007x : Gary

007x : Gary

My 100 x project, from the beginning

Click the arrows while hovering over the photo to scroll through the entire project thus far, or click through to the entire album on Flickr.

001x : The Three Sisters

22°C

There’s nothing quite like the November sun. It’s low, it’s bright, and when you’re in the city it reflects all over the place in all sorts of unexpected ways.

I had the good fortune to be able to play hooky from work for a few hours yesterday afternoon and take advantage of the unseasonably warm (22°C vs the “normal” 7°C or so) and go on a little photowalk in downtown Ottawa.

Here’s a little of what I saw, arranged in pairs.

Continue reading “22°C”

Philadelphia, revisited

Philadelphia is one of those cities that doesn’t seem to get much respect, especially from New Yorkers. To be honest, I’m not sure why. I had the pleasure of spending a week there on business in 2017 and found Philly to be a beautiful, vibrant, and interesting city, with lots to see and do.

Of course, given the time available, I only saw a small part of the city. Both my hotel and my customer’s offices were downtown, within 3km of each other, albeit on opposite sides of City Hall.

This kept me in the heart of the business and tourist areas, to be sure.

Continue reading “Philadelphia, revisited”

Toronto the wet

It’s always good to have a few hours to kill, camera in hand. Yesterday was one of those days… I had to drive my son to Toronto for a sports event (where parents were verboten) and that meant I had the day to myself. Met up with my good friend Bruce for lunch, and then ventured out on a cold, miserable, rainy photowalk in Cabbagetown (a funky neighbourhood east of downtown) and into downtown.

No agenda, no preconceptions, just a few hours, my weather resistant X-Pro3 and an umbrella.

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All images shot with the awesomely weather-resistant X-Pro3 and XF35mmF2 combo, processed with the new Classic Negative film sim in Capture One.

A Sunny Saturday in Ottawa, SOOC

Every Saturday this past October has just been spectacular. I don’t know who to thank for this (or who needs paying off) but WOW. Can we have some more, please?

On this particular Saturday—October 26, 2019, to be precise—I had about an hour to kill around midday, and I can’t think of a better way to kill time than to shoot it (with my camera, of course).

If you’re not a photgraphy geek, just skip the next bit and go straight to the pictures.

Normally, I always post-process my shots in Capture One, taking the RAW files and applying a variety of presets and settings to get to the look that I want. The awesome JPG files generated by my Fuji X-T2 go unused (but not unloved), because I find that I just have more latitude working from the RAW files.

This time around, i thought I’d try working JPG only. After having come across Ritchie Roesch’s awesome Fuji X Weekly blog and his incredible collection of vintage film simulation recipes, I settled on his Kodachrome II recipe and decided to shoot everything that Saturday using only this emulation.

Here’s some of what I saw around Lowertown and the ByWard Market on that lovely Saturday. All images are Straight Out of Camera (SOOC) and have only been straightened or cropped in Capture One. If I was less cockeyed, I could have bypassed Capture One altogether.

So why do I spend all this time post-processing my images? Great question…

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Le moins vieux Québec


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Old Québec City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason. It’s the only North American city to have preserved its fortifications and ramparts, and is second to none in terms of its architecture, historic charm and overall awesomeness. If you’ve never been, you must go.

However, there’s a whole lot of charm in Québec City outside the walls of the Old Town. The “haute ville” and the “basse ville,” particularly in the St-Jean-Baptiste, Montcalm, and St-Roch neighbourhoods (just to the west of the ramparts).

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The old buildings in these neighborhoods—not quite as old as Old Québec, but old enough—have generally been well-maintained and ooze charm. These areas are mostly residential with a dash of commercial here & there. Formerly working-class, they are gentrifying quickly and you can feel the tension between the traditional residents and the monied classes moving in. It shows in the grafitti, and it shows in the vary states of renovation.

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Las Vegas, le matin

The Strip in Las Vegas really isn’t my cup of tea. It’s gaudy, garish, noisy, and crowded. Wall-to-wall people in varying states of lucidity careening from one casino to the next. Party girls trolling for new “friends.” Families looking visibly uncomfortable wondering why they brought their children to a modern Sodom.

And in July, it’s hot. Real hot. Walking into a kiln hot. I don’t “do” heat very well (if at all) and was thankful that the conference centres at the MGM Grand, the Aria and Mandalay Bay were all thoroughly air conditioned.

For the first few days there, my body was still adjusted to Eastern time (Vegas is 3 hours “behind” in the Pacific time zone), which meant I naturally woke up at 4 or 5 in the morning. Since the conference didn’t start until 8:30, there was nothing to do; so I went for walks before sunrise. Quiet streets, reasonably comfortable temperatures, and for a few fleeting moments, some really great light reflecting off the nicer buildings.

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Leaving Las VegasLeaving Las Vegas

Leaving Las Vegas

eighteen shades of gay

The stretch of rue Ste-Catherine between rue St-Hubert and av. Papineau has long been considered the heart of Montréal’s Gay Village.

Every summer, cars are banned and it is converted to a pedestrian mall, covered with millions of coloured balls arranged in a rainbow over the 1km stretch. Read more about the installation, 18 nuances de gai, here.

Turns out that on a sunny day, this is a most awesome place to have lunch (and a beer) on a patio and people-watch!

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The backpacks of Ottawa

We all know how important it is to coordinate our accessories. The people of Ottawa are acutely aware of this, and manage to do it in all seasons.

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Blue before the Blue Hour

The blue hour is the period of twilight in the morning or evening, during the civil and nautical stages, when the Sun is at a significant depth below the horizon and residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue shade.

Wikipedia

Turns out you don’t need to wait for the blue hour to get some serious blues. I went out for a walk after work today to stretch my legs and work out my shutter finger.

Arguably, this was the Golden Hour, but I’m not a stickler for that kind of thing. There’s something about the quality of the blue in the winter sky here in Ottawa that you just don’t get at any other time of the year.

Combine a crisp, cold, (almost) cloudless sky with a low winter sun and great things happen.

Shot with the Fujifilm X100F and processed in Capture One Pro.

A little stroll down Duluth St.

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Duluth Street runs from the foot of Mount Royal park all the way to Parc Lafontaine. A narrow street, it’s dotted with boutiques, restaurants, bars and cafés intermingled with the apartments and old walk-ups. It’s a quintessential part of the “Plateau” that just shimmers in the low autumn sun.

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The Painted City

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The Plateau Mont-Royal arrondissement (district) has transformed radically over the years. Traditionally a haven for bohemians and artists, the Plateau has been gentrifying for what seems like forever now, but it hasn’t lost its unique flare.

One thing that stands out is the sheer quantity of murals everywhere. On the sides of commercial buildings, residential buildings, new buildings, old buildings, there’s barely a square meter of blank wall to be found.

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Late summer roundup

It feels like ages since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been shooting, but just too lazy to post and write anything compelling.

I won’t deliver any compelling prose here, but rather a mixed bag of images shot late this summer. Some holiday snaps, some observational stuff, some street, some god-knows-what. Gotta keep pressing that shutter button!

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People watching in Quincy Market

During a recent visit to Boston, I got some time to myself in Quincy Market when my family decided to check out the giant Sephora store there. I don’t do Sephora.

So I decided to hang out (in the shade – it was hot!) and watch the world go by. Quincy Market is an interesting 80/20 blend of tourists and Boston locals at any given time (although I’m pretty sure it was 90/10 when I was there). A historic place, to be certain, but one that has been coopted by the forces of rampant commercialism that seems to have taken over the world in the last several years.

It was a glorious, sunny day, with all sorts of great light bouncing around from the nearby modern office towers and the plate-glass of the Sephora and other stores.


Smile, honey! - This is going to be AWESOME! Look at that light! What a perfect day...
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Smile, honey!

This is going to be AWESOME! Look at that light! What a perfect day…


Waitasec... - Who's that guy in the background? Why is he in our shot? Dammit!
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Waitasec…

Who’s that guy in the background? Why is he in our shot? Dammit!


Smile, honey! - We got this one.
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Smile, honey!

We got this one.

Now of course, not everyone was taking selfies… some were posing for their beau.


Yeah, there's a smartphone in those meathooks somewhere.Yeah, there's a smartphone in those meathooks somewhere.

Yeah, there’s a smartphone in those meathooks somewhere.


The lovely couple.The lovely couple.

The lovely couple.


Seems a little young to be worrying about his 10,000 steps.Seems a little young to be worrying about his 10,000 steps.

Seems a little young to be worrying about his 10,000 steps.


Some people pull "it" off better than others.Some people pull "it" off better than others.

Some people pull “it” off better than others.

Photo essay #16: Seeing Red in Boston

It’s been almost a week since we got back from vacation, and I’ve only just gotten around to culling and processing the far too many shots I took. A few days in Boston followed by a 7-day cruise to Bermuda and back.

Our time in Boston was blessed with sunny, warm days and great light with no haze.

Not a huge believer in traditional holiday snaps of all the touristy sites, I opted to do a little street shooting instead. Tremont Street, Quincy Market, Boston Common and the North End. Click to enlarge.

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Photo Essay #13: Sunday morning in Chicago

A little over a week ago, I had the privilege to spend the weekend at the Out of Chicago conference (hazard a guess as to where it’s held). Chicago is one heck of a city, and its buildings and people are as photogenic as they get.

On Sunday morning, I wound up getting up very early. My body clock decided that 6AM was time to get up and go. So when the sun is shining, and is still low in they sky, what else could I do? I went for a little photowalk before the day’s proceedings got going.

Here we are on the State Street bridge over the Chicago River. On the left are the iconic Marina Centre towers. At the base of the eastern tower is Wollensky’s Grill, where I found Rick hosing down the patio before another busy day was about to begin. We chatted for a few minutes and he was gracious enough to pose for a quick street portrait. This is a man who takes pride in what he does and you can see it in his eyes.

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There is constant boat traffic on the river: pleasure craft, water taxis, ferries, tourist ships, and this: the yoga cruise. Walking along Wacker Drive I could hear a voice over a tannoy and turned my head to take a look. I had to double take since I’d never seen an entire upper deck of a boat engaged in yoga before.

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The tall shiny buildings downtown make for some spectacular light and reflections at all times of the day. Half the time I wasn’t sure whether my subject was the person/place/thing I pointed my camera at or the shadows!

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26,271 steps Out of Chicago

Sunday was a heck of a day for me at the Out of Chicago conference. I wound up waking up early (like 5:30AM early) and couldn’t sleep. I had nothing to do before 8:30 when my first session was set to start.

A photographer alone in a new city, unencumbered by anything other than photographic gear always has something to do.

So I headed out for a little photowalk. A black Venti Pike in my left hand, a silver X100F in my right, I hit the streets before most of Chicago was even awake.

(Please click on the images to open them in a lightbox. They’ll look a lot better!)

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Later on, it was time for a street photography photowalk with Marie Laigneau. I learned more than anything else I have a lot to learn about street photography. But I think I got a few interesting shots in, nonetheless.

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I went out for a walk at lunch (what else is there to do, really?) and headed for Millennium Park, which was totally overrun by tourists. The Bean, a must-see piece of public sculpture, is surrounded by throngs of people and is almost impossible to shoot “cleanly”. So I didn’t even bother trying. It makes for some pretty compelling abstracts, though. Rick Sammon’s closing talk at the end of the day inspired my to play around with colour, in honour of the day’s Pride festivities.

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After lunch it was time for yet another photowalk, this time with Angie McMonigal, an exceptionally talented architecture and fine art photographer. She’s really nice, too! Our walk was centred around architecture (naturally) and I think this is where I came into my element a little more.

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After all that, it was time to head back and put my tired feet up.

Photowalking in the Loop

Today was a day of lectures and a photowalk with the one & only Valérie Jardin, where she helped us put the theory of street photography to practice.

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In for Out of Chicago

I am so privileged to be able to attend this year’s Out of Chicago summer conference, in, you guessed it, Chicago.

It’s a 2½ day gathering of photographic enthusiasts and pros, where we get together, network, learn from the best and most importantly, get out and shoot!

Chicago is really a photogenic city unlike any other. Vibrant street life, incredible architecture, characters all around. It’s going to be a great weekend!