… not a real leopard but this one behind the behind the bar at the Calcutta Cricket Club on 17th Avenue in Calgary is stunning. I hope to see one in the wild – perhaps with my friends in India – sooner than later.
On my path towards the water for sunrise a couple of weeks ago, I passed under the 4th Avenue Flyover Bridge. Curtis Van Charles Sorensen’s mural of the leaping foxes is a street art favorite of mine. I liked how the curve of the bridge allowed me to connect it to the Calgary Tower.
Following the enjoyment of watching the fiery, hazy spell cast by la Joute fountain in front of the Palais des congrès, I continued on to the old port. This area is the historical heart of Montréal and one I had not spent time exploring before. Restaurants and cafes were winding down for the night as I walked past and people were making their way home. That left the cobblestone streets, lined with some of the oldest buildings in Canada, to me and the occasional group of merrymakers and travelers. I played with some long exposures, stepping into a few of those frames, and some motion blurs (images of the Ferris wheel on the waterfront from that night can be seen here). I ended up getting pretty tired towards the early morning so that impacted the photographing a bit but I’m glad I had time to have a look around. I’m excited to get back there again in a couple of weeks. Hopefully with more time and during daylight too!
Recently I was in Montréal and my first destination was the Palais des congrès. A stroll down Avenue Viger led me to this convention centre and the beautiful façade of colorful glass windows that drew me there. I crossed the street to frame the windows behind the fountain in the park there. La Joute is the name of the sculpture fountain and it breathes fire! I didn’t know that when I arrived though. Standing at the edge of the fountain’s pool, I overheard a boy ask his brother when the fire would start so I decided to wait and see what would come next.
A few minutes later, a thick haze started to roll over the water and soon covered the pool and rose up towards the bronze sculptures of animal and human figures. The presentation was impressive and had a gentle flow as it moved from water into fog.
A few people had gathered and were enthralled, as I was, when the first flickers of flame began to appear around the central statue. These flames connected into a complete ring of fire and rose a foot or two off of the water.
The backdrop of the Palais made for a lovely atmosphere and a great scene to photograph throughout the sequence.
Calgary’s Peace Bridge has become one of the city’s landmarks and is an important pedestrian connector into the downtown core. Last weekend I went to Eau Claire a couple of hours before sunrise, walked over to the bridge and then photographed from dark night to bright morning. The lines of the structure are beautiful and I really enjoyed working with them, as well as the color and lighting, while I was photographing.
The construction crane south of the bridge was working and it played a nice supporting role as an interesting element in a couple of the images as well.
The Berlin TV Tower rises up from Alexanderplatz in the heart of Berlin and is arguably the most prominent landmark in the city. To get an elevated view, I went to the Park Inn’s panorama terrace which is on the 40th floor and faces the tower. The netting wasn’t great for photographs but I enjoyed the challenge of trying to work with it.
The views of Berlin from that height were fantastic. I got there before the sun had set so it was nice to be able to see many of the cathedrals, museums and other sites I had spent the week visiting. The image below is looking to the west and the orderly yet somehow still chaotic mosaic of the city.
Just before midnight I went to the top of the tower itself. The windows at night had reflections to wrestle along with a bit of distortion in the glass so the photographs from Berlin’s highest perch were quite limited. Still great to take in the whole city wearing her night lights. The night market in the centre of Alexanderplatz under the tower nearly empty but provided some colorful lights to frame against the railing shadows I leaned against.
Canon 5DIII with a 24mm f/1.4 lens: 13 seconds on f/11 at ISO 100
Vehicle lights trace lines along Crowchild Trail on a winter’s night in Calgary.
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.
I enjoy finding patterns in the environment whether that is downtown or out in the wilds. I had noticed the spiraling exit ramp at the parkade under the Calgary Tower a few times and finally took a couple of minutes to frame a picture of what I was seeing.
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.
I was out on a windy hill east of Calgary’s downtown core on Monday night photographing the city center at sunset. There were some great clouds that soaked up the light to create some beautiful hues that reflected into the buildings. As the sun fell, stray light would find a clear patch through the clouds and then bounce around the glass on the buildings. A beautiful scene to photograph, here are a few from the evening.
Although it is no longer the tallest building along the skyline, the Calgary Tower is still an icon for the city. This is a different look at the building as dusk quickly advanced.
A view of the whole downtown as the sunlight waned.
I am enjoying the people I meet and see during my commutes into and out of downtown. The photographs of these two gentlemen drew my attention when I was looking through my recent pictures. The driver was a quick shot taken as my car passed by a bus – I didn’t realize that the bus driver was looking at me. It certainly makes the picture. The man waiting for the train had a stately, refined manner which stood out from the standard commuter. I am taking queues from this man’s sartorial tastes.
More to come from the commuting into Calgary’s core…
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The city was still fairly dark when I was downtown early on Wednesday. I dragged the shutter, using long exposures mixed with some panning to capture the motion of the commuter trains coming into and heading out of the core. Many of the trains were sparsely populated with passengers with the rush of people yet to start building. This afforded the opportunity pick out individual riders and follow them through the exposure to give the illusion of freezing the person while surrounding them with movement.
The station matched the trains at that hour – both were pretty quiet.
In this image
I have been working downtown the past couple of weeks which finds me riding the bus, rolling on the train and walking around the core. It makes for great opportunities to photograph people and vehicles – two themes I quite like working with.
With the businessman striding past, along with the absurd text, the lines and the display designer behind the glass collaborating to create an interesting scene.
I will be downtown for a while longer so there will be more to come on these two themes.
A photograph made in Gastown in Vancouver, British Columbia. The restaurant is the Water St. Cafe and I love how the subject of the image, the waiter, is separated from the street scene by these large panes . I photographed this image a couple of years ago with my old Canon XT and converted it into black and white immediately back then. I had not looked at it much since then but it was stored in one of the image portfolios on my phone. This afternoon I was playing with an app (TiltShift) on my iPhone which applies tilt and shift effects to any accessible image. So, with adjustment of the point of focus and then selecting the amount of blur, I came up with a new version of this archived photo that I quite like.
As part of my ongoing fascination with glass, I am working on a collection of abstract images involving windows. Here are three photographs that have made it into the series so far.
I love these thick blocks of glass that are often found in homes. They are great for allowing light in while keeping the interior private. For me, they warp scenes on both sides of the glass and I love the effect. The crazy pattern in this pane is actually a plain window in the brown brick building about ten feet away.
This one strays a bit from the glass theme but I was drawn to the strange pattern created by the window frames from this angle at ground level in and alley in downtown Calgary.
I had the opportunity to work with glass (blown glass) for fun a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I love working it into my photography whether as the subject or as part of the supporting cast – it really is wonderful.
I don’t actively hunt graffiti out but occasionally there is a piece that demands a second look when I see it. Whether because of the color, the shapes, the location or something less tangible, I have to photograph the occasional piece. Here are four pieces where I like the art and the way I captured them in a photograph.
Here, I panned with the one of Calgary’s C Train cars as it moved out of downtown towards the southern reaches of the line. I used a longer exposure, 1/4 of a second, to really stretch the lines of light and dark in background. Usually I pan the trains at between 1/10 and 1/20 of a second as that allows for decent blur streaks in the background and achieving a sharp subject (the train or sometimes its occupants). Longer exposures can end up a blurry mess quite easily. In this image, my panning matched the train’s movement pretty well so outline at the front of the vehicle is clearly that of a train. Not sharp but I think there is a good balance between the background blur and the lines and edges of the train. I think there is a lot of movement in this photo which was my intent.