Tuesday, August 18, 2015

TWO NEW PHOTO PORTFOLIOS: Hebrides and Iceland

I'm proud to announce the publication of two new portfolios recording my explorations of the Scottish Hebrides and Iceland in September 2014.

Three Weeks, Fifteen Islands documents my exploration of the Inner and Outer Hebrides off Scotland's northwest coast. I travelled by land, sea and air from Arran in the south to Lewis in the north. 

One of many highlights was a week's cruise on a converted trawler that visited Mull, Staffa, and Iona, and included a wildlife safari too. Another was landing on the beach at Barra in the Outer Hebrides.

The land steams. Volcanoes erupt. Earthquakes rumble. Mud boils. Geysers gush.

Halló Iceland is the visual journal of my adventures in northern and southern Iceland in late-September 2014. The boon and the curse of seismic activity has defined the land and the people of Iceland since the mid-800s. Its natural beauty is breathtaking, sometimes desolate, and always revealing....

© Photos by Pharos 2015. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


After cancelling our two major trips this year, we are taking day trips around home. We live close to Vancouver in Port Moody and many places beg for a visit and photography. Although I've lived here for nearly fifty years, there's much left to explore.

Our first day out involved a five minute cruise after a half-hour drive. Barnston Island lies smack in the middle of the Mighty Fraser river in southern British Columbia, sandwiched between Surrey on the south bank and Pitt Meadows on the north. The ferry dock is accessed at the eastern end of 104th Avenue in Surrey,

This triangular-shaped, small island was named after George Barnston, a naturalist and clerk in the fur trade who arrived here in 1827 when Fort Langley was established. Now it's a farming community with cleared land and houses scattered around, most of which belong to the Katzie First Nation on the south side of the island.

The free ferry takes vehicles and passengers across Parson's Channel on a large raft strapped onto a powerful tug. It sails across the river crabwise in the strong current and the tug's captain has to be a master ship handler to dock successfully on either side. Drivers need to know that they will have to reverse either on or off the ferry up a steep ramp. Most visitors park their vehicles on the Surrey side and walk onto the ferry with bicycles. I tackled the intimidating reversing.

Traffic-free and flat, Dyke Road runs 10kms around the island close to the river and we stopped often to take photos of the magnificent views. On the north side, visitors can see the entire span of the new Golden Ears Bridge with its backdrop of mountains (last photo below). We were lucky, the cloudscapes were dramatic and enhanced the images we took.

The Fraser river is a working river and there is always something to watch: log booms, tugs towing barges and booms, light aircraft taking off on the other side from Pitt Meadows airport, and pleasure craft pushing their way upstream against the current.

On Barnston's northwest point is a tiny regional park with peek-a-boo views through the trees. Here too are the only public restrooms and shady picnic tables on the island. We spent an enjoyable thirty minutes watching a tug bring a huge log boom alongside others with consummate skill against the current before having our picnic and heading home.

IMAGES: © Photos by Pharos. All rights reserved 

Click on the images to enlarge

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Once in a while life throws a curveball at travelers' plans. I had two in a row this year that cancelled two major trips. My husband's health has been poor since we were in Iceland last fall and he had to have surgery. It was successful but his heart didn't like it.

First to go was my trip to the Travel Media Association of Canada's 2015 conference followed by a cruise to Georgian Bay and two days in Montebello Quebec. Second was our Pacific Northwest road trip. These were complicated itineraries to cancel. But in neither case did we lose any money, thanks to travel insurance, credit card policies, and knowing the cancellation dates of all the accommodations.

I have never had to actually cancel big trips before and was very glad that we always keep a list of the "Last date to cancel." Also my precaution of never booking anything that does not have a clearly-stated cancellation policy and having good travel insurance paid off handsomely.

It's was a big disappointment, but it was the right action to take, especially as in both cases we would have been in some remote areas far from good hospitals.

I partially made up for the loss by attending the British Columbia Highland Games in June — I love all things Scottish, but especially the pipes. I spent a happy day with Bella, my Nikon, and several more afterwards editing the results. We are also planning to take two or three day getaways close to home.

Highland dancer practising
for the competition
The Vancouver Police Pipe Band

IMAGES: © Photos by Pharos 2015. All rights reserved

Friday, May 1, 2015


Scarinish, Tiree
In the first four months of 2015 I enjoyed a publishing bonanza with my travel articles and images from the Scottish Hebrides and northern and southern Iceland  – to read them, click on "My articles" above or visit my website. On the strength of these, four more requests brightened my inbox.

Crofter's cottage
Future plans include: In mid-May, I visit Galiano Island for some photography and relaxation after a stressful six months of health challenges. After that, it's off to the Travel Media Association of Canada's 2015 conference in Peterborough, ON, followed by a river cruise to Georgian Bay with Ontario Waterway Cruises and a visit to Montebello, Quebec.

And later, my husband and I are planning a five week road trip in September to explore places we've never seen in Washington State, Oregon, and northern California.
Trekking to Solheimajökull, Iceland

All images:
 © Photos by Pharos 2014. All rights reserved

Saturday, January 3, 2015


My New Year of 2015 started with a bang.

After being on the road for nine weeks in June and September in Canada and later in Scotland and Iceland, the articles I wrote and the images I took are beginning to be published.

As many North Americans start planning their vacations in the New Year, January is a sought-after month for exposure for tour companies, cruise lines, etc. So as a travel journalist, I'm very pleased with the placements.

So here are the links to the first of my assigned articles about my cruises on southern Ontario waterways and my cruise in the southern Hebrides of Scotland.

On board the Glen Tarsan of the Majestic Line
© Photos by Pharos 2014