Toronto, February 8, 2010

Braving frigid temperatures to take advantage of incredible low-light; on this day, three years ago (February 8, 2010), Pat Yough, Chris Guss & I were in Toronto photographing in suitably arctic conditions. Cold but clear—there’s a fantastic, surreal quality of light in sub-zero temperatures which can lead to great images if you chose to endure the conditions. Not, only were we up early, but the night before we spent an hour or more making night shots from the Bathurst Street Bridge. It didn’t get any warmer by daybreak, which we photographed from the lake front west of the city center. On that morning, after setting up the tripod, my numb hands only managed to record in my note book, “0646 [6:46 am]—ugg. Twilight—cold.”

View from Bathurst Street, Toronto approaching Midnight on February 7, 2010. Lumix LX-3 time exposure.
View from Bathurst Street, Toronto approaching Midnight on February 7, 2010. Lumix LX-3 time exposure.
Sunrise on Lake Ontario, February 8, 2010. Lumix LX-3 on tripod.
Sunrise on Lake Ontario, February 8, 2010. Lumix LX-3 on tripod.

While we made an intense tour of Toronto area railroading, among the most memorable images were those exposed toward the end of daylight near Queensway & King Streets along the Canadian National quad-track line west of Union Station. This is one of the busiest lines in Canada, and hosts a flurry of trains at rush hour. For me the highlight was a pair of in-bound GO Transit trains with new MP40PHs running side-by-side as the sun hugged the horizon over lake Ontario. A few minutes later, I scored a VIA train gliding under a signal bridge in last glint of sunlight. At the time, I was still working primarily with film, and I kept both Canon EOS-3s busy. One was fitted with my 100-400 IS zoom, the other with a 24mm AF lens. The only digital camera I had was my Lumix LX-3, which I learned tends to chew through battery power in sub-zero conditions. By the end of the day, I’d drained three full batteries. The McDonalds on King Street made for a nice place to thaw hands on cups of hot chocolate while watching TTC’s trams glide by at dusk. On the way back we swung by Niagara Falls, my first visit to the famous waterfall, despite having photographed trains crossing the gorge on several occasions over the years.

GO Transit.
Eastward GO Transit trains near Sunnyside at sunset on February 8, 2010. Canon EOS-3 with 100-400 zoom; Fujichrome RVP-100, exposure not recorded.
GO Transit.
Eastward GO Transit trains near Sunnyside at sunset on February 8, 2010. Canon EOS-3 with 24mm lens; Fujichrome RVP-100, exposure not recorded.
VIA Rail at sunset.
Eastward VIA Rail train approaches Sunnyside at sunset on February 8, 2010. Canon EOS-3 with 100-400 zoom; Fujichrome RVP-100, exposure not recorded.
View of TTC streetcar on King Street from McDonalds on corner of Roncesvalles Avenue and Queen  at dusk on February 8, 2010. Lumix LX-3 ISO 80 at f2.8.
View of TTC streetcar on King Street from McDonalds on corner of Roncesvalles Avenue and Queen at dusk on February 8, 2010. Lumix LX-3 ISO 80 at f2.8.
TTC Streetcar Toronto.
TTC Streetcar at corner of King and Queen Streets, Sunnyside, Toronto, February 8, 2010.
Lumix LX-3 set at ISO 80.
Niagara Falls at night in winter.
Time exposure of Niagara Falls from the Ontario side. Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX-3 on a Bogan tripod.

 

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