VICTORIA -- When Rodrigo first arrived here from Chile, he was struck by the Garry Oak meadows.

“The branches are so strange and beautiful,” he says, before pointing at the wildflowers blooming below. “The colours, it’s so overwhelming — in a wonderful way!”

So, Rodrigo tried to capture the feeling of it all, by focusing his camera on something really small.

“I wanted to make it big and have an immersive experience,” he says, while kneeling on the ground and placing his camera as close as it can get to a flower. Later Rodrigo shows me the videos of bright blooms bursting from the screen and busy creatures interacting with them.

Seeing the beauty was only half of it, Rodrigo realized, hearing it was the other. It’s a mesmerizing experience to hear the tap-tap-tap of bee’s feet walking around the inside a flower, or the bass notes of a slug slithering across a leaf.

The experience of filming the moment, editing the footage, and viewing it after seemed to refocus Rodrigo’s mind away from the uncertainty of enduring the pandemic to the certainty of appreciating his surroundings.

“I think paying attention to the small things brings a lot of joy,” he smiles. “[I thought] this might help other people.”

So Rodrigo started sharing his videos on YouTube to provide moments of relief and meditation.

“I think I realized it’s a way to give back,” he says. It was a way to thank this place and the people who live here.

You see, Rodrigo and his partner are sort of stuck on the island after arriving shortly before the pandemic began. They decided to extend their stay until it was safe to travel again, because they could work remotely. They couldn’t help but fall in love with the place.

“I just wanted to give people something they find interesting and enjoy,” he says. “To witness or experience things that sometimes people don’t.”

While the creation of his grateful gifts began by looking down on the ground, Rodrigo is now expanding his video offerings by climbing up to higher elevations to share fresh perspectives on familiar places.

He’s made a series of videos, using a couple of camera tricks, to make moments around the capital look miniature. One makes Victoria’s inner harbour, the Empress and the Legislature Buildings look like tiny sets, surrounded by wee creatures scurrying around to ride toy-sized harbour ferries and float planes that you could pick up effortlessly.

“Now we’re watching ourselves small, and for me that’s kind of comforting,” Rodrigo smiles. “We’re just another species moving around, just like we see ants.”

And if we can see that we’re part of something so much bigger – which includes all the things that seem so much smaller – perhaps we’ll find ourselves becoming so much more grateful for the beauty that surrounds us.