Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Friday, March 23, 2018

Peeking through the windows @ Allen Gardens

I've been wandering around casing out various neigbourhoods, testing possible routes for the Mapping Toronto project (read an update here) and found myself at Allen Gardens on the weekend.  AG is a wonderful conservatory plonked in the downtown area of Toronto. The greenhouses cover 16,000 square feet of land, and is usually a beehive of activity.  I haven't visited in years. I lurked around outside taking photos of the buildings. Along the backside, there is a stretch of windows that presented an interesting exercise, the sun was intense and the glare from the white window frames made setting the exposure difficult. So I fussed for awhile taking a number of random shots, testing out new ideas and then toddled off home. I fired up the photos and was surprised I managed to capture the plants inside quite well, which was one of the aims. But, the unexpected bonus was the occassional face framed by citrus fruit and leaves: Photo of the windows at the back of Allen Gardens

The long view gave a hint of what was there so I cropped a bit, played with the contrast and exposure and came up with this series of intriguing snippets of a Saturday afternoon at Allen Gardens:

Read more: Peeking through the windows @ Allen Gardens

Corner of Yonge & St Clair

Interesting things are happening at Yonge & St Clair. The dowdy old corner is getting a much needed face lift. While it's undergoing renovations, the owner has put up some interesting eye candy for us to enjoy:  Photo of the NW corner of Yonge and St Clair

If you are in the neigbourhood,  hop off the subway, go to street level and saunter to  the Yonge & St. Clair intersection for the show.

Photo of corner of Yonge and St Clair

Shifting foot to foot in the cold, just to photograph a bunch of ducks

I really don’t do well in the cold.  Keep that in mind when you look at today’s photo offering. I trotted down to Queen’s Quay to snap a few photos of the ice. I usually avoid going down to the harbour during winter because it can be bitter but got this notion in my head that I had – yes had – to photograph ice on the lake. Not a clue why. And yet I did.

I’m glad I didn’t wimp out. Not a lot of photos, but a few that pleased me.  The day’s adventure was about testing settings to get the best colour balance. I didn’t exactly cover myself with glory on that end. Quite a few awful pictures, although a few stood out. I scoured them, trying to figure out what worked, what didn’t and think I’ll go back down in a week to try some new settings.

One thing I didn’t know was Toronto is the winter home to ducks that paddle around the tundra all summer.  

Photo of long-tailed ducks at Toronto harbour

They are Long-tailed ducks. Funny thing, I didn’t see a single Canada goose, but I saw quite of few of thee elegant looking birds. My lens really isn’t ideal for taking long shots of wildlife, but it did an admirable job. I didn’t know one of the birds had reared up like that until I was home looking over the photos. I’ll post a few more tomorrow after I’ve finished cropping them down.

Read more: Shifting foot to foot in the cold, just to photograph a bunch of ducks

Tired of winter yet? How about just a few more photos of snow?

Despite my grumblings about snow and cold, I still ventured into it Saturday. I didn’t take my DSLR and instead relied on my cell phone camera. It’s pretty good for quick shots when I go from point a to point b.  

I’ve taken shots of this crabapple tree numerous times because it presents such a striking image.  

Photo of crabapple tree covered in snow

It lends itself to black and white rather well. Unfortunately, the cell phone doesn’t capture shadows and edges when the light isn’t optimal and produces too much noise for my liking.  I really should have taken the DSLR with me, but I was too lazy.

Read more: Tired of winter yet? How about just a few more photos of snow?

Snow in the morning - a trip through the Annex

I lugged my camera with me this morning as I tromped through the Annex on the way to a job.

Photo of a snowy day in the Toronto Annex

I usually don't take it with me on snowy days. I'm a cold wimp and don't like to linger in the chill, but something about today made me decide to "be a Canadian" and embrace the cold.

Read more: Snow in the morning - a trip through the Annex

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Catpaw with a pint & a typical bad haircutTime for a new look - the venerable cat on a postage stamp is now retired. As much as I loved him, it was time for a face lift - bad haircut & all. 

"The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself."

- Albert Camus

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