Writing with Light

Posts tagged “Downtown Toronto

The Dangerous Lagoon

I decided to do a little scuba diving the other day and all was fine until I realized that I was sharing the water with a reef shark. I’ve never swam so fast in my life but I made it to shore.

Alright…that’s not really how it happened. I finally started processing my images from Toronto’s latest attraction, Ripley’s Aquarium, from a few months ago.

The Dangerous Lagoon is one of the amazing galleries at the aquarium. You view and walk the lagoon through an underwater tunnel. The challenge of photographing in this gallery is the poor lighting.  I set up my tripod (and had to be very patient as streams of visitors kept walking by). I set my ISO to 640 and shot at f/2.8, 1/40s. I processed the image in Lightroom 5. Those lovely lights you seeing streaming from the top are the lights in the lagoon but doesn’t it just look like the sun’s rays beaming through?

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

Toronto Aquarium, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Dangerous Lagoon, shark, fish, water, tank, coral, under water

Pink Tartan

A happy belated happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians. I had a much needed day off yesterday, both from work and from blogging and am definitely feeling refreshed.  The weather wasn’t as nice as I would have hoped for Canada Day. It was overcast for most of the day but at least it didn’t rain. My family and I went for a leisurely walk around Yorkville. Yorkville and the nearby Bloor St are home to high-end shopping and some wonderful clubs and restaurants.

Pink Tartan opened in Yorkville in 2011 and I just love the building its in. Not your traditional looking store by any means.

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

Yorkville, Toronto, Pink Tartan, downtown, street photography, edith levy photography

Life in the City

Last weekend I attended a photo walk, with my photography club,  in Kensington Market. While waiting for everyone to arrive I made a new friend. I wish I knew his real name but I call him Uggie. Uggie was waiting for his owner to come out of a coffee shop and he was so darn cute I decided he’d make a good photographic subject.  I took a couple of shots from a crouching position and wasn’t happy with the perspective. I knew I needed to get as low as I could to get the POV I was looking for. Lying flat on m stomach wasn’t an option because that would mean my legs would be out in the middle of the road so I placed the camera flat on the sidewalk and took the shot.

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

Kensington market, Toronto, city, street, dog, street photography

iPhone Friday – Balzac’s Coffee House & A Few Thank You’s

After shooting long exposures last Saturday night at the Christmas Market at the Distillery District (you can see the result here) I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore. What better way to warm up then a cup of java.  Balzac’s is a home grown (Ontario) coffee house whose first location was in Stratford, Ontario. There’s only 7 locations in Ontario and the one at the Distillery is usually packed. The coffee is excellent and a nice alternative to my usual, addiction, obsession Starbuck’s.

Balzac's; coffee house; Toronto; Distillery District; iphoneography

Balzac's; coffee house; Toronto; Distillery District; iphoneography

Balzac's; coffee house; Toronto; Distillery District; iphoneography

And now comes the time for some Thank You’s. This week I was nominated for 3 different blogging awards and I wanted to extend my thanks and appreciation.

Ganesh Raam nominated me for the Shine On Blog Award; Xavi Geis has nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and Lectures au Coeur has nominated me for the Sunshine Award.  I am truly honoured. If you haven’t visited these amazing blogs then please do so. You’ll be happy you did.

There are lots of rules and instructions that come with these awards such as telling you what my favorite color and foods are and nominating others.  I blog and post images regularly so I think my regular followers already know some of my likes and dislikes and if you’re not a regular follower…welcome! Stick around there’s always interesting stuff happening around here. As for my nominations…well that’s a tough one. There are so many incredible bloggers and photographers out there. Have a look at this list of bloggers that I nominated the last go around of awards. I’ve “met” and respect so many of you. You really are incredible whether you have a photography blog; you’re writers or painters; write food blogs, you are all part of this awesome community, that it’s difficult to to narrow it down to just a few. Over the next few weeks I will be publishing a page of terrific blogs that I think you should follow. Keep on the lookout.

iPhone Friday – Back to Graffiti Alley

As I mentioned in last week’s instalment of iPhone Friday I took so many images during my little walk through Graffiti Alley that I decided to split them into two posts. So without further ado….

graffiti alley, Toronto, street art, Ontario, iphoneography

graffiti alley, Toronto, street art, Ontario, iphoneography

graffiti alley, Toronto, street art, Ontario, iphoneography

graffiti alley, Toronto, street art, Ontario, iphoneography

graffiti alley, Toronto, street art, Ontario, iphoneography

Weekly Photo Challenge – Geometry

I took this last year in downtown Toronto. I’m standing by the entrance of Brookfield Place on Bay street looking at the Royal Bank Plaza. I thought it fit in well with this week’s photo challenge with lots of different geometric shapes.

