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Ephemera From the Archives Photo Essay Travels

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.

There is so much history here; Philadelphia (founded 1682) is after all the birthplace of America as we have come to understand it: the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution and ratified it here. Suffice it to say, Philly is old. But it’s also new, and these age differences can create stark contrasts. Philly is also a city of neighbourhoods, each with a distinct look and feel.

Like many older North American cities, the downtown core isn’t just for business, tourists, hospitals, and university students. People actually live downtown, adding a whole new level of vibrance and life to the city.

You can see the life early in the morning before work, or after the business day is done. Then again, I was in an office all day during business hours when I was there… who knows what’s happening on randum Tuesday afternoons in Philly?

Another standout is the outstanding Second Empire-styled City Hall. It sits smack-dab in the middle of everything and there are clear sight lines to it from all over the city. Early (and late) in the day, it gets spectacularly lit up by reflections from the surrounding modern glass office towers.

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Ephemera Travels

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.
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Ephemera

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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Architecture Ephemera Travels

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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Ephemera

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