the adapter:



Alternatively, it serves as a tripod with standard 1/4" screw, for which Pictar has a threaded socket. Here the combo is attached to the tripod using just that:



See some more creative ways to use this tripod here.


Finally, after playing with cool new toy and internalizing the main controls, I decided to try and use it just as most folks would - make a tour over the touristy places (I mean, I live in a touristy town, gotta take an advantage of that, right?) and take a few photos as most phone camera users would. I was interested to get a sense of how (and if) Pictar changes my perception of phone photography. Having my grown-up camera with couple lenses in the sling, I uncharacteristically whipped out my Pictar-equipped phone and started snapping away. I realize that photos below represent a phone more than a grip but hey, it's a photo blog, right? What good is it without photos taken with help of the equipment we discuss? 








They'd look much better with blue skies and spectacular clouds but it was rather grayish day with showers now and then. Here is my verdict after this little tour. Pictar does credible job imitating the real camera workflow. Credible enough for me to envision some situations where I take just my phone with me, and to compensate for the absence of a camera to a considerable degree. One of family members playing with it also put it this way: It rekindles interest in photography. 


Now, to return to the promised third reason for my dislike of the phone cameras. It's a difficult-to-see screen during many outdoor scenarios. No matter what advances technology makes, there are still angles and lighting conditions where you can squint all you want, but you are essentially flying blind. Then there is that intimate eye-scene connection that a viewfinder provides, helping achieve much better compositions... If Miggo gives us a creative solution for this, phone combined with Pictar is going to be even more attractive as a camera alternative for many amateurs and as a solid backup for enthusiasts.


(Vadym Graifer) grip Miggo phone photography Pictar Mon, 17 Sep 2018 00:15:02 GMT
Summer joy This is summer in all its glory. Birds, flowers, parks, food, backyard life... I'll shut up now. Enjoy!



















































(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 bc beacon hill park downtown greater victoria olympus e-m1 sidney vancouver island victoria Sun, 15 Jul 2018 00:42:09 GMT
Spring in full right There is a lot of variety in this post: barbecued food (why did I start the post with it, I wonder), new bridge in Victoria side-by-side with old one (take this sight in since old bridge is no more), tulips and wisteria in Sidney, rhododendrons in Finnerty Gardens, some more blooming things, Great Blue Herons, hummingbirds... all in all, it's late spring turning into full blown summer.







































(Vadym Graifer) bc greater victoria olympus e-m1 sidney vancouver island victoria Sun, 03 Jun 2018 18:33:20 GMT
Season change There were quite a few changes over these months, what with 2 days of snow(!) and quick transition to spring blossoms. Having such opportunity, I took inordinate amount of winter photos. Thus, the blog will be a tad eclectic, reflecting this mish-mash of seasons. The of course there are some birds and jellyfish - I mean, what kind of blog that would be without jellyfish, right? And food, in case you started worrying.







































(Vadym Graifer) bc beacon hill park butchart gardens downtown e-m1 greater victoria olympus e-m1 vancouver island victoria Mon, 26 Mar 2018 01:54:15 GMT
December Lights As a way to say Happy New Year, I've managed to prepare December post just in time. There were some amazing sights to catch, what with cormorants and Bald Eagle occupying the piles in Sidney and taking in the views of the Mount Baker. Grand Christmas light display at the private house driveway has been iconic Victoria sight for 28 years, and this is last year it's being put up. Truck parade, Inner Harbor lights, a Steller Jay in my backyard... all in all, it's been productive month. Enjoy :)




























(Vadym Graifer) bc breakwater downtown greater victoria olympus e-m1 sidney vancouver island victoria Mon, 01 Jan 2018 02:14:37 GMT
Autumn bliss It's been a while, hasn't it? Fall proved to be a tad busier than I'd like. As it's winding down, let's try and summarize what occurred. First of all, my exhibition at The Atrium on Sept 30 went well. Let me show you what I presented (including myself and Iryna):



It was met with great appreciation and a few of my favorite pieces sold and moved to their new homes. Then our gorgeous autumn started and presented its usual array of amazing photo opportunities. Sharing them with you in no particular order and starting with food, enjoy!

































(Vadym Graifer) bc beacon hill park breakwater downtown greater victoria olympus e-m1 vancouver island victoria Sat, 02 Dec 2017 01:05:14 GMT
A lot of stuff This post is going to be a tad different from my usual. The thing is, there are a lot of Montreal images that I'd like to show you. The city is so vibrant, full of amazing street art and graffiti, it would be a shame to try and squeeze all the impressions in 20-30 images of a blog post. So, I will show some Victoria images in the blog and give you a link to Montreal gallery which you can explore at your own pace. Hope you like this approach. With that, here are some photos in Victoria and around.


We had a few days of smokey skies when the impact of the mainland wildfires reached the island:






Some clear skies too, to be sure:





Then we had 150 anniversary of Canada






Then we had solar eclipse


and some nice sunsets.



All in all, eventful enough - and I am far behind in processing all the photos. With that, promised Montreal gallery is at,  Enjoy!

