FINE ART GALLERY VII

k.g. Sambrano

Faith Impact Ministry (originally the Major Cinema)

Toronto, Ontario 2020

The quarantine continued—incessant  hand washing, blue gloves, face protection, curbside pickups. Toronto had reported 4,628 cases of the virus and 229 deaths.  Due to the social distancing restrictions, I self-isolated and revisited past unprocessed digital images.

 

I consider Toronto's streetcars to be the informal ambassadors of the city's history. It was by happenstance in the summer of  2018, that the streetcar deposited me in a part of town I had rarely visited. What now stands as a ministry, decorated in broken neon, was once a cinema. Many of these vestiges of light have survived, albeit repurposed, such as the Major Cinema. One of the reasons for the building's location at St. Clair and Old Weston Road was its close proximity to the streetcar line. Ironically, over one hundred years later this rationale remains relevant.

 

The final image is very different from what one would typically  find in Toronto, resulting in an photograph very different from my usual work.

As this was my first attempt at shooting in Raw format, I didn't bracket my exposure, yielding a fairly narrow tonal range, although I was still able to accentuate many details in the shadow and highlights, and the overall passage of time.

August 3, 2018 (original date  of image)

 

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1/60 sec F/22 ISO80 43mm

Sony 28-70mm F3.5

Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion, Toronto, k.g. Sambrano
Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion, Toronto, k.g. Sambrano1-2lrbwfina.jpg

Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion

Toronto, Ontario 2020

Week three of the province's state of emergency. The Americans had grown restless with the stay-at-home orders. Protests had begun. Trump tweeted out a call to “liberate” certain states. In Canada, we tracked our casualties, heeded our mayors and premiers. Torontonians exercised, lined-up for food at stores that allowed in only two or three people at a time. At 7:30 each evening the city paused to celebrate our frontline workers. I believe there is beauty everywhere, even in the darkest of days.

This photo is more of a "smash and grab" taken in under 10 seconds. I encourage the use of a tripod not only to steady the camera at low shutter speeds but just as importantly to  assist in composition. It usually takes me upwards of 30 minutes to capture a single image. I'm always looking for foreground, leading line, applying the rule-of thirds, manually focusing, choosing an aperture, etc. etc. In this case, I abandoned my usual workflow, set the camera to auto-focus  and relied on instinct.

As I didn't properly frame the composition at the outset, more work than usual was needed in post-production. This image reminds me of an important rule: I never truly know what any image will yield until I take the time to explore.

Of interest is the fact that most times I pre-visualize the image in black and white, a technique I first learned when studying Ansel Adams in the 80's. I actually process the image in colour. Once the colour version is complete, I then convert it into a black and white image (Karsh supossedly employed a similar technique) That is why most of my images appear in both black and white, and colour. But if one looks closley, one will see that each image is developed slightly differently in regard to light and shadow.

April 12, 2020

 

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1/60 sec F/11 ISO50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28  F2/8-F22

Sunnyside Pavilion

Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion

Toronto, Ontario 2020

 

April 12, 2020

 

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1/320 sec F/17 ISO50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28  F2/8-F22

Sunnyside Pavilion
Sunnyside Pavilion, urbanlandscape
Sunnyside Pavilion

Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion

Toronto, Ontario 2020

Sunny Bathing Pavilion appears in my most recent collection of poetry, perhaps that is why I felt the need to run the quarantine to capture this photo. Week-three of self-isolation. Easter Sunday. With mask, gloves, knapsack, and bicycle, as if a modern-day Leiningen, I traveled south to Toronto's lakeshore. The gates were barricaded shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I knew time would stretch over weeks if not months before the building would reopen to the public. Like most of the world, Toronto was besieged. We knew there would be an end to the daily tragedy, but didn't know when. In the meantime, we counted the victims and celebrated our heroes each evening at 7:30 pm.  2,225 Torontonians had been diagnosed at the taking of this photo. 79 confirmed deaths.


