Tag Archives: old

Thursday Doors – March 30, 2017

“Church of the Redeemer” - 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.

“Church of the Redeemer” – Toronto

I have missed this beautiful door on the past few visits, as the church itself was undergoing renovations. The benefit to those renovations is that now we are presented with nicely restored doors.

There is something about the contrast of the rich red-brown doors and the slightly yellow limestone arches. Despite the renovations, there is still a nice patina on the stones of this church, which was founded in September 3, 1871. Old photos I’ve recently found are a sharp contrast to this church, which at the time, sat on farmland on the edge of a growing city. Have look at the Streetview compared to the unattributed 1879 image.churchotr1879

If you look back to last week’s post you will notice that the church is essentially across my right shoulder as I made the image of the museum doors.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/60 sec;   f/1.8;   ISO 25

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Thursday Doors – June 09, 2016 – “Mind Your Step”

“Mind Your Step” - Distillery District, Toronto

This week’s submission for For Thursday Doors – June 9, 2016 by Norm 2.0.

Made at Toronto’s Distillery District. A flash back to Toronto’s past in this wonderfully preserved historical district.

This particular door caught my attention, since it is quite high up. I imagine it would have been used as a loading door. I like the contrast of the bright green against the old red brick.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 70 mm
1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

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“Store Fronts” – Front Street, Toronto

“Store Fronts” - Front Street, Toronto

“Imagine having a city full of things that no other city had.”
― Bill Bryson

Old meets new in this view of Toronto’s Front Street, near the St. Lawrence Market.

The area reminds me of Europe, with it’s old buildings and storefronts. It’s sad to think that much of Toronto looked like this till the wave of “Urban Renewal” in the 70’s demolished most of the old buildings to make room for…parking lots!

Yup, apparently, parking lots were what people needed and the wonderful architecture paid the price. There are still some vestiges of Toronto’s architectural past remaining: the Annex, Front Street, and the Distillery to name a few, but they are few and far between.

I imagine the original builders did not ever expect the building to become a coffee shop, in fact, I had clients in this area who used upper floors as office space and it looked like these would have been warehouses at one point in time, based on the thick floors and heavy wooden beams inside the buildings.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 145 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200

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“Study in Wood #5” – Bryant Park, New York

Study in Wood #5

“Every tree in the forest has a story to tell. Some of them were burnt but they endured the fire and got revived; some of them were cut, their barks injured, some people pick up their leaves to make medicines for their sicknesses, birds used their leaves to make their nests, etc. Upon all these, the tree is still tree!”
― Israelmore Ayivor

This ancient sycamore, in New York City’s Bryant Park, certainly would have stories to tell. I have no idea how old it might be, but someone planted it behind the New York Public library many years ago and it has borne silent witness to a multitude events and changes in its long life. This old wood has weathered time and endured, its bark rough and creased with age, unlike its younger companions with their smooth, mottled bark, so typical of the fast growing sycamores, planted in neat rows in this urban park.

Pieces of bark have fallen off, been broken off, revealing the bright layers below, or clung tight to the tree, growing dark and gray with the patina of time.

As the quote above says, every forest has its story to tell. I look on these gnarled old trees and decaying stumps, thinking back to when they were young saplings. These are the survivors, having outlived other lesser trees, every year marked in their rough and ragged bark.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 125 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 -1.0, ISO 400

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“Corkin Gallery Stairs and Arches”

“Corkin Gallery Stairs & Arches”

“Human society is like an arch, kept from falling by the mutual pressure of its parts”
– Seneca

The Toronto Distillery District is known for its boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. One of the art galleries in this area is the Corkin Gallery, featuring artists of many disciplines.

Within this large gallery are some of the original distillery structures, including these interesting arches which lead to two staircases to the second floor of the gallery. I like how the gallery retained the significant architectural elements of the distillery in their floorplan. It blends past and present beautifully. There was something about how the modern (stairs) and old (arches) blended together into a whole that just felt right.

I also enjoyed the various textures, from the age and patina of the brick, blotchy, cracked concrete, smooth steel handrails, and the clean lines of the glass and wood of the staircase. The staircase feels like an anachronism, placed as an escape from the ancient arches, a bridge to some uncertain future.

iPhone 5s back camera 4.15mm f/2.2
1/20 sec;   f/2.2;   ISO 320

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“Sir Henry’s Phone” – Casa Loma, Toronto

“Casa Loma Telephone”

On a recent visit to Toronto’s only castle, Casa Loma, I set out to make my photos with existing light only. It would be an interesting experience, since the castle is filled with so many 20th century items, including more telephones than I could count. It seemed every room and hallway had a phone. I suppose I should not be surprised, since there are 98 rooms in the 64,700 square foot building.

