Friday, April 30, 2010

Warning - geek working late

It's been a very busy week for me, but taking a little break and working some angles and lighting to photo everyday things keeps the project going. Once again, I'm choosing B&W to show engineering design, shapes and surfaces of the many tech equipment we use day to day (without noticing their "beauty"). I actually had a discussion with my brother-in-law yesterday about how some of us describe tech (especially from Apple) as sexy. He couldn't quite see it. We talk about cars as sexy, not much of a stretch to call an iPhone sexy, no ?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Comic relief at the shoot

I'm lucky to have an office downtown where there's so many interesting people around. I found this scene quite comical, with a serious (but unusual) photo shoot occurring while a rather bemused onlooker provides some "assistance".

As per early comments regarding in-camera B&W processing, in natural light, the B&W in-camera settings work quite nicely.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Telly time

Telly time - #167/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
Very busy day and didn't pull my camera out of my bag until after dinner. Luckily I have 3 wonderfully photogenic people leaving with me.

This is the first inCamera shot I've used that is from a RAW image. I had the image optimization set to B&W and once again, I wasn't too happy with the result. I think it is a combination of flash and the type (if any) filters I'm applying to the B&W setting. I always shoot in JPG and RAW these days, so I used the RAW image and simply saved it without edits to a JPG version. Therefore there is no adjustments for sharpness or contrast at all. The B&W version is here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flower Tower

Flower Tower - #166/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
The CN Tower is undoubtedly Toronto's most recognizable and probably largest landmark. So it naturally appears in quite a few of my photos, both as a primary interest and like in this case, an interesting backdrop.

Tentatively selected for my wrecked landscape project, but still debating it's contribution and relevance.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Guitar squeeze

Guitarist squeeze - #165/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
A couple of old university friends work in the building on the left and this newsstand used to be a really nice "little" cafe about 10 years ago. I like the proportional contrasts with some human street element and the fire escape. If this was a top shot, then I'd probably adjust for the skewed perspective, but ok to leave in for this project.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kooper's birthday

Kooper's birthday - #164/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
Our Australian Shepherd Kooper turned one year old today. My wife bought him some treat and toys and he had a fantastic time ripping off all the wrapping.

As you can see, my home has a lot of dark wood, so I always have to be very careful with the image optimization settings and in many cases the wood appears way too red with high saturation or contrast settings. So I edit the JPGs or use the RAW images most of the time. I got lucky here, perhaps because I was lower to the ground and the bounced difused flash was a little less strong than if I'd been standing up and/or the angles worked in my favour. Regardless, I liked the dog action, angle, colour and exposure.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blossom tourists

Blossom tourists - #163/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
As you've perhaps seen in many recent shots, Toronto is in full bloom these days. I've seen some beautiful blooming trees in my neighbourhood, but my wife wanted to see the collection of tree blossoms in High Park, so I went along with my full camera bag. I actually suggested we wait to later afternoon so the sunlight would not be so harsh. However, the afternoon turned quite cloudy and the light was a little too flat, especially for the pale colours.

My wife had heard that there were bus loads of tourists on a previous day, but I dismissed it thinking it was a one-off. However, when we arrived at High Park (after battling some heavier than normal traffic en-route), I couldn't believe the thousands of tourists. I don't think I'd never seen so many tourists (mostly Asian) at any Toronto tourist location - it actually reminded me of London's most popular sights, like Trafalgar Square.

So it was rather difficult to actually capture the beauty of the blossoms, but the day to produce some interesting opportunities to photograph people.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Old and new TO towers

Old and new TO towers - #162/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.

It seems like the number of new towers being built in Toronto keep growing and growing. I grabbed a few shots today and this contrast of new and (relatively) old stood out - Festival Tower is in the foreground.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

First Nations protest HST

People from The First Nations were protesting the Harmonized Sales Tax today, walking from Queen's park and making a stop at Yonge and Dundas just by my office.

Click here for full story and set.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big kid in the playground

A short detour on the way to the subway station gave me a few new photo opportunities this morning. I had shot the playground empty, but then caught the jogger dead centre and thought it added a little human interest. Had to cheat with a small alignment fix, but otherwise in-camera.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My teenager

My teenager - #159/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
Using B&W for this shot with flash lighting almost blows out my son's face; but this one isn't a harsh as others I shot. When viewing the RAW version, the exposure looks perfect, but with the in-camera processed B&W, it looks like you need to underexposure so you don't lose definition in skin tones. If you did a B&W conversion in Photoshop, you could control the colour channels better and get better results (as shown here).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time on King West

Time on King West - 158/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
I liked the low angle I got by simply setting the camera down on the bench and raising the lens a little with my lens cap. As with most self portraits, focusing is a tricky, so I autofocused on the back of the bench at the end where I was going to sit. Then set focusing to manual and set the self timer for 10s. I kept a tight 2.8 f-stop on my 50mm lens to get the depth-of-field I wanted, but had to shoot high iso to keep the shutter speed reasonable.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Prehistoric Sunnybrook

Prehistoric Sunnybrook - #157/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
What a perfect subject, lots of contrast, didn't object to a close up and barely moved for 5 minutes. I stumbled across this beauty after my usual dog park visit and we came across him (or her) enjoying the warm sun on a nature trail not far from a busy parking lot at Sunnybrook park. I took a number of shots to document his beautiful features, but I tried to compose a more artistic shot here and I think the low to the ground angle works well.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

C bracelets

C bracelets, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
We had a houseful for dinner tonight with old university friends and their children. I did manage to get a few people shots, but I didn't seem to have a lot of time to get that creative, so although there's some nice shots, they'll be posted to my personal photo sharing site, rather than here where I try to keep my more artistic material and where the portraits offer something unique or are of high quality.