I left my tripod at home as I wanted to travel as quickly as possible. This meant less weight, even two or three pounds. As the pavilion gates were locked, I was forced to squeeze my lens in the space between the bars. I took several shots at different exposures, knowing that without a tripod, I probably wouldn't be able to focus stack, bracket my exposures or even focus manually. I moved so quickly, I didn't notice that I was shoot handheld 1/8 of a second. The camera lens lodged between the bar probably saved the photo from the inherent camera shake as these low shutter speeds without image stabilization.

 

April 12, 2020

 

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1/8 sec  F/16 ISO 50 28mm

Tamron E 17-28  F2/8-F22

Osgoode Hall, Toronto

Winter Snowfall, Osgoode Hall

Toronto, Ontario 2020

​​

 

February  26, 2020

 

 

Iphone 6

Ferry Docks Bay Street

Golf Balls Don't Fly Away

Toronto, Ontario 2020

On the boardwalk, Laura listened for the notes left behind by the waves. Bach, Handel, Beethoven—all childhood friends, each with a melody as she met them one by one. It was her father who first placed her fingers on the cello's ebony, positioning each small digit along the spider's strand of string. "Golf Balls Don't Fly Away". Neither would fathers, so she had believed.

 

March 5, 2020

 

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1/30 sec  F/8 ISO 50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-F22

 Ferry Docks k.g. Sambrano
Lost and Found

The Lost and Found

Toronto, Ontario 2020

 

She searched for happiness the same as she had hunted and pecked for each keystroke when first learning to type.

The day ended as did the one before. Her phone told her she had money. She was intent on escape, playing with texting-in her two weeks' notice on a calculated dare.

She found the lake and the sunset each winter evening. This is where she would begin again. At the water's edge she learned to breath. It was a simple thing, a skill she promised to master.

 

March 5, 2020

 

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1/30 sec  F/8 ISO 50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-F22

Ferry docks Toronto

What Ships Were Really Built  For

Toronto, Ontario 2020

 

You're allowed to wander. You might be out of practise but its a muscle to be retrained. If you're reading this, that's a good start. I wander and I dream. I point myself in a general direction and then I move. 

 

The subway to the bus to the ferry docks.  Seeing people, other wanderers. No apologies for living a dream. No regrets. None at all.

 

March 5, 2020

 

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1/30 sec  F/16 ISO 50 25mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-F22

ferrydockmagenta-1b.jpg
High Park, Porch
blue-1.jpg

Dragon's Breath, High Park

Toronto, Ontario 2020

Spring seemed a single breath away the entire month of February. Snow fell, but didn't last. The days became cold, but not for long. This winter season was remarkable on every level. There were times the entire city lived in a dream—a beautiful light-filled glow.

 

A walk down the street with a nearly depleted camera battery. I sought foreground and discovered the park. If in doubt, break glass. Breath deep. Release. Repeat.

 

This was the second and final photograph of the afternoon. I might have taken more if my battery hadn't died. Of course I always travel with a spare, which, was left at home. This was only my second photo with my new Tamron 28-75.

 

March 4, 2020

 

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 3.2 secs  F/20 ISO 50 28mm

Tamron E 28-75

Greektown, Sunset 2020 AD

Greektown, Sunset

 

Greektown, the eastern part of Toronto's Danforth. People's footsteps are lighter in this area of the city, slowed by a sense of reverence as they strolled past this church on the first mild evening of the new year. The night winter finally exhaled. Those who enjoy warmer year-round temperatures may never appreciate the excitement of winter's first thaw. Canada is nothing if not diverse in its people as well as its climate. To paraphrase a poet, as beautiful as Canada is, it is still a land where a winter's night without shelter can end a person's life.

