Snow from all directions

iPhone 5s photo edited in Mextures and VSCOcam.

iPhone 5s photo edited in Mextures and VSCOcam.

Some say photographers are crazy for going all out in taking their shots. But truthfully, if you don’t go to places where others don’t normally go to, you wouldn’t be able to get that extra special shot that you’re always after.

Winter typically gets in the way of people being able to enjoy the outdoors. However, that shouldn’t change us photographers in going out there during the worst snow storms possible to get photos of snow coming down horizontally!

I have no idea what this winter will bring us, but I am quite curious as to what I will capture. Perhaps people will think I’m crazy for going out, especially when I don’t even have a proper winter jacket yet. Which makes me think I should at least window shop a little on sites like , being prepared for the elements will make me a better photographer. That always makes a difference, doesn’t it?!

Winter Wonderland Highlights


View Winter Wonderland Highlights Here!

It’s almost Easter and you’re probably wondering where the sun is hiding (in addition to all the eggs). With a forecast to snow today and with a high of only 3 celsius, Toronto is well below seasonal temperatures.

To soothe your soul, I’ve compiled some of my favourite images from my Winter Wonderland series, where I took to the frigid outdoors with much colder temps than today. From freezing my toes (literally) to freezing my iPhone, it was all part of the experience and dedication that photographers undergo to get those picture perfect shots.

You can see them in my new gallery by clicking on the above link. Enjoy the gallery and perhaps looking at the pictures may warm you up knowing there were much colder days in Toronto this past winter.

All Photos in my gallery were taken from the following blog entries:

Colonel Sam Smith Park II

It’s nearing the end of March and it looks like winter is still here to stay—at least here in Toronto. So, allow me to post yet another one of my Winter Wonderland series where I trek outdoors in “ungodly” hours to take sunrise pictures.

This was actually taken back in February, when there was a lot more snow on the ground, and the sunrise was still quite early, around 6:30am. I’ve visited Colonel Sam Smith Park before (in fact, this is the park that started this entire series), however, seeing as it’s nearby my house and is actually not a bad park overall, I decided to revisit this old gem.

Above: The golden colours from the sun coupled with the clear and crisp blue morning sky, captured in a long exposure with the use of my neutral density filter makes this one of my favourites of the morning.

Above: One of the last photos I took in the morning gave way to the mist coming from the water as it started to heat up from the morning sun. A relatively short long exposure, you can see the water starting to become silky smooth.

Above: Right as the sun came above the horizon, I took a long exposure allowing the sunlight to burst out from the center of the frame. The water is smooth while I included the details of the ice and snow in the foreground as a contrasting element.

Above: You never know what you will find when you go out shooting, so always be sure to look around you for any other photo opportunities. I looked behind me and found the moon still in the morning sky. I like this photo of the moon with the pastel pink and blue hues. Had I thought even further, I would have taken a panorama with the sunset on one end and the moon on the other end of the frame. I’ll have to leave that for another time.

It’s only fitting that I end off the Winter Wonderland series with the park that started it all. However, we’ll see if I’m up to any more early morning shoots within the next couple of weeks. Only time will tell.

Until then, enjoy the cool, crisp, morning sunlight while you still can!

Humber Bay Park East II

My previous post included photos from my sunrise shoot from the first location we were at. On our way back to the car, we noticed an area that we had yet to explore. Sure enough, this was another picturesque area that we had to take advantage of, especially in the morning light.

This beach and icy coastline was our first view as we came here, and it was quite striking at first site. The ice stretched on for quite the distance.

As we walked along the beach area, we came across this ice formation on top of a tree trunk that had somehow toppled inside the water.

And as I looked further into the distance, I saw that there was another photographer. He was literally just a black blob moving around since he was quite far away. I love how the steam is coming off from the water.

Wherever I go, the ducks will follow. This time they looked like they were enjoying the morning sun. The orange hue from the sunrise was the perfect backdrop.

