Writing with Light

Around Toronto

Star Trails over Turtle Lake

Last weekend we were invite to a friends cottage. Aside from enjoying the company of wonderful friends and relaxing in beautiful surroundings I was most excited to try my hand at shooting star trails and the Perseid Meteor Showers that occurred over the weekend.

Here’s one of first attempts at star trails. This was a 15 minute exposure.

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

Ontario, Gravenhurst, star trails, night photography, long exposure, stars, lake, Turtle Lake


Albion Falls

A belated Happy Canada Day to all and a Happy 4th of July to all my American friends and readers. Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend. We stayed close to home and family and friends this weekend and did something that we don’t do enough of…explore in our own backyard. We took a drive to Hamilton, Ontario which is about an hour outside of Toronto. Hamilton is a port city on the western tip of Lake Ontario and on the Niagara Escarpment. The area is filled with beautiful hiking trails that lead to hidden gems such as Albion Falls.

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

Albion Falls, Hamilton, Ontario, Bruce Trail, waterfall, falls, long exposure


A Hard Drive Crash, A Day in the Country & An Aspiring Photographer

First I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and Family Day (if you’re in certain parts of Canada). You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit absent this week. I have a good explanation…my hard-drive crashed 😦

No need to panic though because everything is backed-up on a raid drive and then I have a 3rd back up of all my images. The problem is I’ve been without my Mac for almost a week. See the Mac’s internal hard-drive is less than 3 years old. I had replaced it back then because I needed a larger one. Well it was still under warranty (that’s good) but it will take 7 – 10 days to send it back to the manufacturer and get it back (that’s bad). It should be coming home this week.

My son, Sam is home this week from University for reading week and it’s really nice to have a full house. Since today was family day we took a drive up to Port Carling, Muskoka. Sam has started showing some interest in photography so we did some shooting together today. Unfortunately I can’t process my images until I get my computer back but here’s a shot I took of Sam with my iPhone 6 and processed with Snapseed.

Port Carling, Muskoka, Ontario, winter, snow, bridge, photographer, iphoneography, black and white

 


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 Pantry

Last week I posted an image of the Billiard Room in Spadina House, a historic manor house in Toronto. You can click here to see that post.

Now the Billiard rom was definitely a favourite but it was a tie with the pantry. I love vintage containers and this room was just a treasure trove filled with goodies.

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

Spadina House, Toronto, landmark, pantry, cupboard, vintage

Spadina House, Toronto, landmark, pantry, cupboard, vintage

Spadina House, Toronto, landmark, pantry, cupboard, vintage

Spadina House, Toronto, landmark, pantry, cupboard, vintage


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


2015 My Year in Review

Every year Jim Goldstein runs a project on his blog, JMG Galleries, where he encourages photographers to post their best pictures of the year. It’s a great project and I’ve participated every year. When I started participating about 4 years ago I thought, “what a great way to have pictures seen by a whole new audience.”

That was me when I first started blogging but now there are so many other reasons that I participate. Yes I still like that fact that I may reach a new audience but more than that I find this to be a difficult and yet rewarding exercise. It’s tough to cull through your work and pick what you think may be the best of the year. It really gives me a chance to go though my images (some that I haven’t looked at for almost a year) and decide whether they’re good enough to make the cut of the top 10 or 15.  I try to review my images from a technical perspective and from a creative one. Certainly I’m drawn to certain images due to the circumstances of where and when they were taken. The picks may not always be perfect and certainly wouldn’t win any awards but art is subjective and what one person views as a masterpiece another make look at and dismiss entirely.

It’s been a busy and rewarding year both on the photographic front and from a family and work stand point. I’ve taken on a new role at work which was unexpected at the beginning of 2015 but I am loving it. The only downside has been that its been so busy that my photography had to take a bit of a back seat.

From a photography perspective I’ve continued to sell prints and license new work which is always very exciting and rewarding. I won’t make any specific commitments for the new year because I know that my day job will still be taking up a lot of my time but learning new photographic techniques and honing my craft is something that I know will always be important and I will find and make the time to do it.

If you have a chance jump on over to Jim Goldstein’s site here in or about the second week of January and he should have a list of year in review post listed for your viewing pleasure. There’s always a great list of photographers on there, you won’t regret it.

As always you can click on the images to enlarge them or to Purchase a Print.

