On New Year's Day, I drove down to Victoria to meet with my brother and his partner for lunch - they were spending a few days in British Columbia's capital city. Both the weather and the traffic conditions were mild, so the drive down took less time than usual and I quickly found a parking spot near the restaurant where we were to meet. With time on my hands, I wandered around Victoria's Chinatown, and soon found one of the most picturesque and historic alleys in Canada - Fan Tan Alley.
Fan Tan Alley was once the home of opium dens and gambling dens - the gambling dens being called Fan Tan Guan, from which the alley gets its name. Today, it houses an eclectic mix of little shops, galleries and studios.
If it looks familiar to those who have never visited Victoria, perhaps you may recall a certain chase scene in Bird on a Wire (starring Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson), in which the handlebars of the bike practically grazed either side of the brick walls. At its narrowest, the alley is only 1.2 meters wide.
Red brick reaching sky high, bold trim for doors and windows, sunlight streaming in through the narrow opening at the far end. I love brick - always have - and I love cheerful colours, so I couldn't get enough of photographing this space. You might say I clicked away to my heart's content.
Add a cat to the mix, and I am in animal-loving photographer's heaven.
A passerby told me the cat lives there, but as the store was not yet open, and a gate to what appeared to be an inner courtyard was also closed and locked, kitty spend his or her time staring hopefully at the door knob, waiting for it to turn.
As I'm currently sidelined from both driving and photography with an arm/shoulder injury (but gradually getting back my ability to work at the computer for short periods of time), I decided to play about with my photo editing program a bit, using some of the more dramatic options to digitally alter one photo to give it many different looks. Here's the original, followed by three of several variations of the same photo.
Fan Tan Alley - original
Edge Sketch effect
Fan Tan Alley - not to be missed, if you are ever in Victoria, British Columbia.