After the low profile I’ve had for much of this year, like many people I’m starting, slowly but surely, to re-emerge. Although my overall activity level has been low-key, I have had time to mull things over and play with some ideas. This has involved a little bit of drawing and painting, as well as some experiments in photography.
Landscape photography still has the greatest pull for me. From a sweeping natural scene to an urban detail, it’s a vast world to be explored. As I’ve said before though, I often feel the need to take the photos one step further and this has led me into composites. I can really get into creating something new out of existing scenes or material, and it can be as realistic or as fantastical as I like.
While I’ve been focused on storytelling or messaging through urban composites, (my safe place!) I’m now trying to add some other perspectives. I’m conscious of my tendency to not have people in many of my images, as if they muddy the landscape, but now I’m going to relax that habit. A little bit, anyway.
These pics show some examples of what I’ve been up to. Not perfect, but definitely a beginning, and who knows, they may lead me into more experiments in photography and even other types of art.
Get outside, find new things and get some great exercise. These are just a few benefits of urban exploring, not to mention some great photo opportunities. It’s not a big deal, and it doesn’t cost anything. Just put on your best walking shoes and get out there!
I started doing this more seriously on the first day of January this year. It wasn’t one of those short-lived new year resolutions, but something I’d been building up to. Curiosity about my surroundings started it. You know when you’re a passenger in a car and see things that you didn’t notice when you were driving? Even when you’re driving along a regular route? One example is when I was a passenger, going along Bloor, just west of Kipling. I noticed a double garage at right angles to the road and what looked like an old brick house behind it. I’ve driven past there a million times and not noticed it. After walking back to take a look at it another time, I could tell it was originally an old farmhouse, did a little bit of research and found that it’s the John Ward farmhouse, dating from 1875.
Back to January 1st, though. I based the walk on one of the Toronto routes from Trevor Heywood’s great web site https://metroscapes.ca He’s done a lot of exploring and details the routes and features along the way. We walked the North and Jackson Creeks route. Well, we did veer off on a few occasions when we got distracted, but that was fine.
Basically we wandered through industrial areas from Kipling and Bloor meandering east and down to the lakeshore where we had the complete contrast of waterfront regeneration and conservation. After walking along through Humber Bay Park we looped back up for the return journey.
To add to the range of things we saw, the weather went from dull and cloudy to brilliantly sunny. In terms of photographic material, I couldn’t have asked for more. Turbulent clouds to sunny skies helped bring out the many colours and textures of old derelict houses, shiny new tower blocks, winter foliage and fantastic ice patterns.
Try a bit of you own urban exploring. So much to see, so much to do!
It’s hard to think, as we’re in the depths of winter, that it’s only a few months since we were basking in the brilliant colours of autumn!
Even though I’m really enjoying brisk refreshing walks and getting out in below zero temperatures, I’ve been looking at some pictures from before the snow. I still have quite a few to process but thought I’d post some for a bit of light entertainment.
These were all taken on the Bruce Peninsula, mainly around Tobermory. It’s a lovely area to explore, full of rocks, beaches, forest, trails and waterfalls. The late afternoon light in some of the pictures brings out luscious golden hues, warm and inviting.
So now I’ve discovered Morland Place! I can’t remember how many times I’ve caught sight of this curious-looking wood building with a bell-tower, set back from the road. Driving along Grey County Road 18 near Owen Sound, I finally managed to investigate it when I decided to make a stop at Inglis Falls, which is almost next door.
I reached Morland Place through an unobtrusive driveway off the main road. I came up to a fascinating collection of buildings and gardens that looked like something from a film set. The original stone house was built around 1920 as the home of the McCallum family. It was eventually bought by the More family in 1945 and they remain the owners now. Over time, numerous buildings have been added including the elaborate , gothic-looking extension to the house, built in 1870’s Georgian Regency style, complete with another bell-tower, or two.
Although the house was closed to visitors when I went, the elaborate and extensive gardens were open and were great to wander around in. All sorts of hedges, plants, gardens and tons of pots and statues everywhere. There is also a maze, though I didn’t get to that. I did wander around the ornate barn-like buildings and along the cornfields at the back, though. It was a beautiful autumn day with brilliant sunshine, and bright colours that highlighted the quirky nature of this place.
I’ll be going back for another visit, to do a bit more exploring. It’s well worth the trip!
I’ve noticed how I focus on various themes and locations and how I’ve subconsciously avoided doing much work about Toronto life. I wonder if it’s because it’s too obvious, as I live here, and the fact that I see so many pictures of it. I think though, that you can say that about any place. Realistically, it’s probably because I’ve been trying to work out my own particular angle and interpretation.
As Toronto is a big city you can find examples of all sorts things. Industry, housing, arts, cultures, pretty much anything. As usual, I tend to the more industrial and derelict areas but I like all the vibrance and diversity of so many aspects of it. I’m also a bit preoccupied by the amount of green space and conservation around the city, which I love and am fascinated by. You’ve got to love old, solid, historic buildings being used as the basis of new ventures, and wetlands and nature being nurtured amidst an expanding metropolis. I’ve noticed many of my Toronto life photos focus on the conservation and nature areas that many people might not think of as the landmarks of the city. But they’re there and they’re remarkable. I keep seeing butterfly gardens, often running alongside new condo developments!
Anyway, apart from that focus, I’m also working on some new composites based on Toronto, that bring in many of its different features. The one at the top of this post is the first. I could explain my thinking but I’ll leave it to others to untangle. Look closely and see what you can find.