Tag Archives: Butchart Gardens

Our Top 20 Pictures of 2013

Traveling in 2013 – Our Favorite Pictures

After traveling for about 7 of the past 12 months, you can imagine how many pictures we took along the way.  That is why it was so hard to narrow down the list that (I think) represents the best 20 pictures.  Each picture brings back memories and reinforces how fortunate we are to have been able to experience this in 2013.

1 – Oregon

Crater Lake has to be the most beautiful lake on earth.  We felt a connectedness to nature as we sat along the top rim of rocks overlooking the lake.

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake, Oregon

2 – Grand Tetons

It took 3 days to get this picture, as the first 2 days were overcast.  It was worth the wait, the old barn in the Grand Tetons is very photogenic.

Old Barn in Grand Tetons

Old Barn in Grand Tetons

3 – Oregon Coast

I took this picture without even getting out of the car.  I figured it would be just another picture but once I started reviewing the pictures at the end of the day, this picture really grabbed me.  I love the saturated blue hues juxtaposed with the grey trees in front.

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

4 – Whistler

After taking the gondola to the top of Whistler mountain, we spotted this small lake at the top, which really stood out among the mountains in the background.

Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler, British Columbia

5 – Rosemary Beach, Florida

Just minutes from our front steps, we took this picture on the beach as the day was coming to a close.  We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place.

Rosemary Beach, Florida

Rosemary Beach, Florida

6 – Point Reyes, California

I love seeing the waves come crashing in during Spring at Point Reyes National Park in California.  Notice at the end of the peninsula is the Point Reyes lighthouse.

Point Reyes National Park, California

Point Reyes National Park, California

7 – Washington (State)

We came upon this rusty old truck when hiking in the Olympic National Park in Washington State.  One of friends once told me that anything old and rusty photographs well.  I agree.

Washington State

Washington State

8 – Alaska

We were on a photography tour when the guide showed us how to simply point our camera towards the sun when pointed right behind plants.  I was surprised how this little trick created such a cool picture.

Alaska

Alaska

9 – Grand Tetons

The Grand Teton mountains make a great backdrop to this lake we saw just outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons

10 – Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco offers so many great photo opportunities, the iconic Golden Gate bridge never disappoints.  We missed a better shot of the bridge.  One day fog was hovering all the way up to the middle of the bridge but we could never get into a good position to come out with a good picture of it.  I also used Photoshop to take out all colors but red for a cool look of the bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco California

Just the reds of the bridge

11 – Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone provided so many great pictures but this one stood out.  I love the foreground reds with the smoke coming out of the geyser in the background.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

12 – Cannon Beach, Oregon

Haystack Rock is probably one of the most photographed places in Cannon Beach. One day we were strolling the beach and found ducks going for a swim in the ocean. This felt very odd, as I had never seen them do that before. They lined up perfectly with Haystack Rock in the background for a great picture.

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

13 -Vancouver

Vancouver and the surrounding British Columbia area is incredibly beautiful, especially in the summer. We snapped this picture on the way from Vancouver to Whistler.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver, British Columbia

14 – Butchart Gardens, Victoria

We took lots of great floral pictures in Butchart Gardens so it was hard to narrow it down.  I really like the aperture of this picture, with the flower focused while the greenery of the background takes a backseat.

Victoria, British Columbia

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia

15 – Alaska

I love photographing waterfalls.  We came upon this one in Alaska and it did not disappoint.  I set the shutter speed (ISO) at about 100 and set the aperture small enough to maximize focus (around f/10). That gives the water a more silky look as it falls.

Alaska Waterfall

Alaska Waterfall

16 – California Coast

The California coast is beautiful. I love the color of the water, the green grass and the orange cliffs.

California Coast

California Coast

17 – Alaska

The shadow of the rock is what struck me when I snapped this picture.  People stack these rocks — we saw lots of this when traveling around Alaska.  Not sure why they do it, but it does create a nice photo opportunity.

Stacked Rocks in Alaska

Stacked Rocks in Alaska

18 – Washington Coast

We stumbled onto this secluded beach when traveling along the Washington coast.  A lot of debris gets washed up along their shores and the trees are heavily washed by the thrashing ocean.

Washington Coast

Washington Coast

19 – Glacier Bay, Alaska

The glacier is obviously awesome but I happened to catch this seagull in mid flight, which adds a new dimension to the photo.  He was changing his direction, almost stopping on a dime.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

Glacier Bay, Alaska

20 – Husky in Alaska

How can you resist photographing such a cute puppy?  This Alaskan Husky will most likely run the Iditarod in Alaska when he grows up.

Alaskan Husky

Alaskan Husky

Cool Things To Do in Victoria, BC, Canada

Victoria British Columbia and Butchart Gardens

We had only 2 days to spend in Victoria, Canada before heading to Vancouver, BC so we wanted to ensure we hit the hot spots during our short stay.  We’ve found the best way to get acclimated to a new city is to do a city tour, so we try to do that on the first day.  If they have a land/water tour (duck or hippo boat tours), even better.   Once you’ve done a city tour, you then know where all the hot spots are and how to get to them on your own.

