Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Boxing Day Downtown Photowalk Part Two and Happy New Year

More from the Boxing Day photo walk downtown, I forgot how much I liked urban photography.

I want to wish all my regulars and new visitors a very Happy New Year and I hope 2014 brings great promise to everyone. A little off topic, I'm in marketing communications when I don't have a camera in my hand on in the darkroom and have been doing some professional development over the past few months to fill in the gaps with my social media knowledge so I can say I'm a digital strategist and not just playing one on TV.

 My studies in University of Toronto's  Digital Strategy and Communications Management certificate program re-invigorated my blog.  Secondly I took a peak under the blog's hood and found out I was averaging over a 1200 views a month on average, that statistic blew my mind, thank you. My classmates from the first course blogged on a variety of topics and please check them out.

Camera: Nikon FM, Nikkor H 28 f3.5 or Ai 50 f2 lens
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400, Xtol 1+1














Sunday, December 29, 2013

Look at What I Got For Christmas and a Test Drive

I love the Nikon FM series of cameras and I'm really fortunate to receive a black FM under the Christmas Tree yesterday morning. I took it with me into Toronto on Boxing Day (December 26th for those outside the Commonwealth) to run a test roll through it.

It's been a long time since I did a walkabout around downtown Toronto and I found the streets quiet on Boxing Day in the financial district. I wanted to see what my new to me FM can do with one of my reference films, Kodak Tri-X 400, the results of course are below.

This camera is going to get a fair amount of use with future projects and works well with my Vivitar 283 flash for low light work.













Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter is Back

I love snow, then again I ski so of course I love snow and winter photography as well. Here's little photography tip on capturing snow well. Cameras are dumb technology, even a top of the line Nikon D4, why?

When you meter a scene, the on board meter no matter if it's centre weighted like an old manual focus film camera or matrix metered like a top of the line DSLR will read snow as mid point grey under normal exposure, hence grey snow in black and white and blue snow if you're shooting in colour. To get around this, you deliberately over expose by a stop and a half. If you are shooting say film rated at 400 ISO you expose at 250. In case of shooting on a DSLR it's a different ballgame, when you meter you have to make sure you use the exposure compensation feature and set it a stop and half over, now you have a proper exposure, you will have white snow in your photographs.

Camera: Olympus OM-1MD, Zuiko 28 f2.8 lens and MC 50 f1.8 lens.
Film: Fuji Superia 400.












Friday, December 20, 2013

Late Summer Photowalk through Rosedale Part Two

I'll let the pictures to the talking.

Camera: Olympus OM-4, Zuiko 28 f2.8 lens,
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400, HC110 B.


















Monday, December 16, 2013

A Walk Through Rosedale from the End of Summer

A small confession, I haven't taken all that many photos over the past few weeks due to getting over a recent cold but discovered some work I haven't uploaded to here. Back at the end of the Summer I was a waiting for a friend for dinner mid town, she was running behind so I decided to take a wander through Rosedale, it's one of my favourite neighbourhoods for exploring.

One of the wealthiest postal codes in the country Rosedale has remained largely intact in terms of the re-development craze of the last decade and a half where nice houses get torn down and replaced by larger tackier imitations of Lake Como or Loire Valley estates.

Camera OM-4, mostly the Zuiko 28 f2.8 lens
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400

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Yonge Line Northbound

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

The 2013 Oakville Camera Club Member Exhibit




What you see below is the end result of a very busy fall. I'm president of the Oakville Camera Club and every year we hold an annual photography competition open to the public called Capture Oakville which as been going on for the past seven years. This year the club put the event on hiatus, first off Capture Oakville was in dire need of a re-fresh and secondly we wanted to try Queen Elizabeth Park Community Cultural Centre's main gallery with an internal exhibit with the theme My World in Transition. It was a pretty wide open topic to facilitate a large number of entries from club members.

Now, curating, framing, hanging 80 prints and putting on a smaller event that drew my guess about 150 people on opening night is no easy feat, the Capture Oakville Director stepped down due to professional commitments and thankfully the committee responsible stepped up. I can't thank Kieley Hickey, Walter Sawka Wojtek Ziobicki enough for curating and hanging the exhibit, I know the work involved because I helped out with the hanging and it took a good six hours.

The 2013 Oakville Camera Club member exhibit will be on display until mid January 2014 at  QEPCCC at 2303 Bridge Road in the main gallery until it moves to the corridors at the end of the month.


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My two prints in the exhibit.