(Vadym Graifer) bc greater victoria montreal olympus e-m1 sidney vancouver island victoria Mon, 28 Aug 2017 04:34:48 GMT
Summer heights It's been a while since the last update. Things just got crazy on my end, with multiple developments (all good!) in both The Time Machine Diet book sales and photography business. I'll try to catch up though, so bear with me please! The following collection is selected from the shots since April to Mid-July, in Victoria and Kelowna. Enjoy!








Where else eagles stage such show right in front of you?









Hard at work!




This is how you cross the road. Look left, look right, open your tail and go!




















Othello Tunnels 



Between some commercial photography, exhibition of a few of my prints and an upcoming trip to Montreal, I hope to be able to post the next update late August to mid September. Let's see how I keep up. For now, let me add as a sample the poster of the event where, among works of amazing artists, my exhibition will take place. Photo on the poster is shot by me as well:



(Vadym Graifer) 12-100 12-40 f/2.8 bc beacon hill park downtown e-m1 greater victoria lelowna olympus e-m1 sidney vancouver island victoria Fri, 14 Jul 2017 21:52:14 GMT
Warming up We went through a transition from an unusual cold to spring-like conditions since my last post. This collection will reflect just that, starting with full-blown winter landscapes (pretty weird looking for our area) and switching to warmth and blossoms - almost a full month later than normally. You'll forgive me for over-documenting the winter a bit. After all, I haven't seen this kind of landscape for many years already, so my shutter release went into overdrive.




































Lastly, to brag a bit: my image made a cover of the 2017 Victoria Tourist Guide:

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater downtown Mon, 20 Mar 2017 17:02:17 GMT
Deep freeze January has been a very unusual month for Victoria. What the rest of Canada would consider a warm-up, for this city is a deep freeze. I mean, below zero in the night? And barely nudging above freezing point in the day? Anyway, the couple of weeks during which we saw this phenomenon provided a few nice photo opportunities. Some of the photos from this series are still in the waiting queue, so they'll go in the next post. 























(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Vancouver Island Victoria downtown Sat, 04 Feb 2017 21:21:36 GMT
January woes Catching up with my photography now that my large project is finalized. Here is the series of January images. Hope you enjoy them, even though they don't have much snow in them - snow is in short supply in Victoria!


Last pieces of the autumn:




Downtown with all the Christmas Illumination (I thought first photo was equally interesting in B&W, so posting both versions):




This image was shared on Facebook and Twitter by a few notable Victoria pages, including Tourism Victoria:


What kind of December would it be without blooming cherry tree...


And a few decorated Christmas tree photos, ours and elsewhere:







Happy New Year, everyone!

(Vadym Graifer) BC Greater Victoria Vancouver Island Victoria Sun, 01 Jan 2017 22:39:06 GMT
Winter is coming Being incredibly busy with new project, I am a bit behind with my photography. Here are my latest autumn shots, and in my next e-mail I will tell you about the new project. It's not photography-related, but hopefully will interest you :)




























(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Vancouver Island Victoria downtown fall Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:13:55 GMT
Mid-fall update Let's start this mid-autumn collection with something not many people observed up close and personal: harvesting cranberries. Quite a spectacle, I have to say. Judge for yourself: 







Commotion at the Ogden Point: Hippo, chopper, cruise ship. 3 in 1.


Pumpkin patch:



Some B&W:


Fall in forest:



Beacon Hill Park








The Butchart Gardens 


Had a photoshoot with two the cutest terriers ever. Making these guys to pose was both a challenge and fun:




 A few from Sidney:






Let me tease you with some food photography: shishkebab,




and the grapes harvested right in our backyard:



and finish with spectacular sunset from Patricia bay






(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria Sun, 16 Oct 2016 17:05:13 GMT
Farewell to summer Signs of fall...



As always in August, we have this amazing treat: Perseid Meteor shower






Who is hungry?



Dragon in the night



Patricia Bay sunset



Moonrise at the Tulista Park


Last chance: who is hungry?


Look who I met at the beach

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Butchart Gardens Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria Mon, 05 Sep 2016 01:46:49 GMT
July Heat I thought this time I would simply post images with no comments. After all, they are photographs, and if they are well-executed, they should speak for themselves, right? I mean, it's not like you need words to tell the hummingbird from smoked turkey legs or drying garlic from a pretty girl near the hot car. BTW, those cars gathered here for Northwest Deuce Days. With this, I'll shut up. Enjoy!



































(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens E-M1 Gardens Greater Victoria Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater downtown Fri, 05 Aug 2016 18:19:42 GMT
June Joy When the summer comes, things look... well, summery. See for yourself.


Sidney, Canada day celebrations. Sea King helicopter demonstrates water rescue techniques



Anacortes ferry



Summer just doesn't happen without roses

  or Torch Lilies


or wildflowers



or sleeping Moss Ladies


or ducks at the pond with water lilies. OK, I'll stop.


Back to Sidney


Remember Sam?


 Here he pretends to be Sphinx 


and Jordy doesn't understand why I pretend I have rights to this chair.



Anyone's hungry?


This is how you get your sun tan


Unknown (to me) flower




Awww. Summer romance


Little ducklings. Very new



This turtle seems to be just as new, and just as curious about flowers.


