(Note: Your browser changes font & format. Folder is far more attractive.)
The Empress Hotel Victoria, BC, Canada With a vision of the future, it was Captain James Troup who helped make The Express Hotel a reality. Former master of an elegant stern-wheeler plying the Columbia River, his dream of bringing the spirit of elegance to a deluxe hotel in Victoria, coupled with a ferry system linking Victoria to Vancouver, would cater to the rich and famous heading north to their playgrounds in Alaska by ship, before the era of the airplane.
As any good Western Drama must have a "partner", Troup and George Barnard, (though neither having a dark-sided moniker, and whose partnership didn't end in a bar-room gunfight), together at the dawn of the 20th. century sold this grand vision to the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Troup then headed off to England to supervise the construction of the first ferry, "Princess Victoria", which after many faithful years of service became affectionately known as "Old Vic".
Back in Victoria, amidst howls of derision, Barnard proposed building a causeway across James Bay, with the water behind to be filled in with mud & gravel. To stabilize the foundation of this eleven-story building upon these newly created lands, he proposed driving foundation pylons 125 feet deep.
Francis Rattenbury, who also designed the Parliament Building & Crystal Gardens among other noteworthy structures in Victoria, was chosen as designer.
Construction began in 1904. Without the benefit of modern heavy construction machinery, the hotel was built mainly by hand and horse-drawn wagons over a span of four years. On January 20, 1908, the first guest signed the register of The Empress Hotel.
The Guest List has been legendary: Kings, Queens, Princesses & statesmen have enjoyed its regal splendor. Perhaps the most endearing yet least known story about this stately building took place when His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited in 1993. A distracted desk clerk hearing only the word "llama", and thinking the question concerned bringing the animal llama to The Empress Hotel, replied: "We accept small dogs 20 lbs. & under, and in exceptional cases possibly other animals, but sorry sir, under no circumstances can we accept a llama at The Empress Hotel"! Upon being told of this, the Dalai Lama laughed with mirthful glee.
Phantograms Please read before viewing You are about to experience a "PHANTOGRAM"; a new variation of 3-D photography. Phantograms defy logic & rise magically straight up into thin air as opposed to 3-D images whose visual depth extends from the front to the back.
We perceive depth because each eye sees foreground and background information from a slightly different perspective and the brain then calculates the depth. In an Anaglyph print (red/blue), the left and right images are printed together, and the glasses decode the two separate images. Thus, Anaglyph glasses are required to see this unique type of image.
As the image must remain steady when viewing, place it on a flat horizontal surface like a table. View in bright even light, (shaded daylight best), at a 45 degree angle. (ie. 2 feet above and 2 feet away/ NOT straight on like other pictures). If holding, hold horizontal at waist level, arms length in front of you. Light glare on the image from any source when viewing will destroy the illusion.
For MOST PROFOUND effect; & I promise you a real "WOW"!!!, cup your hands around the glasses isolating the image.
If you wear reading glasses, use them too. Take your time; allow yourself to be amazed! As your brain has never had to process this kind of visual information before, something SO PROFOUNDLY DIFFERENT, it might take a few moments of looking before The Empress Hotel amazingly rises into thin air before your eyes.
In this age of computer graphics & million dollar special effects, people often assume that visuals which still amaze must be computer generated. Though Phantograms can be drawings or computer generated, it has only been recently that these spellbinding images have been made through photographic means.
This image of The Empress Hotel required hundreds of hours of pre-flight planning, then designing and building special camera equipment, that culminated in a helicopter flight on June 28/05 @ 7:50pm. at a precise speed, trajectory and elevation, 1200' above the harbour.
Though for some this image may appear as a gimmick, enormous time and energy was expended to make what I hope creates for all an expression of "WOW!", a sense of wonder, yet is still perceived as a work of Art.
Concept, production & aerial photography: Gary Greenspoon (Victoria, BC. Canada)
Digital rendering: Steve Boddy (London, UK)