Here are a few more photos I took along the streets of Toronto last week. Was it last week? Time is melting into one big mess at the moment. Anyway, after looking through the photos I took at dusk, I realised some of the ones I thought were great, weren’t, but a little work with Photoshop brought them back to life.
The work I’ve done in understanding the camera’s histogram and using it to avoid blowing out the highlights and blacks has paid off. I was able to tweak the photos and bring back the colours and balance. It’s all a learning experience.
Picking over the photos, I realised even with a tripod, I still have issues getting a photo straight. No idea how I managed it, but I had to correct quite a few. They weren’t as bad as usual, but I think I’ll have to start paying closer attention to that little bubble on the tripod’s level. Sigh. I’m planning a trip out later this week, so fingers crossed I manage to get things right.
Streets of Toronto – Looking south on Yonge
Yonge near Front St
I enjoy playing with cropping. Adjusting the length and widths changes the focus points dramatically. This was an ok photo on Yonge, but when I cropped it, the focus shifted from all the buildings and glass to the lights rushing along Yonge. The eye immediately hits the red lights and then follows up and down the street. I love narrow views like this. I’m eager to go out again and try more street scenes.
What got me the most are the lights in the corner building. The windows look crisp and warm, just the way they were that night.
Looking South on Yonge
Looking South near the hockey hall of fame
This one was ok. I’m a bit unhappy with the overall sharpness, so that’s another area I’ll have to focus on. I’m not a fan of soft-focus photos, I prefer HDR stylings. I used a mix of AV settings and full manual for all the shots. I did a couple of tests with full auto and was not impressed. The streaming lights weren’t captured, and the camera focused on all the wrong light centres. I guess that’s what it’s about. I know what I’m trying to say with the photos. Automatic is just a mindless function and doesn’t share a vision.
I wish I’d waited a little longer so the lights at the bottom left were moving. The glare is too much and spoils a bit of the balance. But I’m content with it.
Last shot – another look at the Hockey Hall of Fame
Hockey Hall of Fame
For some reason, the Hockey Hall of Fame has been my white whale. I must have close to 200 photos of it, taken over the years. None, until this batch, were satisfying. The balance was always off, the lighting and shadows were wrong. It became a mind-numbing experience, but I couldn’t stop trying. Not sure why everything clicked this time. I suspect it’s because I was far more patient than previous expeditions.
I did play around with this photograph in Photoshop before I was satisfied. I used the software’s autocorrect to bring a better perspective to the image first. After that, I pulled down the amount of yellow. I need to explore the camera’s settings a bit more to understand why everything was so yellow and how to prevent it in the future. Once the colour balance was corrected, the building’s shadows popped out.
The sharp lines and clarity in this photo surprised me. I must be brutally honest; I didn’t expect it. I’m used to slightly fuzzy edges in any of my night photos. The lesson is clear – tripod & patience are the keys.
Don’t forget to look at my previous post on night photography. These are more from the same batch of street photos so enjoy.
2 Streets of Toronto photos – dusk in the city
I didn’t use the camera much this winter. I hate wandering around in the cold. But, there’s a hint of spring in the air and it’s time to start thinking of photographic expeditions into the wilds of Toronto. To prepare, I meandered through some of last year’s work. I’m fussing a lot over the quality, trying to figure out how to improve the sharpness and clarity. In the meantime, here’s one of my favourites from last year.
Bauhaus has the best signage in Toronto
This has to be the best store signs in the city – Bauhaus – fine windows and doors. If you’re strolling along Avenue Rd, and Davenport, check it out.
What is this animal? Dragon? Dog? Rodent?
The animal is a bit of a mystery. At first I thought it was a dog, but then maybe a cat? But not with that tail. So I’ve settled on a dragon-cat mutant. I stood back quite a bit to take these photos and am pleased with the level of detail that popped on the carving. I worked hard with the various settings until I could see all the fine details and sharp shadowing. One of the successes!
I’m looking forward to this year. There will be more architecture, signage and hopefully flowers as well. The old tripod is ready to go, camera cleaned and polished. Come on spring.
Wandered down to TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) to grab a few shots of people. What do you know, I came away with more architecture. And a construction site. I think I may need therapy to get past my construction site passion. I did take a few photos of the mass of humanity down on King, but the best photos are the reflections coming off the buildings. I went down for a movie at 3:30pm, and when I came out around 6, the reflections were spectacular. The Bookings.com building on University and Wellington has some exciting light and mirror effects:
Yes, I did indulge in some Photoshop chicanery with these photos. I hate the tilted distortion look when taking wide shots of tall buildings. Occassionally the effect is stunning, but it wears very quickly. I’ve been practicing with the perspective warp feature on Photoshop to untilt the buildings a bit. Kind of hit and miss, but I’ll get better as I practice. Be prepared for the odd wonky looking building until I get the hang of it. The above photo came out quite well, but a bit grainy. The built in lens on my little Powershot isn’t the best for variable lights.
I’m also playing with levels more. Just a wee nudge can make a photo pop off the page. It’s especially good at bringing up the dark parts and bringing a bit of light to the shadows. Here’s the second shot, from a bit further south.Great mirroring effects. Look at the upper left of the building and you can catch the top part of the CN Tower showing off. I pulled the blue sky from the previous photo and plopped it in because the sky was completely washed out. Looked like I had cut the sky from the image. The reflections worked out beautifully. Beyond the sky fudging, the only thing done was a bit of adjustments with the levels. One of my favourite shots of the day. I’ll head back down to TIFF a couple of times and maybe I’ll actually get a couple of people shots. Don’t hold your breath, if I see one backhoe or digger, that’s all it’ll take.
Still going through the mass of photos I took about 2 weeks back. I’ve discarded nearly half. But found a few that are intriguing. If you stand in the right spot, on Dundas and Yonge (in Toronto), you can see some stunning optical illusions. With the right mix of cloud cover and sun, the reflections off the mirrored buildings can present a dizzying appearance.
It’s difficult to tell where the actual corner of the building starts because of the intense optical mind games. The ladder reflections are from the building on the right. The part that’s cool is the section with the red circle. It’s from the same building, but a south facing wall, not west. Oh, and that panel is also south facing. Bend your brain around those optics for a second.
The photo would have benefited from a decent lens filter, but the camera I own doesn’t allow for them. I’ve put a new SLR camera on my wish list for next year. But in the meantime, this little Canon does a great job and is fun to use. I’ll be posting a few more shots in the next day or two. My work schedule suddenly became far less irrational and I have a bit of time to potter again.