From a snowstorm to a downpour, it was just before 7:30 in the morning as I walked out the door to my car. The time change had not messed me up too much, and I knew the area where I was driving. However, the night before freezing rain had come through. But the temperature had gone a few degrees above the freezing mark, so I figured it was safe by this point. Everything I had with me was waterproof, I had fast film, nothing below ASA-200, and even though it was dark, I could see some light through the deep clouds on the horizon. It should be okay. The rain never stopped as I drove the two-hours along the old Highways that once crossed the province before the mighty 400-series highways became the main arteries. And while the rain kept coming, it at least started to slacken, and the skies grew lighter the closer I got to Collingwood.
I had been planning to hold a Toronto Film Shooters Meetup in the city since last summer when my wife and I visited. Plus one of our keener members, Boris, lives there now and it seemed only fair. Toni, another of our core members, beat me to the punch, although the weather was not going to give us dry weather. I had been planning to bring my 4×5 along for the ride. However, I’m glad the rain kept it at home, I would not have had a fun time with it even if the weather had been better. Everything was soaked, massive puddles, the streets and sidewalks, everything. It was gross. However, we at Toronto Film Shooters don’t let the weather slow us down; we rain, snow, or even super humid heat. With the car parked, I trekked to the meetup spot, a small Starbucks just above downtown. I knew I had already broken a cardinal rule for myself by bringing three cameras, but the Rolleiflex would stay in the bag, and only come out when I wanted to get a shot with it. The rest of the time the F5 and Maxxum 9 lived in the rain; they were designed to take this sort of abuse. Loaded up were Delta 3200 (Rolleiflex), Street Candy ATM 400 (Nikon F5), and Lomography Berlin 400 (Minolta Maxxum 9) at 1600, 800, and 320 respectively. I mean there were some folks there shooting ASA-100 film. There ended up being a strong turnout, including several new members of the group who live up north of the City. I was glad I came.
The rain still pouring down we headed out into the soup, our first stop the historic shipyards. Collingwood’s founding dates back to 1858 and takes the name of Lord Nelson’s second-in-command at the Battle of Trafalgar, Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, the settlement of the area by Canadians dates further back. The historic shipyards began production in 1883 and produced the first steel-hulled ship in Canada, the Huronic in 1901. It also produced some warships that served in both World Wars. However, there hasn’t been a ship built since the yard’s closure in 1986. But much of where the industry was centred is still celebrated through the use of the old yards as private marinas and the piers and some of the old buildings now condos. We managed to get pretty close to the old silos. However, a massive pond-sized puddle blocked our path; even cars were having trouble driving through it. Turning around we headed into the downtown. I love the downtown core of Collingwood, next to Stratford, Ontario, it has many of the old buildings from when the town was at its peak. And yes, there’s even a camera store there, but sadly it is getting out of the film business and only had a handful of cameras up for sale, although a Pentax 645 and Bronica GS-1 were sitting on the used shelf. No primes for the Maxxum 9. Both my lenses on the F5 and nine were covered in water as where the camera bodies but neither skipped a beat and are still running like clockwork. Yeah, a lot of the images have water spots on them, that’s from the lenses, nothing could get them dry and keep them that way. But overall I’m pleased with the results. Sadly once I was through the three rolls, I had to bid farewell, I could see the weather was shifting again, and I wanted to get ahead of any worsening conditions.
Despite the rain, I had a lot of fun, again special thanks to Toni for planning and executing the meetup! I ended up getting a lot of images at the meet, which is surprising given the weather, you can check them all out on Flickr! And you can find my images from all our past meetups in my TFSM Collection! If you’re interested in joining us in a future photo walk, be sure to check out our Facebook Group, if you aren’t a member, feel free to join and be sure to answer the questions or having something in your profile or joined groups that indicate you shoot film. Our next event is our main spring meetup and we have something super special planned, but more on that when the details are nailed down.