And finally, I leave this post with this view looking West from the beach. You can see that the beach extends for quite the distance. The fallen tree in the foreground covered with snow and ice made for an interesting element in this photo as well.

Humber Bay Park East

I’ve decided to split this post into two separate posts since the photos are from two different areas of the park. I suppose I could have included them all in one post, but I’m being like those directors who like to split films into two or three or six different films…just because they can.

You’ll notice that these set of photos are much darker than my previous ones. That’s because these were shot during the early winter morning as the sun came above the horizon. I also had my 106ND (six stop reduction of light) filter on, which allowed me to take some longer exposures without blowing the highlights.

I was afraid that the shoot wouldn’t turn out because of all the clouds, but as luck would have it, the clouds cleared away at some point, letting the sun peak out for some time. This made for some very nice pastel hues that were just beautiful to see in person.

Here’s my little setup for when I take timelapse photos with my iPhone 5s. I prop my phone on my mini-tripod, open up the Lapse It Pro app, and let it do its magic as I shoot in other locations with my dSLR. It works well I have to say. The resulting time lapse is shown below in full 720p. I posted this earlier on my Instagram account, but had to shrink it to fit its size, which made for a tight squeeze. I think this turned out quite well for a timelapse from a phone.

Join me in my next post, where I’ll upload the remainder of my sunrise shoot at Humber Bay Park East.

Lakefront Promenade Park

With this year’s relentless winter weather, there’s really not much to do but to find ways to enjoy yourself through the cold. So once again, I took to the snow (?) and headed to another park in Mississauga. This time it was Lakefront Promenade Park, which I thought would give me good photo opportunities given its proximity to Lake Ontario.

This lighthouse gave us some decent subject matter…albeit for a short while.

With white all around, it was nice to have this splash of colour on the ground. The natural engineered wood siding colour of the bench matched nicely with the dried up grass on the ground.

As soon as I saw this tree though, I knew I had to take a photo of it in one way or another. I ran up the hill to frame this with the lake as the backdrop. The two benches beside it added a little more colour to the photo as well.

As we walked around the park, we came across the docking area for the boats. There were a number of ducks on the water and as soon as we approached the docking area, more and more of them flew our way.

This is John. He lives in the West end as well. And with his trusty Samsung phone, he goes out shooting. Rarely do I make portraits—let alone portraits of myself—but this time I decided to take one.

And so I leave this post with some ducks. Lots of them. They must have liked us because they just kept coming as we stood there.

Be on the lookout for my next Winter Wonderland post from my sunrise shoot at Toronto’s Humber Bay Park East. I feel cold just by typing that.

iPhone-Edited Winter Wonderlands

My last couple of posts have been all about my winter wonderlands taken with my Nikon dSLR. This post, in contrast, is all about my winter wonderlands taken with my iPhone 5s.

[Snapseed, VSCOcam: F1]

The ones I had been posting recently on my Instagram feed have all been cropped to a square format. The original photos, however, are rectangular, so there are often times when seeing the photo in its entirety gives a different feel than when looked at it in a square format. You can view my Instagram feed here to compare with these photos.

The one above is one of the first winter wonderland photos I uploaded on my Instagram feed. It’s also one of my favourites this winter. With clean whites, vibrant blues that stand out, and the lighter shade of blue in the sky, it evokes a feeling of freshness on a sunny, winter day.

[Snapseed, VSCOcam: F1]

[Snapseed, VSCOcam: F2]

The first one above has the storm clouds rolling in from the left, and is overall a little bit on the darker side. The image quality suffers a little in low-light parts of this photo. The second one above was taken when the sun was still out, and adds a little bit of a fade effect to it, which further adds to the appeal of the photo.

The following three photos I’m actually quite impressed with in terms of image quality.