The lighting that day was very nice and I was able to make several photos of rooms and architectural details. This photo really appeals to me. Given the light coming in through the window and the dark to gold tones on the old telephone in Sir Henry Pellat’s Study, I was able to capture the image in a style that resembles a Dutch Golden Age or Baroque style. And, as I look at the image, I can only imagine the conversations that took place on this phone, so many years ago.

As I said earlier, this image was made using existing light only. Something the technology of modern photographic lenses makes possible through advanced image stabilization and fast optics. I was able to shoot this at 1/15th of a second, handheld, which is pretty awesome and opens up so many possibilities.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm @ 95mm
1/15 sec @ f/2.8, ISO 250

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“Warm Spring Day in Vieux Montreal”

“Vieux-Port Montreal”

A very pleasant day in Old Montreal.

In my 50 some years growing up in Canada, I missed this marvel of culture. I know it has existed in various iterations and many of my friend s have enjoyed this cultural gem in my absence. I discovered Old Montreal a few years ago, while visiting with cousins and long to return whenever I get the chance, especially on recent business trips.

Montreal has a gorgeous “Old Town” near the port of area Montreal known as  “Vieux Port Montreal”. This area is known for its European look and feel (and some rather fine restaurants).

This particular photo was made in late May. The day was unusually hot for the time of year and Betty and I spent some time touring around and enjoying the atmosphere, before sitting down for a wonderful dinner at a local steak house. The nice thing about May is the soft light at the end of the day and how it filters down the narrow streets.

This was a fairly complex photo in that it was significantly underexposed to avoid blowing out all the details in the sky and background buildings. I spent a bit of time dodging and adjusting shadows in Adobe RAW to bring out the details in the foreground to capture the interactions of the people in the street, which was an important part of this composition.

In the end, I was pleased with the details I was able to recover for the shadows to recreate the scene as I saw it that warm, late spring day, a few months back.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm @ 70mm
1/200 sec @ f/7.1, ISO 250

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“The Search” – Buskerfest, Toronto

Old Lady at Toronto Buskerfest 2014

Another favourite photo and a venture into street photography for me. This photo was made last year at Toronto’s annual Buskerfest.

I was walking the street, knowing there would be some interesting scenes to photograph. The street was extremely busy and it became difficult to get a shot that was not full of distractions. I like to isolate my subject as much as possible. Off the main venue, Toronto’s Yonge Street, which is closed to traffic for Buskerfest, there were several people sitting and chatting, including this woman, who was searching through her purse for something. For her, it was a break from the busy crowds and a chance to sit and have a smoke.

Originally, I had titled this image “Old Lady at Buskerfest”, but on further reflection, I can’t tell if she is really that old. I don’t know her story, but the photo makes me want to know more. For now, it remains a moment in someone’s life, captured in a single image.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 @185 mm
1/60 sec @ f/2.8, ISO 200

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“Three Columns – Place d’Armes” – Montreal, Quebec

“Three Columns - Place d’Armes” - Montreal

A simple photo of three columns at Place d’Armes in Old Montreal. The building is directly across the square from the well known Notre-Dame Basilica. I simply enjoyed the form and details of the columns. I’m not sure if this would be street photography, urban, or architectural. Technically, it’s travel photography, though I did not travel far.

What I also find interesting is the fine details that emerge from the photo, not visible in the viewfinder. I did not notice the meshing to keep pigeons off the scroll-work or the bolts stick from the fluting. Yes, thats what the official name of the carved out part of the column is. Something new I learned today. I also learned that the top of this type of column is a Corinthian Capital. Amazing what you can learn when you look at details and want to know more. I feel so enriched 🙂

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 165 mm
1/60 sec @ f/5.0, ISO 250

“Brickworks Windows” – Evergreen Brickworks, Toronto

“Brickworks Windows” - Evergreen Brickworks, Toronto

I spent a bit of time today at the Evergreen Brickworks, in the Don Valley area of Toronto. This was an operating Brickworks till 1989, when it was decommissioned. The building sat abandoned till a few years ago when a significant restoration was started. It is a beautiful mix of nature and industry. The old clay quarry has been repurposed with walking trails and ponds and the buildings have been designed to incorporate elements of the old industrial buildings and modern market space. I love the slightly abandoned and misused appearance of some of the original buildings. The red brick, often tattooed in graffiti and marked with signed of age. This is one of a series of photographs I made. The fogged windows add to the mystery of what might lie behind them, yet the lamp serves to illuminate that mystery.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70.mm
1/1600s @ f/2.8, ISO 250