We did that during our visit to Victoria, BC, here are the 9 hot spots we hit while in Victoria:

  1. Hippo Land/Water tour
  2. Butchart Gardens
  3. Royal BC Museum
  4. Parliament buildings
  5. Fan Tam Alley in Chinatown
  6. Craigdarroch Castle
  7. Spinnaker Pub
  8. Fisherman’s Wharf
  9. Beacon Hill Park

For a slideshow of our trip, click here: http://www.webetripping.com/Gallery_USA_Canada_Victoria.asp.

Hippo Land / Water Tour

These land/water tours are always fun. Whether it be a “duck”, “hippo”, or any other creative acronym the marketing team comes up with, it is still a land/water tour and a lot of fun. I like the combination because  they take you through the town and show you the sites then plunge into the water to give you a different perspective from the harbor.

We’ve done several now and found that not all land / water tours are alike.  Sometimes they are party-like, with the guide playing fun theme songs as he/she cracks jokes and dresses up in costumes to match the playful banter.  The one we did in Seattle was like that and it was probably the most fun.

We’ve now done two in Canada (one in Halifax and this one in Victoria).  In both cases, they are a little more subdued and business-like.  Neither cracked as many jokes, dressed up in costume or played fun music.  But they did both give you a valuable tour of the city and you left with a good sense of how the city is laid out and where to go.  Maybe our Canadian friends are little more uptight, eh?

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Hippo: Land/Water tour

Hippo: Land/Water tour

From the Hippo tour

From the Hippo tour

Water taxis are $5 per trip

Water taxis are $5 per trip

From the Hippo tour

From the Hippo tour

Butchart Gardens

If you are crunched for time, this one is a must-see.  It is about 20 miles outside of the city so you need a car or arrange  for a guided tour that will pick up/return you back to your hotel.   You will probably spend a couple of hours here, more if you are really knowledgeable about plants and flowers.   You can even see it at night, as they light up the gardens.  We did not get a chance to do that but I wish we had.

Butchart is separated into different sets of gardens (Italian Garden, Japanese Garden, Sunken Garden, etc.).  Our favorite was the Sunken Garden. It was built in an old limestone quarry and is simply stunning (first picture below).  Its views show the expanse of flowers, trees and plants.   I am not a big garden-kind-of-guy but I really enjoyed it.

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

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Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Royal BC Museum

You can spend several hours in this museum.  When we were there, they had an exhibit about the antarctic explorers that raced to be the first to claim a visit to the South Pole.   Two teams headed for the South Pole, one from Britain and the other from a Norwegian team.  It tells their story via an exhibit and IMAX movie.

Additionally, it has a Natural History gallery, First People (Aboriginal) gallery, and a Modern History gallery that shows what the city of Victoria looked like in the past.  I especially enjoyed the First People gallery, as it had totem poles, tools made by the Aboriginals, and a lot about their history.  I found their fishing techniques very interesting.

Royal BC Museum

Royal BC Museum

Royal BC Museum

Royal BC Museum

Parliament Buildings

Each hour they will allow you to tour for free.  It was interesting to see how they govern and learn more about how their style of government is similar yet different from ours in the USA.

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Fan Tam Alley in Chinatown

Chinatown is only 2 blocks long, so it is a small section of town.  It offers lots of Chinese markets and eateries.  The most famous area is the Fan Tam Alley that boasts to be the narrowest street in Canada.  To me, it just looks like an alley, but hey, whatever floats their boat!

Narrowest street in Canada

Narrowest street in Canada

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle was completed in 1890 for Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune from Vancouver Island coal. This Victorian mansion, built on a hill overlooking the City of Victoria bragged to Western Canada that this was a rich and important family.

Robert died in 1889, before the home was completed, leaving the estate to his wife Joan who lived in the Castle until her death in 1908.  As you might imagine, no expense was spared in this house. You will see incredible woodwork, exquisite stained glass windows, and Victorian era Furnishings.

Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle

Spinnaker Pub

This is the oldest pub in Canada and offers a good variety of craft brewed ales.  We actually stayed in their B&B, so we could walk to the brewery very quickly. They offered a very nice Hefeweizen that we really enjoyed.  Unfortunately,I did not take any pictures of the pub.

Fisherman’s Wharf

The Wharf is a pretty small area but offers up views of the marina, floating homes, and boasts the best “fish ‘n chips’ in Victoria at Barb’s Fish and Chips.

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf

Beacon Hill Park

This is best known for the peacocks that roam the park and the kid’s petting zoo with about any animal a kid would like to see.  It also has totem poles and flows out to scenic views of the ocean.  As I was taking this picture of the peacock, it kept coming closer to me.   I am not sure if it wanted to attack me, wanted me to feed it, or just wanted me to her boyfriend.

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill