In this episode on "Story Behind The Image" I'll bring you to one of my favorite cities, Toronto. But it's not a image about the city itself nor with the CN-Tower in it, don't worry. Toronto has a lot more to offer than that and the fact that its built on the shore of Lake Ontario makes some beautiful views from the city towards the water. And with that comes an attractive waterfront with restaurants, bars and a few parks. In one of those parks, I shot this image. Read further for more informations.
There live 2,6 million people in the city of Toronto and more than 6 million including the surrounding which makes it the biggest city in Canada. The city covers a surface of more than 18 square-kilometers and lies, as already mentioned, directly on the Lake Ontario, the smallest of the five big lakes in this area.
Toronto has also on of the biggest filmmaking city's right after Los Angeles, with huge studios and the annually Toronto International Film Festival. It even has its own Walk of Fame, although it's not that prestigious like the one in in L.A..
For the ones more interested in sports, well Toronto is your city: it has a sports-team in almost every major league of north-america. There are foremost the hockey-team Toronto Maple Leafs, followed by the basketballs NBA-team Toronto Raptors, the baseballs MLB-team Toronto Jays and the soccer MLS-team Toronto F.C.
Your also not into sports? No problem, you find more than enough museums, shops and malls all over Toronto to spend your time well. Or just wander the nice "old town"-quarter Distillery District, the more alternativ Kensington Market or the huge China-Town. And you can walk most of the distances between it. Although, you probably want walk all of Yong Street, the main-shopping-street of Toronto. Because starting at the harbour-front its with 1896 kilometers length the longest street in the world.
You need more nature? Hope on a ferry to Toronto Island and enjoy the - for me - most beautiful city-park there is. Or drive a few hours outside of Toronto and visit the Niagara Falls or the beautiful Algonquin National Park. There is all you asking for in or around this city.
The first part sounds like a member of the touristic office had written it, but it was actually me ;) I guess you can see how much I enjoy being there. And in the last few years I visited the city regularly. But I never spend to much time on the waterfront's because the came up just recently.
HOW THE IMAGE WAS SHOT
I had a planed one day stopover in Toronto on my way to Las Vegas. The stopover got extended because of some flight-schedual-changes to two days - not at all e problem for me. I arrived in a mild december-day in 2015 and just strolled around the city the first day, without camera. On the second day I decided to take my gear with me and went downtown into the financial district where all the skyscrapers are located to take some long exposures of them. For that I took my brand new, only once used, travel tripod with me. Arrived at the location I set up the tripod and camera and shot a few images (on of them you can see further down). I came into some conversations with the openminded people there. As I finished a packed my camera and another guy came towards me, asking me if I could help him with his camera. Of course i tried my best, but there appeared to be a technical problem. Whilst we where talking, a gust of wind hit my brand-new tripod, it felt over and on leg broke. And that in the beginning of an three week photography-trip. That wasn't for a good start.Long story short, thankfully it happend in a big city with enough stores to buy a new one. And so I rushed into Best Buy and looked for the best tripod they had there - of course it was never that lightweight and small like the Manfrotto beFree Carbon that I had (broken) with me, but the new one did it's job. On a sidetone: I had my beFree repaired for free back in Switzerland - great service!
After that I had to eat something first and - to be hones - my motivation was quite low to capture any more images. But I wanted to try out the new tripod because I had to leaf the next morning and no chance to return it if its not working. So I looked on the map and decided to went down to the waterfront in search for an potential long exposure of the water.
After some strolling around I walked into the Harbour Square Park West and found this small, artificial creek ending in the lake with Toronto Island in the background. I unboxed my new tripod and set it up. Then I mounted my Canon EOS 5D Mark 3 with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM-lens on it and looked for an composition. Relatively quick I settled on a composition with the falling water on the upper right third and showing how it flows into the lake. The concrete-board leads you into the image and the main subject, the falling water. To show a little bit of the environment the coastline of Toronto Island is placed almost on top, showing only a small amount of sky. The image looked okay, but had not the feeling I wanted, so additional mounted the LEE Foundation Kit Holder and the Lee Big Stopper in front of the lens.
With an ISO of 100 and an aperture of f/16 I came of an exposure time of 202 seconds, more than three minutes. This flattened out the water completely beside the stream generated of the falling water. Than I converted the image in black and white, adjusted the contrast, lights and shadows and the final image looks like this:
I like the image because its so simple and does not reflect the busy city thats behind of us.
Satisfied with the image and the new tripod a returned to my hotel to post process a few images before dinner and a game of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The next morning I had to left Toronto already, but an amazing three week photo-trip around the Grand Canyon lied in front of me, so I had nothing to complain about it.
Here are two of the other images that I shot in downtown Toronto before my tripod broke:
If you like the images, they are available as prints if you want. Just contact me via the mail-button below and we figure out whats the best choice, size and material for you. Other prints in different sizes you'll find in my online-shop.
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