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Saturday, December 07, 2013

A Very Late Fall Hike Through Brimstone

Have you ever been out and you got everything weather wise thrown at you? About a month ago I went out on a hike at one of my favourite spot at Forks of the Credit Provincial Park, needed a break from a few projects I was working on. My path of choice is through the minuscule hamlet of Brimstone at the south end of the Park.

Over the course of the morning I experienced rain showers, clear patches and then sleet. Yes sleet, when that fell I decided it was time to walk back to the car and go have lunch in Belfountain. I did however manage to take some pictures along the way, including my favourite spot along the Credit River.

Camera: Hasselblad 500 C/M, Zeiss 80 f2.8 Planar Lens,

Film: Ilford HP5, HC110 B.

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Brimstone on a Grey Day

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Willow over the Credit

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Will I ever go Digital?

That is the eternal debate in my head as an analogue photographer, will I go digital at some point? With the recent release of the Nikon Df  left me looking at that question. On the surface, this camera was made for me, a full frame DSLR with a flagship grade sensor, no video capability (not really interested in video), manual controls and the ability to use Nikkor Ai and Non Ai lenses which I have plenty of.

Now there's the challenge, the camera is retailing for about $3000 in Canada and I estimate I would have to spend another $1500 to get up to speed. So ok $4500, that's a lot of coin, in fact I can buy a Nikon FM3a which is the last manual focus film camera Nikon made in house (the FM10 is made by Cosina) and a supply of black and white film and chemicals to keep me going until the year 2024. So what would have I to buy along with the Df to be in the "digital" world? My shopping list would include multiple terabyte external hard drives because RAW files are big memory pigs, auxiliary speed light flash and they are not cheap and decent memory cards.

I love shooting film for it's look both on the computer screen as a scanned negative or in a print be it inkjet or printed in a darkroom. The reality is at some point I'm going to need a digital camera for some situations like event photography and in some cases travel.  As cool as it is, the Df's MSRP is about $1000 too expensive in my mind. Also there is no split screen for manual focus or even the focus peaking feature which is another strike against the camera.

For now I'm sitting tight and seeing what else comes out. 

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Be the Water Part Two or A Sunday Morning at Albion Falls

An old friend gave me some wise advice once, be the water.Well I had to be the water this past fall as I had multiple projects both personal and professional along with some professional development with University of Toronto's Digital Strategy and Communications certificate program. In fact this blog was an assignment for the foundations class and I had fun writing them, in fact they were an escape from everything else. There is a blog roll on the side here and please check out my classmates blogs, they are all great reads.

So, Albion Falls, I was here back in late October with the Oakville Camera Club on a Sunday morning photo shoot. Now if you wanted to get closer you had to get to a fenced off access trail and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone with mobility or balance issues. If I were to come back I want to do it on an overcast day to even out the exposure.

Camera Gear:

Nikon F3HP, Kodak Portra 400

Nikon FM2, Ilford HP5 and Delta 100

Various Nikkor lenses used.

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Albion Falls

Water Curtains

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Water Between the Rocks

Monday, December 02, 2013

From the Friends of Bill Project.


Lest everyone get the idea the only subjects I shoot are landscapes and urban environments I do portraiture as well on occasion with the Friends of Bill Project.

Say you have a friend or family member for that matter shove a smart phone or a camera into your hands and want you take their picture, here are some great tips. Understand what your camera can and cannot do, doesn't matter if it's a iPhone or Android handset or a Nikon D4, it's the person using the device that makes the photo.

First off understand the rule of thirds, if you are shooting horizontally or in landscape, you don't want your subject's head smack in the middle, I usually shoot slightly off centre.  The second thing you want to do is make sure your subject's eyes are sharp, this is more the case with a proper camera than with a smart phone. Finally you want to make the light work for you, contrary to popular opinion overcast days have great light for portraiture as the light is diffused, the same goes if you are going to be in the shade as the case with my friend Lindsay on the bottom.

Now also bear mind with photography, rules are meant to be broken as I did with my friend Dave, the light is bright, almost harsh with lots of shadow being cast and that was used to my advantage. Granted this wasn't Dave's favourite portrait of himself as he was suffering jet lag from just flying in from the UK to visit family. He doesn't like it, I do so there.

David Headon

Lindsay II

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Street Shooting in November Part Two

It's been a while since I wandered around the downtown core with a camera in hand. Usually when that happens it's during the week, in this case it was late Saturday afternoon before the annual Toronto Photowalks party. Downtown was packed with Toronto Maple Leafs fans, more so than usual before a game which surprised me a bit.