Largest canoe ever mooring in Victoria. Over 4 thousand guests


(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater downtown Tue, 05 Jul 2016 00:55:42 GMT
May we be done with spring Some tulip leftovers:










I'll pretend I don't even see you... 


 ...aaand, eye contact!


Beautiful design, isn't it


Blue poppies time!



Island View Beach





California Lilac along Sidney shore



Lavender in my backyard


Farmland all around

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens E-M1 Greater Victoria Olympus Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater downtown Mon, 30 May 2016 00:46:44 GMT
April: spring still or summer already Basking in the sun:


And for these, not so much sun:



April can't be without tulips:


or cherry blossoms:


Sidney shore is always fascinating: is Fisherman's Wharf:






First visit of the year:







More blossoms:


Tulista Park at the sunset:





"Got my good side?"


Sidney shore again


Beacon Hill Park


Port Sidney Marina

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater downtown Sun, 01 May 2016 18:37:08 GMT
March attacks Let's start with couple night shots:




Spring along Sidney seashore


Cormorant to seagull: do you see my boat coming?


Magnolia is a difficult subject, pretty to look at but rarely comes out well on photos. Black and white did it this time:




Spring in Beacon Hill Park





Portrait of a stranger:


Great Blue Herons nesting:





Ducks, turtles 


"Yes, I am guarding the house! You keep away, hear me?"


Cattle Point


Fun at the Willows Beach


Oak Bay Marina. Seals and otters compete for attention (and fish)






And to conclude, beautiful double rainbow out of my window:

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria downtown Wed, 30 Mar 2016 19:57:04 GMT
Spring has sprung January 29th spring has fired first shots:



Moss Lady is still sleeping though



Spring Prelude at the Butchart Gardens:





Just two weeks later, it's more like a machine-gun


Ducks: and then manna fell from heaven


Cats, boxes...



 Tod Inlet, old foundations overtaken by the moss and undergrowth










Sidney seashore, in all its evening glory







(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens E-M1 Greater Victoria Olympus Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater Sat, 27 Feb 2016 03:37:31 GMT
Quiet January This was mostly relaxing month with not much going on, after the holiday rush was over. So, the images reflect just that - slower pace, nothing dramatic. A few decent shots with fog on the water (see what I did there?) is the most drama you get in January.





OK, this one is somewhat dramatic.


















Walking on the water!







(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater downtown Sun, 31 Jan 2016 21:21:29 GMT
Holiday cheer Let's start with the very last November image and then move to all the illumination and Christmas shots. There are Butchart Gardens (of course!), downtown and Sidney images, almost all of them are of a night variety. The only exception are a few Christmas Day daytime shots in Sidney which I inserted to give you a little break from the holiday lights. Happy New Year!



















































(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Christmas Greater Victoria New Year Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria downtown Fri, 01 Jan 2016 02:05:34 GMT
November crop November, as expected, yielded deep autumn colors, fallen leaves and some close encounters with peacocks. Let's go over this fall's crop. As none of the images requires any comments, I'll just leave them for you to scroll through.
























(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater peacock Mon, 30 Nov 2015 02:48:38 GMT
Miggo Splat Review Photographers love accessories. Countless gadgets and gizmos, looking cool, pleasure to fiddle with. Some opening new ways to use our cameras and take different kind of shots; some making it easier to do what we do, and finally some promising all that but never delivering, eventually being relegated to the bin of maybes - as in "Maybe some day I'll find use for it." Rest assured that day will never come. Rest equally assured that won't stop any of us from purchasing yet another one, in hope it will fall in one of first two categories.


One of such accessories is all kinds of camera support. Aside of traditional tripods and bean bags, there are table tripods, mini-supports and creative solutions for non-standard outdoor situations. One of the newest offerings in this field caught my attention with its promise. It's a hybrid of a table tripod and Gorillapod, combining the compactness of the former and universality of the latter. With table tripods generally being not very sturdy and Gorillapods being not too compact, the promise of Miggo's latest product Splat looks, well, promising. According to the website description, it's small; it's light; it's sturdy; it allows almost infinite number of positions, wrapping around tree branches, hanging from the nail in the wall and staying on camera without adding much bulk. There are three versions offered: for Go-Pro cameras, for Point-and-Shoots and smaller mirrorless, and for DSLR. First two being priced at $19.99 didn't look right for me. My Olympus OMD EM-1 with grip and several 4/3 lenses is not the smallest combo, so I looked at the DSLR version. At $24.99, it was difficult to resist the urge. So, does it deliver?


The package in which it arrived looked just right. Functional, attractive yet unpretentious, easy to open without scissors (unlike a clamshell atrocity),  yet reliably protecting the goods. 



Taking it out of the packaging and bending its legs (flexible stainless steel and silicon, according to Miggo's website), I threw it in my light box to take a few shots for you. Legs feel sturdy, easy to bend yet giving reassuring sense of being capable to hold under the load. 