 

February 24, 2020

 

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 4 secs  F/8 ISO 50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-22

Greektown, Sunset 2020 AD

Greektown Sidewalk and Church

Toronto, Ontario 2020

I forget that part of my history lay in Toronto's east end, among the movie theatres and the sidewalk cafes. The Palace theatre was my favourite cinemas, where David Cronenberg's "The Fly" lived for months in a teenager's imagination. The corner of the Danforth and Pape is also where an angry merchant once chased me and a friend pelting us with day-old fruits and vegetables. 

 

But there were quieter times as well, a cycle along the Danforth on my ten-speed. I used to run back then, along the boulevards of sheer excitement. Welcome to the Danforth.  It's no quieter of late. Yes, the cinemas have closed. I usually walk now, but muscle memory abounds. If ever you are in Toronto, wait for a hot night when the teenagers roll down their car windows and the merchants unfurl their wares for the world. Move in the melody of the street. Swallow deep as you stroll. Move slowly. Take in each sight, sound and taste.

 

February 24, 2020

 

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 13secs  F/22 ISO 50 21mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-22

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Light
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Light

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Light

Toronto, Ontario 2020

I was there. Yes, an unusual way to begin a thought, but I was there. I believe that when someone takes a great many photos or writes a great many words, if not careful, one may become lost in the very process of creating. I'm amused when I forget that I remain the one element omitted from each photo or written piece. That evening, I remember being frustrated because my new wide-angle lens was “too" wide, as I ironically, yearned for a longer lens. I recall the light in the background— blue and intense, hanging just above the setting sun. I remember the plastic paint palette with the colour disks that we used to mix with brush and water during art classes in grade two or maybe three. Everything I painted was blue.

 

Standing inside the cemetery gates,  I recall trying to keep my shutter release warm by burying it in my gloved hands to prevent the cold from draining the battery before I took my next exposure. And then there were the cars—the familiar yellow and red streaks across my viewfinder, timing each photograph carefully to find the spaces between the approaching lights. I remember the shadow of the rot iron fence across bare stone. The setting sun and its hue that I my brush could never emulate was bonus. It was really the shadow painted on the bare rock, and the reflection of light across the metal that had drawn me closer. I was cold. I was frustrated but I was there.

 

February 8, 2020

 

 

SONY ALPHA a7r .6 sec  F/13 ISO 50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-22

Blue Hour, Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Blue Hour, Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Blue Hour, Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Toronto, Ontario 2020

 

Concrete continues to bloom at the north end of the city and sadly the natural green of the city becomes somewhat eclipsed by the high rises. Amidst the mainly residential structures and the odd commercial space—Tim Horton's, KFC, the Mount Pleasant Cemetery is where nature still resides.  

I rarely miss the opportunity to photograph, and if able, I often commute with tripod and camera in tow.  I had always heard the grounds of the Mount Pleasant Cemetery described as peaceful and serene. It is also the resting place of some of Canada's most renown persons, such as Jennie Smillie Robertson, Canada's first female Surgeon.  

The light was gentle as is often the case at winter's twilight. Scarcely any cars, I positioned myself in the centre of the road, the moon in the distance flanked by headstones and the streetlights. The photo does not do justice to the calm of the moment.

February 8, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 15 secs. F/2.8 ISO 50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-22

Stoe and Light

Stone and Light

Toronto, Ontario 2020

Outside the Runnymede library, I waited for the blue hour.

 

I've come to not only enjoy winters but to rely on the peacefulness of the season, the rhythm of the setting sun and the early yawn of the moon. Watching the blue hour each morning and then again at night—it is difficult to take a truly poor photograph in the backdrop of the season. Of late, I'm surprised by how often I venture into the cold; early morning, late afternoon, and the occasional late late night shoot with camera, tripod and the neon of the evening.

February 4, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 15 secs. F/22 ISO 50 28mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-22

Stone and Light
Aga Khan Museum
khan lavenderbwcorrected-1extendedfiinal

Aga Khan Museum (looking east)

Toronto, Ontario 2020

Don Mills is much like a day trip to me, a downtown Torontonian, but the childhood memories remain of waiting for the 25 Pape bus to take us home. Daydreaming as I peered out the window, the world seemed so large. So exciting. Unexplored.

