Sunday, July 30, 2006

Photography: Crowning Apollo

Most of the photographs I take are spur-of-the-moment things, but sometimes an idea comes to me that actually requires some planning ahead of time.

One day, when walking across University Ave in Toronto, I noticed that the tip of the shadow of the Airman's Memorial (better known as "Gumby Goes to Heaven") was just reaching the end of the boulevard that divides the street. When meant that if I were to stand just short of that, I could get this funky backlit shot:

Gumby Goes To Heaven

Further down University is another memorial, the South African War Memorial. Looking at it one day as I passed on my way to work, it struck me that if I did a shot like my backlit Gumby shot, I could have Nike (the victory figure at the top) crowning the Sun. So I set out to plan this one. Obviously, I'd have to be there at just the right time -- when University Ave pointed right at the Sun. I brought my camera to work and headed over at lunch.

Unfortunately, I discovered that it won't work at this time of year. The Sun's too high in the sky at lunch, so I have to stand almost right under the status, and everything's too foreshortened to get the effect. I'd have to wait to December to get that shot.

That didn't mean I couldn't get something, though. I brought the camera to work again and tried some shots on my way in. Because the Sun's in the east, I had to stand on the west side of University, behind Campbell House. That didn't quite work, because the shadow fell behind a fence, so the closest I could get to lining things up was this:

Crowning Apollo

Not what I was after, but I like the effect. I especially like the reddish halo showing in the clouds, the result of the sunlight refracted in the water vapour. That didn't show up until I touched up the colour levels.

Since I couldn't line things up in a morning shoot, the only option was an evening one. Most of the time, though, I left work too early to get anything -- the Sun would be too close to (or even behind) the buildings south-west of the memorial. One day, though, I happened to not only be leaving late, but I had the camera along (and the tripod, even!), and I found that the tip of the shadow was just reaching the sidewalk on the east side of University.

It was tricky to shoot, though. With no cloud or haze, the sun was too bright to look at through the viewfinder. I had to set up the shot low, with the sun out of frame, then angle the camera up and hope I got things lined up right. The first few shots were 'way off:

Crowning Apollo

The block in the lower right is one corner of the famous Canada Life Building, known for the weather beacon on top of its tower.

Fortunately, with digital, I could tell immediately if I missed, so it didn't take too long, and eventually I got the effect I wanted:

Crowning Apollo

(BTW, there's some subtle detail that tends to get lost in these reduced images -- it's worth following the link and seeing the image in "Large" size)

I'll still be going back in December to try out my original idea, though! Read more!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Photography: Trilliums

In addition to GPS-based geocaching, we do letterboxing, a much older version of the same sort of game. Back in May we found a series of letterboxes called the Narnia series (each box had a stamp based on the four Pevensie children and a clue leading to a final, fifth box), with all of the boxes hidden in provincial conservation areas north of Toronto. On stop was the Triffin Conservation Area, which had more trilliums than I'd ever seen at one time before.



I'm used to seeing trilliums in patches that are maybe five meters across, but here, they stretched as far as you could see. Mostly the traditional white ones:


Though a few of those were a little more dramatic than the average:


There were also a lot of the rarer pink trilliums:

Pink Trillium

And the occasional, very dramatic, red ones:

Red Trillium

It was a couple of shots of these that I used for the stereo trilliums image in the last post. Read more!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Photography: Stereography

On one of our geocaching trips (of which I'll be posting more photos shortly), we took lots of plant photos. By chance, there were two plants that we ended up photographing from almost, but not quite, identical positions -- just off enough that they could be used to make stereographic pairs.

To get the 3D effect, scroll this page until the image is at a comfortable eye level, fix your attention on the white bar in the middle, and then relax your eyes and let the left and right images drift apart until you can see three copies of the image. The middle copy will consist of the two halves overlapping, giving a 3D effect.

Stereo Trilliums
Stereo Ferns
Read more!

Photography: More Stuff

More photography catching-up...

Grange Park

While I worked at Points, my office looked out over Grange Park. So, naturally, I ended up taking a lot of photos there. The old tower of St. George the Martyr Anglican Church was a favourite.


Here's the view from my office. The tower of St. George the Martyr is nicely ivy-covered, which makes for great colours -- green in the spring, red in the fall, and all nicely dead and cemetery-ish in the winter. You can also see University College about 1300m away in the back.


The wildlife likes the place too, though their easier to see in the larger version of the photo.


While photographing the tower I noticed this behind it. Several hundred people heading off somewhere, barely showing up in my viewfinder.

Going Somewhere?

Random Stuff

For Christmas I got Lori a ring flash, so we spent a lot of the family get-together photographing random things around the house.

Stained Glass Lamp
It's a Fisher Price World

Another "happen to have the camera while walking home late at night" shot. The hosta happened to be in the beam of a spotlight in front of the Grand Hotel on Jarvis St.

Hosta At Night

A commenter on Flickr had trouble recognizing this one. Doesn't everyone have a leather elephant?


"Fluffernutter" is our nickname for him. Because he's fluffy, and nuts.


Geocaching in Paris

The Paris & Brantford area is really good for geocaching -- lots of caches and lots of river trails to hike. We were out there in May and did a couple of caches.

The Wheeler Needle Works -- and old church -- would be much better to photograph if it weren't cramped up between other buildings and didn't have this annoying power cable running right across the front. The only way I could get the whole facade in was to make a mosaic (using Autostitch).

Wheeler Needle Works
Wheeler Needle Works

On the path we met this moth. He cooperated for a bit.


That's as far as I've gotten caught up in my uploads. More to come over the next few days. Feel free to leave comments, eh? Either here or on Flickr. Read more!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Photography: Lots O' Stuff

The job hunt progresses apace. One offer turned down, one good prospect that didn't go anywhere, and two good prospects in the works. Plus the adult web-cam network company that needs someone to do 90% of their tech work.

But in the meantime, I'm getting photos shopped and uploaded, so here're the latest. I'm only putting up one or two from each batch -- follow the links to see the full photostream.


Ducklings at Ashbridges Bay. You know, I'm not really that keen on birds, but I end up taking quite a few photos of them. Elephants are the same way.


High Park

There's an awful lot of High Park between the paths and roads that everyone takes. Whenever I'm there, I try to follow a trail I'd never walked on before. The path on the left runs down from Colborne Lodge to the pond. The tree on the right was on another path running back up from the pond to the main road.

Bench E

Bluffer's Park

We went to Bluffer's Park for a walk one evening. Unfortuantely, Lori ended up on a work-related crisis Blackberry call through about 90% of the walk.

Why's it called Bluffer's Park? Mainly because of the bluffs.

Bluffs Dead End

If you look closely, there's a sign at the top of the right-hand photo. I believe it says something like "Dead End" or "No Thru Traffic". The photo on the right is a bit of a trick: the original exposure wasn't great since the bluff itself was in shadow. The image is a composite of two versions of the same shot, one with the exposure corrected for the sky, the other corrected for the bluffs themselves.

The water was pretty calm, so we took some reflection shots.


And some more of those bird shots I mentioned...

Gull Gull

Not My Dog

I took these photos almost a year ago, but I only got them uploaded this past week. Not My Dog is a restaurant and bar at 1510 Queen St. West run by some of my brother's friends. My brother designed the signage and lamps in the place.

Not My Dog Not My Dog

For some reason I uploaded the lamps separately from the restaurant photos, so they aren't adjacent in the photostream.


Toronto At Night

I don't do a lot of shooting at night, but sometimes I end up out with the camera.

Old City Hall is always fun to shoot, especially with that nice shiny mirror behind it.

Old City Hall

Sometimes unrelated things just end up next to each other and it looks right.


This is all done now -- the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, as it was last Christmas.

Under Construction

There's more that I've uploaded, but I'll get to that tomorrow. Read more!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Stuff: Unemployed

I suddenly find myself out of a job, now that my employer has trimmed its workforce by 25%. While that theoretically leaves more time to post, more likely it will just make me less inclined to -- not that I'm posting all that faithfully now. So don't expect much here for the next while... Read more!