Photography: Around the City

I had plenty of time to prepare a post today, and it was all taken away from me by a little mistake. I mixed up the date of an event, drove to the event and no one was there. Wasted 4.5 hours of my day driving to and from, wishing I’d brought my camera so that I could have at least done something productive. But the reality was, I was in some dressy clothes and couldn’t have done what I wanted anyway with the camera as I don’t want to ruin them. Uguuu~!

So this week I’m going to my fall back plan, photography. I have many pictures so these posts are pretty easy to throw together and I get to highlight some other aspects of my hobby.  The theme for this post is “Around the City”, the city in question is Toronto Ontario, where I used to live a couple of years ago. This also indicates the age of the pictures, none of them are new.

This picture from the end of Royal York Rd in Etobicoke and is probably one of my favourite pictures taken with my old Canon PowerShot A75. I’m obviously facing towards downtown Toronto from across the bay during a very early May morning as the sun rises just next to the CN Tower. Since taking this picture I’ve switched to a Nikon D100 with a 3:2 aspect ratio, so these old 4:3 shots always seem far too square to me.

Three more shots of the CN Tower from some other perspectives and another from the Royal York location. Taken between the months of March and June in 2006. The picture up top is taken from Polson St off Cherry near the Docks night club and concert hall. I used to ride my bike out along the bike path that way quite often and follow out to the beaches. Bottom left is likely taken along Longboat Ave though I’m unsure. The bottom right shot I wanted to recreate the first shot in this post using my new D100, but could never really manage it. This picture is just one from the set and lacks some sharpness but I enjoy the reds from the sun all the same.

Left: On one of my many bike rides downtown Toronto I came across this Silver coin operated Elvis in front of the Eatons Center. He stared at me for what seemed like an eternity, not moving a single muscle in his entire body he willed the crowd to place a coin in his bucket. Eventually someone gave in to the pressure this statue of Elvis emitted and dropped a loonie in. Immediately he came to life and started dancing to an Elvis tune and for 30 seconds we were allowed to see him in motion. Some how through it all he was staring directly at me again, I suspect my big camera was tipping him off. It was about this time I broke out laughing because I couldn’t take the constant staring from this statue of a man and dropped a toonie in his bucket and carried on my merry way. Once home I Googled for this silver Elvis and came across his website which 4 years on hasn’t changed one bit.

Right: This interesting couple is from another street style performance. This time however they were actually atop a stage in the Brewery District of downtown Toronto. I’m not sure if they were a drama club, or paid or just practicing, no one but myself was there to watch on what was a Wednesday morning during the summer. Since I came in midway I had no idea what was going on but enjoyed some of the scenes though I don’t recall there being any dialog I could hear. I love the face the girl is making, I think it totally makes the shot (no pun intended).

Sticking with the Brewery District of Toronto, both these pictures are taken there. Down the alley way in the bottom picture is where the girl with the funny face was if I recall correctly, and behind me in the top picture as well. Though I could easily be mixing up my directions as it’s been around 4 years since I was there. What I like most about the two pictures is the time in which they feel like they were taken, perhaps I should have added film noise to them to make them better fit that image rather than their current crispness.

This archway was built for a 10 day event called “Quay to the City” where a 1 km stretch of Queens Quay was transformed into a rather large bicycle path and impromptu park. Two lanes remained for traffic while two lanes across the median were used for the event.

The archway itself was constructed out of 600 bicycles taken from the city and police yard. Many bicycles are stolen and recovered or abandoned each year in Toronto so there were plenty available for use in the project. The archway rises 4 storeys above the ground and had police officers standing guard. I’m sure they wanted to protect their stolen property as it was all headed to the Police Auction afterwards.

After this archway the bike path turned back into a road and back into a bike lane following the side of the road.

The project was apparently inspired by a design for Torontos Central Waterfront by West 8 and Toronto’s du Toit Allsopp Hillier. However at the time I had little idea as to what was going on, took pictures and carried with my ride. Later I found out it was an event, and only now did I find out about it’s inspiration.

The next picture came as somewhat of an accident. As I took it, I thought that the playground looked quite cool and wished I’d had a playground like that when I was younger. What I didn’t intend when shooting was the effect the construction behind had on the image. There’s a good line from the slide and up the stairs where the construction begins looking almost like 2 pictures spliced onto each other. The building being constructed upon the back of the lion and the slide acting as some sort of brace for the crane that comes out of the lions head.

There were many more images I wanted to include in this post and may use later this week in a follow up. The amount posted seems sufficient enough and any more would have made for much too large a post, especially the 27 pictures I wanted to include. Perhaps a bit ambitious on my part. Hope you found them as or more enjoyable as the last set!

