Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Dreariest artwork in the city – TTC Union station fail

Art work on Union TTC platform

I’m sure my friends are a little tired of hearing me mutter about the artwork in the Union TTC station. I’ve been nattering on for months now. I’m not a person who thinks art should be all fluffy lambs and pretty scenery – art can and should challenge. I like gamboling livestock, don’t get me wrong, but I really enjoy art that offers me something new each time I see it. There is a lot of modern Canadian art I’ve grown to deeply appreciate. Which brings me to the title of this photo essay: “Dreariest artwork in the city”. When the TTC renovated the Union stations, they did a great job. Big, bright, roomy. And then they slapped up some of the most depressing images on the platform:

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Toronto photographs - streetcars & street scenes

 Toronto's rare & elusive new streetcars are slowly becoming easier to spot. They have a nifty space age look to them and sound like they are humming along the tracks. There should be dozens on the road now, but  they are still an unusual site.  If you take the Spadina route on a regular basis, you stand a better chance of seeing one.  Imagine my surprise back in January when I saw one rolling down King Street:

TTC streetcar on  King Church

Haven't seen another down there since.  And it's a route that desperately needs the bigger street cars.

Read more: Toronto photographs - streetcars & street scenes

Closeup photography - spring plants - Fern unravelling

thumbnail fern

Can't really call what I do macro photography, although I generally use the macro filter on my smartphone. It's more closeup than macro. I'm saving for a nice Canon camera that will let me swap lenses. I really want a quality macro lens for those tight, upclose shots. Plus I want to shoot in Raw. I used to, but got lazy and stopped. My old digital cameras just aren't up to snuff any longer. In the meantime, I amuse myself with my little smartphone camera. I bought small point and shoot Sony the other day for my Mom to use. I'm going to take it out tomorrow and test drive it's quality. I'm going to test it on some of Toronto's architecture with a trip down to the historic First Post Office museum. I'll let you know how I fare.

Looking back on my smart photos, I'm a bit pleased with a number of them. Not the super high quality I want (yea, I'm a pixel snob at heart), but they keep me content. Spring is now firmly in the air in Toronto - bright sunny sky, snow melting and a hint of warmth in the air.  One reason I want a macro lens is pretty basic - flowers and bugs in the gardens. Toronto is a paradise of green.  I live right on the edge of the Ravine (read more about Toronto's Ravines here) and often poke around down there. If you are a fungus fan, it's a rich source for photographs, not to mention delicate little wild flowers.

Read more: Closeup photography - spring plants - Fern unravelling

March on Yonge & Yorkmills - blasted and depressing

Not all photographs should document the lovely and pretty.  Sometimes, there isn't anything to be done about a view, but they should still be taken.  Certain sections along Yonge St in Toronto can be bleak at best; concrete wastelands at their worse. I pad all over the city and periodically I'm taken by the view - not because it's breath takingly lovely, but because it's shockingly grey and grim. 

A small section on Yonge, just north of York Mills is one of those stretches. If you're driving, you likely don't notice because you zip by so quickly. But I take public transit or walk everywhere so I see a lot. I'm up there about 20 times each year and even in the summer, it's shockingly boring.  Here's the view as you walk up the little hill:

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Cuban farm shot - 2007

Here's a shot from a trip I took to Cuba in 2007.  I used my beloved, much missed Nikon Coolpix E990.  That camera took excellent photos. I abandoned it for a different model that let me use filters but I get all nostalgic for it every once in awhile. It was so easy to use. 

Smartphone cameras are fun and can produce some excellent results, but I miss using a full camera. I'm going to save and pick up an SLR that will allow me to swap lens and use filters.  I have my eye on a Canon Rebel with a Canon EF 100MM F2.8 USM Macro and a few filters, but short of Canon donating one to me, that will be dream for awhile.  No idea if I can remember how to use the fancy schmancy camera, but it'll be fun relearning.

Read more: Cuban farm shot - 2007

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"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."

- Dorothea Lange

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