Thursday, December 13, 2012

Downtown Toronto—Photo Essay

12121101dundas-square-hard-rock-cafe72Dundas Square, Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the Hard Rock Cafe.
I have mixed feelings about photography. Is it art, or is it too easy?  Snap, you’re done. I have a little canon powershot, it fits in my pocket and takes regular AA batteries. It comes with handy digitally illustrated easy to guess modes, like ‘sunset’ for sunsets and ‘kids and pets’ for photo’s of kids and pets. It also has aquarium mode for, you guessed it, aquariums. In other words, I can trash all the education and sweat of the brow hours I spent in the dark room during my college years, forget about f’stops and shutter speed, and just snap away.
Of course, a little experimentation helps. I use ‘sunset mode’ for almost every outdoor shot, as the colours invariably look warmer, more saturated and more natural to my eye.  And this weekend, for the first time ever, I thought I’d give night photography, sans tripod, a whirl. Because this weekend, I was out to relax, exercise and have some fun (yes, those three things go together).
12121101bohemian-meThis is me, standing in front of the ‘traditional’ ‘holiday’ ‘structure’. Not only do we not dare call it a ‘Christmas Tree’, but we make sure it doesn’t resemble one either. But it looks fabulous, and makes a great back-drop for tourist snaps. (and yes, that’s my own crocheted handiwork plopped on my head and draped around my neck)
Those of you who know me, know that I spend most of my discretionary outdoor time surrounded by leaves and trees. But I also like the pure physical sensation of putting one foot in front of the other at a really good clip. Occasionally, for a change of pace, my husband and I abandon the woods and head for the big TO (downtown Toronto) and do our own little informal walking tour. We don’t have plans, (except to eat dinner somewhere) and so we just wander around. I love the side-streets and bi-ways of the corporate office tower, which seem much like ravines and canyons (but a lot less friendly to wildlife), and I really appreciate architecture.
121201downtown-toronto72While we were having fun on our discovery tour, others were in a REALLY BIG HURRY. It was Friday, late afternoon, so folks were still working, and or going to and from. This is Bay Street (I think).
The sun goes down early at this time of the year, so by 4:30pm, on a rainy afternoon, things look dismal quick, excepting all the bright city lights. I experimented with various likely ‘modes’ on my camera, such as ‘night shot’ and ‘fireworks’ and ‘indoors’ none of which worked, and then thought, ‘what the heck’ and tried ‘fish tank’ (aquarium) mode, and that’s the setting used for all of these photos. I didn’t want to bother with a tripod, so I used a steady hand with the help of local objects, such as stone benches and garbage cans to add stability. The only other ‘trick’ I used for these photo's was GIMP’s perspective tool to adjust the perspective to something a little more natural.
12121101bce-place-taelonHere is one of my favourite buildings, the BCE Place, 161 Bay, Toronto, Ontario. I’m not sure if it’s tricked up for Christmas, but I love the lighting, and the rainy wet weather helped. And, so slow you don’t notice, the colours keep changing.
Inside, the BCE Place is even more awesome and not just a little disturbing, as makes literal the concept of commerce as the religion of our era, giving this corridor all the trappings of a cathedral. (and you gotta love the ‘up-lighting’).  This probably wasn’t lost on the producers of Earth Final Conflict, a sci-fi series that I avidly watched, as the building was used in the series as Taelon Headquarters.  The Taelons were aliens that had taken over the earth in much the same way that the British Colonialists took over northern North America. In fact, the series was one long metaphor exploring conquest through trade and technology.


Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

very nice photos :)

‘holiday’ ‘structure’?? *shakes head* political correctness has gone overboard

i hate toronto, way too big. all right to visit for a day, but more then that drives me insane

kaslkaos said...

yessss, and I didn't get the eatons centre um structure--a floor to ceiling plastic light up cone thingie. Okay, it DOES look stunning, and just maybe, in this age of all things petroleum (nee plastic) it is appropriate, but what the heck is wrong with a christmas tree.
With you, about Toronto, but it does have some pretty nifty nooks and crannies.


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