Harbourfront expedition & some awesome photos

Harbourfront expedition & some awesome photos

Ok, I’m biased. I think the photos from my Friday trip to Toronto’s Harbourfront are pretty good.  Lots of great landscape and activity to play around with and the weather was wonderful.  The last time I was down at the Harbourfront, I nearly froze my tail feathers off. It was all ice, wind and waterfowl back in Feb. Friday’s trip was sunshine, people enjoying the weather and lots of fun things to photograph. 

The area is ripe for anyone who wants to photograph boats and the Toronto Island, but it was a bit too early for sailboats. Only one was pottering around on the water so I turned my attention to the spectacular north view of the city. By steadying the camera on some posts, I managed to try a bit of bracketing.  Some shots didn’t have the desired effect, and one or two wowed me:

North view of Toronto skyline from waterfront

I especially liked the little swallow that swept through when I hit the shutter.  And yes, I did some processing, I threw it into NIX’s HDR to really bump up the sharpness. There is some graininess but it was worth it to get those water reflections right.  There’s a bit of fringing around the buildings, so I’ll still have to work on that.

This shot begged to be converted to black and white.

Black and white photo of row of benches in the shade

I’ve been experimenting with black and white quite a bit. It’s interesting what works and what doesn’t.  The colour version was an okay photo, but had no focal point. Converting forced the eye to follow the shadows rather than dodge around the photo.

After sitting for awhile, I circled back to the Power Plant to watch glass blowers work.  Now, this presented an interesting problem. The furnace lighting created a few issues with exposure. Wow, intense light, darker surroundings, lots of movement, lots of wasted shots. HOWEVER, I kept at it and snagged this one:

Photo of a table of glassware

I was quite far from the table so worked hard at getting the clean sharp edges, strong colours and clarity. Good combo for a change. I went inside to watch for awhile and took a number of shots of the blowers at work.  The next one is very grainy, but sometimes you have to accept it to get a shot. The intensity from the furnace made for a difficult shot.

Photo of glass blowers putting glass into the furnace

Lots of blurry shots resulted when he started working at the bench,  one captured his concentration and intensity.

Photo of glass blower working with glass and blow torch

I really like this one. Not as sharp as it could be, but a good try. I sat for awhile on Saturday looking at the photos, analysing them. I think I know where I can improve, so a return trip is definitely on the books.

One last photo to close off.  One of their work benches. I kept the quick moving feet in the top corner because it amuses me.

Photo of the glass blowers bench
I’m already working on another series from the trip. It’s all feathers & waterfowl. Hopefully it’ll be up by Wed.

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

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 for some winter shots

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

Photo of crabapple tree covered in snow - photos of snow

Lots and lots of snow out there

It lends itself to black and white nicely. 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.

Photo of street covered in snow with no cars and 2 pedestrians walking - photos of snow

No cars in sight today

It wasn’t that bad out, despite the doom and gloom forecasts. Just a lot of slushy snow as the day continued. But it sure is pretty in the winter:

Photo of snowy street - photos of snow

It’s always so quiet when it snows.

And finally, spring can’t be far away, right?

Photo of a bike covered in snow - Winter shots

Love this bike

 

An interesting view of concrete and light – a little night photography

An interesting view of concrete and light – a little night photography

Ugg it gets dark early now. Is it too early to say “can’t wait for spring”?  Anyway, on my way home the other day and I had a thought. I’ve been reading up on taking sharper, defined photos which in turn led me to some ideas about night photography. When I came up off the subway I thought no time like the present and hiked up to the roof of the public car park I cut through on my way home. Ok, I’m exagerating. I took the convenient elevator to the roof.

MAN IT WAS COLD! I was shocked how cold it had become. I’d been inside all day and didn’t realise how the wind had whipped up. I wandered around the roof testing out shutter speeds, ISO etc to see what I could do. I was a little more than pleased with the results – I’ve posted a few on Instagram and Facebook. Didn’t take long and I decided time to go home for a cup of tea and warmth. For a Canadian, I’m a real winter wimp.  When walking towards the ramp to the elevator, I was struck how the light was playing off the concrete. Shadows, light and angles – all the ingredients for something that might be fun to play around with. I took four photos with different settings and toddled off home.

When I fired up Photoshop and looked them over, one stood out. I played around with it, switched one layer to black and white, bumped the highlights and shadows, increased the grain and fussed a bit. Then I blended it with colour layer until I had just the right feel. And here it is:

Concrete and Light

Photo taken at night in a parking garage showing light and shadows

What gave me the idea were a couple of photographers who stressed  “don’t be afraid of grain”.  So I used it to my advantage. If you’re the curious type, here are a few details – ISO 1600 F5.6 27mm +1.67 1/8. Who knew concrete parking garages could be so moody.

Quick note: I wrote this on the fly so if you spot an embarrassing typo please drop me a note in the comments section.

Check out my Instagram and Facebook pages if you want to see extras that don’t make it to the site (links below)