Recording Duncan

Here is the continueing story from the post before this one. At that time I walked around town very early in that dark night. Clicking away with my phone camera set me to thinking, the way I think so often, about photographing everything as a record for the future. Different cities around the world have these type of photographs in their archives, the ones that you stand in front of the building photograph and move on to the next.
For this post I started photographing about half an hour before the oficial sunrise. The closer I came to sunrise and going beyond it, the more the natural light interfered with the colors I wanted.
I’m showing a few of the same buildings photographed in the post before this one.

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duncan 032_165 Kenneth Street

duncan 023_187 Kenneth Street

duncan 041_116 Kenneth Street

So these are a few of the storefronts that light up Kenneth Street. The new construction shows what kind of development is in the planning for this area. It’s a shame that the downtown core, about 6 blocks down to the railroad track, cannot be preserved for posterity in the mid of future tall steel and concrete development that will dwarf even city hall’s tower.

I like to show a building one block over. This building, even though with history, cannot be long for this world. Nothing pretty it’s just old. Across the road from it was Duncan’s Chinatown. The building housed the Chow Brothers convenience store. The store had a little of everything, a great comic and magazine section, and single cigarettes. Closing its doors coincided with the beginning of Duncan’s new era of growth, renewal, change.

duncan 083 mant06

duncan 080 mant06

Nothing like an invigorating early morning walk through Duncan with its very cool air. I have cold hands to show for it. Glad you came along and hope to see you soon again.

More images of this project are being uploaded to my Flickr Duncan set of photogaphs.


One early morning in Duncan

One morning getting up before the sun I took some photographs of buildings I’d never aimed the camera at until this time. As the sun rose the light and colors became more exotic. However little of that color shows in these photos, as I was after a different effect. The bottom line always is about depicting some kind of reality. Looking at the City Hall, formerly, a very long time ago, the post office the sun was no more than a gleam.

City Hall

City of Duncan, City Hall

Duncan has its share of older brick buildings and that beautiful low building style of those days.

170 Craig St, now The Matraea Centre

At any rate the sun now touches town and first of all the housing facility for some of our elderly, at the end of this road.

Craig Street

Walking to where the sun breaks into the scenery brings the Cowichan Tribes government buildings into view.

Cowichan Tribes

Amid the lush growth of the Cowichan Valley these buildings fit very nicely and leave space for idyllic and playful little spots.

Cowichan Tribes7

It is partially the photo editing and partly the rapidly changing light that make for the coloring difference in the next photograph.

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Here are a few more buildings from these grounds.

Cowichan Tribes, Allenby Road

Cowichan Tribes

Time to walk back for a close up of that nice little statue in front of City Hall.

Duncan City Hall

The common ingredient of these photographs is that beside the normal amount of photoshopping they have also had a run in with Pixlr Express, an online photo editor.

From scenic to…

This blog as it developed, is hopefully recording some  history with aesthetic portrayal of what I see around me, as well as being a platform for stuff that I feel is important to the continual presence and happiness of people on this ball in the universe that I keep on photographing where ever I can.
The other day I went back to that historic Kinsol trestle and climbed down to the Koksilah River (of course not on the easy side, one side of the river is always better than the other). I wasn’t interested overly much in the trestle as much as in the landscape. There are definitely more interesting landscapes than around that area. I remember my wife, at the time fresh from England, saying “trees, trees, trees,..” and there are fewer of them now but it does not so much show in this area.
Like every other season autumn is the time to photograph, so I photographed and came up with the same old.
Then I moved on to Glenora just outside Duncan to check out the Cowichan River area there.
However, originally my photographs were very much about people. In the eighties most of my on location and studio work was portrait photography. Now I don’t do that sort of thing much anymore (anti social old f…). When a person is needed in my scenario I use myself if that works, but these images tend to stay private.
The other day I was experimenting with low light (dark) situations. This camera is by no means tops in that respect and night time photography is high on my list of favourites, so these things gotta be figured out (I do grainy things with my phone camera outside in the middle of the night and love some of the results). Anyway, here is one of the images shot with Oly. Reading through its properties first of all you notice that it is a  photoshopped image. Actually I didn’t do very much psing. First of all the color was removed and then some put back in again.
Here, except for some avatars, is my first online self portrait.

Buildings that have disappeared

I think it was mid 1990s when I started to upload old photos.  Years later when  Photobucket first strutted its stuff I courageously put everything on line and later moved to Flickr and finally Picasa (I am a Picasa guy). The photos were taken with an M4P and later also with FM2 and F3 camera bodies all touting topnotch lenses. During one or more of my uploadings, in my ignorance, I lost all the info and resolution these photos had in them and they turned into 200 kb files give or take.  At the time I did not even realize it. Then in a major upheaval I lost most of the old photo collection. Right now because I don’t like the quality of these images they are in a private Picasa file. However just for fun I am showing some photos of long gone structures.

The first photo is the Youbou saw mill on Cowichan Lake.  The deep lake must still have well preserved logs that have sunk to the bottom. The mill was dismantled around 1990 or 1991 and this photo was taken 1980 or thereabouts.

All the original hotels in Duncan are gone. The final two to go were the Commercial Hotel, which rebirthed as the Phoenix Station Motor Inn after it burned down, and the Tzouhalem Hotel which was demolished in 1990. The Commercial was not a pretty building but I could rent a bathroom there in the early seventies. The tub was large enough for an army and every week once or twice  my girlfriend and I would rent a bathroom for a dollar and were provided with two large towels. Great deal. Also the lounge on the second floor looked out over the railroad track and, especially during summer, was a very pleasant place to take a load off (especially after a bath there). I have no photos of that building. The Tzouhalem had an okay lounge and, like the Commercial, a humongous beer parlor one could not look out of or look into. The beer parlor opened at nine o’clock making it the earliest one in town. Pretty well up to its final days that beer parlor had a men’ side and women’s side to it. A man could only sit with the women if he had a woman accompanying him. Often the men’s side was a lot wilder but definitely not always. Here are two photos of the building. I wish I had some different angles, but this’ll have to do.

For the final photo I selected a tea house which was still open (sometimes) when first I visited here in 1965, but that time marked its final days. Situated on the Cowichan Bay Rd just off today’s highway it serviced the past century travellers on their way down island or up island. Once the new highway was built its high times were over even though  tennis players from the Cowichan Bay grass courts must have still frequented the place. I have never been able to find any information about it on the internet. Today its location is overgrown and there are no signs that a tea house once was there.

As an after thought I’m adding another photo. It is related to the Cowichan Valley Forest Museum. Gerry Wellburn, who was logging the Shawnigan area before selling to McMillan ( if I remember my history right McMillan Bloedel became what it was with the acquirement of the Wellburn operation), started the museum in his backyard on Waters Rd in Glenora. The estate was beautifully landscaped with a gorgeous garden maintained for his wife. I think that was his way, at the time, of keeping her happy in the middle of nowhere. When the museum there became too much of an invasion of privacy it relocated to its present location. His daughter and son in law, Jack and Lois Philips (the best people one could possibly meet) managed the property  in the eighties and hired me as a live in caretaker. Those were five excellent years that allowed me to develop some business in photography (studio and location portraits and weddings).  At any rate getting back to the point of the story, when everything museumwise was being moved to the new property, there was also quite a bit of stuff left behind. Some vehicles in sheds and other memorabalia elsewhere on that land. The following photograph shows me some thirty years ago handling a snow plow.