I was quite pleased with this quick shot and offers some nice contrast, reasonable composition and some interesting shapes for focus.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gould Street wall collapses

At lunchtime on April 16th, 2010 a second floor wall collapsed on Gould Street, just East of Yonge Street. The large section of brick wall facade (seen in the background) above a newly opened Sushi restaurant fell to the street. From current reports, there were no serious injuries. I had almost chosen to have lunch at the Thai, Salad King restaurant, but instead went to another restaurant with a friend. As the press wrapped up the formal interview with the police, the man in the white glasses yelled over to the group and said they should interview this man for his story. He had been in the Sushi restaurant when the wall came down - he had a few scrapes, but nothing too serious.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

James, the guitar teacher

My son has been getting guitar lessons from James for quite a while now. James is a brilliant guitarist and has played and toured professionally extensively - I love talking to him about music. He has a natural (or well learned) ability to pick up notes and chords from the many songs my son throws his way and within a few minutes they've reproduced some of our favourite music. He was very comfortable when I started taking lots shots from all angles. The 50mm 1.8 proves once again to produce some great depth-of-field and crisp shots. I used a bounced flash with a difuser.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Concerned - #153/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.

This man hit the young lady on the left while driving along Dundas St in Chinatown today. While walking along the street, I heard a alerting yell and when I turned I saw the girl bounce off the hood of this man's car and fall to the ground. He appeared to be driving quite fast and she didn't seem to be paying attention as she crossed mid-block. I debated whether it was appropriate to stop and take a few shots, but 1) I felt this was a photojournalistic opportunity and 2) I thought I should perhaps record the event in case she was badly hurt and he tried to make a run for it. She remarkably got up quite quickly and it looked like she only had a few knee and arm scrapes - she was very lucky. I overheard someone ask for a 911 call, however the police never showed up. This shot was taken as a police car siren was heard close by. As things seems to settle down and the majority of the crowd dispersed, I asked the girl if she was ok - she said she was ok, although she still looked rather shocked and he appeared rather in shock himself. When he took her into a nearby pharmacy with a few other witnesses and no police showed up, I went on my way.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Mom - #152/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
My parents are visiting for a few days. I take quite a lot of photos of them but they are often posed or they miss the mark in capturing a candid moment. But recently, as I have the camera out and ready all the time, it seems that the more photos I take, the more comfortable the subject gets with the camera.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Soccer tryout day

Soccer tryout day - #151/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.

Both my son and daughter had their school soccer tryouts after school today. I didn't get a chance to see the action, but thought a shot of their cleats would be a way to record the day and they'd make a decent subject.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Curb side reflection

Curb side reflection - #150/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
I didn't take a lot of shots today, but on the walk to the movies with my daughter, the refection of the blossoming pink tree on my street with contrast of the dark window and white van caught me eye.  Shot with my Blackberry.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Adrienne in the morning

I was out early walking my dog and put the "nifty fifty" [mm] lens on my camera. One of the big tips of photography is taking pictures under the rich light of early morning and dusk. I took a number simple shots on my morning walk (many of which remain unedited on Flickr), but I feel the combination of a crisp clear lens and warm morning light helped produce some lovely shots.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The visitor

The visitor - #148/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.

I took some time at lunch to snap away at some people on the street. There were a few people with bright coloured umbrellas and this girl turns perfectly for the shot with her umbrella as a nice background.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Blue umbrella girl

Blue umbrella girl - #147/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
I took some time at lunch to snap away at some people on the street. There were a few people with bright coloured umbrellas and this girl turns perfectly for the shot with her umbrella as a nice background.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blossoms versus hydrant

Another rainy spring day, so I boosted image optimization again here to vivid+, but it may be too much contrast ! I liked the contrast of the harsh yellow hydrant with the softer blossoms with a symmetrical backdrop.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Young on Yonge fresh cut flowers

The rain had stopped, but the weather was overcast, but the stunning colours of these cut flowers at on e of my local fruit markets was a perfect way to brighten the day. I often boost the image optimization to vivid+ to get the most out of the colour on dull days.

Monday, April 5, 2010

White flower with blue bokeh

I've taken blind shots from ground level like this one a few times and sometimes you get lucky or the composition isn't exactly as planned, but it works (in unpredictable) ways. I took a few other shots lying on the ground, but this blind one was still my favourite. The blue foreground flower bokeh was planned, and I liked the slash of green bokeh and symmetrical fencing. My custom in-camera image settings these days are auto saturation and tone compensation, Nikon colour Mode IIIa and +1 image sharpening.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Balancing rocks versus The CN Tower

The lighting was a little tricky, but the composition was more important, with the balancing rock tower versus the CN Tower.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Father-in-law smile

Father-in-law smile - #142/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
I've been spending a lot of time at my sister-in-law's recently with my mother and father-in-law visiting for a few weeks. I'm pleased that they haven't been complaining about the amount of photos I'm taking, and this is probably why I've been getting some good shots. If you're always taking shots, some people just start ignoring you after a while and that's when you catch a real smile.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Painting silhouette

Painting silhouette - #141/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
I had some difficulty choosing my shot for today. This was a typically tricky setting, dark bedroom and bright light from the window. I took lots of shots, including compensating flash with lots of -EV, but I wasn't too pleased with the result. The half way line with light and dark does break the rule of thirds, but with my daughter's silhouette it seems to work. This is actually the second shot (of 23) and I'm now liking the blown out light showing some of her hair details, her side-on silhouette and just enough light to show the bright colours of her painting.

Thursday, April 1, 2010