Toronto, architecture, Brookfield Place, building

iPhone Friday – A Little Street Art

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with photographer Mike Murphy who was in Toronto on business. Between both of our schedules it was a bit of challenge to meet up but on his second to last day we managed to meet for an hour during lunch. So what do two photographers do during a short meet…grab a quick coffee at Starbuck’s and head over to graffiti alley to shoot some awesome street art. I didn’t have my DSLR with me that day but I did manage to take some shots with my iPhone. Actually I took so many that I will probably post some more images of this little excursion next week.

Graffiti Alley, street art, Toronto

Graffiti Alley, street art, Toronto

Graffiti Alley, street art, Toronto

Graffiti Alley, street art, Toronto

Graffiti Alley, street art, Toronto

Mike Murphy in Action

Graffiti Alley, street art, Toronto

Street Artist at Work

Graffiti Alley, street art, Toronto

Graffiti Alley, street art, Toronto

iPhone Friday – Toronto’s Harbourfront Festival

Every year Toronto’s Harbourfront plays host to Askenaz, a festival of Jewish and Yiddish culture. The cornerstone of this festival is the live Klezmer music that is performed throughout the week. This past Sunday I had the opportunity to go down to the harbourfront and enjoy the cultural events and some of the live performance.  Here are some iPhone shots from the day…

Have a great weekend everyone.

Toronto, harbourfront, askenaz festival, music, musicians,

Toronto, harbourfront, askenaz festival, music, musicians,

Toronto, harbourfront, askenaz festival, music, musicians,

Toronto, harbourfront, askenaz festival, music, musicians,

Toronto, harbourfront, askenaz festival, music, musicians,

Toronto, harbourfront, askenaz festival, CN Tower,

iPhone Friday – Graffiti Alley & Topaz’s New photoFXlab

I actually had another set of images planned for today’s post but when an opportunity presents itself you just have to seize it. On Wednesday, my colleagues and I participated in a scavenger hunt in downtown Toronto for a work team building event. One of the places we ended up was an alley just south of Queen St. called Graffiti Alley. Honestly I didn’t even know this place existed but it was amazing. So here we are going through this alley looking for the items we have to find for our scavenger hunt and now I’m stopping to take pictures. Let me explain not only did you have to find items and locations on the list but the team with the best time wins.

But I couldn’t help myself. Every inch of these walls, pillars, corners, garbage cans were covered in graffiti.

Click on the images to enlarge.

Graffiti Alley Toronto

Graffiti Alley Toronto

Graffiti Alley Toronto

Graffiti Alley Toronto

I have to get back here with my DSLR. Oh by the way…we lost 🙂

Topaz Labs introduced their newest product today,  Topaz photoFXlab. I will be honest, I have not downloaded yet (it’s been a crazy day) so this is not a review. I just wanted to you all to know about it, have a look at its benefits and features on the Topaz Labs site and take advantage of the discount period before it ends.

I just finished watching the online tutorial and I was really impressed. Basically photoFXlab is a simplified editing interface for existing Topaz users that compliments your existing workflow. Some of the key features include:

  • access to all your Topaz plug-ins from one interface
  • use of layers with masking capabilities
  • selective adjustment brushes
  • pre-set library

You can purchase photoFXlab workspace for only $29.99 (that’s a $50.00 savings). Just enter the coupon code “FXLab” when purchasing. This code is good until 07/6/12.

Take a Trip to Mars

Project 52 Entry #50

Welcome to Mars Diner.

Sometimes your eyes and you brain “see” very different things. Has that ever happened to you? I have a very romantic idea of what a nostalgic diner should look like and while Mars Diner is a fun place it was missing some oomph.

After processing my brackets through Photomatix & Photoshop I then provided some “oomph” using LucisArt and then a touch of glow in OnOne Perfect Effects. This is what my brain saw! The fact that there was a gentleman sitting on the stool and someone behind the counter was sheer luck.

Click image to enlarge (honestly it looks better) or to purchase a print.

iPhone Friday – Art & The Vintage Car

Art & The Vintage Car…sounds like the title to an unusual book (or post) Actually the two don’t really have anything in common except being located in the same area of town.

Welcome to this week’s edition of iPhone Friday.  I’m taking you back to the Distillery district just one more time.  First the art. There’s a unique and wonderful gallery located in the Distillery called CubeWorks. You have to check out their site. Art work is created from Rubik’s cube pieces, have a look below.

CubeWorks – Distillery District

Bob Marley – yes those are Rubik’s cube pieces.

Next…the vintage car. This wonderful vintage Dodge is permanently parked and on display at the Distillery. For all you vintage car fans…yes it really is this cool looking.

This is how one used to open the window in a car 🙂

iPhone Friday – The Distillery District

I was in the Distillery District after work one day this week and I didn’t have my DSLR with me but I did have my trusty iPhone. The Distillery  is a historic district and entertainment area whose cobblestoned streets are filled with galleries, restaurants and shops.

