Writing with Light

Architecture

A Different View

A couple of weeks ago I posted “Blue Garden View” from Park Guell in Barcelona. Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece has an endless amount of beautiful photographic spots and all one has to do is simply move to the other side of the house.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a print.

Barcelona, Spain, Park Guell, Antoni Gaudi, blue, window, architecture


After the Rain

When we arrived at Parc Guell (after a gruelling uphill climb) it was cloudy and raining. Parc Guell is beautiful but it absolutely radiates in the sunshine. Luckily a half hour after arriving the clouds dispersed and the sun came out.

It had already stopped racing but people still had their umbrellas out. This image with its bright skies, people holding umbrellas and the partial view of the park with the sea beyond, I felt was a good candidate for a digital painting. After processing this in Lightroom I used Topaz Detail and Topaz Impression to create the final image.

Click on the image to see a larger version (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.


Barcelona, Spain, Park Guell, Antoni Gaudi, architecture, digital painting


Gaudi Blue

When in Barcelona you must go the Gaudi way!

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a print.

Barcelona, Spain, Park Guell, Antoni Gaudi, blue, door, architecture


The Spanish Synagogue in Prague

There are times when things certainly don’t pan out as you plan them. For instance I had started preparing this post and was going to finish it up and publish at the beginning of the week before leaving for Montreal. Unfortunately I got sick on Christmas Day with what I thought was a cold but end up turning into bronchitis. so needless to say…no blog post…no Montreal.

I still have a few images of Prague that I wanted to share with you. One of things that my husband and I did (and I highly recommend) was a 1/2 day private tour of the old Jewish Quarter. Really we should have done the full day but we had a train to catch back to Vienna.

We knew that there was so much history and so much to learn that hiring a private tour guide was the best way to make the most of our time. I’ll be sharing my images of the Jewish Quarter in the next few posts but during this tour I wasn’t the “photographer” trying to get the shot but rather a tourist learning about what took place here.

Prague, Czech Republic, Spanish Synagogue, Praha, architecture, Moorish Revival, travel photography

This is the Spanish Synagogue which is the “newest” synagogue in Prague built 1868. It was actually built on the site of the oldest synagogue, the “Altshul” built-in the 12th century in the Prague ghetto.

It’s called the Spanish Synagogue because of its interior Moorish design and architecture.

While it’s still a functioning synagogue it’s part of the Jewish Museum of Prague and houses an impressive exhibit on the History of the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia.

I wish I had more pictures of this beautiful place but I had to be stealth with my photography. I got warned more than once (in different locales) that photography was not allowed.  The reason being they wanted you to buy the postcards.

Prague, Czech Republic, Spanish Synagogue, Praha, architecture, Moorish Revival, travel photography


A First look at Prague

“Prague never lets you go… this dear little mother has sharp claws.” -Franz Kafka

You’re probably wondering why I would post this image from Prague before posting a more iconic view of the old city, the clock tower or the Charles Bridge, Well that’s a good question.

I spent 2 days in Prague, which is by no means is enough time to take in all that this incredible city has to offer. The architecture, Romanesque; Baroque; Renaissance; Gothic, Art Nouveau; Modernist (just to name a few styles) is absolutely incredible to behold. Don’t worry I do have some of those iconic shots and they’re coming but there are always little gems hiding in plain sight that we sometimes miss.

Walking through the old city even small pedestrian walkways such as the one below holds so much architectural interest its hard not to spend time and just take it all in.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Prague, Czech Republic, Old Town, walkway, architecture, moorish, black and white, travel, street photography


Spadina House – The Garden House

One more from Spadina House (I promise). This is the garden house on the property, which in itself was quite the building.

If you saw my last post, of the back exterior, you’ll know that it was a bright, sunny, beautiful day out. I decided to process this one in black and white to give it a different look and feel.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a print.

Spadina House, Toronto, Ontario, architecture, garden house, heritage, black and white


Spadina House – The Backyard

The last couple of posts I’ve shared some interior shots of two of my favourite rooms in Spading House, the Billiard Room and The Pantry. I thought today I’d share the exterior.

This is the back of the house and part of the backyard.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Spadina House, Toronto, architecture, exterior, heritage, Ontario, fall, manor


The Billiard Room

Last month I joined my photography club in an outing to Spadina house, a historic manor house and gardens which now operates as a museum.The property was purchased in 1866 by businessman and financier, James Austin and remained in the family for over a century. The property was transferred to the City of Toronto and the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1978.

