A few photographs of downtown Calgary from the north side of the Centre Street Bridge last week during the latest cold snap.
On this last photograph, I entered the frame with the help of a timer in order to provide a contrasting element in the foreground.
A morning scene from the edge of the Olympic Plaza in Calgary’s downtown. It’s a small park with a million stories. This was a sunny morning earlier this week where the moment suggested the light and the dark sides of many of these stories.
I caught Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday and absolutely loved it. The continuation of the saga is a joyride I have been looking forward to enormously and the movie met my loftiest hopes 🙂
Earlier in the week, my kids and I went downtown for my birthday evening and we saw these Stormtroopers walking near The Bow. Great foreshadowing for us. There was a film crew with them so it was some form of promotional shoot. That didn’t stop the kids and I getting really excited daydreaming about walking into the middle of a real life Star Wars scene.
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1/10th of a second at f/4.5 on ISO 640
Cars, motorcycles, buses and rickshaws swung by me one evening while I was in the heart of Cabo San Lucas. With the neon signs hanging above many of the shops and the sky still deep blue, I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to drag my shutter and play with what images I could create.
When practicing motion photography, I like to try different techniques. I switch between keeping the subject sharp by panning in sync with its movement and panning out of sync so that only a small part is sharp or the whole thing has a large or small amount of blur that pushes the image into an abstract shot.
For the better part of an hour, the traffic kept me happily occupied while I waited for my bus to arrive.
Last week I was downtown for the day and before leaving the urban cacophony spent a bit of time dragging my shutter among my fellow commuters. It had been quite a long time since I was downtown during the evening rush hour and I enjoyed panning with the C-trains, shooting in the middle of the cross walk and looking for ways to capture the movements of people and their conveyances.
The Plus 15 walkways which are ~5 metres above Calgary’s street level connect the majority of buildings downtown. This allows people to avoid going outside during cold winter days and provides a great vantage point for watching the bright, orderly retreat of workers from their offices to their homes.
Fuji X100s + 23mm lens: 1/4 of a second at f/5.6 on ISO 3200
I played around with longer exposures (wishing I had a way to counter the slight bounce in the skybridge due to my fellow Plus 15 pedestrians) and had a moment to appreciate a benefit of the early sunsets that come with the winter months and daylight savings time.
The sky to the east was beautiful this morning. I had a chance to photograph from a good elevation which let me see the horizon towards the east and the downtown cityscape in the other direction. I loved the explosion of color in the clouds preceding the sunrise and those added nice reflections in some of the glass facades of Calgary’s prominent buildings.
The morning’s are still dark when I’m downtown so the lights from the buildings and the vehicles create these illuminated pools. With a longer shutter speed, I sometimes play with stretching these pockets of lights while capturing the motion of vehicles driving around Calgary’s streets.
Thursday night I was downtown photographing night scenes. Hunched over my camera, concentrating on some abstract composition my attention was torn away by a blur of motion above me. Looking up, I saw a flash of red and then… nothing.
I climbed up a fire escape on a lovely old brick building and that’s when I had a good look at the cause of my distraction. He landed on the flight of stairs above and then leaped over the railing (as seen above).
At this point he was well positioned for an action pose and I managed to take one photo as he was staring at me. A second later and he was scaling another wall up towards the roof top. Keeping up to him without a jet pack, flying surfboard or some other speedy contraption was unlikely so I just stood and watched as he spun a web and swung out of sight.
I went back down the escape and walked around the corner keeping an eye out for the webbed one. I turned around intent on heading up the alley and saw him scaling a brick wall. After clearing the doorway our neighbourhood friend launched upwards into the darkness where I lost him again.
I didn’t see the masked vigilante for a little while and thought he might have gone. I was heading back to my car when I looked back over my shoulder and caught a sliver of his mask peering around a gate entrance. I carried on to my car in one of the city’s underground parkades and was still rather surprised when the man spider ran down a line of parked cars and vaulted over my car. I wish I had captured the whole sequence but I was only able to take one sharp shot.
At that point I was thinking that my chance encounter wasn’t chance. I know photography was one of this particular superhero’s interests but I can’t say whether he was watching me out of curiosity about just what I was photographing or if he thought I may be a villain up to no good. I should have asked, not that it was likely he would have responded. When I pulled out of the garage, I had one last good look at this mysterious fellow.
I wasn’t thinking about it in the moment but, looking at the pictures, I wonder why he wasn’t in full outfit – was he just exercising a little after the day job, the superhero’s equivalent of going out for a stroll? No idea, these and other questions are still puzzling around in my mind. The imagination wanders… it was a very interesting evening.
I’m often downtown in the morning before dawn and occasionally in the evening after the sun sets. I’m always intrigued with the mingling of buildings, vehicles, street lights and deep blue sky as graphic elements during these walks to and from work. Occasionally, I notice when they align and present me with an interesting scene. Here are a few of the photographs I have made from these moments.
I was in downtown Calgary the morning after our first winter storm on Thursday. It was our first real snowstorm in a few weeks and the moody overcast light inspired a couple of images as I made my way along Stephens Avenue.
These silhouettes of the other commuters created nice abstracts for a final image on the morning.