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

Cuba

water drops, gerber flower, refraction, milkweed, macro photography

Refracted Water Drops

Havana, Cuba, Cuban Cigars, Cigar, Stogie, travel photography, cigar aficiondo, black and white

Cuba

Hilton Falls, Ontario, Milton, conservation, waterfall, long exposure, trees

Hilton Falls, Ontario

Boston, skyline, Fan Pier, sunset, blue hour, travel photography, harbour, lights, Charles River

Boston

Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, Ontario, Muskoka Chairs, dock, sunset, nature

Muskoka

Lake Ontario, Toronto, Beaches, sail, sailboats, water

Lake Ontario

Old Montreal, Quebec, night photography, long exposure, historic

Old Montreal

Jerusalem, Israel, street photography, black and white, monochrome, man, beard

Jerusalem, Israel

Israel, Jerusalem, Western Wall, Orthodox, Man, Walking, Motion, black and white, travel photography,

Jerusalem, Israel

Tel Aviv, Israel, sunset, beach, family, photographer, golden, water, sea, Mediterranean

Tel Aviv, Israel

 


Sail Away

Sometimes you don’t have to travel very far to find beauty. Last weekend we headed down to the Beaches in Toronto. We found a spot on the rocks where we could look out and enjoy the lake. People were going by in canoes and paddle boards but in the distance the sailboats were gliding smoothly through the water.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. This was taken early in the afternoon on a hot, sunny and hazy day. A texture overlay in post created the ambiance I envisioned in my head.

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

Lake Ontario, Toronto, Beaches, sail, sailboats, water


The Road to Peninsula Ridge

In my post last week I shared an image of Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery as seen from the vineyards. You can see that post here. Here’s another view of this beautiful estate from the road leading to the winery.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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

Peninsula Ridge, Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, winery, estate, vineyard, Ontario Travel


Solitude in Monochrome

I don’t know about you but it’s been raining in Toronto for 2 days straight. It started Saturday morning and as I sit here on Sunday evening its still raining outside. That probably explains why I was in a monochrome mood as I was processing this image.

The sun is supposed to shine tomorrow so here’s hoping. Have a good week everyone.

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

Lake Rosseau, Muskoka, Ontario, Monochrome, black and white, muskoka chairs


Sunday Afternoon on Lake Rosseau

I was in a canoe when I took this picture. Same day, same place to very different purposes. I, trying to find the perfect composition while trying to keep the canoe from bobbing up and down in the water and he finding the perfect spot to read while shutting out the rest of the world, including me.

I created a digital painting using LR, Photoshop and Topaz Impression. In case you weren’t aware Topaz Labs is running a promotion on Topaz DeNoise (it’s the noise removal software I use and love it) until June 30th. Topaz DeNoise is priced at $59.99 for the month of June, that’s a $20 savings. The coupon code is: JUNEDENOISE and you can click here to learn more.

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

Lake Rosseau, Ontario, Muskoka, lake, canoe, trees, man reading in canoe, digital painting

 


Muskoka Living

It’s been along time since I created a “travel poster” and I thought this image from Port Carling in Muskoka would fit the bill perfectly.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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

Muskoka, Ontario, Port Carling, canoe, boat, water, cottage, country house, lake, travel poster


Barn Boarded Antiques

Port Carling is a community in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. It was settled in the 1850’s by the Ojibway Indians. Today it is home to hundreds of year round residents and thousands of seasonal residents.

My husband and I spent part of the day, last weekend, walking around town. We were only going to stop in Port Carling for about an hour or so but it was such a lovely town that we ended up spending the better part of the day there. There were many harbour front stores to explore and restaurants to try but it was this antiques store that really caught my eye.

Click on the image to see a higher resolution version or to Purchase a Print.

Muskoka, Port Carling, Ontario, Antiques, store, vintage, small town,


Lakeview Glow

There is nothing more relaxing then sitting on a dock in a The Muskoka Chair (aka The Adirondack chair…or vice versa), with a cup of coffee and a good book staring out at the lake.

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

Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, Ontario, Muskoka Chairs, dock, sunset, nature


Sunset Solitude

I spent the weekend in Muskoka with my husband celebrating our anniversary. It was a wonderful, relaxing couple of days spent by the lake and exploring the neighbouring small towns. The resort we stayed at was right on Lake Rosseau and of course my favourite time to shoot is at sunset so how could I resist this scene.

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

Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, Ontario, lake, sunset, silhouette, trees, landscape


Hilton Falls

Hilton Falls is located in the Halton Conservation Area about an hour out of Toronto. Last Sunday afternoon I drove out with a couple of friends from my photography club to photograph the falls. Now we photographers are a hardy bunch. We’ll trek, hike, climb, get up at ungodly hours to get the perfect shot and you won’t hear us complain (at least not much) but after close to an hour hike to get to to the Falls I was bitten head to toe by mosquitos and black flies. (It seems this is one of the worst seasons we’ve had in many years). Yes I complained and used not so nice language but after processing my images all that mattered was that I got the shot 🙂

Click on the image to see a high resolution version or to Purchase a Print.