The snow fell steadily as the bus let me out a few blocks before the Aga Khan Museum, the first museum in the western world dedicated to Islamic art and objects. It is as majestic and culturally rich on the outside as the in, as snow blanketed the polished stones that decorate its landscape fashioned as a contemporary interpretation of a Charbagh.

Owing to weather conditions and the prohibiting of tripods, I made several more photos than usual. The challenges with shooting urban landscapes without a  tripod are numerous—focusing issues, camera shake, higher than desired shutter speeds.. the list is long. The photo of the Aga Khan Museum was taken by placing my camera bag on the ground, and carefully balancing the camera on top all this as snowflakes covered my LCD display, and my new gloves proved to be only marginally better than bare hands.  

Remarkably, there is very little manipulation in the colour print, as the sky, in spite of the snow was a deep blue. The resulting blue/magenta cast is the reason I prefer shooting at sunset, although both sunrise and sunset are preceded by a blue hour, there is usually the added touch of magenta which seems unique to the late evening light.

January 31, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1.3 secs. F/2.8 ISO 50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-22

Aga Khan Museum (Charbagh)

Aga Khan Museum (Charbagh)

Toronto, Ontario 2020

January 31, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 13 secs. F/22 ISO 50 21mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-22

Aga Khan Museum
Dance with Me
Make a Wish

Dance with Me

Toronto, Ontario 2020
 

Go ahead, jump in. Pretend it's summer again in your home in the burbs where snowdrift palaces once eclipsed all memories of endless summer days, and as boys played king of the mountain. Charge! Footprints left in the wake of each snow-covered climb to conquest and victory.

 

Go ahead, pretend it's summer again, the rains having left its  pools of sadness, like snowmen in a sudden spring thaw. After summer's drizzle your mother opens the front door unleashing the whirlwind of youth onto the driveway, pushing your wagon around and around and around Urrrh! Urrrh! as you turned each corner.

 

The skipping rope tied to the fence post, you ask your older sister as your steeled yourself to jump between the pink shutters that opened and shut so quickly, “What month was I born in?”  Double-dutch. Crazy feet. The laughter reaching your mother's window. Laughter—medicine for all childhood ailments. And then later on the orange glow of evening that folded the light into the sunsets you had only seen on postcards from your father. Before “Where's Waldo” there was your father, the traveller. 

 

On the veranda your mother rested, the setting sun bleaching her hair. You looked up to see her growing old in the summer evening, the ethereal light a “snapshot” into the future where hair greyed and youth withered. Beauty tired. So tired. You do not understand the arc of time, the echo of memory as she aged before your eyes. The puddles, the footprints of the rain become the tears a young boy leaves behind when he comes to understand one day his mother will leave him and never come back. Go ahead, jump in if it reminds you of a better time, if only to remind yourself of joy. If only to take yourself to a better place.

January 25, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 13 secs. F/8 ISO 50 28mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-22

k.g. Sambrano, Light and Alley
Light and Alley

Light and Alley

Toronto, Ontario 2020
 

Toronto changes in the rain, as do many urban landscapes. At street-level from the subway, I discovered a city I had never before experienced.  There was a glow to the buildings and a sheen that decorated the streets. Morning blue hour. Breathtaking anytime, and even more so on this January morning as the city seemed to exhale colours in the morning drizzle.

I had been studying another Toronto photographer, Lucan Coutts, whose work I greatly respect. His work is opposite to mine, often shooting at night in inclement weather. I consider his work to be simply off the scale. In truth, I hadn't realized it was raining until after I had left my home. Sigh, but I remembered some of Coutts' images and decided that for the first time, I would deliberately shoot in the rain.

The original photo was taken from beneath the overhang of a building, where in the distance I saw the hotel. After taking a few images I moved closer, through the rain, to set up in a deserted alley. Without proper rain gear, and somewhat skeptical about of Sony's claims of my camera being weather sealed (whatever that means) I moved quickly. The last time, I had gotten caught in the rain, so now I walk with a plastic bag, which I placed over my camera and tripod as I worked.

Although above zero, in the rain, the hands began to sting. I shot on instinct knowing I needed the foreground, mid-ground as well as the background to be in focus. Although with this lens, my limited tests suggested the sharpest aperture is actually around f/11, but without a neutral density filter (I had one but who had the time to fiddle with them, remember cold hands!) that aperture would have yielded too short an exposure. I find my best exposures are somewhere between 30 to 45 seconds.

The photo was taken almost fully stopped down at f/20. Interestingly enough, although I had the benefit of my new 17 to 28 zoom lens, this photo was shot at 27 mm. Without much thinking I had simply zoomed in and out and had chosen the best photo cropping without even glancing at the focal length of the lens.

Both images are a combination of three bracketed photos resulting in an HDR image. My processing was same as usual, but for correcting the lens distortion (new step since I have a shorter lens). I processed in colour, then converted the image to black and white. The only step I did not execute was that of manipulating the black and white image. It seems the image works just as well as in black and white as in colour with no extra work. In other words, I got two for the price of one.

Hotel and Alley, remains one of my most satisfying images to date, and well worth the rain. My takeaway as a photographer was the reminder to shoot, shoot often, continue to experiment, not to be discouraged if every shot isn't as rich as the one before. Be happy when one does. The famous film director, Francis Ford Coppola once remarked, it's not about the shots that you miss, it about the shots that you're able to get. The payoffs of this type of diligence are rewarding beyond words.

 

January 18, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 30 secs. F/20 ISO 50 27mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-22

Runnymede Barber Shop

Notes:

Further west where the bridge arches over the Humber where children climb upon imaginary rafts and paddling to their highway's end, meeting Lake Ontario, exclaiming to each of their travelling companions “We've reached the ocean!” From the same bridge you can see the ice that tonight holds back the river—ice, thick and white like the icing from the thousands of wedding cakes that feed the hopes of newlyweds in the Old Mill Inn, just down the way. The wedding music from its chapel clear to anyone who has walked by at any time. But now late night, late, late night, the cold grasping hands and feet, as bones begin to whisper and shake... must stay warm, must stay warm. Another sound, like that of carpenter's nails across an endless metal blackboard, drowns out any other sound. The subway train, the glow of metal and incandescent light rattles the blackness of the evening splitting the wedding cake river, drowning out the dream of happiness and discovery. There is no ocean tonight, no weddings. It is Toronto. It is past midnight. Tonight it is cold for such a warm city. Home the only words on chapped lips. Safe. Sound. Gratitude.

Away from Home

Toronto, Ontario 2020


Take a walk along Bloor Street West in the dead of winter, camera switched to automatic between well-worn gloves.  No tripod.  And like bad dialogue from a cheap film, you declare that tonight "you're breaking all the rules!".

 

Pass by the closed restaurants and the all-night Circle-K or the neighbourhood theatre built below street-level from which the over-60 crowd emerges, laughing in the dark cold. They've seen war, lived recessions, they're not bothered by the minus 8-degree temperature. The roads are dry on account of the snow having abandoned the city with the changing climate, so cars now travel silently as red and yellow streaks of light in your peripheral. Traffic hovers upon the mist rising from the sewer grates and “manhole” covers. The few people on the streets dismiss the photographer as just another street ornament. The homeless have found homes. The cold becomes a type of invisibility.

The late-night places—the Pizza Pizza, the Shoppers Drug Mart are still well-lit, same as the barbershop with its candy cane staff that has swizzled above the store's doorway for over 50 years without stopping once but for the time when the Canadian Fighter pilots arrived at City Hall after flying combat missions in the Gulf.  We breathed deeply that day and richly.  “Safe and sound” are the words all parents would gladly give up their lives to hear.  

