Sunday, November 14, 2010

A foggy day in November...

We've been having some fog over the last few days here in Toronto.  I went out on Saturday morning and walked by High Park and on the boardwalk by the lake taking some pics along the way.

The willow trees haven't dropped their leaves yet..

The fog made it quite damp....

The boardwalk along the west end beaches

A B&W version of the boardwalk along the west end beaches

A bike memorial to a cyclist that recently died in a traffic accident

A sculler out for a morning row on Lake Ontario

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Winter approaches - Colour vs Black and White

I was out this past Saturday morning taking some late fall photos.  My objective was to try and capture an image representative of the coming winter.  I headed out from Guelph north on Hwy 6 towards Fergus. Due to the early start I fortified myself with a large cup of Tim's to keep me awake. Fall weather being what it is I have to say it was quite frosty (well this is Canada after all).  I did get some nice shots while I was out but upon review at home it became apparent that the photos didn't capture the mood..  After some routine editing it dawned on me that converting one of the images to B&W would go a long way in changing the mood.  The first picture is the original in colour while the one that follows is the B&W version.
Winter approaches - Colour version
While I like both pictures I have to say that I prefer the B & W.  It has a more stark and barren feel to it and is more in line with the mood I was trying to capture. 
Winter approaches - Black and White version
Maybe it's me but I think it presents the viewer with an image more in line with the theme that winter is impending.  So it is interesting how colour can affect our interpretation of images.  Anyway enough of my musings, I guess what it boils down to is we are spoiled these days with our digital cameras.  Post processing offers a wealth of options and ways to be creative.  Just because we capture an image in colour doesn't mean that the final image can't be in B and W.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bruce Trail hike - Fall Colours

I drove up to Markdale early on Saturday morning  to do some hiking with Atty and Colleen on the Bruce Trail.  The general area where we were hiking is called Beaver Valley.  The trail we hiked on passed several beautiful landmarks including Eugenia Falls and a rocky outcrop on a cliff face called Old Baldy (pictured below).  It was one of those idyllic fall days perfect for hiking.  It was warm but not too warm, the sun was shining and the sky was a wonderful shade of blue.  The blue of the sky was a perfect back drop for the fall colours.  The hike was about 14km long and didn't leave much time for photos but I was able to snap a few which are listed below.  I'll have to return to this area sometime on my own and definitely spend more time with my camera.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nuit Blanche - Toronto 2010

First for the uninitiated, an explanation of the concept behind Nuit Blanche.  Wikipedia describes Nuit Blanche as “(literally White Night, All-Nighter or Sleepless Night in French) or Light Night is an annual all-night or night-time arts festival. Its exact beginning is disputed between Paris, St Petersburg, and Berlin, but, taking elements from all of these, the idea of a night-time festival of the arts has spread around the world since 1997, taking hold from Toronto to Tel Aviv and Lima to Leeds. A Nuit Blanche will typically have museums, private and public art galleries, and other cultural institutions open and free of charge, with the centre of the city itself being turned into a de facto art gallery, providing space for art installations, performances (music, film, dance, performance art), themed social gatherings, and other activities”. 

Nuit Blanche runs from sundown until sunrise for one night which adds an ephemeral quality to the event.  This year marked the 5th edition of Nuit Blanche in Toronto.  Atty and I attended Nuit Blanche 3 years ago and found it quite entertaining.  Unfortunately for various reasons we were unable to attend subsequent editions until this year.   The number of venues was numbered at 130 this year but many additional “unofficial” exhibits were also available for viewing.  As these are spread throughout the city it is impossible to see everything.  The best one can do is confine yourself to a specific geographic region and cherry pick what you want to see.  This year we probably saw about 2 dozen exhibits and walked close to 15 kilometres.  We started out at around 8:30pm in the downtown near the ROM and walked all the way home by 5:30am.  Listed below are some of the exhibits we saw over the course of the night.

One of the first exhibits we visited was outdoors at the ROM where they did a light show projecting images directly on the ROM's Crystal (new wing).
ROM: Crossings

ROM: Crossings
The were several exhibits going on at the U of T campus including one entitled "Protocols and Procedures during a Time of Plague".  Guests were invited to wear latex gloves and masks (not many did).  The exhibit took place in a church and with the exhibitors wearing minister's smocks, latex gloves and masks.  Visitors were invited to drive remote control cars with hands (rubber gloves attached).  Definitely something expected from the U of T crowd (bizarre but funny).
U of  T: Protocols and Procedures during a Time of Plague

U of  T: Protocols and Procedures during a Time of Plague

At U of T's Hart House there were several exhibits one of which had a million pennies in a heap on the floor in one room.  As Atty remarked it actually was thought provoking as it's not often in life that you're able to see a million of anything....  In another area guests were invited to walk through a doorway between two naked women in order to see what it would feel like (uncomfortable, awkward, fun, etc).
One million pennies.....