I love joining my club on some of these outings. It forces me to visit places in my own city that I’ve never been to. I’ve lived in Toronto for over 20 years and must have driven by Spadina House hundreds of times and never stopped.

The house and the grounds were spectacular. When I walked into the billiard room I was enthralled. I was chatting with the woman who worked there and she was quite impressed that I called it a “billiard room” and didn’t refer to it as a pool table or room. I guess that’s what happens after all those years playing ‘Clue’.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Spadina House, Toronto, billiard room, pool table, estate, historical, interior, architecture


Layers at the Louvre

I was going through my images from Paris and Italy in the hopes of creating a coffee table book of the best images when I realized a couple of things.

First….there are still images I haven’t processed 😦 I really need to do that. Second there are still quite a few images I haven’s shared with all of you.

This image was taken at the Louvre but can I let you in on a little secret. At the end of this corridor was a courtyard. I thought it would be more interesting if the repeating patterns just continued so I made it do just that by duplicating the image twice then resizing the 2 layers to create the endless corridor.

Click on the image to see a high resolution version (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Paris, France, The Louvre, museum, arches, composite, travel


Biding Time

This young person was biding their time on a small street in Old Havana and today so am I. Tomorrow I head out to Nashville for Imaging USA. I’m very excited and plan to make good use of 3 days of seminars and learning the business of photography.

Have a great weekend everybody and I’ll tell you all about it when I return.

Click on the image to see a high-resolution version (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Havana, Cuba, architecture, building, cart, three wheeled cargo bike, street photography, travel photography


The Bacardi Building

The architecture in Havana comes in all shapes and sizes from Neoclassic, Baroque, Art Deco, Eclectic to Modernism. While parts of the city are in a state of deterioration one can see that restoration of historic buildings has and is taking place.

One of the best examples of Art Deco is the Bacardi Building. The building was built-in 1930 for the Bacardi Rum company which had its origins in Cuba.

Bacardi Building, Havana, Cuba, Art Deco, Architecture, travel photography,

 

Bacardi Building, Havana, Cuba, Art Deco, Architecture, travel photography,

In October 1960 Cuba’s revolutionary government seized control of all foreign owned and 400 Cuban owned companies and property including The Bacardi Rum Company. Before army officers were able to get to the Bacardi facilities the family destroyed the secret yeast strain they used to make their rum.

Bacardi Building, Havana, Cuba, Art Deco, Architecture, travel photography,

Anticipating that the tides were turning in Cuba, the Bacardi Family had already set up distilleries in Mexico and Puerto Rico and offices in the United States. With the Bacardi Company’s exile from Cuba, it forced the family to regroup and plan its future and it set up a new centre of operations in the Bahamas. Within 20 years of the loss of its assets in Cuba, Bacardi rum became the world’s leading premium spirit brand.

Bacardi Building, Havana, Cuba, Art Deco, Architecture, travel photography,

Bacardi Building, Havana, Cuba, Art Deco, Architecture, travel photography,

Bacardi Building, Havana, Cuba, Art Deco, Architecture, travel photography,

After the revolution the building continued to be used as offices. In 1990 a major renovation and restoration was undertaken by the City Historian’s office.

We also went up to the roof of the building to enjoy the view of Havana.

Bacardi Building, Havana, Cuba, Art Deco, Architecture, travel photography,

Bacardi Building, Havana, Cuba, Art Deco, Architecture, travel photography,


Edificio Elena

I walked by this building in Old Havana and just loved the way the shadows were falling against it and how it brought out the pastel colours.

After some minor processing in Lightroom I used Topaz Impression to give this building the artistic flair it deserved.

Click on the image to see a high resolution version that captures all the detail (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Cuba, Havana, building, pastel, street photography, travel photography


Street Photography in Old Havana

Havana is one of those places that is just perfect for street photography. The people, the architecture, it seems that in some areas time has just stood still.

It was a beautiful sunny day as I was walking through the streets, the buildings alternating from yellow to rose to blue, it was truly beautiful but for some reason as I was processing these images the black and white rendition provided that timeless, classic look I was looking for. I promise I will share some colour images as well but for now I hope you enjoy these.

