Category Archives: Cityscapes

Rio Onyar, Girona, Spain

Rio Onyar, Girona, Spain

“Glad memories of days recently past bring joy as I recall days of travel, friends, and the bright colours of distant lands.” – Ed Lehming

This seems like a distant memory right now. In the days of self-isolation I’m recalling our recent trip to Spain with such fondness. Even though today dawned bright and cool, the colours and activity of our first full day in Spain comes back. I find myself looking at photos filled with crowds of people talking to each other, dining in cafés, and simply enjoying the warm days of late summer.

This image is taken looking across Girona’s Rio Onyar, with the massive Cathedral of Girona dominating the scene. I simply love the bright colours of the riverside dwellings and the deep blue of the sky.

As I review my many photos of that trip, I will share photos and memories. Even though I really don’t consider myself a travel photographer, perhaps these images can bring some joy into others lives as well.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 17-50 mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF A1N6II @ 19mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

“Guardian of the Stairs” – Aix-en-Thermes

“Guardian of the Stairs” - Aix-en-Thermes

Monochrome Monday
“Guardian of the Stairs” – Aix-aux-Thermes

As this month progresses and I get to finally reviewing and editing some of last years travel photos I’m finding myself leaning more towards mono images. They just seem to have more character and emotion to them.

Here, a local cat lounges at the base of  a set stone steps in the French town of Aix en Thermes, seemingly guarding the way. The photo essentially composed itself with the cat as the focal point and the gradients of the steps just adding interest and a bit of mystery as they rise and bend out of sight. I should note that I often consider shooting in mono and ensuring that I get enough tonal variety and contrast to make it interesting but end up reverting to the comfort zone of colour and switching to mono as I edit.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 17-50 mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF A1N6II @ 48mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 320

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)


“Cathedral of Girona, Back Door” – Girona, Spain

“Cathedral of Girona, Back Door” - Girona, Spain

“Discover how to visit the past and bring yesterday’s stories into our lives today”
― Gillian Hovell

I’ll start out by saying my trip to Spain late last summer left me breathless though more relaxed than I thought was possible given the distances covered and steps climbed.

For a Canadian traveler to this ancient and interesting land was an incredible experience. I love history and to actually stand in these places and let my imagination wander was simply amazing.

I have seen photos and illustrations in my history texts and seen many of these places portrayed in film, but to actually stand here is another thing completely.

We began our trip in the Catalonian town of Girona. I’ll also start by saying that anything I mention from this region of Spain will be referenced as Catalonia, which as I have discovered, though part of Spain, has a completely separate history, language and culture which I want to respect.

So, here I stood in ancient Girona, in the northeastern region of Spain, known as Catalonia. The city is dominated by it’s brightly coloured riverfront houses and the massive Cathedral of Girona, which holds the world record for the widest Gothic nave, spanning an incredible 22 meters. The Cathedral become more recently know for its role in the HBO series Game of Thrones, where it is the inspiration for the Sept of Balor. While I did find the cathedral beautiful, I found myself intrigued with the lesser known views of the back for the cathedral, shown here. It certainly shows the consecutive addition of various building to the cathedral over time and I loved all the variance in tones and texture.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 17-50 mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF A1N6II @ 17mm
1/125 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)



“Among the detritus of winter lay the signs of resignation and defeat”
– Ed Lehming

Oh, I am so done with this winter. March is hanging on, raw and ragged, teasing with hints of warmth and melting the snow into dirty gray piles of grime. As the snows recede, the history of the winter gradually reveals itself. Usually, this is in the form of garbage, trapped in the layers of snow.

This scene did strike me as funny though. Sometime over the winter somebody had broken not one but two snow shovels and discarded them on the very thing that defeated them. There’s likely more to this story, but as I walked past it, a smile crossed my face and I made up my own story to explain this scene and I decided to stop and grab a quick image.

