Peering through the windows at Allen Gardens

Peering through the windows at Allen Gardens

How about some odd shots from a trip I took to Allen Gardens in March? Ok, I didn’t go into the greenhouse, I lurked around the outside. The place was too crowded, so I stayed in the sunshine. I have a bunch of photos left over from winter shots but, in all honesty, I simply can’t stand looking at one more photo of snow and ice. They’ll have to wait until a heat wave hits and I need a bit of relief.

I wandered around the grounds for a while, taking shots of this and that, finally ending up behind the main building.  When I took the photos, I was interested in the lines and structure of the building itself. I didn’t realise I had captured the people inside until I processed the images. Some of the shots are delightful snippets of random strangers among the foliage.

Hey, look at this photo! – random photos at Allen Gardens

Each pane seems to tell a micro story. Photo taken from outside Allen Gardens

Looking through the windows at Allen Gardens

Hide and seek

Another view of the inside at Allen Gardens, through the windows

Each windowpane tells a different story

Man yelling at tree

Photo of people in the windows of Allen Gardens

Some of the stories are amusing without context

After I looked at these, I quickly threw them up on Instagram and then wished I’d taken more.  It’s interesting that each pane tells its own micro story.   I’ve looked at the settings I used and think a second trip is in order.  Now that the weather has improved, I have no excuse… but I’m sure I’ll find one to justify my inertia.

Trip along Yonge St – some long views

Trip along Yonge St – some long views

I’ve started carting the camera about on calls around the city. Yesterday was another gloomy old day in Toronto, which turned out to be excellent for testing settings. I walked along Yonge St. heading west and took lots of photos. Lots and lots. Different settings, different angles, different subjects. Oh boy, I’m such an amateur when it comes to DSLRs. But, it will come with practice. I’m struggling a bit with getting things in sharp focus. The framing is ok, but I haven’t mastered the art of staying still while taking the shot. Sigh. The pros make it looks so easy. Once I have that irritating part of photography mastered I think I’ll invest in what’s called the “nifty fifty” prime lens. Looking at the 50mm Canon lens, it seems like it might bring a new sharpness to my images. No sense getting that until I figure out how to stand still while clicking the shutter.

I’m still working on a good gallery sequence to use. But none so far tick all the boxes for me. I’ll keep looking. I’ll also set up a new section for the Mapping Toronto project. I’ll keep this section for random shots I want to share and the new section specifically for documenting each neighbourhood so the work flows better. I’m thinking of a different name for it as well, not sure what to call it. Any ideas?

Now, to yesterday’s photos. While scooting through them I noticed 2 that stood out because of the composition and contrasting content.

Lunch Break at Varsity Stadium

Photo of people eating lunch outside Vasity Stadium

Crossing at the Bata Museum

Photo of women waiting at lights by Bata Shoe MuseumSomething about the colours and long view with each person doing their own thing against a coloured backdrop intrigued me. I remember taking each photo, but didn’t see the connection until I blew both up on the screen and looked at the content carefully. After seeing these side by side I had one of those bingo moments and cropped them to match sizes. Yea, I’m pleased. I left them a bit underexposed primarily because it really was an awfully gloomy day and wanted that reflected in the photos.

Check out my previous posts if you want to see how my work is slowly progressing. And stop by my patron to support Bitter Grounds.

Went down to TIFF & took more photos of buildings – 150 King W

Went down to TIFF & took more photos of buildings – 150 King W

I’ve been watching videos by professional photographers, trying to learn how to correct what I consider bad photography habits. One piece of advice, that should be obvious but wasn’t, was “move around”. Basically, don’t just stand in one spot snapping away hoping to get a great shot. Look at all angles, move around and evaluate what you see. The second piece was don’t be afraid to correct lens distortion with Lightroom or Photoshop. So, I went out on the weekend with a mission to revisit a number of locales.

My favourite is the tower down on 150 King St W. I go by it quite a bit and have tried to take photos but, yikes, they aren’t worth looking at. I generally toss them in the trash bin. I now realise I was taking the same shot over and over. This time, I crossed the road (like I said, obvious tip) and walked around the building, looking at various angles. I took about a dozen random shots and sat down to look at them. I flipped through them – nope, nope, nope, distorted and unsalvagable, nope … now that one has potential. I went back to the spot and started taking photos from various angles, finally finding the right framing. Here it is: Photo of the building on 150 King St. W in Toronto

I almost fell on my ass bending back to take the photo. It’s dizzying looking up like that. But, I got the shot. It was important to grab the address as well. It makes the photo.

A little cropping and a bit of adjusting and Bob’s your uncle. One nice photo. I played with the tilt of the building and angles a bit, but undid them. There’s something about this particular tilting that helps fill in the sense of height and brings out the different angles in the buidling’s construction.

For a little point and shoot, my venerable Canon Powershot does a pretty fair job. The shot was a little grainy in spots for some reason, it has a habit of breaking down along defined edges, so I simply capitalised on it and used an HDR filter to emphasis the graininess. Can’t wait to get my hands on a shiny new DSLR, I’m already oggling some decent used lenses for the future. But, first, I need to get in the habit of framing the photo, looking at it from all angles and moving around more.