Click on the image to see a higher resolution version (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Cuba, Havana, Old Havana, street photography, travel photography, black and white

Cuba, Havana, Old Havana, street photography, travel photography, black and white


Battered

As some of you may or may not know I’m a member of a photography club and in late September some of the members met at the Distillery District for an evening photo walk followed by dinner. I’ve been to so focused (no pun intended) on my images from Italy that I didn’t get a chance to process my images from that outing until this weekend.

There’s still plenty of Italy images that I’ll share but thought I would take a break this week and share a few images that are closer to home.

The Distillery is located east of Downtown Toronto and displays the best preserved Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America. I’ll share more of the history of this wonderful place  in my next post.

Click on the image to see a higher resolution version (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Distillery District, Toronto, Dodge, truck, brick, wall, window, vintage, weathered


Upstairs Downstairs

Happy Monday Everyone and a very Happy Easter for all those that celebrate. I hope you had an amazing weekend. I’m happy to report that it was a glorious weekend, weather wise. I think (and I hold my breath as I say this) that Spring is finally here.

Here’s another image for the Toronto Centre for the Arts. This was taken from the upper lobby level of the centre looking down on the multiple staircases that leads to the lower lobby. I love the contrast between the wood railings and the chrome of the staircases.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better in high resolution) or to Purchase a Print.

Toronto Performing Arts Centre, lobby, interior, Art Deco, North York, North Toronto, Theatre, upper lobby, staircase


Toronto Centre for the Arts

The Toronto Centre for the Arts, located in the north part of Toronto opened it’s doors in 1993 as the North York Performing Arts Centre. It’s name was later changed to the Ford Centre for Performing Arts after a major donation was made and later renamed to its current name…The Toronto Centre for the Arts.

Last week I had the opportunity to photograph the interior of the centre.  Access was arranged by my photography club and I and 15 other inconspicuous, tripod toting individuals descended upon tho slovenly space. The unfortunate part was that the Main Stage was off limits as a show was being set up at the time. We did however have access to one of the smaller theatres and the lovely Art Deco lower and upper lobby.

The challenge in photographing in an interior space such as this, with close to 30 photographers, is that inevitably someone walks through your shot. As respectful and mindful as you try to be it just happens when you have that many photographers. On the flip side the advantage to attending one of these types of outings is that you can share ideas and techniques with like minded individuals.

Here’s one view of the lower lobby processed in both colour and black and white. What I love about this space this the Art Deco look and when I looked at all the converging lines and details I thought this would look great in B&W. Which do you prefer? I can tell you that I asked my son the same question last night and he unequivocally choose the colour. I’m undecided.

Click on the images to enlarge to see a higher resolution (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Toronto Centre for the Arts, lobby, interior, Art Deco, North York, North Toronto, Theatre

Toronto Centre for the Arts, lobby, interior, Art Deco, North York, North Toronto, Theatre, Black and White, Monochrome

 


Architectural Abstract

I attempted to create more of an abstract with this image of the “Marilyn Monroe” towers. Once again I used my 10-stop ND filter to smooth out the clouds passing between the two buildings.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Absolute Towers, Mississauga, Marilyn Monroe Towers, architecture, black and white, abstract, monochrome, long exposure


Absolute Curve

The Absolute World Towers are known as the Marilyn Monroe Towers because of their curves. They’re located in the Greater Toronto Area in the City of Mississauga. I posted a picture last year of the 2 towers (you can see them here).

I went back to photograph the towers on the weekend with the intension to do some detailed architectural shots. It was a cloudy day so I used my 10-stop ND filter to smooth out the clouds.

Click on the link to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Toronto, architecture, Mississauga, Marilyn Monroe Towers, Absolute Towers, black and white, monochrome


Fifth Avenue Building

Here’s another image of the Flatiron building in Manhattan and as the title suggests it’s located on 5th Avenue. I wanted to give this image a vintage, turn of the century postcard look keeping with the 1902 date of completion of the building. The gold street clock has been there since 1909 and I wanted to go back in time (no pun intended) to what a photograph might have looked like if it was taken back then.

I converted the image to monochrome using OnOne’s Perfect Black and White and then Perfect Effects for the postcard border.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Flatiron building, New York, Manhattan, vintage, postcard, building, architecture, monochrome, clock, fifth avenue


Flatiron

I hope you all had a terrific weekend. Apologies for not being around much last week but its been a busy time and this weekend was taken up with getting ready for the exhibition. The opening night reception is this coming Thursday and I’m very excited and even a bit nervous. We hung all the pictures on Sunday and it was thrilling seeing everything up on a wall. I’ll share some images with you of the show at the end of the week.