Hilton Falls, Ontario, Milton, conservation, waterfall, long exposure, trees

 


A Tree Grows There

Here’s another image from my workshop last weekend where I shot only in black & white. If you missed that post you can find it here. I really liked this tree (which was in the parking lot by the way…so don’t put your camera way when you’re walking back to the car) and I wanted to give it more of an artistic treatment.

I used Topaz Impression to create this pencil drawing look. You can always save 15% by using the discount code ELPHOTO.

Kortright Center, Toronto, Tree, Topaz Impressions, monochrome

 


The Sugar Bush Shop

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a one day seminar on Creative Landscape Photography with renowned Canadian photographers, Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou. The full day seminar covered topics such as the Language of Light, Harnessing the Power of Tones and Working Advanced Compositional Patterns in Landscape. It was a full day of learning followed on Sunday morning by a 1/2 day workshop in the field.

Darwin & Samantha (you can find them at www.oopoomoo.com) put us through our paces on Sunday and had different “assignments” for the attendees but the first thing they made us all do was to change the picture style of our cameras to Monochrome….Yikes. Honestly I’ve never, ever set my camera up that way. The challenge was to look for compositional elements, patterns and most importantly tones and not to be distracted by colour. This was a fun and challenging way to shoot. Here’s an image of the Sugar Bush Shop (I call it the Sugar Shack. My husband and I took our boys their when they were young during sugaring off season.)

Toronto, Kortright Center, conservation center, nature, black and white photography


You Can Find LOVE Here

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! Have a great weekend.

Distillery District, Toronto, art, sculpture, love locks, hearts, Valentine's Day


Toronto’s Historic Distillery District

The Distillery District was once home to The Gooderham and Worts Distillery dating back to 183os. In its time The Gooderham & Worts Distillery played an important part in the growth and wealth of the city.

James Worts emigrated to Canada from England in 1831 and established a grist mill (a mill for grinding grain). He was soon followed by his brother-in-law, William Gooderham who was a successful merchant in his native England. William decided to invest in James’ mill business and thus the Gooderham & Worts partnership was born. In 1837, spurred on by the increase in grain production at Upper Canada farms, William decided to add a distillery at the mill and that year their first whiskey was produced. The distillery prospered over the years and the business grew to included a cooper shop, storehouses, a dairy, flour mills and a wharf.

World War 1 had an almost ruinous effect on the distillery and just as things were starting to get back to normal Canada’s short-lived prohibition in 1920 brought alcohol production to a halt.

Throughout the 20th century the distillery would have new owners and continue to thrive producing rye whiskey and then rum. After 153 years of continuous production the distillery closed in 1990. During the 90’s the distillery found new life as the number 1 filming location in Canada and the second largest outside of Hollywood. In total 1700 films were shot here among the gorgeous Victorian architecture. The 2002 musical, Chicago, was filmed here and one of the buildings stood in for  Cook County Prison.

In 2001 the Distillery was purchased and an ambitious restoration project ensued.  The Distillery Historic District opened its doors in May 2003 and is today one of the most popular areas in Toronto.

Click on the images to view a higher resolution version or to Purchase a Print.

Distillery District, Toronto, Gooderham & Worts, black and white, monochrome,

Distillery District; Toronto; downtown; store; bicycle; night photography; vintage

Distillery District, Toronto, downtown, historic, night photography, long exposure


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


iPhone Phun – TIFF

Yes it’s Saturday so I couldn’t very well call this iPhone Friday so consider this a special edition. This past Thursday was opening night of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). TIFF was founded in 1976 but has grown to be the most influential film festival.

Every September Toronto is host to world renowned celebrities and movie makers. This year the city has closed down King Street, home of the TIFF Bell Lightbox building and where many of the venues are located, and has turned into a pedestrian walkway. I work about a five minute walk from the epicentre of activities and yesterday at lunch time, armed with my iPhone, a friend and I ventured out to explore.

I’m heading back out this evening but wanted to share with you a few of my shots.

Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, 2014, King Street

Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, 2014, King Street

Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, 2014, King Street

Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, 2014, King Street

Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, 2014, King Street

Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, 2014, King Street

Not Quite Red Carpet Ready!

 


Weekly Photo Challenge – CN Tower – Between

CN Tower Sandwich

Last week I spent the afternoon out on Centre Island for a work function. Once back in the city my colleagues and I were walking across Queens Quay heading towards our next destination…drinks on the patio 🙂 I had to stop when I saw this scene, the CN Tower seemingly sandwiched between tow condo buildings.  I thought this would be perfect for this weeks theme.

This was shot with my iPhone 4s and processed with Snapseed to crop and for some minor adjusts and then with iColorama to create this overall painterly effect.

CN Tower, Toronto, iPhone, iPhoneography, iColorama, Snapseed