The Toronto Christmas Market Part 1/2

A selfie amongst the crowd.
A selfie amongst the crowd. 0.6 sec. at f/10, ISO 800, 24mm

The Toronto Christmas Market presented by American Express is just what Santa Claus ordered to get everybody into the Christmas Spirit. It was my first time at the market and and I’m not exactly sure why it’s taken me so long to come here! According to Fodor’s Travel, it is one of the 10 best holiday markets in the world, and judging from the crowd that was there on a Saturday evening, it sure seemed that way.

I arrived shortly before 4pm just so I can take in the scenery during the daylight. While it was entertaining to go around and see all the German-styled huts lined along the alleyways, I have to say that the true Christmas spirit comes out at nightfall when the warm glow of the lights light up the entire market. It truly is a spectacular moment to soak in.

0.6 sec. at f/2.8, ISO 250, 32mm
0.6 sec. at f/2.8, ISO 250, 32mm, 1.8 ND (6-stop) filter

The intention of my photos taken at the Toronto Christmas Market was to capture the atmosphere of how it was that day. It was crowded, and everybody was walking all over the place. I’m sure I annoyed some people by stopping frequently and occupying so much space with my tripod. To accomplish my intention, I decided to make most of my images a long exposure, to illustrate the busyness of the area, much like I did with the Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market in Yokohama, which you can see in my previous post.

If I opened the shutter for too long, I wouldn’t be able to capture any of the people’s faces and reactions. So I made sure to keep my shutter at no slower than 1/6th of a second during the daylight, and no longer than 1-2 seconds during the evening where there was little light. During the day, I also had my ND filter (6 stop) on, so as not to over-expose the picture.

Catching the sunset at the Christmas Market.
0.6 sec. at f/2.8, ISO 100, 48mm, 1.8 ND (6-stop) filter

By coming here before sunset, I was able to scout the area in daylight and see where the light was. I managed to catch this light just before it sank below the horizon. I loved how the light shone through this art installation.

The bride and groom in front of the Christmas tree.
0.6 sec. at f/5.6, ISO100, 52mm, 1.8 ND (6-stop) filter

My intention here was to focus on the Christmas ornaments but have the wedding party to the side as an element of interest, as it’s not too often you find this combination. Whether I achieved this is a different story.

Inside the Winter Garden Lounge
0.4 sec. at f/7.1, ISO 800, 24mm

You’ll hopefully notice that in each of my long exposure shots, I try my best to keep certain people in focus. This allows our eyes to instantly go towards my intended subject. Of course, when you’re doing a long exposure shot, your intended subject may end up moving, or you may end up with another person being more in focus. It’s really just a matter of being patient and being able to foresee what will happen within the next couple of seconds.

The Toronto Christmas Market.
The Toronto Christmas Market. 0.5 sec. at f/10, ISO 1000, 24mm

Nearing the end of my time at the Toronto Christmas Market, I decided to stay here and see what I can capture. I loved this view with the Gooderham & Worts sign, and being able to see all the way down the market. The string of lights going all the way down, and their warmth casting an orange glow on the people below bring a magical feeling to this.

Three flashes a charm?
Three flashes a charm? 1 sec. at f/13, ISO 800, 24mm

One of my favourite images that I captured that evening brought an element of surprise to the picture—that’s the beauty of long exposures! After capturing this photo, I realized that three separate people in different areas of the frame all had flashes on when they took their photos. I managed to catch that small spark of light within my 1 second exposure, adding a bit of happenstance to the image. See the lady with her smartphone on the right? I saw her well before taking my photo, and my intention with this capture was to keep her in focus (with her smartphone lighting up her face) while showing the surrounding in a flurry of motion. I lucked out as she stood still for the duration of my exposure. All these elements came together in this one photo, making this one of my favourites of the evening.

Stay tuned for the remainder of my photos taken at the Toronto Christmas Market.

Share this!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top