Today’s image is an iconic building in Manhattan, the Flatiron Building which is located on 5th Ave. When it was completed in 1902 it was one of the tallest buildings in the city.

Click on the image to see an enlarged version (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Flatiron, building, Manhattan, New York City, New York, Monochrome, Black and White, Architecture


The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre – Celebrating 100 Years

Earlier this year I posted images from a photography shoot my photography club did at the Winter Garden and Elgin theatres here in Toronto. You can see some of the original posts here, here and here. This year the theatre complex is celebrating its 100th year and I am beyond excited that some of my images were used in their anniversary brochure including the front cover. I knew about this in advance but was equally pleased and excited that another of my images was selected as the front cover of the Ontario Heritage Trust magazine.

Below are scans of the brochures so please excuse the quality.

Elgin Theatre, WinterGarden Theatre, 100th Anniversary, Brochure Cover, Edith Levy Photography,

Elgin Theatre, WinterGarden Theatre, 100th Anniversary, Brochure, Interior Spread, Edith Levy Photography,

Elgin Theatre, WinterGarden Theatre, 100th Anniversary, Brochure, Interior Spread, Edith Levy Photography,

Elgin Theatre, WinterGarden Theatre, Heritage Matters, Brochure Cover, Ontario Heritage Trust, Edith Levy Photography,


Honest Ed’s

Honest Ed’s is somewhat of an institution in Toronto. It opened its door in 1948 and became the world’s first true bargain store. Apparently, on opening day Ed painted a sign over the store that read “NAME YOUR OWN PRICE! NO REASONABLE OFFER REFUSED!” The store was mobbed.  Today Honest Ed’s sits on the corner of Bloor & Bathurst St. in the Annex district of downtown Toronto. This year Honest Ed’s celebrates its 65th anniversary and in July of this year the Mirvish family announced their intention of selling Honest Ed’s and some of the and surrounding it. This Toronto landmark will probably close its doors in the next 2 to 3 years.

A few weeks ago my photography club held a photo walk in Mirvish Village and Honest Ed’s. Here are a couple of images from that evening.

Click on the images to enlarge (they do look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Toronto, Honest Ed's, Ed Mirvish, store, Bloor Street, Bathurst street, night photography, Ed's Warehouse, street view

Toronto, Honest Ed's, Ed Mirvish, store, Bloor Street, Bathurst street, vault, Ed's Office, Ed's Warehouse, street view, sign


The Roman Pool at Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle was designed by architect Julie Morgan between 1919 and 1947 for William Randolph Hearst. The castle is located on the central California coast in San Simeon and is a national and state historical landmark. William Randolph Hearst died in 1951 and in 1957 the Hearst Corporation donated the estate to the State of California. Hearst Castle boasts 56 rooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, an indoor and outdoor pool and sits on 126 acres.

The Roman Pool, the indoor pool, was built between 1927 and 1934. The pool is decorated with square mosaic glass tiles in blue, orange and clear and is adorned by statues of Roman gods and goddesses.

This was difficult to shoot as it was very dark in the pool and I didn’t have a tripod with me. I set my camera’s ISO to 3200 and bracketed all my exposures but some were just not as successful as I had hoped. Even with the high ISO the exposures were long and some of my images were a bit shaky so the images didn’t line up properly in Photomatix. The fist image was a single exposure but I was able to bring out the detail using Lucis.  The 2nd and 3rd images were indeed bracketed (I was able to steady myself by the railing) and processed with Photomatix.

Click on the images to enlarge (hey really do look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Hearst Castle, Roman Pool, San Simeon, California, indoor pool, water, reflections, travel photography

Hearst Castle, Roman Pool, San Simeon, California, indoor pool, water, reflections, travel photography

Hearst Castle, Roman Pool, San Simeon, California, indoor pool, water, reflections, travel photography


Sixty State Street

In the heart of the financial district and next to Faneuil Hall in Boston is Sixty State Street. The building is Boston’s 13th tallest building but I was fascinated by the abstract sculpture in front of the building.

Click to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Boston, Sixty State Street, tower, building, financial district