Surreal Toronto

I know that there are many who would say that surreal is a normal state of affairs for Toronto.  But down on the waterfront at dawn last week, the juxtaposition of the yellow umbrellas, the beach, the moon and the remnants of a winter snowdrift struck me as being very odd.  The umbrellas in particular fascinated me.  My imagination took over from there, giving flight to the brollies and adding evidence of a sunbather on the frozen beach.

Flight of Fancy

Fun Lines on Queens Quay

This summer a new bit of public space opened on Queens Quay. It is a wildly oscillating walkway at the waters edge. In this first shot, I tried to draw attention to the textures on the surface of the walkway. I used a B&W treatment with very high contrast.


From another angle closer to the water, another facet of the lines of the walkway can be seen. I darkened the background to make the lit area under the walk (and its reflection) stand out. Notice the large fish hovering there?

Blue Wave

Burning the old year to make way for the new!

I thought I would take a break from my postings of photos from my trip through the US Southwest and show something more current. I will probably be back with another post of Bodie photos by Christmas… I am still working on some of them.

Each December 21 in Kensington (a small bohemian neighbourhood in downtown Toronto) they celebrate the solstice with a bit of street theatre, a walking parade of lights, some music in the street and burning a large cardboard figure that represents the old year. It is usually well attended and a lot of fun. I dropped in on it last night, but unfortunately, due to the high winds, they had to cancel the parade and the ritual burning. But in spite if the bitter winds, the crowds were there, the music was there and the street performers were there. The party was on!

The crowd is gathering.

The musicians were having a ball, in spite of frozen fingers. I like the way the highlights from their instruments dance across this long exposure.

Anything to stay warm!

As the party wound down, some people retired to nearby restaurants and stores to carry on their conversations in more hospitable surroundings.

Tropical oasis.
The conversation.

As I left the area, I passed by a hat store that was still open, their hat display in front of the store covered in snow. The patterns and colours caught my eye. (As well as seeing a little irony in the snow-covered hats.)  The original photo was very busy, with a lot of distracting detail in the background. I played around with it a lot to allow some of the complexity shine through, while masking the distractions. I ended up solarizing it in B&W, adding some colour with a colour blend, then painting in some of the darker hats and the shadows between them from a version of the original layer. Here is what I got:

Outpouring of Hats.