The first time I ever visited Kensington Market was in the spring of 1989. My strongest recollection is being overwhelmed by the smells of the many different foods being prepared. This was slightly problematic as I was pregnant with Kyle and those smells cut short our visit.
September 1, 2010 began a new Kensington adventure, with Kyle taking an apartment in the heart of the amazing neighbourhood. That day taught me about how crazy it is to think about taking a huge truck through the streets of one of the busiest pedestrian areas in Toronto; I did but only because I didn’t know any better.
So, today, I walked through Kensington, taking photos and being distracted by the incredibly diverse shopping experiences. And, best of all, hanging out.
It’s been the greatest gift in photography to be surprised by the results of getting out and shooting. I have said before that working too hard, overthinking the subject, seems to complicate the end product.
The photos that I love are the ones that were surprises. Photos that were intended to be of one subject, usually flowers, become wonderful insect pictures because something literally flies into the frame. (If I go looking for an insect, I can almost guarantee that either I will come up empty, or the photos will be too forced.) Yet, there are so many ways that I have been surprised. The original subject appears too dark or lacking focus, but then on reflection, I realize that something off centre turns out to be the perfect subject.
The idea that one must take hundreds of photos to get one you like – or in this case love – is true. Very true.
The fall of 2010 marked the first time that Laura and Kyle would attend the same “school” for an entire school year. That “school” was the University of Toronto. I spent many hours this past year on the campus and often had my camera ready to capture the incredible beauty of the grounds and buildings.
Kyle has continued at U of T, this year marking the beginning of his graduate work. Laura has begun an exchange year at the University of British Columbia, also an incredibly beautiful campus. They both have always appreciated their surroundings and how those surroundings add to the experience of university life.
This summer, I decided to enter a couple of photo contests. I shot pretty high, I have to admit. I went with My Shot through National Geographic and Cottage Life’s annual photo contest.
The National Geographic entry was not about me classifying myself along side some of the world’s greatest photographers; instead, I have other people’s submissions and have found comments among the entrants to be helpful and insightful. My Shot allows you to enter one shot per month and then the editor’s look at all the entries and decide which are the best ones to be shared. It’s amazing to see the range of subjects and types of shooting abilities that are of interest to the editors. It encourages me to look at photography differently. And the entire National Geographic website can cause me to lose hours on the computer.
The Cottage Life photo contest entry came about because I looked at the type of work that was being submitted and felt that my work was similar in that it was not polished and glossy, but rather the work of someone interested in learning more about photography, while trying to capture the essence of an experience like cottaging. Admittedly, I also entered this contest because many years ago, I entered a poem and photo in a Cottage Life contest and was chosen as a finalist. (It was about cottage shoes and Tim had an unbelievably beat up pair of shoes which I wrote an ode to. It was a lark to enter and I’m confident it was the state of the shoes that won the judge’s eye!) I am hoping that luck may strike again.
My next goal is to submit photos to a Mississauga News contest. I have an idea about what I want to capture about Mississauga and it would be interesting to see how the vision plays out.
I have discovered that raindrops make photography fascinating. Due to their size, it is really hard to know exactly what you will get and even harder to be certain of what might be reflected in the drop.
Back in April, I took a picture of a raindrop and then realized that the surrounding forsythia bushes were reflected in the drops. I was immediately hooked. Due to the above mentioned challenges regarding knowing what is reflected in the drops, this type of subject demands that I simply trust that something good will come of the shot. I look for drops that have colour reflected in them, and then shoot away.
Often times, a raindrop is not caught on the end of a branch, leaf or flower but rather sits right on it. The added texture can make a leaf “pop” in a photo. It is hard to describe, so just enjoy….
Having such a big, wonderful backyard has afforded me a multitude of photographic opportunities. Using the swing at the back of the garden as a focal point has allowed me to work on lighting and composition as well as show the different seasons contrasted on a similar background.
Beyond the swing, I have been able to spend hours working on macro photography using the various flowers and plant materials in the backyard. The ability to pop into the house and check out the results on the computer is really advantageous as I can make the necessary changes and get back out to try again.