All images were taken and processed with my iPhone. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Art Installation

Cube Works

Coffee House

Backwards Condo

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You can get the entire library at a special price at PhotoWhoa. Have a look. 

Sunday Reflections & Lessons Learned

I learned something this past week which I think merits a share. My go to, everyday lens has been, for the last few years, my Sigma 18 – 200mm. It’s served me well. In the last month or so I’ve been somewhat disappointed with some of my images. They’ve been soft and at times completely out of focus. In a lot of instances I had been shooting with the camera on a tripod and I attributed the softness of the images to windy conditions. I was convinced I needed a sturdier tripod. A couple of weeks ago I took pictures during a family gathering. I downloaded the images to my computer and started processing them with the intent of emailing them to family. Most of them were not sharp. I then thought that my eyesight was getting poorer…I would need to make an appointment to get a stronger prescription for my eyeglasses.

Last weekend, as you know, I went out for a sunrise shoot in High Park. I shot early with the camera mounted on my tripod using my 18 – 200mm lens.  Later that morning I changed to my new Tamron 90mm Macro lens. When I was processing my images later in the week the first set taken with my zoom lens were a disappointment.  The images taken with my Macro and my wide-angle lens were fine. Finally the bell in my head went off. Maybe it wasn’t my eyesight after all, maybe I hadn’t lost it as a photographer…maybe it was the lens. On Thursday I brought my Sigma in to be checked out. As soon as the technician started to examine the lens he showed me that with the zoom extended the front barrel was loose. It seems that one of the internal rollers was probably cracked. He asked if I had dropped my camera…nope! Had I dropped the lens…nope. I had not. He indicated that this type of thing could happen even if you knock into something with the camera over your shoulder. I don’t recall but anything’s possible. The good news…I wasn’t loosing it. More good news the lens can easily be fixed and I should have it back in about 2 weeks. Lesson learned? Don’t jump to conclusions until you rule out all avenues.

On to today’s image. Taken last Sunday (yes with my Tamron lens) at High Park. Aside from a sunless sky there was not window and the water was perfectly still which helped produce this beautiful reflection. Because of the dull grey sky I envisioned a much more dramatic scene which I tried to create using a texture overlay. If you haven’t tried this yet you can create some very dramatic effects using textures with different blending modes and opacities in Photoshop. One of the best places I’ve found to get full resolution textures is Joel Olive’s site. He has an incredible collection of textures, presets and actions available.

Click on the image to enlarge or purchase a print.

iPhone Friday – On Campus

Yesterday PhotographyBB Online Magazine released their 50th edition.  Why am I telling you this…well…I’m very excited. I’ve contributed a feature article to the magazine on how to start your own photography blog. The magazine is a free download and is filled with great articles. Go ahead and grab your copy.


Now on to iPhone Friday. Last Saturday I attended a seminar by Photographer Tony Sweet at the University of Toronto. It was a little chilly that day but I decided to get some fresh air during our lunch break. Armed with my trusty iPhone I went in search for some interesting images. Below are a few images I captured. Have a great weekend everyone.



University of Toronto


Looking Through

iPhone Friday – A Cornucopia of Stuff

Well I can’t believe another week has gone by and it’s almost time for the weekend. It’s time for some iPhone photos to end the week. I wanted to give a shout out to David Pasillas and his iPhone Photographer blog. David posts the most amazing iPhone photos daily and he very often reviews different photo apps. Actually this first image of the George Washington Bridge reflection was created by Photo Lake an app he reviewed. If you have a chance stop by his blog and have a look.

George Washington Bridge Reflection

Seeing the Light

I took this next image while walking back to work from lunch one day last week. They had just demolished a building and all that was left was this facade.  I processed it 3 different ways…in color, B&W and sepia.  I posted all 3 to my Facebook page and asked people to vote on the one which I should post in today’s iPhone Friday post. A big thanks to those who voted. It was a tie between the color & B&W. Which do you like?  I’ll be doing this again so come on over to my Facebook page and give me a “Like” to be included in the next go around.

Under Construction

Under Construction B&W

iPhone Friday

Oh I’m so excited. I finally upgraded from a Blackberry to an iPhone a couple of weeks ago and am I having fun. Having a camera with me where ever I go is fantastic and the iPhone is truly incredible. I’ve also been playing around with different apps and effects and I thought I’d share some of this weeks creations with you. Before I get into the images I have to give a big shout-out to Justin Balog, who is an incredible photographer and has the best iPhone Photography Tutorial that I’ve found. It’s free and there’s tons of information so grab a cup of coffee, click here and enjoy.

Tulips...can Spring be far?

