Walking to the lake

We are fortunate having two small local museums within walking distance of our home. The site we visited today is called the Bradley Museum. It is nestled in a residential area on a green space that has a wonderful path to the lake. There are 3 buildings which have all been moved to this location and restored. The Bradley House has been there since 1963.

There is another building, The Anchorage, which has had to had significant modications to make it accessible, as it is the main building on the site. It houses the administrative offices and a gift shop.

The last building to arrive on the site is now called The Bradley Cabin. It is my favourite building on the site.

Our final destination was the lake; too bad it was December 3rd because there was a perfect wind for sailing.


Reflecting a different point of view

A few weeks back, I got stuck in traffic in front of the Art Gallery of Ontario. The AGO is on a very busy street in Toronto and I picked the middle of the day, on a Saturday to visit the area. It turned out, though, that it gave me an inspiration. At one point, after about 5 minutes of not moving, I looked up at the glass facade and saw the busy streetscape reflected back. A police car drove by, lights flashing, and I thought, what an amazing photo that would make. 

Today, I went back down to that street to test out my idea and see how this busy Saturday would reflect a different point of view. I took about 100 shots and enjoyed playing with the traffic flow especially. Interestingly, though, it was the shots of the facing residences that proved to be my favourites when all was said and done.


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Adventurer’s soul

I do not possess an adventurer’s soul. Sometimes I wish I did. I grew up afraid. My mother swears I had no fear which perhaps was true when I was very young. Or I hid it well.  I was a very overprotective mom when my children were younger (some may say I still am, but I think this past year has proven those people wrong. Mostly.).

 If I did have an adventurer’s soul, though, I would go to India and try to make a difference in the lives of women, especially in Northern India. That might not be the most adventurous thing in the world to some people, but it certainly would take me WAY out of my comfort zone.

I would, though, do that with less hesitation than kite boarding on Lake Ontario in November. Or perhaps kite boarding anywhere, anytime.

Today, as I drove into Toronto, a saw a kite boarder, but I had passed all the available parking lots and had set a time to meet someone. Perhaps I sensed that this guy was a determined soul and would be there on my trip back a few hours later. He was. I parked and rushed out to get some shots in what turned out to be his last few minutes on the Lake. I wished I had stopped earlier as it was a lot of fun to shoot.


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Disproportionately happy

It seems ridiculous to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. I am incredibly pleased. The reason this is ridiculous to say is that something happened that is small, yet made me want to jump up and down and I kind of, sort of, did.

I spoke in an earlier blog about entering photo contests. I had entered a small local one, and I shot for the moon on a couple others. I was unsuccessful on the “shooting for the moon” ones. Well, actually, in some sense I was unsuccessful in all of them. That is, if you measure success purely by “winning”, or having your photos deemed “the best” or at least top 10, I was not successful.

I guess I’m just a simple gal, cause I feel, well, disproportionately happy. A local newspaper had a photo contest and they received over 2000 entries. A few weeks ago, the top photos were published in the paper and, although disappointed I had not “been successful”, I also knew that there are many, many (many!) good professional and amateur photographers who entered these contests. I also knew (and know) that taking photos, looking at other people’s photos and, yes, entering contests are all enjoyable ways to spend my time.

Yesterday, though, I received an email on my phone which, to be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to because it was talking about the photo contest, which I already knew the results about so I quickly moved on. Later in the day, I had a calmer moment and was rereading all those quickly passed over emails of the day and more closely read the photo contest one. And, to my pure delight, I read that two of my photos had made it into the Top 100 of the contest. That’s when the jumping up and down began in earnest.

My excitement was mildly tempered by the fact that the two photos they chose were rather similar – they could almost be considered two shots of the same subject – but really, who was I to argue with what could only be considered the outstanding good taste of the judges (whose judgement, possibly, I might have, a little bit, questioned a few short weeks earlier when the first place winner was announced….)?

So, yes,  I did not “win”, but I felt like I’d hit the jackpot.


Where has the time gone?

I went back to look at some of the first photos I took with my camera, as it’s been just about a year since I acquired it. Some of those shots remain my favourites and as I looked back on them, I realized that I was just spending time learning how to take a picture. Not how to use the camera, how to fancy up the shot, just simply how to take a photo. Up until I acquired this camera, I took pictures for a purpose – to chronicle an event or vacation, to document a moment in time. As a scrapbooker, I took photos that I could put into a story that would translate into a good scrapbook.

The first photos I took were under the watchful eye of my hubby who has a much more artistic view of the world. My idea of a good picture is one I like, all based on emotion. Tim can look at a picture or a house or anything really and explain what the elements are that make it appealing, how it works, how it doesn’t work. As much as I appreciated that he had a stronger aesthetic experience and therefore a valuable opinion, he encouraged me to go back to listening to my gut and take photos the way I liked because ultimately it is my hobby and we both benefit from my enjoyment of it. Over this year, I have found that there are photos I take that I don’t like that he does and vice versa. Many people I have shared my photos with also have very strong reactions to photos one way or another, and that has taken some getting used to. I don’t know that I’ll ever be completely comfortable with either praise or criticism, but I do take something from those opinions and go forward.

In some ways, I can see how much my photography style has changed and evolved. And yet, looking back, the simplistic photos of the “early days” still appeal, so perhaps what I like has remained the same and how I achieve it has been the area of growth. Who knows?


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The big picture

I am a big fan of macro photography. This statement would not be a surprise to anyone who has looked at my blog, seen my Facebook page or seen more than two photos I’ve ever taken. It most certainly is not what I envisioned as my main interest when I took up photography a year ago. I literally fell into it after a comment by a Black’s employee. This nice young man suggested I buy some filters, rather than a lens, to try out macro photography. Since a “real” macro lens is around $800+, he thought I should spend a whole lot less to see just how much I did or did not like macro photography. So, I ordered 4 filters online for a whooping $14.95 and gave them a try. I was hooked within a day.

The downside of this, of course, was that I have not spent time working on other types of photography. When I told Laura that I was going to be taking photos downtown this weekend, she suggested I take some “big” pictures – landscapes and buildings, that kind of thing. So, I did. I snuck in a bit of macro (I mean, really, when a bee just flies into your shot, and you get a shot of his wings moving, what can you do?) but I tried to broaden my view. I took over 130 photos and came out with a few that I can live with but I also came out with an understanding of the importance of framing being equally important in “big” and “little” photos.


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Kensington Market

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.


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Back to school – U of T style

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.


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