As seen here, it takes the camera about 4 inches above the surface. Manipulating the legs, you can get about 5 inches. Brass 1/4 screw is a standard fit to your camera tripod connection:


On the opposite side there is a locking ring, convenient to operate with your fingers:


Looking at the feet, there are multiple non-slip dots


and en eyelet on one of the feet, intended to hang your camera on the nail in the wall:



That about exhausts overview of the Splat's external features, although I probably shouldn't have failed to mention pretty blue color. From here I moved on to test its functionality. I have started with easy stuff:



Sure enough, being rated to hold 2.6 lb (1200 g), Splat hasn't even noticed Yongnuo 560II' 350 g. The only thing I wanted to check here was the stability of the whole combo with the flash head directed forward at 90 degrees. No problem there at all. 


Now, let's move to a bit more involved stuff. E-M1 with HLD-7 battery grip, both batteries in and 12-40/2.8 in front of it weighs 1165 g - that's just under claimed 1200 g (and probably right up there with wrist strap), and in my experience those claims are often a tad exaggerated. In practice, those exaggerations mean that as you approach the weight your support gizmo claims as max load, it may still hold but you need to be extra-careful with its position, angle, type of the surface etc. Slight deviation from optimal can lead to noticeable creep in the best case and send your camera down crashing in the worst. So, this test was to determine whether Splat is one of those accessories that formally match the  specifications but require you to lower your expectations in real life situations, or it's truly useful within the parameters the manufacturer claims. 


Putting the combo on a tripod, I opted for the crash-forgiving airbed (you will notice the slight give under the Splat's legs), set it on the surface and probed its stability by pushing it in all directions with my hand. Not only did the legs hold firmly under camera's weight with no slightest tendency to creep down, the tripod also held very nicely against the side push - it returned to the vertical position unless I simply overturned it.



At this point I was ready to pronounce the Splat a smashing success and gather enough bravery to move outside and the the hard surface - not that it added much to the test above but the weather was nice and you may get tired of the sterile studio photos:



Just as sturdy and stable. No surprise there though, I wouldn't expect fresh air to influence Splat's performance. My next thought was to put a flash on top of the combo, but it felt like a pointless exercise. When I pushed the camera down with my hand applying force that obviously exceeded the weight of the flash, tripod held with reassuring firmness, without slightest feeling of being close to its maximum capability. So I changed my mind and decided to go for broke.

If I put my Zuiko 50-200 with tripod collar, EC-14 teleconverter and MMF-3 adapter on my E-M1 with battery grip, I am at 2065g! With that wrist strap, ~2100g - that'll show this little thing who is da boss. 

If you are inclined to check my numbers, here they are broken down by weight in grams: 

E-M1 with battery - 497 g

HLD-7 with battery - 286 g

MMF-3 - 42 g

EC-14 - 170 g

50-200 with tripod collar - 1070 g


Here is what happened: nothing. The thing held its own as if I haven't exceeded its max load almost by factor 2! 


This angle shows the whole contraption with both the teleconverter and adapter a bit better:  


That's 4.63 lb load vs. 2.6 max per specifications. Impressive overdelivering. Have I remembered to put my flash on top of this combo? You bet. You can guess what happened - that additional 350 g changed nothing. The thing held. 


On this pleasant note, I moved outside again to test the practicality of the advertised ability to hold the camera in "countless positions." Tree branch was of course first thing to try, and Splat worked as promised:




Do make sure to wrap those legs tightly and test the stability with your hand by trying to rotate the combo around the branch before letting go.

The car door was the next thing that came to my mind. No problem there:


Before taking the Splat out for a walk, I tried to wrap it around the camera and see how that works as a carrying/protective position. Looks somewhat odd but again, works as advertised. Here is the view from the side-bottom: 

With all the testing in and around the house, this review would be incomplete if I hadn't taken the Splat for a field trip. Oceanside seemed appropriate for the occasion. First case has been pretty straightforward, as putting a camera at the rock requires very little creativity. Nonetheless, setting the Splat on the surface and leveling the camera by manipulating the legs was quick and easy.  

You'll have to forgive the quality as my tablet is not exactly the grand low-light shooter.


Here it is a bit closer:


Here I had to get a bit more creative. It takes some try and error to find the way to stabilize the contraption on the round bar. Using the vertical pole as a support for the front leg solved the problem. I'd suggest to use some kind of insurance when you do it first time - neck strap for instance - to guarantee the safety of your equipment.



In this case I used the back of the bench. You really can adjust this thing in a myriad ways.



Finally, one more way to use it that I came up with on the go: thanks to thin profile of the tripod legs you can put it in a delicate setting without harming anything. Here you can see it in the middle of the flowerbed, flowers undisturbed.



CONCLUSION: Splat delivers on all its promises, and massively overdelivers on one, namely on its max load. Being light (111 g) and small, it's easy to throw it in your bag and have it ready for the appropriate conditions. Will it replace your conventional tripod? In some cases, sure. It's easy also to think of situations where your traditional tripod can do a job which Splat can't, so let's think of it as an addition to the tripod rather than replacement. All in, all, it takes permanent place in my bag.




(Vadym Graifer) 12-40/2.8 50-200 E-M1 flexible Miggo Olympus review Splat tripod Sun, 29 Nov 2015 06:14:58 GMT
Autumn Blues It's rather autumn reds and yellows, as you can imagine, but let's pretend that we are sad about summer end - even though the fall season is a true photographer's paradise. With that in mind, let's try and prove the case.








Butchart Gardens - no fall-themed post can be done without it








Beacon Hill is close second. This is newest addition, Moss Lady



Pumpkin Patch in Central Saaninch



Craigdarroch Castle


Back to Beacon Hill Park






Japanese Garden



Elk Lake



Japanese Garden, last of fall colors






That's it for now, but the next month post will probably have some more of the fall colors.

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria autumn. breakwater fall Sun, 08 Nov 2015 20:54:48 GMT
September mix Let's start with flamingo, for no other reason that they are cute



 Little E, ready for take-off





Sidney shore




My favorite backyard guest








They are plotting something, don't they?



 Life is a beach





Aesthetics above all 





Sidney gathered to watch Blood Moon eclipse


It appeared but haze made the show quite weak.


Well, rainbows go with island rains like cigar with whisky




Our daily view



Some night photography for the end of the post


(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 50-200 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-5 Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria downtown Tue, 29 Sep 2015 01:31:51 GMT
Summer draws to an end Let's start with a cat, for no other reason than I like them



Sombrio Beach




Oak Bay



Elk Lake sunset



Perseids Meteor shower. 




Sidney sunsets




Breakwater. Brother and sister paddle-boarding by the cruise ships 



Butchart Gardens fireworks











Chinese Dragon Fountain


Sidney Car Extravanganza





... and some spectators.





We started with a cat, let's finish with one too

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 12-40 f/2.8 BC Butchart Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater downtown Fri, 28 Aug 2015 04:59:51 GMT
Summer strolls July turned out very productive. A lot of images, difficult to chose. So, without further ado and with as few words as possible.







Average-sized canoes



My favorite breakwater




And of course Sidney



 See the Bald Eagle enjoying sunset view?





Now, that was an adventure - went up above the Town of Sidney in a bucket truck, to photograph the view from high vantage point for the promotional brochure:


Yup, that's my truck far down. I also had to learn how to control it since the panel is right up there in this same bucket, fitting just one person.


Back on Earth and to the breakwater



Centennial park




Street scene in Sidney. Pretty girl and bikes - all the components for a good photo, right?


Beach without music? Not in Victoria.


Two ships. Look closer to find second one


Paint job


Epic sky over Sidney



Waiting for fireworks...


...and fireworks themselves





(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 50-200 BC Composite E-M1 Greater Victoria Island Live Olympus Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater downtown fireworks Tue, 28 Jul 2015 02:02:55 GMT
World through the fish eyes Not only is this going to be our usual monthly crop of the photos, it's also a whole different view of the world - through the eye of fish. Or, to put it better, using new toy, a fisheye lens, Samyang 7.5 mm (as if you care about such details). 


It presented a dazzling array of new opportunities in my most favorite town of all, Sidney by the Sea:














opened new eyes on the Butchart Gardens:














worked fine to showcase Marigold Nursery, our go-to place for everything that grows:





showed itself as a great forest/lake lens during Elk Lake walk:






gave a few splendid views in Beacon Hill Park:






and finally demonstrated its formidable abilities as an architecture lens around Royal British Columbia Museum:







Now that you had your fill of fisheye images, probably more than you ever wanted in a single blog post, I promise to mix it up in the following posts with more conventional views. Consider this one an outburst of excitement about a new toy

(Vadym Graifer) 7.5 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens, Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Samyang Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria fisheye Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:25:47 GMT
May flowers As April showers promised, May flowers arrived right on cue



Oak Bay marine



Willows Beach. Heavy construction


Sidney never ceases to amaze. You sit on the beach enjoying quiet evening, and then this happens.  Two killer whales swimming by, so close to the shore that if any beach goers took a swim they would be right in their way



As orca swam right under the pier, even cormorant and seagull looked on in awe.


Butchart Gardens. Laburnum exlosion



Stairway to heaven



Bench that beckons


Blue poppies arrived





Pansies - smile-inducing flowers


Last rhodos



A few images from my photoshoot with Centrepointe Ballet School:


Let's finish with serene sunset at the Sidney shore

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 50-200 BC Butchart Gardens Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria downtown Mon, 25 May 2015 23:43:54 GMT
April showers April means... you guessed it, tulips first of all. Tulips in Sidney,




tulips in The Butchart Gardens








and cherry blooms downtown.


Meanwhile, inhabitants of the jungle a.k.a. Victoria Butterfly Garden live their own life





and live it to its fullest:


Thought those were all tulips you were going to see? Think again






Hummingbirds got really active this year for some reason. Sugar we buy for them starts making a dent in the budget. They pay me back by being good models





Finnerty garden as always has rhododendrons in droves



as well as some other flowers





and some creatures loving their life:


Our Sidney friend. Must be the kindest large dog I've ever seen.


Cattle point moved right to the summer








Let's finish with hummingbirds again. This little guy helped me to grill some meat


and these came for a night cup.



(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Butchart Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria downtown tulips Sat, 09 May 2015 03:03:03 GMT
Beware the March flurries Well, this being Victoria our flurries consist of petals mostly. Let's begin with some crocuses 



...and make sharp turn to birdies (the name's Shadow)



...only to switch to insects 



...but get back to birdies quickly.


Looks like someone's getting a lecture


Elk Lake, doggies heaven



Petals, as I promised. Soon to be a flurry 


Sidney shore, charming as always


with fine dining options. This seagull got an octopus for dinner



while this Heron is still studying the menu, while enjoying seat with a view.


One carefree duck



Wow, that's a lot of birds in this post... Downy woodpecker


Been a while since last crocuses, hasn't it


or cherry blooms


not even speaking of magnolias


and flowers


or moss explosion



Boar-scarer, always reminds me a fight scene from Kill Bill, Folks from Butchart gardens said this on my Facebook page: "This is called shishi-odoshi (鹿威し) which literally translates as "deer-scarer..." but indeed it is used to scarе wild boar and other animals in Japan. We've never heard it called a deer-scarer in English - always boar-scarer.


Petals! One of the less visited corners of The Butchart Gardens. Red petals fall off at the top of the stream which carries them through the entire Japanese garden. Design of a genius



 Let's finish with these two cute messy eaters having a dinner right behind my patio door. Taken with vintage manual lens, through the glass.


(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 50-200 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Gardens Greater Victoria Island Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria downtown Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:38:34 GMT
Cruelty of February My East Coast and prairies friends will have to forgive me for the humorist title. Yes, February in Victoria IS cruel - to the RoC (Rest of Canada). Judge for yourself.


Let's start with forest, shall we? Centennial Park in Central Saanich



Tod Inlet. Blooming moss


Crocus time in Victoria. Started at least couple weeks earlier than usual this year







Sidney shore. Mt. Baker framed by posts...   


...with birds.


This Great Blue Heron enjoyed sunset view along the Dallas Rd., not far from the breakwater.





By now, that Heron was ready to sue me for harassment, so I switched to humans. They enjoyed sunset too.




 Yeah, this blooms too. Micro-iris of some kind?


Butchart Gardens, Japanese section 




Fisgard Lighthouse. Somewhat different view from traditional


And, of course some of my favorite inhabitants of the Butterfly Gardens. Little E,


Ms Jiggs,


and Rose.


(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:40:49 GMT
January blah Well, no so blah - January in Victoria is not exactly your typical "dead of the winter" view. Let's start with downtown, to illustrate the point.






This is part of the collection of hand-themed sculptures scattered through the downtown. This one is right on the causeway. Locals will recognize with ease the reflection of Coho ferry in the mirror


Causeway in the night



Nice January day on the breakwater...


...and the spectacle of a seal dining on his fresh catch - Giant Pacific Octopus





Beacon Hill Park never disappoints - peacock supervising ducks.



Amazing sunset at the Dallas Rd.




Then there was a storm. And after the storm, sun peaked out





Meanwhile, in the Butchart Gardens... 




Time for some birds photos, especially since there is no lack of those here. This seagull is dining as well - got a crab for a snack today.


That's no seagull:


Downy Woodpecker, came to dinner to our feeder:


Not sure whether it's the same guy, but he was posing diligently, right at the Sidney Pier entrance.





Since we are in Sidney, this sunset happened right there. 



And so did this moon


and this duck, put together from driftwood by some creative soul:


My favorite pier after the rain:


Still Sidney


Grilling is inalienable part of winter living in Victoria 


Aquarium (Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre)



One more Sidney sunset, and we are done with January. Not that February promises to be any easier, mind you.











(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria breakwater downtown Tue, 10 Feb 2015 02:11:37 GMT
Christmas lights December, as always, provides a lot of opportunities to shoot holiday lights, so large part of this collection will be about those. There are a few more themes to this month though, so you won't get tired of the festive illumination alone.


Let's start with some birds: 




Empress Hotel built a skating rink this year. Here is daylight shot of it, night time ones will follow 



Now, some illumination in Sidney








Star trail over Christmas tree




Downtown lights. Promised skating rink in the night:







December post can't omit Butchart Gardens and their stunning display. There are no iconic shots of Sunken gardens etc, but they are pretty much the same from year to year, so I tried to get some other views and angles. 








These are a few shots from the Lochside drive, just south of Sidney, our usual walking route





 Even inhabitants of the Butterfly Gardens enjoy festive lights:







Now somewhat different views, so your eyes get some rest from all the lights. Fort Rodd Hill:





Swans at the Esquimalt Lagoon:




Got some rest? Back to festivities. Holiday store windows in Sidney:





Enough of winter views. Spring is coming. In Sidney...


...and downtown. Yes, first cherry blooms!


That was rather large post but it was rather eventful month!

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Bu Butchart Gardens Butterfly Christmas Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victori Victoria downtown holiday lights Mon, 05 Jan 2015 19:57:17 GMT
November highlights Magical autumn light is always generous to photographers. A few cold clear nights offered some new opportunities, but we will get to it at the end of this post. For now, more traditional fall images.



These guys enjoy the fall too


...and cross the road in a very disciplined fashion:


That's a whole lot of leaves to clean!





