East to West

Tomorrow, the first of July, we celebrate Canada Day and I was thinking about how fortunate I have been to recently travel to both the east and west coasts. It’s an expansive, diverse, and beautiful country, and I am grateful to live here.

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians, and if you live south of the border, happy Fourth of July!

Boundary Bay, British Columbia

A silky Cape Breton sky.

Cape Breton bog flora. Below: Pitcher plants

All images © Karen McRae

Moving Day

A rare draw portion of Draw and Shoot…I posted an unfinished version of this previously but I think I’ve finally finished fussing with it.
Moving Day oil & conté on Mylar, mounted on board
18″ x 36″ (2 panels)

© Karen McRae, 2012


I’ve been examining some of the natural objects I’ve picked up over the last few months and I am always amazed at the extraordinary things that can be observed when one stops to really look.

This is a collection of small but very different natural works of art, etched out by time and environment.
This worn shell from Cape Breton reminds me of a delicate piece of filigree china.

It also appears to have tiny articulated legs!? Perhaps the calcified legs of some other creature, or some sort of plant growth, I really don’t know. Or maybe it’s just the way it’s wearing away. Any ideas?

This small stick I picked up from the shore of the Ottawa River is heavily engraved with “drawings” made by insects. The first thing that comes to my mind, is that it looks like a little carved totem pole.

Below are images taken of fossil-bearing rocks from the Ottawa area. The first three contain beautifully patterned fossils of tetradiids, which were solely Ordovician lifeforms. These fossils are quite small and were photographed using a macro lens.

Fossils in the abstract.

All images © Karen McRae

Okanagan Dusk & Dawn

Since posting these images I have done a little research and found out that this  sturdy looking boat has the eloquent name CN No.6 Tug. There is an interesting write-up about the tugboat here.

The Romp by sculptor Chong Fahcheong

Photographs from the Lake Okanagan waterfront in Penticton, BC

All images © Karen McRae


Looking out to Okanagan Lake and the surrounding landscape from the Penticton shoreline

We actually traveled to Penticton from Vancouver to go rock climbing at the Skaha Bluffs. Unfortunately, we hit the rainiest week of the year. The Okanagan area is high mountain desert and typically gets low rainfall. We did manage a few days of climbing and fortunately, it is also wine country.
Looking down on the vineyards along the beautiful Naramata Bench

All images © Karen McRae


Yesterday evening I returned home from more than two weeks in British Columbia. I was fortunate to have the window seat during the departing flight from Vancouver and managed a few quick shots of the rhythmic landscape of low tide.

If it seems as though I’m starting my journey at the end, I suppose I am. The last glimpses of land before a largely cloud-covered flight home. This departure is also a starting point. (Sometimes I read magazines backwards, too…)

All images © Karen McRae

Sea Jellies

Back to the Atlantic, and the tiny jellyfish off the Cape Breton coast. And I do mean tiny. The biggest one pictured here, being just over an inch big. To someone like myself, who lives far inland they do seem rather exotic and fascinating. They way they pulse and flow around in the water and the seemingly endless forms. I spent quite a bit of time observing them, and photographing them, using a macro lens. Scooping them into a white bucket and then returning them to the sea. Some, almost invisible, and no bigger than my smallest fingernail. Elegant creatures of grace.
It’s hard to imagine how such delicate soft-bodied creatures as jellyfish could end up on the fossil record but there are some examples. If, like me, you have an interest in fossils, you may want to check out this blog entry: Eternal Jellies in the World Ocean on Graham Young’s blog, Ancient Shore.

A young Pelagia (mauve stinger) jellyfish, just over an inch across.
You may have noticed there is a tiny crustacean (possibly an amphipod) hanging out the young Pelagia pictured above. Whatever it is, it had itself firmly attached.

Above:A small juvenile of the moon jelly, Aurelia

Above: Hydromedusae Aglantha
Below: A barely there Aglantha in disguise.

An adult Halitholus above and a juvenile below.

Comb jelly Pleurobrachia (Sea Gooseberry)
A comb jelly accompanied by a Tiaropsis on the right.
There were thousands of these tiny jellyfish near the shoreline. Tiaropsis, leptomedusan hydrozoanin.
*If any of these sea jellies appear to be identified incorrectly, please feel free to contact me.

It seems I’ve been away from the ocean for too long. There’s always the Pacific…
See you in a couple of weeks! 🙂

All images © Karen McRae, 2012