Sketches of Bloor West Village, Toronto

This post is intended to demonstrate examples of another Photoshop technique that I am experimenting with. I have used filters to transform a photograph into a charcoal sketch, and then re-introduced some colours from the original photo.

I live in Toronto near the Bloor West Village. The “village” is a linear segment of Bloor Street West which is full of small shops and businesses, extending between the Runnymede and Jane subway stops. The storefronts are quite uniform, basically a series of two-storey attached buildings, constructed in the first half of the 20th Century. Redevelopment projects have not affected the commercial streetfront yet, although there are several mid-rise development proposals under review. The City of Toronto is currently undertaking an avenue study with a public consultation process, which will be completed in 2018. The City wants to encourage higher density development along existing subway lines, but this will radically change the existing streetscape.

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Baka gallery and cafe

Green grocers are great locations to shoot, as the fresh produce spills out the front door onto the street. Some shoppers stop to view or select the fresh fruit and vegetables, while others try to find their way past all of the obstacles. Most of these images were made on a day when Bloor Street was closed to traffic for a community event – hence the abundance of pedestrians and the absence of cars parked beside the curbs. It also meant that I didn’t have to dodge any cars while standing in the middle of the street!

One of these green grocers just closed this winter – another example of why you need to shoot now rather than wait for another opportunity. It may never be the same when you return.

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green grocer no. 1
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green grocer no. 2
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green grocer no. 3

 

Thursday’s Special – Traces of the Past Y4-01

I have been working on some images from a walking holiday along the Scottish Borders almost three years ago. By coincidence, these tie in nicely with this week’s Lost in Translation theme of Traces of the Past.

Paula Borkovic posted an image of Melrose Abbey in Scotland. Just downstream along the River Tweed lies Dryburgh Abbey. The abbey is located in a secluded area and is somewhat off the beaten track.

Dryburgh Abbey was founded in 1150 and it was occupied for over 400 years.  It was established by a group of canons from Alnwick Priory in Northumberland, and became the mother house of the Premonstratensian order in Scotland [also known as the Norbertines or the White Canons elsewhere]. The abbey was closed following the Scottish Reformation, and the site remained abandoned until it was purchased in 1780 and converted into a landscape garden. The novelist Sir Walter Scott was buried here in 1832. Parts of the abbey are well preserved, and the daffodils are plentiful in the spring.

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Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland

Further to the south lies Jedburgh Abbey, which is in the centre of Jedburgh and located along the Jed Water. The abbey was founded by a group of French Augustinian canons at about the same time as Dryburgh Abbey. It was established in a prominent location in order to be close to the local king’s palace. This abbey also fell out of use after the Scottish Reformation of 1560, and it was partially dismantled for other purposes. A significant portion of the abbey church remains and is the most visible feature today.

I have been experimenting with the use of textures and other techniques in Photoshop to create a vintage look for these images. I hope that you enjoy them.

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Jedburgh Abbey, Scotland

Experimental Impressionism

I have decided to start on some new directions in my photography for the coming year. To be more precise, perhaps, I am experimenting with different image processing techniques using Photoshop as my primary editing tool.

Today’s image is an attempt at some photographic impressionism, using some of the blur tools in Photoshop. The subject is a narrow laneway in a town somewhere in southern France (likley Arles). The sun was still high enough in the sky to brightly illuminate the buildings in the alleyway, so I wanted to retain some of this brightness, while introducing some mystery and darkness to the outer edges of the image. The vertical blur reflects the direction of the sunlight from above. The archway leading into the alley provides a strong frame around the brighter centre.

I have been following other photographers in WordPress, Flickr and Instagram, and I sometimes find inspiration from their style and techniques. When appropriate, I am quite willing to acknowledge the source of my inspiration. For this particular image, I was influenced by the work of Olga Karlovac.

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French alleyway

Thursday’s Special – Traces of the Past Y3-10

This is my second “Traces of the Past” post in response to Paula’s Lost in Translation challenge for this week.

This week’s special is a photo challenge in colour (my previous submission for Traces of the Past was in black and white). I have been experimenting with combining colour and monochrome in a single image, so I thought that this would be a good opportunity to post an image and request some feedback.

Holy Island (also known as Lindisfarne) is an historic site, located in Northumbria on the north-east coast of England. It’s historic significance dates back to Anglo-Saxon and Medieval times, and there are two prominent ruins on the island – Lindisfarne Castle and Lindisfarne Priory.

My image of Lindisfarne Castle – viewed from a bay near the priory ruins – uses colour to depict the present, and monochrome to depict the past. The colour portion is rectangular, and provides a window into the present from the past. There is also the juxtaposition of an old boat in the foreground with some newer boats in the harbour. Please let me know what you think about the presentation.

We are planning to return to Holy Island next summer to participate in an archaeological dig near the priory. More opportunities for some historical images and a chance to get my hands dirty while searching for more traces of the past …

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Lindisfarne Castle, Northumbria, England

Double Exposures

The following three images are examples of double exposures where I have combined two photos to create one image. They are all taken at various locations in England.

Marble Arch in the centre of London is a popular place for families to gather. Pigeons are always found everywhere in London. Combine a child with pigeons and you get some great action shots.

Lindisfarne Priory was our final stop when we walked the St. Cuthbert’s Way in the north-east of England. St. Cuthbert was responsible for spreading Christianity throughout the region in the 7th Century.  St. Cuthbert lived for several years on Holy Island, before he retired to his hermitage on Inner Farne Island. In this image, a modern sculpture of St. Cuthbert is blended with the remains of the priory, which was built several centuries after his death.

Grasmere is a beautiful spot in the Lake District, at any time of the year. The daffodils are out in full bloom in the spring, making for a colourful collage.

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chasing pigeons at Marble Arch
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St. Cuthbert at Lindisfarne Priory
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Grasmere church at springtime