Walk along the Ross Bay during nice sunset yielded this series, ending at the Clover Point: 









Beacon Hill Park as always offers a lot of opportunities. Let's start with these willing models, as they climb the branches of a giant sequoia:





Magic of last sun rays:


My favorite bridge


... and a peacock from the previous post, reaching the end of his runway and walking around me as I rudely block his path with my intrusive camera. I swear he murmured something like "darn paparazzi..."



Finally, about those clear cold nights. They bring bright stars, and I got to do what I always wanted to try: star trails. My first three shots at it (pardon the pun), two from Sidney and one from downtown, with majestic Empress Hotel: 



(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Empress Hotel Greater Victoria Inner Harbor Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria downtown Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:07:23 GMT
Fall in bloom “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ― Albert Camus.


October brought in abundance of the fall colors, as it well should. Both sunny and rainy days provided enough of photo opportunities. So, without further ado...


Some flowers (but of course)





Buddha with Angel's Trumpets 


To have flowers and not the butterflies? What kind of disorder would that be!



My favorite bird, posing as always. The name's Little E.


In case you haven't guessed the season - PUMPKINS!


Forest. Trail. Stump. Black and white.







Full Moon rising


Elk Lake, 10 K loop - my favorite treadmill  




 Fall colors at The Butchart Gardens, always amazing spectacle 







 This kid gives seal of approval.


Oak Bay Marina



Back to Butchart in 10 days







Steller's Jay.






Beacon Hill Park - another gem of the season






And to conclude, my favorite of the month - model on the Fall Fashion Show catwalk! 

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Vancouver Island Victoria autumn fall peacock Fri, 31 Oct 2014 19:13:52 GMT
September Roundup-2 Let go over the rest of September catch, to be done with it and move to real fall colors. Sample will be shown here as well though :)


Butchart Gardens at night, magical spectacle










Mount Doug. Meditation:


On the edge:


Recording the view:


Cattle Point.



 Well, can't do a blog post without my favorite town, Sidney!




Butterfly Gardens, never a dull moment




Back to Butchart




Now, this was hilarious. Looked closer into the rose (actually a friend I was with did), and found rose guardian:






Elk Lake, fall colors start making appearance:




Breakwater yielded a few shots of Fried Egg Jellyfish - totally looks like floating, well, fried egg: 



Inner Harbor with first fall colors:



Sidney again, this time in black and white: 



And to finish the post, real fall colors, preview of what next month is likely to be about:

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Gardens Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria autumn breakwater fall Fri, 03 Oct 2014 19:30:48 GMT
September Roundup It's just 10 days of a new month but images start accumulating so I better post some, to keep the size manageable, right? Let's start with flowers, shall we?








Night view of this dancing fountain, always enchanting




Ogden Point (as if you haven't guessed)




New guy in the jungles!


This red-footed tortoise went for a jailbreak. Climbed onto rocky border,


crossed it,


came out on another side,


climbed down (all with blistering speed as you can imagine),


and went for FREEDOM! 


Flamingos tend to create symmetry:


Butterflies is not a traditional subject for B&W, but this one seemed fitting:


... as did this forest trail:


Meditation in Beacon Hill Park




Last Supermoon of 2014 yielded a few nice moonscapes and sunset shots 








We will see if September brings another crop of images or we make next one in October. 
(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Beacon Hill Park Butchart Gardens Butterfly Gardens Gardens Greater Victoria Ogden Point Olympus E-M1 Vancouver Island Victoria sunset supermoon Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:12:16 GMT
Weekend in Parksville After spending weekend in beautiful Parksville, yield of photos is enough for the whole blog post. Or two. Let's break it by parts, so it's easier to digest. First, there is this annual sand sculpting competition. Here are samples of these amazing creations by the artists from all over the world.


Very cute one, with title to match


So is this... see the ear? :)





Something about this one, "On the final note..." Was returning to it a few times, to see it again.


Very intricate



This one won first prize. Well deserved!



 In the groove :)


OK, moving on - Community Park, beach volleyball:


Nice beach with a cozy boardwalk. A lot of summer fun for families. And look at those vistas!







Skating park


At the end of the second day we were treated to the spectacular sunset. Same beach, same boardwalk, same vistas.


Golden hour:




The sun is setting





...and it's down




Is this total serenity or what?


Some romance of course - such setting just calls for it!






Next day, Rathtrevor Beach - what trip to Parksville can omit that treasure?



This majestic Bald Eagle felt particularly royal that day, sitting in the crown of the sun rays



And, to finish, forest trails along the beach:

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Olympus E-M1 Parksville Vancouver Island Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:17:12 GMT
Summer medley Ready for a soup of everything? With surprise at the end? Let us begin. 


First of all of course supermoon - full Moon at the time when it's the closest to the Earth, so it's unusually large. We will have two more in August and September, so here is my first, umm, shot at it.





Romance under the full moon. Aww.





One shot from Sidney



 and one from Beacon Hill Park. I call it "Supervisor."



Ogden Point and breakwater, favorite sights in the night



... and in the day. 