[Snapseed, VSCOcam: F2, Mextures]

[Snapseed, Mextures]

[Snapseed, VSCOcam: C3, Mextures]

Coming out of an iPhone and looking like this on a large screen is very impressive. Of course, the many effects that have been applied to it makes it harder to see the quality degradation of the image itself. The two images below have several effects applied to them, making them look a little washed out and painterly like.

[Snapseed, VSCOcam: S1, Mextures]

[Snapseed, VSCOcam: C3, Mextures]

And finally, I leave you with another one of my favourites of my recent winter wonderland posts.

[Snapseed, VSCOcam: S1, Mextures]

With its brighter right side, there’s a little bit of warmth to the image. The simple composition comprising of four levels with various textures within keep the eye moving from one level to the next.

In a future post, I’ll go a little more in detail with how I use these apps to create some of my images. Stay tuned for that!

Lakeview Park in Oshawa

I head out to Oshawa every other month for work. But somehow it never occurred to me to actually explore the area. So this past week while I was there, I google mapped the location and was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a park and lakeshore nearby.

Seeing as it was a sunny day, I went after work to take some photos. Little did I know, a snow squall was heading my way in a matter of minutes. You can see from these photos that the sun was shining bright, blue skies were present, and white fluffy clouds were all around.

The water by the shore was by no means clean. Brown in colour, it was a contrast from the white snow and ice.

For some reason, the waves crashing against the ice caught my attention. Enough so that I had to try and capture the action.

Shortly after all of the above were taken, it started to snow and the clouds started rolling in. It finally occurred to me that I was going to get stuck in this squall. See the little part of Lake Ontario that isn’t covered by the snow?

The squall pretty much made its way on land, while I was standing by the shore.

So I made my way back to my car, before stopping to take a couple more shots.

Just before getting in my car, I spotted this dog and his owner, crossing the pathway…so naturally, I had to take a photo.

Here’s a little bonus.

When I edit my photos on my iPhone, I use a number of different apps to get the feel and look that I am after. My most recent winter wonderland posts on Instagram have been edited with Snapseed, VSCOcam, and Mextures. These days I’ve been using all three apps quite a lot. However, when it comes to photos that I post on my website, my editing style changes, somewhat because the same style on Instagram just doesn’t feel the same when enlarged on screen. I find the beauty of the edited photo is lost when enlarged.

VSCO has filters available to use on the desktop, however Google’s Snapseed is no longer available for the desktop—but is available on Google’s Picasa, a photo sharing site. The Mextures app is not available on the Mac either, but its creator, Merek Davis, has made his Mextures (textures) available for download.

So even with using some of these apps on the desktop, I find the feel of the image disappears, and I opt to edit differently.

What do you think of the differencees from these photos, compared to my Instagram photos available here?

Snapseed for iOS
VSCOcam for iOS
Mextures for iOS

Snapseed on Google Plus
VSCO for Mac
Mextures pack for Mac

Colonel Sam Smith Park

Toronto—and perhaps many other places around the world—has been having a pretty relentless winter this year. With temparatures falling below -30 celsius with windchills, ice storms, and strong winds, mother nature had many people scrambling to seek shelter.

However, you can’t take photos of mother nature from the inside, so I decided to go out one fine evening. When I left the house, it wasn’t too bad. However, soon after arriving to my destination, the snow storm got heavier, stronger, and temperatures fell dramatically.

I made my way to Colonel Sam Smith Park, just south of Lakeshore to see what I could come up with.

With high winds whipping around the snow over Lake Ontario, it was hard to stay still and take photos.

As the clouds moved in ever so quickly, darkness fell upon me. I could only capture so much with these low light conditions without a tripod. I caught some geese sitting quietly on the lake as the wind swept by them. If only I was as warm as they were.

I did manage to find some colour in this drab environment.

This somewhat dilapidated bench proved to be a good subject, however, with strong winds blowing from behind me, I could only stay here for so long.

I’ll have more winter wonderland photos from a different park in the GTA in my next post, so stay tuned!