Lessons from the Archives: Toronto

This is another set of photos from my archive of the past. These were taken on a business trip to Toronto. I had gotten my PowerShot G3 a few weeks before the trip and was too excited not to bring it. I’m glad I did for several reasons.

First, it turned out to be the only trip to Toronto where I flew in on a Sunday and had time to explore downtown Toronto. I had many great photo ops as a result.

Second, I got to experiment with several challenges, which taught me why photographers use polarizing filters, tripods, and unexpected angles.

Third, and most importantly, it was the last business trip I went on with my office mate at the time, who was a great traveling companion. A dedicated family man and an all around considerate person, he had a knack for putting everyone at ease. Plus, he was up for exploration, which is always more fun with a companion than by yourself.

Sadly, he suffered a major heart attack and died at the age of 44 only a few months later. I was grateful to have a few photos of him to share with his wife.

It’s something we don’t think about much, but we often spend more time with colleagues (especially office mates) than we do with the people we love. Yet, our relationships often do not extend outside the office. As a result, all of those hours become a mystery to our families. It’s so rare to have photos of colleagues who are “work friends.”

I have chosen not to share the pictures of my former office mate, but the pleasure of seeing Toronto with such an unassuming, easy going colleague who died far too soon is one that I continue to cherish.

From a photographic perspective, I learned several things from shooting in Toronto. From the top of the CN Tower, looking down upon the world, I discovered the challenges of shooting through glass. Later, when I shared with a photographer friend how problematic the glare was, he suggested a polarizer might help.

From the bottom of the tower, I learned how changing your angle changes perspective. Shooting up the height of the CN Tower against the blue sky was a whole new view of the world, not just of the tower.

Down the walk from the tower, a giant Pileated Woodpecker statue clinging to a pole provided a whole new way to play with perspective. Already giant in its dimensions, with the sky scrapers in the background far enough away to appear tiny by comparison, the woodpecker appears to be Godzilla-sized.

That night, alone in my hotel room, I tried to shoot my first long exposure through the window. Those pictures turned out so horrible that I couldn’t include them, but that was when I first understood why my photographer friends kept telling me to get a tripod.
All in all, it was one of the best business trips I was ever on.