Teeming life at the Fisherman's Wharf


Some downtown fun


Blue Monster invasion


Butchart Gardens, roses in full bloom 



(something else is blooming - who know their botany, determine what it is).



 Willows Beach


Spooky tree at the sunset at the Island View Beach


Same tree, more birds. Hitchcock. 



  Beautiful views at the East Sooke 





 And now, the promised surprise. Whale watching trip with Eagle Wing Whale Watching, done at the sunset time yielded much more than your usual back-dorsal fin orca images. Full breach lit by golden light of the sunset, whales cruising in the sun reflection... judge for yourself:






(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 50-200 BC Beacon Butchart E-M1 Gardens Greater Hill Island Ogden Olympus Park Point Sidney Vancouver Victoria breakwater f/2.8 moon orca roses Wed, 23 Jul 2014 01:04:06 GMT
Summer Cleaning Weird name for a post, right? The thing is, as I go through the themes or months, there are some images that get post-processed later, or get forgotten somehow. They collect in the folder "to be posted yet" instead of being moved into their theme folders. To clean up this clutter, now and then I have to go over that folder and do a sweeping and mopping job. So, here goes my summer cleaning.


Brave look, ain't it?



 Some say flamingo has a wise look here, some - ominous. You decide.   


The name's Rose.


Something ancient-Greek looking. Or Rome. 




This tulip has a  bad hair day. Looking gorgeous anyway.




Beacon Hill Park.


Rose Garden at the Butchart



UVIC grounds.


Sidney marina







The tackiest shot I've made this year. And possibly last two years. Or ever. Sorry. No, come to think of it, I had a rose on a guitar shot 5 years ago, probably beats this. 




(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 Beacon Butchart Butterfly E-M1 Gardens Greater Hill Island Olympus Park Sidney Vancouver Victoria f/2.8 flamingo flowers roses Sat, 05 Jul 2014 21:06:37 GMT
Summer bliss The title says it all actually. Not much is needed in comments department, aside of indication of a place. Let's start with Sidney where cormorants love to pose with Mt. Baker in the background:



Moving to Butchart for a min:


This waterfall in Japanese Garden I photographed countless times but these shots are probably first that I am happy with:




Art! (right?)


These are flamingos (just so you don't confuse them for tulips):




Some are so lucky to be born this brightly colored...






Been a while since we did night time theme, plus full Moon as a bonus




Back downtown, Darth Vader the Fiddler!


Meanwhile, Butchart is now decorated with roses



And there are some irises elsewhere:




... and calla lilies


...and ducks in the bog:


Quiet evening with amazing soft light at the Central Saanich shore:



Several shots from the Governor's House: 






And, to finish, in honor of Canada Day, Queen Victoria strolling the Legislative grounds 

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 BC Building Butchart Butterfly E-M1 Gardens Island Legislative Mt.Baker Olympus Sidney Vancouver Victoria breakwater f/2.8 flamingo flowers Tue, 01 Jul 2014 19:49:19 GMT
Tulips and more I hope you took some rest from tulips because more of them is coming. I will mix them with other things because however difficult it is to believe but yeah, one can get tired of too many tulips.


Let's start with a single one, then proceed to the fields and flowerbeds, with some single mixed in again.







Not a tulip!












Some tulips are black and white...







This yellow beauty is laburnum.



OK, decisively not a tulip. Himalayan blue poppy.



Let's move away from the gardens and flowers (as if it were so easy to do in Victoria!) Downtown, Inner Harbor causeway.


Beacon Hill Park



Quick dash into the world of butterflies and turtles


This cutie was about an inch and a half long!




Sidney Pier



Cruise ship terminal


Fisherman's Wharf


Ogden Point


Don't you feel as though you did a tour all over the city? And guess what... there are many tulips still to see in the future posts, like it or not.

(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 50-200 BC Beacon Butchart Butterfly E-M1 Gardens Greater Harbour Hill Inner Island Ogden Olympus Park Point Sidney Vancouver Victoria breakwater f/2.8 flowers peacocks tulips Wed, 11 Jun 2014 00:50:49 GMT
May sights, other than tulips Far from running out of tulip shots, I'll break them by some other sights lest you get sick and tired of those endless flowers. 


Let's start with some waterfowl, ever so cute:





Some beaches:







Some from Beacon Hill Park:









Sidney sunset:



And finally, some from around downtown and Inner Harbor










(Vadym Graifer) 12-40 f/2.8 BC Greater Victoria Olympus E-M1 Sidney Vancouver Island Victoria downtown Sun, 18 May 2014 19:43:00 GMT
Tulips in the rain No spring collection of photos is ever complete without tulips, in all their variety of colors and shapes. There are actually so many of those that I'll have to break the collection down by a few posts. First one is somewhat unusual in that it's entirely shot during the rain, unlike most such photoshoots done in fine weather. Diffused lighting and raindrops make the difference. Judge for yourself.







That not a tulip as you guessed... Primula, Golden Lace.




We need one Black and White, right?



Daffodil interruption. Very brief.


Back to main programming.






See? Rain.





Not a tulip. Sorry. 







One of the most gracious:

 One more non-tulip.






Something wedding-like quality to this one:




Just for variety sake, tulips and palm tree.