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.

A leisure Saturday stroll along Bloor St.

A leisure Saturday stroll along Bloor St.

Had a decent day out yesterday with a trip to Korea Town to pick up kimchi and walnut cakes. Nothing says Saturday afternoon in Toronto like a box full of walnut cakes and a stroll down Bloor St. In anticipation of buying a DSLR camera around Christmas, I’ve been working on understanding the settings clearly. I’ve been a lazy point the camera, shoot and hope I get the photo kind of person since moving to digital. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading on f stops, exposure, histograms and how to balance the photo. Even when I used a film camera, I was never that aware of the settings.

I discovered a few interesting things about my habits – I tend to focus far too much on the specific topic I’m shooting and ignore the stuff going on in the background. I had a gorgeous shot of a dog sitting patiently waiting at a fruit store for his owner. The balance was right, the light on the dog was good, the dark fur shone and .. a woman’s white leg sticking out of the dog’s head pretty much killed the mood of the photo. I didn’t even notice it when I took the photo. So, yea, that went into the trash. In hindsight, I should have kept it and posted it here to show what went wrong.

I almost titled this article “Struggles of an amateur photographer” but that’s a bit disingeneous. It’s not a struggle, frustrating sometimes, but fun discovering how to get the most out of photos and camera. My current Canon Powershot has limited settings, so I can only go so far, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get outstanding shots. The new camera setup I’m looking at will also allow me to do some videos, something the Powershot doesn’t really excel at. Videos tend to be a bit choppy and chews threw batteries like candy. I’ve looked at the lens from my old Konica film camera and discovered I can buy an adapter for the DSLR and use it. I loved my old Konica and lens and got all misty eyed nostagic at the thought of being able to use it. I’m interested in seeing what kind of quality the lens will offer. I really, really loved that old lens!

To today’s offering:

Before setting out yesterday, I fussed with the settings a little, getting ready for a bright sunny day, intense reflections off buildings and getting fun stills.  I used evaluative metering, f/3.4, ISO 100, auto white balance. Pretty basic settings. With the new DSLR I’ll be able to fire in RAW, which will be amazing, but in the meantime, I’m quite happy with some of the results.  Photo of a fruit and veg store on Bloor in Korea TownWhen I got home, I adjusted the shadows a little to bring some of the fruit and vegs up a bit clearer, but beyond that, the photo is satisfying as is.

You can now connect to Bitter Grounds Magazine by wandering over to my new(ish) Instagram account. I set it up a year ago but only recently began working with it extensively. I’m loading up some on-the-fly photos and experiments that may not make it to the website, so it’s fun to play with.

Drake couldn’t save Honest Ed’s – posters in TO

Drake couldn’t save Honest Ed’s – posters in TO

Walking by Honest Ed’s on Saturday and had to stop to grab this shot:

Photo of a poster on Honest Ed's walls saying "WHy didn't Drake save Honest Eds"

Honest Ed’s was a massive department store, here in Toronto, that was part of the cultural landscape for decades. It feels like every immigrant family I know has a story to share about their first trip there. Everyone knew who Honest Ed was. You couldn’t miss the huge side show attraction on the corner of Bloor and Bathurst. But times change, as do shopping tastes. The store closed it’s doors last Christmas (2016) and is being redeveloped. It’s difficult to explain how big a cultural touchstone Ed’s was, but this sign hints at it. The poster is an interesting nod to the importance of Ed’s and a bit of cheeky humour at Drake’s expense.

After blowing up the photo I spotted Apologies.Ltd in the corner. Here you go Get the poster on a shirt.