Site News

Little bit of site news to include. Some of you may notice, though I hope all of you did, a new theme on Tailgrab.Org(y). It’s not substantially different, and in fact uses the same theme base as the previous but has some modifications. The original menu is still top right, however a navigation menu has been added with search box. I think this is the key difference for me, because it brings a search box to the home page which was lacking one due to it’s also lacking of the sidebar in which the original search box was placed. This is key because every time I wanted to search my site, I was annoyed, I’d click my link to the front page, then have to click “Blog” or “Featured” or one of the entries just to get a search box. What a poor design, I’m not sure what I was thinking. So now it’s easily accessible on every page of the site. Another change you can notice in this post, the ability to post sans sidebar and utilize the full width of the content container the site provides allowing much larger images and interesting post layouts.

Downsides, there always are some. The theme’s not perfect, and if you find any errors anywhere please email me, message me on Twitter, or whatever suits you best. Some issues I see that still need addressing, the related posts don’t span beyond the original 532 px width of the site creating an odd look at the bottom of each page with much empty space. I’m currently not aware of a way to fix this but I also haven’t looked into it hugely. Another thing I have issue with is the widgets in the footer appearing on the front page. I would like to remove them from that page alone, and while I can do that, the grey box they’re contained within remains, I would prefer the darker grey box only remaining, which contains only the footertext. This would likely allow the entire page to be viewed by most monitors.

At any rate, a fresh new look and some photos, seems like a good Monday to me.



  1. Persocom says:

    Very beautiful pictures. I admire the silver Elvis’s patience, I wonder how much he makes on an average day, and how much it costs to keep up the silver appearance. That’s also a very cool playground, wish I had something like that as well, even now for my son. I still need to get around town here and take some shots, though my town is much less interesting due to it’s smaller size.

    • Aka says:

      I can’t imagine it’s a great living he makes, but I suspect it was more a hobby thing than his only income. Or at least, I hope it was.

  2. VF says:

    Sweet pics once again! I really like your B&W photos in particular, they’re really good!

    So what event were you going to that made you drive 4.5hrs for nothing? XD

  3. Ashlotte says:

    Ah what the you can do this but you don’t wanna do reviews outdoors! T_T

    Lovely shots though…Canada sure as hell looks alot nicer then Florida…Makes me wonder why so many people from Quebec come down here…I’d personally stay the heck up there!

    • Aka says:

      Winter. People head to Florida in the winter because it’s cold and they don’t want to shovel their driveways. Summer time it’s quite nice up here, so people head to their cottages and go camping etc…

      Personally I like the snow, I don’t mind shovelling it, and I can have a lot of fun in it.

      I’ve been trying to do a review outside at a certain place for a while now, I’ve got some ideas and want to copy some things from someone else a bit as well. But every time I have the day off to do it, it’s either raining or way too hot out to take a figure and set it in the sun.

  4. Fabrice says:

    Beautiful pictures. i especially love the sun set =)

  5. Tier says:

    Really nice pictures. I especially like the one taken with the A75. It always cracks me up to hear people go, “Oh, my pictures will get better when I get a DSLR” – as if the physics governing an exposure are going to change just because you can detach the lens.

    I had to look up the silver Elvis on Youtube … that dude is awesome.

    I don’t know if those big arrows on the front image were always there but I am very happy that they are; I used to load your page and go “No! Come back!” when I saw your latest review fading out to something older, and then I’d hit F5.

    • Aka says:

      I can’t believe how well that picture turned out. And it does tick me off a little as well, it’s taken with a very poor camera and yet it’s one of my best. It’s definitely a great example of how a DSLR isn’t going to take better pictures all by it self.

      You know, I never thought to look the guy up on YouTube, but I just did and it brings back memories. It’s neat to see him in motion again, he’s quite talented.

      Those arrows weren’t there until an unmentioned theme update a couple of weeks ago. I hated the arrows in the old theme so I disabled them, but it made the front page somewhat useless. So now at least it’s useful. I think I should make the delay longer between pictures as well.

  6. Rajura says:

    Those are good! I really like the ones on the water!

    However, I don’t know which is scarier, the metal Elvis (who looks more like the dude from Spaceballs only NOT blue at least from that angle) or the people with the gun?

    • Aka says:

      I don’t find either scary, I find the lion scariest of all the pictures.

      The water ones are the best, water just makes things better it seems.

  7. Rico-sama says:

    Love the theme!

    And your pictures, wow! I always love it when you do these posts because I think your pictures are introspective and engaging. You seem to seek out the unique, the quirky, and the phenomenal and (maybe because of my training) those are the areas I naturally gravitate towards. The shots of the Brewery District are my favorites in the batch today followed by the playground shot. You may not have intended for the construction to be in the background but the contrast between it and the foreground is pretty remarkable.

    That Elvis statue on the other hand…for the life of me I can’t see “Elvis” in that at all.

    • Aka says:

      The entire reason I was able to find these types of shots is due to riding my bicycle a lot back then. Having moved I don’t ride it anywhere, so I haven’t taken any great shots. It annoys me because I feel like there’s nothing quirky to find around here, but there totally is. I just need to get off my ass and do it.

      I’m glad you enjoyed them, I really like the Brewery District shots as well. I have some in colour which also seem pretty decent but there are people in them that sorta ruin it, where the people in the shots featured seem to fit well enough.