One thing I must do more often is wander more downtown, due to the pace of change, familiar landmarks are disappearing too quickly for my liking. In fact I recently noticed one of my favourite art deco office buildings owned by Oxford Properies got torn down recently on Adelaide just north of First Canadian Place. The entrance was an architectural gem, I hope it will be preserved as part of the new building.

Don't make entrances like this any more

The immediately above was shot on an Olympus OM-1md, Zuiko 28 f3.5 lens Kodak Tri-X 400 processed in HC110 B.

Everything below was shot with the same film developer combination but with my Leica M4-2 and Canon 50 f1.4 LTM lens.

Waiting at Queen and Yonge

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Urban Oasis

Portal to the Underground

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Street Shooting in November Part One

My least favourite time of year for photography has to be November for much the same reason other people whine, it's grey, damp, cold and I did mention it was grey out there. Well, that's a poor excuse and I still head out and make the conditions work for me.

I don't get up to the Danforth too often, when I'm in the east end I'm usually visiting my brother Alex and his family in the Beaches. In this case I was up here on a dinner date, I wanted to kill some time beforehand and walk around the neighbourhood and travelled light with my Leica.

The odd thing while I love the Beaches even before my brother moved there 12 years ago, the Danforth and neighbouring Riverdale didn't provoke the same love. Does anyone else feel that way about a particular neighbourhood? My theory is this, while the Beaches are east end it does not feel cut off from the rest of the city due to its location by Lake Ontario, further north Riverdale and the Danforth are separated from mid town Toronto by the Don Valley.

Camera: Leica M4-2, Canon 50 f1.4 LTM lens,
Film: Ilford HP5 400 processed in HC110 dilution B.

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Riverdale Side Street.

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Fruitland Market


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Beaches when It was Just a Wee Bit Warmer

Friends and colleagues at times wonder if I specialize in a particular photographic subject. My answer is if I wind up getting into a rut, I then shake it up with a new location. I haven't really shot much in Toronto over the past year and if I have it's usually in my brother's neighbourhood the Beaches, I never get tired wandering around here and evidence of that is all over this photoblog in previous posts.

To challenge myself, sometimes I will only pack one camera and one "prime" lens usually a 50mm. That forces me to look at potential images and work within my constraints. In this case I pulled out my Leica M4-2, at first glance it looks like a glorified point and shoot rangefinder camera, however lenses, especially new ones can easily go into the thousands of dollars new, especially the digital bodies.

Over the next few weeks I plan to pack one of my Leica's with me when I travel into Toronto for class and shoot streetscapes in what amounts to challenging light with the grey late November-early December skies.


Camera: Leica M4-2 with a Canon 50 f1.4 lens,
Film: Ilford HP5 400 processed in HC110 Dilution B.

Queen St. East

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What's Taking My Master So Long?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

On the Drive Home On Highway 35


All good long weekend road trips come to an end at some point and my drive home was a rainy one. I took Highway 35 South through Dorset Ontario, a former lumber town turned cottage community. I didn't want the weekend to end, there is something about the landscape that has me wanting to come back. Dorset is the one town I want to hide out in for a few days next fall to extend a long weekend for just a little bit longer.

Got a question for the studio audience out there, have you come across a place that draws you back for a follow up visit?


Muskoka Bog

Single Lane Bridge

Looking Out onto the Lake of Bays

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This is Paradise.

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Rafters and O'Buoy Take Out

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Cameras: Nikon FM2, F3HP with various Nikkor lenses.
Film: Ilford HP5 400, Kodak Portra 400 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Oxtongue Falls

I usually love shooting waterfalls, Oxtongue Falls just outside of Algonquin Park proved to be a challenge. Finding a decent locations to take a decent photo was tricky as was dealing with a number of tourists.

At the top of the falls proved challenging, I prefer not to have a bunch of people walking behind me while I have a camera set up on a tripod centimetres away from the rock ledge with a metre drop into very fast moving water at the top of the falls.

Confession here, I have a fear of heights, don't ask me how I painted houses as a summer job during university so long ago. Being up a ladder cutting in on a second story window is one thing,  being nudged by a clumsy tourist who wants a slightly closer look and taking a spill into the Oxtongue River and going over the falls is something else.

After getting my shot I retreated away from the top of the falls to safer ground. Next year if the group comes back here I'm shooting from the bottom of the falls. Call it for what it is, I want the shot but I don't want it that bad at the risk of certain death if I'm really clumsy or lose balance.

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you needed space to complete a task either at work or in your own pursuits?


Camera: Nikon F3HP, various Nikkor Lenses with a 8x Neutral density filter
Film: Kodak Portra 400

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Be the Water

Upper Rapids at Ragged Falls Provincial Park

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