 In another area on the U of T campus an exhibit had been set up of an Ice Fishing hut.  What's whimsical about this was that the hut was set atop large blocks of ice (as pictured here).  The lighting was such that I couldn't get a good picture of the Ice Hut but the ice blocks did photograph well!
U of  T: Block of Ice from Ice Fishing Hut

U of  T: Block of Ice from Ice Fishing Hut

The lower level of the Atrium on Bay was transformed into a Disco with a DJ, lights and a video screen as guests to the exhibit were invited to dance.
The Atrium on Bay: Dances with Strangers

Here we saw a bonfire in the the middle of Dundas Square at the exhibit which was titled "Just because you can feel it, doesn't mean it's there".
Yonge Dundas Square: Just because you can feel it, doesn't mean it's there

At City Hall there were several video screens set up displaying kaleidoscope like images as music played in the background.  In one case the images were being projected onto the reflecting pool.  At midnight we were treated to several tracks of music from Neil Young's new album.
City Hall

Take one van, revolve on a turntable, put so many holes in the body that it looks like a swiss cheese, light from within for display at night and you have Auto Lamp.  The pattern of holes put into the van was quite intricate and beautiful.  The amount of work involved must have been substantial and only becomes apparent upon closer inspection.  It definitely was worth the visit.
Queen and Yonge St: Auto Lamp

The clown heads wedged between these two buildings were made from recycled billboards and held in place strictly by the air pressure from being inflated.  I thnk it works - by the way coulrophobia is the fear of clown heads.
Yonge St below King: Endgame (Coulrophobia)

The 1850 exhibit was meant to be a light show representation of where the Lake Ontario shoreline was located (in 1850) before Toronto extended the shoreline out using landfill. The fog and lights did have an errie look to them and it was visually striking however, I'm not so sure most people would have been able to identify what the exhibit represented (I know I must be getting old).
33 Yonge Street: 1850

The exhibit "I Cried for You" had an interesting premiss - a film of a director trying to get a shot of an actor trying to cry for a scene in a film.  Watching this though was a bit slow - but points for the concept.
Commerce Court: I Cried For You

The Endless Pace exhibit was interesting as it consisted of sixty dancers sitting in a circle to represent a clockface.  The dancers would get up and perform random dance moves to represent the passage of time.  Although it sounds a bit strange it actually was quite effective and fun to watch.
Commerce Court: The Endless Pace (variation for 60 dancers)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weekend in Port Elgin

Atty and I were fortunate enough to receive an invitation from some friends of ours (Colleen and John) to spend the weekend with them at John’s cottage in Port Elgin.  Although the weather was a bit blustery (typical for late September) we had a great time in large part due to our hosts.  We did a beach walk from the cottage to Port Elgin on Saturday and a short hike through MacGregor Point Provincial Park on Sunday.  The weekend went too quickly and we were sorry to have to leave on Sunday evening.

A little bit of information about Port Elgin.  Port Elgin is located on Lake Huron near the base of the Bruce Peninsula. It is a charming small town nestled between Southampton to the north and MacGregor Point Provincial Park to the south.  The Port Elgin area was first settled by the Huron Indians with evidence of their settlements dating back to the 1300’s.  It was settled by Europeans in the 1800’s and became an important trading and supply hub for the region because of the natural harbour.  Agriculture played an important role in the region as well.  These days it’s more of a tourist and vacation destination with many cottages dotted along the coast.  The combination of water, sandy beaches, parks and hiking trails make it a very picturesque area worthy of a visit.  Below are some photos taken during our weekend visit.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 24: Onward to Quebec City

We headed out from Fredericton looking forward a nice dinner in Quebec City.  The route took us along the south shore of the St. Lawrence which was quite picturesque.  We arrived in Quebec City  later in the afternoon.  After checking into our hotel we headed out for dinner in Old Quebec.  The light from the setting sun along with the old architecture made for some excellent photo opportunities.  We spent our time wandering the old cobblestone streets checking out the shops and restaurants.  We eventually found a charming small restaurant and dinner was great.

The north shore of the St. Lawrence enroute to Quebec City

Quebec City in the late afternoon

A church spire in the late afternoon light

The Chateau Frontennac

The small house in the center is the oldest in Quebec City and a restaurant

Day 23: Onward to Fredericton....

Today was a travel day as we had over-nighted on the ferry before returning to N. Sydney in the early afternoon.  As our ferry was delayed we missed out on dinner at a nice restaurant in Fredericton called the Blue Door which we had discovered on a previous trip out east.  Instead we arrived in Fredericton around 11pm just in time to check in at our B and B and go to bed.

The bar on our ferry provided some entertainment for our 14 hour voyage back to NS

Me after a night on the ferry....
Atty showing position '99' in the sleeping lounge

Getting some air on deck

View from the road in New Brunswick