You may notice the Canadian flag, high and in the distance. The flag was deliberately placed within my frame. It made me think of mountain climbers leaving their flag at the top of a mountain, though not all manage to ‘summit’ and are also resigned to walk back down the hill, defeated, as someone else’s flag waves proudly above them. It also serves as a reminder of winters in Canada.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4 mm
1/590 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

“Like a Great False Dawn”

“Like a Great False Dawn”

“Beauty is seeing a flower bloom in a garden or in nature.
Artificial is seeing that same flower try and grow in a vase of water.” 
― Anthony T. Hincks

The only words that came to me as I gazed across the horizon, while driving home from a concert last night, was that it looked like a gloaming false dawn. As you can see from the image, there are streaks of blue and red created by the reflected light of Toronto reflecting from a shifting, low cloud deck. It really looks like the sun is rising on the horizon, except this was close to 11:00pm!

I have seen this phenomenon (light pollution) before but nowhere as intensely as yesterday evening. The combination of low, frost filled clouds and millions of city lights, was ideal to create this effect. It also made me wonder, more than ever before, the effect that this amount of artificial light can have on us. The sky directly above me was dark, as I was travelling several miles north of Toronto, between the various town lights, yet I was surrounded by these false dawns, each one marking the a town or city.

As I drove towards my home town of Stouffville, the effect also manifested itself, but not quite to this degree. I made not eof how the light transitioned from darkness, and suddenly I was enveloped in this canopy of light. It felt like a dark, overcast day more than it did night-time. It was actually a bit disorienting and a bit spooky.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@200mm

1/2 sec, f/3.2, ISO 500

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Thursday Doors | September 28, 2017

“Blacksmith Shop” Black Creek Pioneer Village

This week’s submission to Norm 2.0‘s Thursday Doors.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world.

“Blacksmith Shop” Black Creek Pioneer Village

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on Thursday Doors. Getting ready for a local Studio Tour has taken much of my time, as well as an expanded work role. In fact my blog posts in general have dropped off, so I find myself with a little time to go through my accumulated images, of which doors are always an element.

This image was made a full two weeks ago, at Toronto’s Black Creek Pioneer Village, where I volunteer every year for the annual Pioneer Fest. Unlike the past few years of rain and cold, this year was hot and bright, yet leaves had started turning, which made for some interesting images.

I’ve always admired this blacksmith shop, with its large inviting doors. They are also functional in helping with ventilation, as this place gets pretty hot and smokey. I made this composition by deliberately positioning the tree in the foreground, to hide a junk pile along the side of the building. It also creates a nice ‘frame’ as the branches drape across the roof.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/370 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

Thursday Doors | August 17, 2017

“582 Sherbourne Street” James Copper House, Toronto

This week’s submission to Norm 2.0‘s Thursday Doors. 

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world.

“582 Sherbourne Street” James Cooper House, Toronto

Today, a return to another of the grand old houses of Toronto’s Sherbourne Street. This one has fascinated me for some time now. Whenever I drive by, I’m drawn to the interesting statues installed on the property. So, when I had the opportunity to walk the area a few weeks ago, this was definitely on my list of places to check out.

I had no idea of the history of this majestic “Second Empire” style building. The building was built in 1881 for James Cooper, a wealthy merchant and show retailer. This area was one of the wealthiest places in Toronto at the time the house was built and it’s in the best condition. After Cooper departed, the building became home to the Keeley Institute for Nervous Diseases, an organization assisting those with alcohol and substance abuse problems. In 1910, it became home to the Toronto Knights of Columbus, who used the facility as a meeting and fundraising venue for almost a century. In 2008 the property was purchased by the Tridel Group, with the intention of building a condominium tower on the site, which is designated by the City of Toronto as a heritage building, so it had to be preserved. Or, in this case, moved.

It turns out, it’s also one of the heaviest moves of a building in Canadian history. In 2008, the 800 ton building was moved twenty feet east and five feet south from its original location, to make room for a condominium tower being built on the same property. The move cost the developer a reported $1M but preserved an architectural treasure from Toronto’s past. The developer has taken great care to maintain the house, which serves as an amenities centre for the adjacent condominium tower.

Oh, yes, and back to the statues, the property has several, all in a wildlife motif, with wolves, stags, and foxes attached to metal bases, with a reflected statue beneath it. The wolf and the fox sit horizontal, but the stag is a vertical installation, quite eye catching. I’ve included the Google Streetview link, though it does not do it justice, as well as an image of the house being moved.

The things you learn when you look for nice doors.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/120 sec; f/1.8; ISO 32