Monthly Archives: August 2014

Wedding Photos of Strangers

When it comes to weddings, I’m kind of pervy. Maybe pervy is too strong a word. I’m a wedding voyeur. When I see a wedding party during that in-between time after the ceremony and before the dinner, it piques my curiosity. What do they look like? Does the marriage stand a chance? What are they wearing? Are they victims of cookie-cutter celebrity culture? Or are they showing something of themselves here?

The first in this series is one of the first photos I ever took with a DSLR camera – an Olympus E-1. I was on holidays in Quebec City and passed a church in the old town as a wedding was spilling out of the doors and onto the street. The girl on the left looks supremely bored.

Wedding in Quebec City

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Sign of the Times

I shot this somewhere on Wellesley Street. Liked the textured rust of the sign set against the blurred (& therefore untextured) background of the apartment buildings.
Sign of the Times

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Chorley Park Switchback Trail

So I’m standing above the site of the old quarry behind the Toronto Brickworks, tripod set up with my 70-200 mm, shooting across the ponds and paths below, captivated by the Z cut into the far hill, when I hear a voice behind me: “What are you taking a picture of?” It’s an elderly woman out for walk. I tell her I like the pattern in the side of the hill and the contrast between the yellow construction materials and the green foliage. “Oh that,” she says. “I thought maybe you were taking a picture of a bird or something.” I explain that I shoot whatever grabs my eye. “Oh,” she says. “Well, it may be interesting to look at, but I think it’s just dreadful what they’ve done to the hill. They’re building one of those on this side, too, you know. Up to Chorley Park. Horrible the way we’re losing all this natural space.” I stare out across the former quarry — now reclaimed land — and scratch my head. Maybe I’m missing something here.

Switchback out of the Toronto Brickworks

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Buskerfest Toronto – The Watchers

Mostly, people go to Buskerfest to watch the buskers, but the people watching the buskers can be just as fun to watch. So, for example, we have this crowd watching circus performers. Good wholesome family entertainment, right? But I wonder if any of them realize they are standing underneath the Love Shop’s sign with its suggestive image.

Buskerfest - Standing under the Love Shop sign

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Buskerfest Toronto – The Performers

This weekend, Toronto hosted Buskerfest. Yonge Street between College and Queen was closed to traffic and became a big stage for street performers and food vendors.

Buskerfest - Music Box

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Under the Glen St. Bridge, Toronto

In Toronto, the Rosedale neighbourhood is noted for its many well-appointed homes. I recently toured one such home which is easily accessed from the Park Drive Reservation Trail. There is a broad, well-lit entrance that makes a bold statement when guests arrive.

Graffiti under the Glen St. Bridge

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Charles Tennant

This is an obscure visual joke. It’s a photo of the monument to Charles Tennant that stands in the necropolis behind Glasgow Cathedral. Charles Tennant was the man who invented bleaching powder. It made Mr. Tennant rich and contributed to Glasgow’s reputation as a hub of the industrial world. The joke: to treat this photo, I used a bleach bypass, one of the filters from Nikon’s Color Efex Pro Photoshop Plugin. Ha, ha, ha! And if you’re really sharp, you’ll note the irony that something (harsh weather?) has eaten away Mr. Tennant’s face. The same thing happened to his employees two centuries ago. Exposure to the chemicals used in manufacturing bleach did to his workers’ faces pretty much the same thing that time and acid rain have done to his statue.

Monument to Charles Tennant, Glasgow Necropolis

Monument to Charles Tennant, Glasgow Necropolis

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Shooting Lightning

Lightning StrikeThis is my first and, so far, only experiment with lightning. I feel like Benjamin Franklin. Technically, lightning isn’t that hard to do. Use a wide lens to take in a good swath of the sky (you never know where the flash will happen). Focus on something, like a tree or a building. Since focusing in the dark is difficult, set your aperture to something narrow, like f22. Leave the shutter open for 30 seconds. Tripod is essential. Repeat again and again and again until lightning strikes in a way that makes you happy. The challenge of lightning is that it’s inconvenient. I don’t like inconvenient, so I have to rely on luck. In this case, I was lucky because I was standing on a porch, sheltered from the rain. And I was in the middle of nowhere so I didn’t have to contend with light pollution. As a city-dweller in a condo, I don’t have a porch. I don’t even have a balcony. I barely have windows. The only time I’m standing on a porch in the country is … well … um … almost never. So like I said, I have to rely on luck.

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Walking Along Church Street

Smoking a cigarette

Cigarette Break

Walking Up Church

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Open Streets TO

Open Streets TO made its first appearance in Toronto on Sunday (Aug. 17, 2014) and will come back again on Aug 31st. Bloor St. from Parliament to Spadina, and Yonge St. from Bloor to Queen are closed to vehicles so that people can enjoy the streets in a safe & healthy environment. There are no outside vendors, so you get to enjoy whatever shops happen to be along the way.

Walking along Bloor St. without fear of being taken out by a car.

Walking along Bloor St. without fear of being taken out by a car.

Looking west along Bloor from Avenue Road

Looking west along Bloor from Avenue Road

Playing Trumpet in front of Holt Refrew

Playing Trumpet in front of Holt Refrew

Jumping rope by the Matt Cohen Parkette

Jumping rope by the Matt Cohen Parkette

Wearing traditional costume in front of the ROM

Wearing traditional costume in front of the ROM

Dancing in front of the ROM

Dancing in front of the ROM

Getting to touch a horn in front of the ROM

Getting to touch a horn in front of the ROM

Lion Dance in front of the ROM

Lion Dance in front of the ROM

Drumming for the Lion Dance in front of the ROM

Drumming for the Lion Dance in front of the ROM

Child Reacts to the Lion Dance in front of the ROM

Child Reacts to the Lion Dance in front of the ROM

Mayoral Candidate, Olivia Chow, meets the public.

Mayoral Candidate, Olivia Chow, meets the public.

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