The Red Cube


This big red box at Dundas Square is/was hiding something that was to be revealed in 5 1/2 hours from when I snapped this shot. I never did find out what it was, even though I have passed by it since then. You’d think, being a photographer, I’d be a little more curious, right? Nowadays, with regular and social media bombarding us from every angle, you don’t have to wait long before finding the answers to such questions. To contradict my last statement, I still have no idea what’s in the box; not that I really care. I just know it’s not Gwyneth Paltrow’s head. You will only get that last comment if you’ve seen the movie “Seven,” with Paltrow, Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey. If you have not seen Seven, then stop what you’re doing and download or Netflix or whatever you have to do to watch it. It’s not for the faint of heart, I’ll warn you now.

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Play me a song, dude


I shot this a couple of weeks back during a walkabout through Kensington Market on Pedestrian Sunday.

The guy was playing his guitar and not paying any attention to the crowds of people meandering by. Kensington Market was packed, as it always is on Pedestrian Sunday. Me, I stopped dead in my tracks and held my camera at waste level and and simply waited for him to “feel” my presence and look up. Of course, the first place he looked was at my face, likely wondering why I’d stopped. At that moment I snapped the photo. At the sound of my shutter firing, he looked down at my camera. By the time it registered to him that I’d taken his photo, I was already walking away.

Sometimes the best shot is not the first shot you can get, but the one that comes with a little bit of patience.

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World Press Photo Exhibition


I made it out to the World Press Photo exhibition again this year. Twice actually. Today I was with a small group of photographer friends. We stopped at Brookfield Place and checked out the exhibition, my second visit. Part of the exhibition showcases some pretty graphic images. They keep them separated so kids can’t see them. In this shot, mom was checking out the graphic images but her little girl was on the outside holding her hand the whole time as she walked around the entire exhibit. It was soooo totally cute that I had to snap a photo. I also have one from mom’s side, but this one’s the keeper. Sadly, the half dozen exhibit photos in my shot are of Syrian refugee children who are sleeping alone in the streets and woods while trying to flee to Germany.  Just unbelievable.

One thing that strikes me with this sort of photo is the fact this child is likely not really aware of the events that have been captured in photograph and on exhibit here at Brookfield Place. She also probably doesn’t appreciate how much her presence in this photo has made my day. This shot might even make my book. Fifty years from now people will be looking back to this time the same way we look back on the mid ’60s. Back then, likely no one taking photos appreciated that future generations would look at those photos and sort of use them to time travel to a specific time or era in history. In 50 years this little girl will be older than I am now. Who knows that lies ahead for her. Maybe she’ll become a famous photographer. Undoubtedly, she will have no recollection of this Sunday field trip to check out some photojournalism with mom, or that some stranger snapped her photograph. Me, I’ll be dead and gone by then. But maybe if I am lucky, this photo will live on in one of my books. Who knows. I wonder if photographers back in the mid ’60s ever asked themselves what will become of their work in 50 years.

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n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

— from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

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I can’t be the father…


I thought this was a funny scene. The statue on the bench beside the pregnant lady looks like he just found out he’s going to be a daddy. And the poster to the left seems to be questioning the possibility of such a thing. I like when things like this come together to make a picture.

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Tacos 101


I haven’t eaten here but have heard good things. It’s on the south side of Dundas just east of Church. I took this one early September. Funny thing is, as I was heading to park my car right around the corner, I noticed people seated in the window. It was still morning and I thought it would make a nice night shot. After my day long walk I ended up walking over there and capturing this shot. It’s not super sharp since I was shooting at ISO 3200. The thing is, my shutter was at 1/160th, which is waaay too fast for this. If I’d dropped my shutter speed by two stops to 1/40th or so, The ISO would have dropped the same two stops, to ISO 800, and the shot would have been far sharper and cleaner in camera, and easier to denoise in Lightroom, That’s what happens when you’re not paying enough attention. Still, I’m happy with it. I suppose I can always go back.

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The Coca Cola Restaurant


I shot this back in the middle of June. It’s on Queen West, but waaay west, almost near the end of Queen. I like that area and I love these old storefront overhanging signs. I imagine it’s been there for decades. I also like how it’s reflecting in the sign directly above the storefront.

Anyway, hope you had a nice weekend. One more week before our long weekend here in Canada. It’s for Thanksgiving, which we celebrate about a month before the Americans. One of my dreams is to be in NYC to see the Macy’s Day parade. I think it would be great to shoot. Perhaps one day.

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Filmores Hotel


This is Filmores. It’s an old strip joint just east of Yonge Street, in Toronto. I’ve posted photos of it before, but this one’s a little different. You see, there used to be a big high rise hotel next door to it, out of the frame on the left side of the photo. That hotel would cast a big shadow on Filmores’ west facing wall in the late afternoon. Well, recently they demolished the hotel to make room for yet another condo development. Suddenly, the late afternoon setting sun illuminates Filmores’ west wall in a way it has not been illuminated for probably many decades. But this is a temporary situation that will be gone once the new condo development next door is built.

When I first noticed it I was without my camera, but pledged to come back and shoot it the next chance I got. And that was last weekend, during my outing to Kensington Market. Fortunately I had my 16-35mm wide angle lens with me. I took a bunch of photos but I think this one works best. I always like people in my shots.

Anyway, long story short, if you’re into shooting urban environments it’s important to consider what spots are in a state of transition. Me, I always enjoy capturing something I know will soon be gone, for one reason or another. You’re photographing history in the making. This is an example of that.

Happy Saturday.

Posted in Architecture Photography, art, Canada, City, Doors, Downtown, light & shadow, People, Sky & Clouds, street, Street Photography, Summer, Sunny, Sunrise/Sunset Photography, Toronto, urban, Urban Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment