Photography-related articles.

A Photographic Guide to Prince of Wales Park

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Photographic Guide to Colonel Sam Smith Park and Photographic Guide to Humber Bay Park so far. This guide will take you through what I like to think is a hidden gem in the west end. Prince of Wales Park is a much smaller green space compared to the aforementioned parks, but it still packs a punch when you consider sunrise photography opportunities.

Located at the end of Third Ave., south of Lakeshore Blvd in a residential neighbourhood of Etobicoke, this park is home to a public outdoor rink and some picnic tables that are scattered around the green space. With a direct view of the Toronto skyline and even a small rocky shoreline to get you right down to water-level, it’s a highly under-rated park as far as I’m concerned.

What I like most about this park is its proximity to the downtown core, yet it’s still easily accessible for those living in the west end.

Let’s take a look at the overall map and see all the points of interest for my sunrise photography.

The shoreline—albeit small—faces east so anywhere you go, you’ll have a clear view of the Toronto skyline. If you feel like incorporating the rocks as a foreground element, they are there waiting for you!

[1] Heavy moss covered the rocky shoreline this evening. This is in fact a sunset photo, but is here to illustrate that it was taken in the same spot as the leading photo, above.

Event though I’m standing in the same place for the photos taken above and below, the two evoke completely different moods largely because of my choice in lens. The wide angle lens used above creates a more spacious feel to the landscape while a telephoto lens below allows me to focus more on the city skyline while using the rocks as an interesting foreground element.

[1] Use different focal length to create different moods to your photos.

Looking in the other direction, towards southwest, an even steeper rocky shore emerges, but makes for a decent view [2].

[2] Looking along the southwest rocky shores of the park.

If I simply move further west along the shoreline, I get a sweeping view of the rocky shores that is a great leading line element [3].

[3] Moving further west along the rocky shores, we have a sweeping view of the shoreline.

And if I wanted just the horizon and water, I can look towards southeast and I will have just that [4]. In the winter, you can see the sun right in the middle of nowhere, rising all by itself. It’s actually a beautiful view. Wait for some birds to fly in front and you have yourself a fantastic moment of serenity.

[4] Birds fly in front of the rising sun.

But of course, if you prefer to include the rocks, you can do so too [4]. The rocks can be used as focal elements in practically any view around here.

[4] You can incorporate the rocks by shooting in any direction, really.

There is a chain-linked fence on one portion of the park to prevent tumbling down the steep rocky shore [5]. You can use this as a foreground element for added interest.

[5] Use existing elements like this chain-linked fence to create interesting focal elements.

The area also seems popular for swans and ducks as they spend their time here in the seclusion of the nearby bay. It’s a perfect place to perch yourself on top of the rocks with a telephoto lens, and take photos of them [6].

[6] This area is known for swans to enjoy themselves in.

If you position yourself just right, you’ll be able to frame the many birds here in the park with the Toronto skyline as the backdrop [7].

[7] Swans swim by with the CN Tower in the backdrop.

There are a few benches scattered around, while some of them having better views than others [8].

[8] One of the benches that overlooks the area.

The bench above has a great open view of the Toronto skyline while the bench below is placed right in front of trees for some reason [9].

[9] A bench that faces trees.

Beyond the bench above, we have an open green space that is used mostly for dog walkers and those out for their daily strolls. While not pictured here, beside the green space is a public rink that can be used [10].

[10] Part of the green space in the park.

You can use some of these trees as a framing element to frame the Toronto skyline, like I did below [11].

[11] Framing the skyline with leaves.

And going even further, use the tree seen above, to frame the CN Tower [11]. I used a telephoto lens to get the trees out of focus while leaving the skyline sharp during this one brilliantly-coloured sunrise.

[11] Using the tree to frame the CN Tower.

While this park may be small, it still offers a great place for photos depending on how you look at things. The challenge for me comes from having to take interesting photos in the most unlikely of places, so I enjoy seeking every angle possible in places like this.

If there’s something else you like about this park, let me know in the comments below.

Be on the lookout of my next guide, where I show you all the places that I like to photograph in. If you’d like to be notified of my next post, be sure to sign up for my newsletter.

A Photographic Guide to Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

Art Gallery of Ontario
March 3 – May 27, 2018

Scattered across all of our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms are no doubt a feast to our senses. While most may know her for these other-worldly rooms, I had always known her to be the artist behind Pumpkin (April 20, 2017 – March 21, 2018), the polka-dotted pumpkins that were hung from the second floor ceiling as the opening installation for the Ginza Six shopping destination in Tokyo, Japan. Very unique in nature, and unknown to me at the time, I later found out the reoccurring pumpkin theme in her work is more a representation of an entity that had kept her at bay during her childhood, than anything else.

My first encounter with Yayoi Kusama. Pumpkin, at Ginza Six in Tokyo, Japan.

As we learn more about Kusama, we realize there is so much more to her than what we see on the surface: fun-filled brightly coloured works of art. On the contrary, many of her pieces have a deeper connection to her younger years where she began having hallucinations, and produced a fear for the male body witnessing her father’s womanizing behaviours.

The Art Gallery of Ontario logo dressed up in Yayoi Kusama fashion.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, at the Art Gallery of Ontario is the only Canadian stop for this exhibit, and features six kaleidoscopic rooms (filled with mirrors to mimic a never-ending space) in addition to an exhibition of her paintings, sculptures, drawings, and more, representing 70 years of her work. According to the AGO, it’s an exhibit like none other they have ever presented before.

 

After experiencing the exhibit myself, I’ve noted down a few pointers at the end of this post in hopes of helping you when you experience this exhibit for yourself. And for those of you who are wondering, YES, I highly recommend you go, if you’re able to grab a ticket.


This exhibit is unique in that you only get 20-25 seconds inside the Infinity Mirror Rooms. Because of this, I highly encourage attendees to forego concentrating on taking pictures inside and actually enjoy the exhibit with their own eyes. A simple selfie here or there is fine, but just don’t make it a selfie exhibition tour. Even though I write this, I know there will be those that really want photos, so I’ve gone ahead and written my camera settings down under each photo—perhaps this will help to eliminate the need to fiddle with your cameras inside. This is for guidance only though, since all cameras are different. See my notes at the end of this post.


Entering the exhibit from the main floor, we are confronted with this grand sign below. It’s a good taste of what’s to come.


You’ll line up in a bright and airy room only to have to take the elevator up to the actual exhibition floor. The entire exhibit spans two floors, which is a good thing to spread the crowd.

Depending on which way you go from the elevator, this photographic tour may be backward for you. In my case, I simply went clockwise from the entrance.

The elevators are located around the left here, and the first Infinity Mirror Room is to the right of this wall.

The first wall explaining the exhibit.

Phalli’s Field, 1965

This Infinity Mirror Room consists of thousands of stuffed cotton creations. These serve as a symbol of her fear of the male body, which developed from her childhood years as she witnessed her father’s womanizing behaviours. Standing in the middle of the room almost felt like I was standing out into a bright open field full of interesting objects jutting from the ground. In no way did I ever think these creations were what they were intended to be.

14mm, 1/100 sec., f/2.8, ISO 400

If you have the opportunity, try crouching down or standing tall. You’ll get different vantage points that may be more interesting than just shooting straight on.

14mm, 1/100 sec., f/2.8, ISO 400

And you can experiment by taking close-up photos and wider shots as well…if you have the time.

14mm, 1/200 sec., f/2.8, ISO 800

The Infinity Mirror Rooms may look large from the inside, but they are in fact quite small when you look at them from the outside.

The Phalli’s Field Infinity Mirror Room.

In between rooms, you’ll encounter some striking paintings and sculptures. This one in particular caught my eye because of its colour and texture.

Another piece that is quite striking.

Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, 2009

This next Infinity Mirror Room transports you into a space filled with flickering golden lanterns that seem to defy gravity. These lanterns are symbolic of those in a Japanese ceremony that sees lanterns drifting away down a river, guiding spirits back to their resting place.

As you enter this room the lanterns quickly turn off. You’re left standing in darkness letting you contemplate life. But only for a brief moment. Gradually, the lanterns turn on, flickering rhythmically until you are surrounded by the magnificent orange glow, minus the warmth.

No tripods are allowed, so I tried something different to contrast the lanterns on top. 14mm, 2.0 sec., f/9.0, ISO 1000

Of course, a shot looking straight is always nice too.

The brightness will change depending on the glow of the lanterns. 14mm, 1/25 sec., f/4.5, ISO 1600

Take a look at this intriguing artwork too, right after the Infinity Mirror Room.

Continuing on, we arrive at the pink room, which is more interactive than the first two we entered.

Dots Obsession—Love Transformed into Dots, 2007

This room allows you to walk within it and experience infinity in an interactive way, peering inside a balloon and being enveloped by them. This exhibit allows you to admire the beauty of these dots in a more personable level as you’re able to spend a little more time here.

14mm, 1/50 sec., f/2.8, ISO 1600

Walking through this room, you’ll get a chance to walk into one of these pink balloons, which in turn is filled with even more pink balloons.

23mm, 1/50 sec., f/2.8, ISO 800

You can never escape being pictured in any of these Infinity Mirror Rooms.

14mm, 1/25 sec., f/3.2, ISO 1600

I’m hiding behind a balloon!

14mm, 1/50 sec., f/6.3, ISO 1600

This particular Infinity Mirror Room is big enough to fit up to four people. It could be because there was no line to get in here that they didn’t time my entry, but I found more people doing selfies here than anywhere else. It’s certainly bright (and pink) enough for it.

14mm, 1/50 sec., f/2.8, ISO 800

The next stop in this pink room is the balloon that you peer into.

24mm, 1/50 sec., f/2.8, ISO 800

My favourite part is the approach and transition when you peer into the balloon from the hole on the left. From a room filled with giant hanging balloons your view is instantly transformed into something so surreal. It was quite the experience for me (and one you can experience through my Instagram Stories Highlights). You may be too busy trying to maneuver your iPhone into or around this tiny hole, but when you do, don’t forget to appreciate this one by actually peering in yourself and admiring the beauty within it.

70mm, 1/200 sec., f/3.2, ISO 400

You can get so close to these balls that it actually feels like you’re in the room yourself.

70mm, 1/80 sec., f/6.3, ISO 200

Trying to get that shot. While a wide angle is nice, this particular balloon will benefit from a much tighter focal length. A 50mm may work wonders by allowing you to get that much closer to what’s inside.

22mm, 1/25 sec., f/6.3, ISO 1600

At 24mm, you can’t help but get the outside of this hole in your frame.

24mm, 1/160 sec., f/6.3, ISO 800

Our next stop, directly at the exit of the pink room, is Love Forever. This Infinity Mirror Room may look small, but it sure packs a punch. There is another opening on the other side of this Infinity Mirror Room.

14mm, 1/40 sec., f/3.2, ISO 800

Love Forever, 1966/1994

A hexagonal room with two windows, allows yourself and another to be seen within the infinity room. Do this with your partner to see the expression on their face as you both peer into this light show. The hexagonal shape of the light is sort of Tron-esque and its full effect isn’t realized until your peripheral vision also includes the lights in the Infinity Mirror Room. Admire yourself in the mirror from the outside, then peer through the opening (without your phone!) and look around to get the full effect.

14mm, 1/60 sec., f/4.0, ISO 400

These lights change so fast, it’s almost a surprise to see which colour you got when you pressed the shutter button.

14mm, 1/60 sec., f/4.0, ISO 400

And spotting someone walking by the other hole, I grabbed this image.

20mm, 1/100 sec., f/7.1, ISO 800

Go around the corner and you’ll see this exhibit again.

14mm, 1/60 sec., f/6.3, ISO 800

At this point you’ve made a full circle of the first floor of the exhibit. You can make your way up the stairs to get to the second floor of Infinity Mirrors. One of the first things you’ll see on the second floor of the exhibit is this hallway. This is where a running video of an interview with Kusama is playing. You can sit on the couch and enjoy the show, which is in Japanese with English subtitles.

You can watch the interview with Kusama here.

The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013

Created with hundreds of LEDs hanging and pulsating, this Infinity Mirror Room transports you to an other-worldly experience. When the door closes behind you, you’re left in a magical space with colourful lights all over. While you may be busy trying to get as many selfies as you can in here, admire this for as long as you can to get its full effect.

14mm, 1/60 sec., f/2.8, ISO 1600

I’m always looking out for something different, so again, I decided to prop my camera down below and see the view from there. I was interested in capturing the organized pattern of the viewing platform as it contrasted with the chaotic lights above.

Trying to capture the patterns on the viewing platform to contrast with the pattern of the lights above. 14mm, 1/40 sec., f/6.3, ISO 250

The Infinity Mirror Room from the outside.

14mm, 1/30 sec., f/4.5, ISO 1600

This next Infinity Mirror Room I was very much looking forward to, since it played with Kusama’s love for the pumpkin. When I lined up however, I was told no cameras were allowed inside. I will admit it was a little disappointing to hear that, but read below as to why I believe this was done.

All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016

This Infinity Mirror Room carries you away to a room filled with Kusama’s love for the pumpkin—a symbol of her in a place of happiness. Each of these pumpkins in various sizes are made of ceramic. At the request of Kusama herself, and because of the fragile nature of this particular room (so I was told), no cameras are allowed inside. We were able to take some photos from the outside though, giving you a glimpse of what you may expect.

14mm, 1/30 sec., f/4.5, ISO 1600

Perhaps it was this very reason though, that I was able to appreciate the beauty of this room more. Admiring the intricate patterns and shapes of these pumpkins and being transported into another realm was truly special. Could it be this very sensation that Kusama wants everybody to feel? This was, after all, the only Infinity Mirror Room where cameras were forbidden.

Staff explaining to an attendee that no cameras were allowed in the room. 14mm, 1/50 sec., f/3.5, ISO 1600

It does look very pretty inside though.

28mm, 1/60 sec., f/3.5, ISO 800

Heading over to the final area of the exhibit, we encounter a whole collection of her artwork, which are both unique and colourful in nature.

The vibrant colours catch your attention from afar.

I could have stared at this section for a while.

It was a sensory awakening with vibrant colours, patterns, and textures.

It’s interesting to figure out what exactly these sculptures may represent for Kusama.

I love how much orange and yellow Kusama uses in many of her works.

Directly across from these sculptures and paintings, you’ll find the entrance to the final installation of the exhibit.

Entering The Obliteration Room.

The Obliteration Room, 2002 to present

This room is an invitation from Kusama to participate in completing her piece. Beginning as a completely white space void of any colour, the room evolves throughout the duration of the exhibit as participants are encouraged to place the supplied polka-dot stickers wherever they want. As such, this room will never be the same as any others created throughout the touring of this exhibit, and offers a unique and participatory way for people to experience Kusama and her creative thinking.

The all-white room is slowly transformed into what will become a colour-explosion extravaganza once the exhibit ends in May.

Everyone gets one sheet of stickers and are encouraged to interact with the room by sticking them anywhere. You’re welcome to sit down on the chairs and couch as well. It’s a colourful way to end off the Kusama experience.

This would be an interesting dining experience.

You can stick your stickers on anything you can get your hands on in these two rooms.

Use those stickers.

You must use all the stickers within these two rooms, as you are expected to hand over the empty sheet upon exiting.

A polka-dotted bicycle in the second room.

And finally, if you share your images on social media, tag #infiniteKusama and your image just may appear on this screen here.

Images tagged with the hashtag #infiniteKusama appear on this screen.

If you would like a gift from this experience, be sure to visit the gift store, located at the very end of the exhibit.

Gift store for your love for everything Kusama.

They even sell polka-dotted socks!

Socks!

Things to Note

  • Timing: You are allowed only 20-25 seconds in each Infinity Mirror Room. There is someone at the entrance of each room with a timer, who will open the door for you, and close it behind you. When there are 5 seconds left, they will knock on the door and open the door when the 5 seconds is up.

These 20-25 seconds go by really quickly. When you’re admiring the flickering lights or the ever changing colours, that time will be up before you remember to take any photos within it. Technically that’s how it should be. I encourage you to actually enjoy each Infinity Mirror Room without having to worry about your selfie or other photos. You’ll be able to fully appreciate your surroundings and the exhibit this way. Besides, some of these rooms are dark—your iPhone isn’t going to take decent photos in them, so rather than be disappointed with your pictures afterwards, take those 20-25 seconds and soak in the surroundings.

If you’re really keen, I’ve been told you are able to line up at the end of the line again and go back in the room for a second time. This may change though, as they see how busy the exhibit will be once it opens.

  • The Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit spans two floors of the AGO. It’s a large show complete with a video interview of Kusama (in Japanese with English subtitles), photographs, paintings, and sculptures of her earlier work. In other words, there is a large amount of her other work that will inspire you and intrigue you, so don’t forget to check these out as they are equally interesting. The Infinity Mirror Rooms may take centre stage, but it’s well worth you spending some time with everything else that is on display too.

Don’t forget, the supplementary exhibit, Narcissus Garden, which features 1300 stainless steel mirror balls, is on display at the AGO’s Signy-Eaton Gallery from February 24 to April 29, 2018.

  • The Infinity Mirror Rooms may look infinite from the inside, but they physically only occupy a small area within the space they are in. I found this to be quite interesting in its own way.
  • With all of the above taken into consideration, you can expect to spend a few hours just with this exhibit alone. With an estimated 20min. wait time between each Infinity Mirror Room, that’s already two hours right there. Some rooms like Dots Obsession and The Obliteration Room, you’ll likely spend more than 20-25 seconds in, as they are interactive in nature. If you spend the time to admire her other works, all the walking around may take up another 30min. to an hour. Add that up and that will give you about three hours for just the Yayoi Kusama exhibit alone.

Your entry into this special exhibit also grants you access to the entire art gallery so add on however many more hours you would like to spend in other areas of the AGO.

  • Camera settings: It’s hard to say exactly what they may be since all cameras are different. The photos and settings above should give you an idea of what to expect. I’m using a Nikon D800, which has decent low-light capabilities so your camera settings may vary from these accordingly. No tripods or selfie-sticks are allowed within the exhibit.

Keep in mind that the 20-25 seconds goes by really quickly, which is why I don’t recommend you tinkering with your camera settings when inside the room—stay away from taking any photos if you really want to appreciate the room. If you really must though, I hope these settings give you a good start as to how to set your camera.

Phalli’s Field
Brightly lit with no flickering lights.
ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/100 sec., 14mm

Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity
The lights actually turn off at one point in this room. If you get caught in the room when this happens, you’re not going to get any photos for the next 10 sec. or so as the lights slowly light up again. Once they do though, you should be ok.
ISO 1600, f/4.5, 1/25 sec., 14mm

Dots Obsession—Love Transformed into Dots
This area isn’t as dark as the Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity.

Walk-in room:
ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/50 sec., 14mm

Peer-in room:
ISO 400, f/3.2, 1/200 sec., 70mm

Love Forever
Flashing lights of various brightness means depending on when you take your photo, your settings may need to change drastically.
At the brightest coloured lights:
ISO 400, f/4.0, 1/60 sec., 14mm

The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away
Very dark room with pulsating lights.
ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/60 sec., 14mm

All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins
No cameras are allowed inside.

The Obliteration Room
Bright white room with little colour (before exhibition opening).
ISO 200, f/8.0, 1/125, 70mm


Were you fortunate enough to get a ticket to the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the AGO? Let me know what you thought of the exhibit by commenting below!

A Photographic Guide to Humber Bay Park and Area

While the first park in this photographic guide series was further west in the city (A Photographic Guide to Colonel Sam Smith Park), this next guide is of one of the larger parks along lakeshore, Humber Bay Park, and is likely more accessible for those living in the downtown area.

Created with over 5 million cubic metres of lakefill, Humber Bay Park opened in the summer of 1984. It consists of two different parks, divided by the mouth of Mimico Creek, located in the west end of Toronto. Both parks—Humber Bay Park East and Humber Bay Park West—are fantastic green spaces in the city, located right on the edge of Lake Ontario. With fishing available year-round, the Etobicoke Yacht Club and Mimico Cruising Club nearby, washroom facilities, and not to mention a fantastic view of the Toronto skyline from both parks, it’s a favourite amongst many Torontonians. Those that live right along the shores also have the Humber Bay Shores Park at their disposal, which runs along Lake Ontario just east of Humber Bay Park East.

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Humber Bay and its surroundings span a large area, so I’ve split this photographic guide into four parts to make things a little easier:

  1. Humber Bay Park West
  2. Humber Bay Park East
  3. Humber Bay Shores Park
  4. Humber Bay Arch Bridge and Area

Humber Bay Park West

At 300 acres, Humber Bay Park West is the larger of the two parks. It includes the Etobicoke Yacht Club, Mimico Cruising Club, and the Eastern Gap Lighthouse. Although the park spans a large area, there are only a handful of places that I like to go to for sunrise photography. Let’s take a look at the map.

If you park closest to the entrance, you’ll be able to walk up to the arch bridge that crosses over Mimico creek. Constructed in 1997, the bridge was the first of its kind in North America. It offers a great view looking down to the mouth of the creek [1], and with the water so still in the morning, it offers a great mirror-like reflection of its surroundings.

[1] Looking down Mimico Creek.

The CN Tower can be seen peaking out from above the tree line here [2].

[2] The CN Tower as seen from the pedestrian bridge crossing Mimico Creek.

Heading further into the park, we come across one of my favourite vantage points in the park [3]. The view is great from this one particular clearing amongst the trees, where people often mistaken it as being from the Toronto Islands. There’s a small parking area nearby for park maintenances vehicles, which is where I usually park and then walk to this spot. You’ll be able to see the Toronto skyline centred perfectly between the peninsulas ahead, making it a great spot for photos. You get a great combination of nature, the skyline, and the brilliant colours of the sunrise, all from this one area.

[3] Icy bay at the Humber Bay Park West taken with at 70mm focal length.

If you have a 200mm lens or longer, this will work best here since the shores are a fair distance away [3].

[3] The Toronto skyline as seen with a 200mm focal length at Humber Bay Park West.

Sometimes I opt for a wide angle lens to showcase the expanse of this bay, which will in turn create a smaller skyline [3]. Take your pick!

[3] The mirror-like reflection at the bay in Humber Bay Park West, taken at 14mm.

If I’m not at this location, then you’ll likely find me over by the beach area of Humber Bay Park West [4], just a little further into the park.

[4] By the rocky beach in Humber Bay Park West.

This area gives you a clear, unobstructed southeast view, offering you a fantastic view in the winter when the sun rises above Lake Ontario [5].

[5] Watching the sunrise from Humber Bay Park West.

Head over to the lookout point nearby on the peninsula, and you’ll get a clear view of the Toronto skyline too [4].

[4] The Toronto skyline and peninsula at Humber Bay Park West.

As we move further into the park, you’ll encounter two additional areas that jut out from the main park. These offer some great views allowing you to incorporate some foreground beach elements in your photos too.

The last area, which has the most limited number of parking spots, at just around 5 cars, has the light beacon, and picnic table [6] that can be of interest too. All of these elements allow for some great creative photography, so don’t discount these areas!

[6] A light beacon and crescent moon at Humber Bay Park West during a sunrise.

You’ll find this spot to be more popular in the summer, where people can roam around the area and enjoy the green space directly across the yacht club.

[6] A picnic table overlooking the Toronto skyline at Humber Bay Park West.

I encountered some sunrise seekers here in the fall.

[6] The bench at Humber Bay Park West.

Humber Bay Park East

The smaller of the two parks, Humber Bay Park East, is just 47 acres but to me, offers more areas to photograph from as it is situated closer to the Toronto skyline.

There are two pathways from the main parking lot, leading to two very different parts of Humber Bay Park East. On the west end of the parking lot, you’ll walk towards the end of the park, before walking by the closed pond that freezes over in the winter. This makes for a great skating area, if you had your own skates! [1]

[1] Skating at Humber Bay Park East.

Walk further into the park and you’ll eventually reach a bridge. Walking west at this point will lead you to the end of the park that gives you a great view of the east shoreline of the park. Walking off the beaten path just by this bridge, you’ll get a unique view of the Toronto skyline [2].

[2] Off the beaten path at Humber Bay Park East.

Walk over the bridge and you’ll come to a rocky shoreline. My favourite part of this area? Being at water-level. With so many rocks jutting out from the lake, taking photos at water-level can be very rewarding, and is the best part of this little area in the park [3]. Long exposure photography can work pretty well here.

[3] The Toronto skyline as seen from the west end of Humber Bay Park East.

Let’s walk further east into the park now. This path will eventually merge with the path that you would have taken from the other end of the parking lot. Let’s stop here and enjoy the view for a little bit. Put yourself in just the right place and with a longer focal length, you’ll be able to capture the CN Tower with the shoreline as a foreground element. It’s a refreshing view in my opinion [4].

[4] The CN Tower as seen from Humber Bay Park East.

This path splits in many ways throughout the park. What I like to do is walk around and always keep an eye out for possible photo opportunities—there are lots. When you go in different seasons, you’ll notice things changing all over the place, making something that was not as photogenic before, something of interest now. That’s the best part of coming to the same park over and over again.

During one brilliantly coloured sunrise, I used the trees and bushes surrounding the path to create a silhouette selfie of myself with the coloured sky as the backdrop [5].

[5] A selfie silhouette at Humber Bay Park East.

It was a while before I noticed these trees, but I love how exotic they look. With its smooth and spiralling trunk, it’s a great place for portraits and landscapes alike [6]. Below, I photographed Cookie, a pug who was kind enough to pose for me during this photo shoot.

[6] Cookie inside a tree-covered path at Humber Bay Park East.

The southeastern shoreline of Humber Bay Park East offers unobstructed views of the Toronto skyline [7].

[7] A clear view of the skyline from Humber Bay Park East.

Since it’s so close to the city, you’ll be able to get all the details of the buildings. And with a longer focal length, you’ll really by able to get close to the buildings and CN Tower [8].

[8] The Toronto skyline as seen from Humber Bay Park East.

If you look the other direction along the eastern shores, there’s a whole field of wildflowers, where I’ve recently started to practice my macro photography. Catching the morning dew on the flowers while they are still closed offers some wonderful moments for photos.

Macro photography at Humber Bay Park East.

The best thing you can do around this area of the park is to just get out there, walk around, and look all around you. You’ll be surprised at what vantage points await you when you’re actually tuned to your surroundings. Framing the CN Tower in the middle of the trees is just a matter of walking a few steps in this field [9].

[9] Sunrise over a field of flowers at Humber Bay Park East.

There are bird feeders scattered around the field, and you will be able to see a number of butterflies in the summer and autumn months. With the sun rising above the horizon, and its warmth casting over the leaves of the tree, it was a perfect spot to capture Cookie and her owner [10].

[10] A portrait of Cookie and her owner at Humber Bay Park East.

A smaller beach area off to the side of the path offers a glimpse of the CN Tower and skyline [11].

[11] The Toronto skyline peaks from the peninsula as seen from the hidden beach.

It’s also a great spot to catch the warmth of the sun casting its rays on buildings and the Humber Bay Arch Bridge [12].

[12] The Humber Bay Arch Bridge from the hidden beach.

When you’re walking around though, don’t forget to look back once in a while. Some of the best views are from directions that you never would have thought to look.

Humber Bay Shores Park

Humber Bay Shores Park runs along Marine Parade Dr., just south of Lakeshore Blvd. W. The Humber Bay Park East Trail connects the smaller arch bridge crossing over Mimico Creek to the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, which sits directly east of this park.

Just west of this park is the Butterfly Garden, where I have yet to explore during a sunrise. My instincts are always to explore further east of here, but one of these days I will make it a point to spend more time in this garden…perhaps in the Spring, when more butterflies are found in the area.

What I enjoy most about this park is that it offers a variety of backdrops to play with in my photos. From having the Humber Bay Park East trees in my photos, to an unobstructed view of the Toronto skyline, and more recently, some very picturesque driftwood art installations, there are no shortages of places to shoot from.

[1] A sunrise from Humber Bay Shores Park. The Toronto skyline is on the left, with the Humber Bay Park East peninsula on the right.

I could probably spend hours just walking along the east trail during a beautiful sunrise. During the winter of 2017/2018, parts of the bay froze over, creating a wonderful winter landscape.

[2] View from the Humber Bay Shores Park.

One of my favourite location along the Humber Bay Shores Park is an area that is not so obvious to many people [3]. Unless you’re looking for it, or happen to look through the trees while walking by it, you’ll easily miss it. It’s more obvious in the winter when the leaves aren’t covering the path to this hidden gem, but even still, people just walk right by it. Depending on which lens you use, you’ll have a lot of play here since you can decide to include the foreground rocks, or zoom right into the peninsula further ahead.

[3] One of my favourite views from Humber Bay Shores Park.

Earlier in this section I mentioned the driftwood installations. These were made by two Toronto artists, Julie Ryan and Thelia Sanders-Shelton. Their first driftwood piece was the number 150, to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. That was unfortunately vandalized and torn down within a week of its creation.

[4] The flagpole and 150 driftwood sign at Humber Bay Shores Park.

In its place, the Toronto [heart] sign was erected in just five days [4]. This proved to be a crowd-pleaser amongst the local community and beyond, as people visited the sign from all over, filling all of our Facebook and Instagram feeds. I’m guilty of it too!

[4] The Toronto [heart] sign at Humber Bay Shores Park.

I was fortunate enough to do a portrait session here before it got torn down [5].

[5] A portrait of a couple by the Toronto [heart] sign at sunrise.

The duo continued building installations with their latest creation, El Corazon (meaning “the heart” in Spanish) [6], which took them just over two weeks to complete, back in September 2017.

[6] El Corazon driftwood man at sunrise.

Unfortunately, the Toronto [heart] sign was heavily damaged from strong wind and waves, forcing the artists to dismantle what was left of the sign, in mid December, 2017.

[5] The Toronto [heart] sign damaged from high winds and waves.

El Corazon is still laying strong on the rocks, as of this writing.

One final spot that I like to visit is the Sheldon Lookout. It is situated with a walking path surrounding it, so it offers another interesting view with the Toronto skyline [7]. The two lamps add a nice touch to this view, in my opinion. There are many ways to compose your image here too, with the pathway, lamps, rocks, and more.

[7] The view from Sheldon Lookout.

Humber Bay Arch Bridge and Area

Constructed in 1994, the Humber Bay Arch Bridge crosses the Humber River at its mouth. The 139 metre pedestrian bridge is a landmark in the west end of the city, clearly visible from the Gardiner Expressway.

It not only serves as a bridge for pedestrian and cyclists, but is a great piece of architecture to photograph. If you look at it carefully, you’ll notice lots of attention went into this beauty.

[1] The belly of the Humber Bay Arch Bridge reflects the warmth from the sunrise.

The profile view of the bridge is one of my favourites [2]. I love how you can appreciate the curvature of the structure more from this perspective, and see the cables holding the walkway. When you see the lights reflecting on the lake beneath, it completes the experience.

[2] The Humber Bay Arch Bridge at night.

In the winter season, you can time it right so the sun rises just behind the bridge [2]. It makes for some great silhouette photography.

[2] The sun rises at the apex of the Humber Bay Arch Bridge.

In the morning, there will almost always be someone walking their dog over the bridge, a runner running across, or others just enjoying an early morning stroll.

[2] Having a morning walk along the Humber Bay Arch Bridge. Taken at 200mm.

While the bridge in its entirety may be interesting to many people, I enjoy focusing on select elements of the bridge in my photos. The skeletal spine seen under the bridge is so unique, yet so under-appreciated in my opinion. Let’s appreciate the fact that Montgomery Sisam Architects (the firm that built this bridge), paid careful attention to parts that many would probably not even notice [3].

[3] The skeletal underbelly of the Humber Bay Arch Bridge.

If we walk further east from this bridge, you’ll follow the Martin Goodman Trail that leads you all the way to Toronto’s harbourfront. I like to walk around the lakeshore to look for other unique perspectives. One morning I found the gaggle of geese sleeping on the ice, as the sun rose behind them [4].

[4] Just east of the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, geese sleep while the sun rises.

In the summer, you’ll see many people running on the boardwalk [5].

[5] An early morning jogger at sunrise along the boardwalk east of Humber Bay Arch Bridge.

But what I like to do is to capture the rowers in action with the sun behind them [5]. It’s a great feeling to be out there so early in the morning, as I’m sure these rowers can attest to.

[5] Rowers just east of Humber Bay Arch Bridge.

You can keep walking along this path to the Toronto Harbourfront and continue taking great photos, but I will end this guide here. Hopefully this photographic guide to Humber Bay Park and Area has given you a good idea of where to go for photos, and why I like to go there.

[6] The sunrise just east of the Humber Bay Arch Bridge.

If you have any favourite spots in the Humber Bay area that you like to enjoy, please share with me and the other readers by commenting below.

Stay tuned for another photographic guide to a park, coming soon to this blog! If you would like to receive a notification on when I release my blogs, please consider joining my mailing list.

A Photographic Guide to Colonel Sam Smith Park

This series of blog posts will cover some of the parks that I frequent for my Toronto Sunrise Series. Providing you with all the locations that I enjoy taking photos in within the park, I hope to showcase the space from a photographer’s point of view. These parks are fantastic green spaces in the city and I encourage everyone to take advantage of them—they are literally a breath of fresh air, and offer a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Read more