Summer time in Toronto is also time for The EX. The EX is the annual exhibition, filled with rides, games, shows, and truely horrible (but tasty) foods.
Some of the food highlights include deep fried Mars Bars, deep fried Cola, deep fried butter and a Krispy Kreme Bacon Burger (Krispy Kremes for buns). I wanted to try out the deep fried Cola but couldnt find it, same went for the Krispy Kreme burger, although I doubt I would have been able to bring myself to order it anyway! I did try some deep fried Mars Bar though, was good!
This was taken on one of my first walks home after work in September after we moved from High Park into downtown. It was a great evening, the clouds were amazing so I stopped and took a few shots. This is Toronto City hall with Nathan Phillips in front.
There was a group laying on the ground covered in bread trying to get the birds to eat it off them (they seemed quite worried about the birds though!). I’m not sure what the point of it all was though.
Both shots are 3 exposure HDR’s taken at +/- 2.0 EV with my Pentax K200D and Sigma 10-20mm f4.0-5.6 lens. Blended using Photomatix with final editing in Lightroom.
Last week I was lucky enough to have some time to go for a lovely walk through Koreatown in Toronto in the late evening with the camera and take a few pictures. I haven’t been out shooting as much as I would like the last few weeks, but I am hoping to get out more soon. I haven’t even had a chance to use my newly acquired tripod yet! What about that photowalk you say? Well I may or may not have missed that due to some Jagerbomb caused, self inflicted illness…
Both of these shots are HDR’s as I thought they would show off the lovely soft golden evening light the best. Both shots were taken handheld with my usual Pentax K200D, and I used a lens I haven’t used for a while, the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. I took the 3 shots for the HDR using bracketing at +/- 2.0 EV. To process them I imported into Lightroom 3, then used the Photomatix Lightroom plugin to export the 3 base images to Photomatix for blending. I used the standard Tone Mapping method to generate the final HDR’s which the plugin automatically re-imports back into the Lightroom library for you. I made a final crop and adjustment before exporting to JPG and uploading to Flickr.
I finally managed to get myself down to the nearby subway and get some photos of the remaining wall paintings there. I also had a little venture up an alley way nearby and got some graffiti shots as well. The angle on the Wolf annoys me a little, but it at least shows how striking the painting is. That light pole is very frustrating!
This post is very picture heavy, but worth it to see some of the great art on display in the area. I was armed with my usual gear for an outing on the bike, the K200D and Sigma 30mm f1.4. I had to bump the contrast quite a lot on these shots to get the colours to really pop.
Down the Alley
Down beside a construction site is an alley giving access to the rear of some of the shops which line Bloor St West. I only went to the first building in and took some photos of the great graf art. I will explore further down the alley in the future though.
Yesterday morning I decided to go for a leisurely bicycle ride around the neighbourhood. On the way I stopped off and took some more photos of the street art behind the shops along Bloor St West (pictures to come!). After that I went to visit a Yard Sale. There was a huge amount of dark room equipment for sale, but unfortunately I am lacking storage space just at the moment. Perhaps another time.
On my way home from the Yard Sale I happened to pass this great old Buick. I made a quick stop and took a few photos of it. I took a couple from the front at different apertures, and a couple from the back with different orientations. Choosing the best shot from the front was easy! However I could not decide which of the photos from the rear I preferred. As I was writing this post I finally chose the portrait orientation shot. You can see the other option here on flickr.
Shot and Processing
I was carrying my Pentax K200D with the Sigma 30mm f1.4 mounted whilst riding. All 3 shots are single exposures, with little processing in Lightroom 3. Just a bump in contrast, fill light and a slight crop for each (straighten for the rear, and centering for the front). I would have liked to get the Buick badge on the front a little more in focus, perhaps a smaller aperture would have got it just right, but I think its good enough that it still works.
Here is a shot I took this morning on my way to work. Just a quick one I had to get because it made me giggle a little (yes I giggle…)
Patience or not
Obviously someone had some fun with this fire hydrant. I made sure to shoot with a large (wide) aperture for this shot to isolate the subject from the background. I used my Sigma 30mm f1.4 lens @ f2.0 to give a fairly narrow Depth of Field but keep the subject in focus. The road behind was quite busy, so I waited for a break in traffic and snapped a couple of shots off.
For post processing I used Lightroom to straighten it up a little bit (I am going to blame the slope I was standing on) and bump the contrast a little bit to help the colours and subject pop.
Here is some great street art (and some tags) on a wall at the local subway station’s carpark. There are a whole series of Canadian animals painted on the wall, including a wolf, blue jay, snowy owl and this great bear. I have been meaning to take some photos of the animals for a while, but had not managed to get myself down there. You are able to see the art from the train just before you come into the station. Last weekend I finally got my bike ready to ride, and got on it!
I loaded up my great Crumpler bag with my Pentax K200D and my Sigma 30mm f1.4 lens, and rode down to the carpark. Once there I was disappointed to find a light pole positioned right in the middle of the wolf painting, and some cars parked in the way of others. I will definitely return to photograph those.
An Old Raleigh
This is the bike I bought through Craigslist not long after I arrived in Toronto. It is an old Raleigh Grand Prix, with 27″ wheels and very cool original pale blue paint. I went for a ride around last weekend and took plenty of shots. I decided to get some shots of the bike while I had it with me.
This shot was a little over exposed and not very interesting off the camera. Some playing around in Lightroom with a fairly heavy crop, some use of the Old Polar preset and a bit of a vignette produced this image, certainly worth posting.
This is from when I first arrived in Toronto. My wife and I got ourselves a CityPass which allows you entry into the most popular attractions in the city at a reduced cost. I can highly recommend the CityPass, as you save an awful lot over paying the individual entry fees. One of the places a Toronto CityPass will get you into is CN Tower. The viewing area there gives an amazing outlook over the city, Lake Ontario and the islands.
This is a shot looking North from the tower over the Toronto Entertainment District, with the Financial District on the right, and the line of building’s stretching towards the horizon is Yonge St. I had originally posted this shot to flickr in colour, but about 3 weeks later I was reviewing all the photos I had taken since we arrived, and decided to give black and white a try. I made a virtual copy in Lightroom, converted to black and white then adjusted the levels somewhat to come up with this image. I think it works much better than the colour version.
I received a suggestion that perhaps a cropping of my previously posted photograph “Newspaper?” would improve the result. If you would like to know how I produced this photograph, please read the original article.
What Do They Know?
Initially I thought “No way, are you kidding? It’s perfect!” as someone often does when considering their own work. After a short amount of consideration, I opened Lightroom and made this crop. Though I remained unconvinced I thought I would publish the recrop anyway.
Maybe They Were Right
Now that it comes down to a comparison, I do believe I prefer this crop to the original. I think it highlights the point of focus and the out of focus effect of the image more than the original. I think this crop also shows more clearly what the subject of the photograph is.
What About You?
So which do you prefer? This one? Or the original? And why?