In transit: Toronto

One year ago today I arrived in Australia.

A few months before that, with a suitcase and a new camera, I left home to move to Kingston, Ontario for the summer. I killed a lot of time in Toronto that day wandering around taking photos on the streets, but my favourites are still the images from the plane, the subway, and the bus.

Bird’s view of the Alberta prairies, wheeling over a lovely industrial area with Calgary’s downtown core off in the distance and the Rockies on the horizon.

The bleak concrete of Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Navigating Toronto’s colourful underground system. I saw more stops than I needed to.

Crowds well up on the street corners when the light turns red. Changing lights control the constant ebb and flow of people on the sidewalk.

The man on the left looks a bit lost, wandering through the construction cones, in stark contrast to the sexy, glamorous billboards rising above the open side of the street.

Panning on the Don Valley Parkway from the bus window, en route to Kingston.

All photos taken 1 May, 2010.

Artillery Fire

One summer I worked playing bagpipes at the Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada.  Last summer I was back in Kingston and visited the Fort a few times, mostly to take pictures – these are both from the battle tactics part of the Sunset Ceremonies, the explosions of gunpowder in the artillery fire against the painted canvas of the sky.

There are 7 people working together to fire each of the 6-pounder Armstrong field guns.  In the next shot I missed the firing of the Armstrong (the big one at the front), but caught the big, hot, fiery blast of the mortar in the background.

The drummer is silhouetted by the fireball from the mortar.

Taken June 2010.

Not your average pocket camera

I’ve seen rangefinders before but I’d never shot with one until a few weeks ago, when I got ahold of an old Leica. It’s a 1955 Leica IIIf, in pristine condition – it had been sitting around in a drawer and probably hadn’t been touched in decades.

After a brief tutorial on how to work all the buttons and dials, I popped in a roll of Delta 400 and carried the camera around in my jacket pocket for a couple Sundays after work. One week I found myself on top of Mt Victoria at dusk, shooting the Maori carvings in the fading light against the background of the cityscape.

The next week, I was in a jazz club in town where a group of musicians gather every week to share a few tunes, many of which, in their words, haven’t been heard before and won’t be heard again. I like this one:

I didn’t have a light meter, so I was using the sunny-16 rule for all of these shots.  I did an all right job with exposures during the day and in the fading light, but inside the jazz club I was more or less guessing by using the longest exposure I thought I could handhold without the image getting shaky.

The Inaugural Post

Welcome to my blog.

This is a project that has been a long time coming, borne of a need to share good photos using something more sophisticated than facebook and better suited to telling stories than flickr.  I don’t have a clear vision, yet, of what direction this project is going to take but I do feel that it is something I need to do.  I wouldn’t be surprised, if I were you, if I came back every week to see a new theme or layout – I’m going to try different things and see what works, but try to keep updating and sharing photos all the while.  I expect that the project will take shape as I go.

I travel, but I’m not a travel photographer.  I have lived in Canada for most of my life, but have been a few places in between; last year I headed to Australia and backpacked the East Coast route for a few months, before moving to New Zealand.

The hardest part of a project like this is getting started. So there you go… Let the pictures begin.

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