Where people gather, stories are told and left behind.

 

January 18, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1/60 sec. F/4.5 ISO 4000 17mm (handheld)

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-2/8

York Street, Car, k.g. Sambrano
York Street, Car

York Street, Car

Toronto, Ontario 2020


At times, photography is about what one does not reveal in a photo. For example, I did not include the woman, arms full, hurrying back and forth through the hotel doors to the car as she filled up the back seat or the concern in my face each time she reappeared threatening to complete her task and drive away. Ironically, a car, usually the bane of my post-processing (they usually serve only to muddle an otherwise acceptable  composition) in this case became an integral element of the scene.

Much like "High Park, Playground Chairs", I've been taking a more subtle approach in my post-processing of late.

 

Sometimes the strength of an image isn't readily revealed. In this case it wasn't until after I thought the image had been completed that I realized that by also including the lights to the left and right of the car, the composition was strengthened. In an instant the image morphed from a "smash and grab" photo of a car and a hotel, to that of a car and a hotel as the winter sun began to set in a busy metropolis.

This photo was taken without a tripod and without much time for preparation. I adjusted  the camera to auto-focus as I leaned up against a construction pole on the other side of the street and adjusted the shutter speed. This is one of my few images that is not processed as an HDR as, again, the image was captured without a tripod or bracketing, although still very dynamic and sharp.
 

January 13, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1/15 sec. F/4 ISO 50 28mm (handheld)

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-2/8

The Intersection of Falling Stars

The Intersection of Stars

Toronto, Ontario 2020


Even in the "hurry...hurry...ding...ding.." of the city, one can sometimes find a pause, a pure experience. I have taken to carrying my camera and tripod wherever I can— appointments, meetings, any opportunity to shoot with my new Tamron lens before the temperature dropped for good.  The sun was just dimming as it does so early in January. The glow of the sign above me is what caught my attention and looking up, the convergence of city spires.

I believe that we often take for granted that we belong to a race, a species that has stepped foot on the moon. Wait, think about that for just a moment. We harnessed our ingenuity and courage, and we left our planet to travel into space and back. We have devices that allow us to speak to each other on the other side of the street or on the other side of the earth, effortlessly. We create tools that allow us to not only capture our personal experiences but to also share them with others.

January 13, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1/4 sec. F22 ISO 50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-2/8

Doorway, University of Toronto St. George
_DSC3335.oringial.jpg

Doorway, University of Toronto St. George

Toronto, Ontario 2020

 

As it began to rain, the walk from the University of Toronto's Convocation Hall seemed like kilometres rather than a simple short jaunt along the asphalt path. The rain had begun to come down even harder when I noted the archway as I hurried by. The texture of the brick was nothing short of exquisite, as were the arches of the doorway. In the background, like an ethereal heart, a door.

 

While working on this image in Photoshop, I removed the sign on the gate, after which, the image suddenly felt empty. If I was focused strictly on the building's architecture, perhaps I would have omitted the sign permanently, but rather, I was attempting to capture a snapshot in the urban landscape. Come spring or summer, the sign will eventually be removed permanently. Toronto is an ever-changing city—construction signs and detours are all part of the living landscape.

Other than sunrise and sundown, overcast days are my favourite time to explore the city. I've supplied the original file taken just before it began to pour. 

 

January 11, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 1/6 sec. F11 ISO 50 28mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-2/8

University of Toronto, Goldring Centre

University of Toronto, Steps

Toronto, Ontario 2020
 

January 12, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 30 secs. F22 ISO 50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-2/8

January Twilight, High Park
January Twilight, High Park

January Twilight, High Park

Toronto, Ontario 2020

When asked how his movies were so always so beautifully lit,  a famous director quipped, "I use available light...what ever light is available...I use." 
 

The fog was showing no signs of soon lifting. In the background to the right is the lit baseball diamond with its stadium lights, and behind the tree is the street lamp, the quintessential accent of urban landscape.  The "available" light, along with the fog together with the glow from the Blue Hour, helped me to capture the last vestiges of the January evening at sundown.