Yes it snowed on the weekend.

Loved the patterns the snow made on this metal bench



More Tulips

By The Lake – A Vintage View

This is another image from my stroll by the lake last weekend. I’ve been experimenting with textures recently and when I was processing this shot I was visualizing an old 50’s postcard look. I tried 2 different textures. In this first image I used a texture that was a bit more distressed looking and in Photoshop used the “screen” blending mode.

In this second image I used a different, much subtler texture, used a “soft light” blending mode and desaturated the overall image.

Now here’s where you come in…which one do you prefer?

Sunset on the Lakeshore

Project 52 Entry #36

This past Sunday the weather was unbelievable…sunny, mild it really felt like spring. Actually I witnessed something this weekend that I’ve never witnessed before (and can you believe I didn’t have my camera with me??)…my husband was washing the car…in the driveway…in February.

This shot was taken by the lakeshore in downtown Toronto on my late Sunday afternoon stroll. This shot was straight out of the camera. The only thing I did was crop the bottom to make it a pano.

2011 – A Year in Review

I started this blog on June 2, 2011, almost 7 months ago. It hasn’t been a full year yet but as we bid farewell to 2011 and get ready to welcome in a New Year I thought it fitting to look back on the short life of this site and how I fit into this thing called the World Wide Web. I launched Edith Levy Photography & Project 52 as a way to share my images with family and friends and ensure that I make a commitment to get out and shoot on a consistent basis. I also hoped that this blog would allow me to connect with the photographic community, get feedback and learn from others.

Well what’s happened in the last 7 months has completely exceeded my expectations. I’ve been posting more than once a week. I’ve been shooting, shooting, shooting. I’m learning new post processing techniques everyday. I have met so many wonderful and supportive individuals….people that I’m proud to call “Friend.” I want to say Thank You to everyone that follows this blog and comes back day after day. It means so much to get your encouragement and feedback. I’m truly proud to be part of this community.

This blog has grown since its inception and I’m amazed to say that as of yesterday I’ve hit over 20,000 views. As I look forward to 2012, ideas keep swirling around in my mind on where I’d like to take not only this site but my photography as well.  The only thing that I really need is time which there never seems to be enough of. The ideas are taking shape and I’ll tackle them methodically, one at a time until they become reality.

I’ve had some people ask if I sell my images…I do. Keep an eye out because early in January I will be adding a gallery to the site where images can be purchased.

Below are some of my favorite images from 2011…Enjoy.  Wishing you a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year!

You can click on the images to see a larger version.


Nathan Phillips Square is situated right in front of the Toronto City Hall (very much like a courtyard). The Square hosts a variety of art and holiday exhibits throughout the year including the Festival of Lights in the winter. By the beginning of December the front courtyard is turned into a public  skating ring.  Shooting at night forces you to use long exposures and thought this would be a great opportunity to focus on the movement of the skaters. I shot a lot of images but this particular one, with the motionless skater on their knees and the movement around them was the shot that made it to the top of the pile for today’s post.

As usual click on the image to view a larger version.

Festive Tower

I went on a Photo Walk this past Tuesday with the Toronto Digital Photography Club which I joined in the fall. They’re a terrific group of people who are passionate about photography and eager to share their knowledge with new members like me. We were meeting in front of City Hall in downtown Toronto to shoot the festive lights and decorations around city hall and Nathan Phillips Square. I work downtown so I decided to walk around on my own for a while before having to meet the group. Now that its getting dark so early I always enjoying looking at the CN Tower which is usually lit up with different colors. Now that Christmas is just around the corner, the CN Tower is a very festive sight indeed.

Brookfield Place

Brookfield Place, formerly known as BCE Place, is an office tower located in Downtown Toronto. After I finished shooting at Union Station (you can click here to see that image) this past Saturday I headed across the street to this unique building. Luckily it was quiet and while I did get nabbed…again…by the “tripod police” I was able to get a few shots in.

You can click on the images to see a larger version.

Entrance to Brookfield Place

Kensington Market

Project 52 Entry #23

This past Saturday my husband and I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon in Kensington market, navigating the narrow streets, taking in all the eclectic shops and thoroughly enjoying this unique neighbourhood. Kensington Market is located in downtown Toronto and is a diverse multicultural neighbourhood. Kensington Market also lays claim to Canadian pop TV culture. The show King of Kensington, which ran for 1975 to 1980 starred Al Waxman and by Canadian standards was a big hit here. You may remember Al Waxman (who passed away in 2001) as Lt. Samuels from the TV series Cagney & Lacey.

The fun part of being there this past weekend is that the neighbourhood was all decked out for Halloween.

As always you can click on an image to see a larger version.

Welcome to Kensington Market

The Dancing Den

Fantastic graffiti lines almost every alley way

Come on in and enjoy the live band!