Things get lost. Especially the good things. Often the simple things. “January Twilight” was captured just minutes after the “High Park, Playground Chairs”.  The greatest gift for a photographer maybe when one is able to capture in digital form what the eyes first saw. "January Twilight" one of those gifts.

 

I often forget that I began as a landscape photographer. It is always pleasant when I am able to return to my roots, figuratively or otherwise.

 

January 11, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 30 secs. F22 ISO 50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-2/8

High Park, Chairs

High Park, Playground Chairs

Toronto, Ontario 2020


A few feet behind me is a playground: swings, seesaws, and giant plastic flowers. It's not the same without the melody of laughter and squeals. During the summer months, these chairs are filled by parents and caregivers, aunts, uncles or daydreamers. This evening in January, the voices of children were replaced by that of a photographer fumbling with tripod and camera before the rain fell even harder.

 

The photo is different from my usual work, and purposefully so. I was testing a new lens as the sun dimmed in the distance. The clouds brought a glow to the chairs, in contrast to the natural foliage behind them. What struck me the most was the solitude—no snow despite it being almost mid-January, no children, nothing but the rain.

I had been working more in the 16:9 ratio, the same as that of motion picture. The photo in its finished form reminds me of Fellini, which reminds me of Donald Sutherland in Don't Look Now, a film about a lost child and a bright red hood.

 

January 11, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 30 secs. F22 ISO 50 17mm

Tamron E 17-28 F2/8-2/8

Winter Evening Toronto
Winter Evening Toronto

Winter Evening Toronto

Toronto, Ontario 2020

In early spring, after enjoying a dinner with a friend, we walked along The Esplanade admiring the architecture and the setting sun. As we crossed the street, I glanced back at a tall, uniquely shaped building that protruded from the rest of the cityscape.  I promised to return with my camera.

 

Fast forward to early morning August 3, 2019. After photographing the Royal Bank Tower I tried to return to the location from earlier that spring, but couldn't find the building! I spent over an hour combing the area, but with the changing light, the building seemed to have disappeared!

It was now winter, almost sundown as I walked the Toronto streets with tripod and torn winter gloves. Slightly frustrated by a number of disappointing images, I continued east until I reached The Esplanade. The building I had seen that previous spring had not crossed my mind, until like Hilton's Shangri-La, the building reappeared, as if the changing light was revealing what I thought had been forever lost.

 

The resulting image of Toronto at winter's dusk was well-worth the nine-month wait, as well as the  cold hands.   
 

January 3, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 6-12 secs. F22  ISO 50  28mm

FE 28-72mm 3.5-5.6

"Sky full of Lighters" Toronto

"Sky full of Lighters", New Year's Day 6:22 pm

Toronto, Ontario 2020

Bloor street is in constant motion—all-night buses, cyclists and pedestrians. It was winter as I took advantage of the early sunsets between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. Under-dressed as usual, I moved quickly. The focal point was originally the lamp post and bouquet of lights above the stone pillars, but stepping back, I realized an image that included the sun set in the distance and the orange glow of the traffic.

This photo was taken about 20 feet from where I would  capture the image of the Royal Ontario Museum just minutes later.

One day I may very well invest in a winter jacket. Until then the cold forces me to move quicker and to compose mostly on instinct, sometimes hitting the mark, and other times, simply enduring another cold evening in Toronto.


January 1, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 30 secs. F22 ISO 50 31mm

FE 28-72mm 3.5-5.6

romblackandwhitecropped-1fi.jpg

Royal Ontario Museum, New Year's Day 6:35 pm

Toronto, Ontario 2020

 

January 1, 2020

 

SONY ALPHA a7r 30 secs. F16 ISO 50 28mm

FE 28-72mm 3.5-5.6

  • Twitter Clean

© 2019 k.g. Sambrano. All rights reserved.

Dance with Me