Category: Photography

Just showing Off

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

The Beach neighbourhood in Toronto is not one that I have explored much. Sure I’ve done a wedding there, the 2015 spring Toronto Film Shooters Meetup happened here, had a week of my latest 52-Roll project there, and even recorded an episode of Classic Camera Revival out there. Okay, so maybe I have spent more time in the Beaches than I thought I had. But, it’s always fun to go and check out a part of the city I don’t often have a chance to visit. Bill Smith, while an Oakville resident often finds himself in the area, and offered to host a little photo walk in the area.

Wrong Stop

Bank Turned Retail

The Beach

The trouble was that I ended up taking the subway one stop further than I should have, also not realising that Main Street does not run all the way down to Queen Street. With a bit of jogging about I finally was on the right path to get to my first destination, the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant.

RC Harris

If you have a keen eye and a love of 1990/2000s Sci-Fi television you’ll probably recognise this place as the shadowy think-tank “The Centre” from The Pretender or the headquarters of the hacker Augur from Earth: Final Conflict. From there it was a short nine-minute walk to the meetup point, The Remarkable Bean, a lovely coffee shop nearly at the furthest stop on Queen Street.

Jumping Off Point

Wondering The Source

It turned out I hadn’t needed to visit RC Harris earlier in the day, as we headed back out to the iconic treatment plant, after sticking around there, it was off along the shores of Lake Ontario where the neighbourhood gets it the name, The Beach. While the chance of rain stayed small, we had to dodge the weather several times as we moved west along the beach, taking shelter mostly under the trees along the boardwalk.

Resovior Dogs

Cold Day for a Dip

Alone on the Rock

This ain't no Baywatch

At the historic Leuty Lifeguard Station, we drove north through Kew Gardens back to Queen Street returning to the urban environment. Our final destination on Eastern Avenue is a new craft-brewery in the city, Rorschach Brewing Co. You’ll need a keen eye, it’s easy to walk or drive right past this small historic home, and while it may look small from the outside, like a TARDIS, it is much bigger than it appears. Try their Black IPA; it’s my favourite.

Kew

In Memorial

No. 15

End of Line

If you’re in Toronto and have a love of film photography, we run these meets at minimum four times a year with a handful of specialised events scattered in between. You can find the Toronto Film Shooters on Facebook! It’s a closed group, but if your profile looks like you’re a fellow film nut, we’ll let you in!

All Photos Taken in Toronto, Ontario
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-15) – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Pyrocat-HD (2+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

A Day Trip to Elora

A Day Trip to Elora

A few weekends back I had a chance to visit the lovely village of Elora, Ontario with my beautiful wife who I am grateful loves such adventures on free weekends. The small village is located just northwest of Guelph and offers a little taste of Europe in Ontario. I’ve had the chance to visit Elora twice in the past, once for my 52-Roll project in 2013 and again to go camping with a group of friends in 2015. But I had always planned to go back yet it never seemed to fit into plans. While the Elora gorge is one of the towns biggest draw, I’m a creature of the urban environment, so the historic downtown is my favourite place to visit in towns like this one. Often filled with fun little shops, a pub, even a brewery. But enough of me talking, let’s get to some of the photos from the day! Of course, if you ever find yourself in Elora, Ontario I do recommend visiting the Elora Brewing Company and stay for a meal and if you’re into it a beer. I recommend the Lady Friend IPA; it’s the way an IPA is supposed to taste and fellow photographer and craft beer enthusiast, Bill Smith, agrees.

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

All Photos Taken in Elora and Fergus, Ontario, Canada
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Kodak Verichrome Pan @ ASA-125
Ilford Microphen (1+1) 8:30 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters – Summer 2017

Toronto Film Shooters – Summer 2017

Ah the dog days of summer, and yet there’s still the draw to get out, no matter the weather, and just enjoy shooting. This summer meeting saw me visit two areas of the city for some shooting. The first part of the meet was in a part of the city that I don’t often explore, the Riverside neighbourhood on the eastern side of the Don Valley. Fellow film shooter, Bill Smith, did the heavy lifting in planning out the meet. The day started with coffee at the lovely Rooster Coffee Shop. The whole area is a hidden gem in the city with lots to see and photograph. I decided that I would shoot with something a little different than I normally do at these meets, an 85mm lens, look for detail rather than the big picture.

Who the ... Uses a Payphone

Lost Shoe

The Riverdale Cannon

The Jupiter-9 lens is one that I had meant to shoot a little more often, but just never mounted it because it’s somewhat tricky with the double bayonet mount, unlike the standard 50mm lenses (Jupiter-8 and CZ Sonnar). But man it certainly is fun to get away from my usual fare of shooting wide, allowing me a little extra reach and being able to exploit creamy out of focus elements that the lens is known to produce and focus in on details rather than the big picture. Sadly the trouble with the Jupiter-9 is that it suffers from a bit of a focus issue and some shots that I was looking forward to were out. But such is life.

Meet at the Sign of the Rooster

Justice

PVBLIC

We made a point to stop by the Old Don Jail, now part of Bridgepoint Health and then it was east along Gerard Street. A visit, of course, was in order as we walked south on Carlaw to another shop that is close to a few folks in the group, WonderPens! WonderPens is a lovely mum & pop shop that specialises in fine writing. Ink, Pens, and Paper. With a trip to Disney and a historical photography project in the works for next year, it gave me a chance to pick up a couple of new notebooks. Because as you know, every new project needs a new notebook, right?

Wheeled Transport

Film & Fountain Pens

Finally Lunch

Back west we headed along Queen Street almost to where we started at Broadview, sadly the initial stop; Eastbound Brewery opens at 4 pm, so we were a little early to stop in for a taste of some of their beers. But Prohibition Gastro Pub provides a fantastic selection of beers from around Ontario and the world, even some of my favourite from Europe. After lunch, it was a change of pace.

Hot Dog Vendor

Resistance is Futile

But I had swapped out my Contax IIIa that I had been shooting with earlier in the day with the Crown Graphic. However, I was shooting it a little differently than I normally do. I decided to use the Crown as it historically been shot, handheld. Armed with eight sheets of Rollei RPX 400 film, I headed back out into the downtown core with the aim to make it out to the Distillery District.

The First Post Office

Always Watching

I never made it that far as I had shot all eight sheets when I hit the end of King Street where it merges onto Queen. My legs tired I hit up Eastbound Brewing to pick up their two offerings that are for sale before going back to the 3 Brewers for Dinner at Yonge/Dundas Square. A long day? Absolutely, worth it? Totally.

Eastbound

Technical Details:
Contax IIIa – ЮПИТЕР-9 85mm f/2 – ORWO UN54+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 7:30 @ 20C
Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kruzenak Xenar 135mm f/4,7 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-320 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 18:00 @ 20C

Holga Week – 2017

Holga Week – 2017

It’s been a while since I have been able to participate in this celebration of the world’s famous toy camera, the Holga. I had a Holga several years ago, and it ended up breaking and not in a right way. These cameras aren’t made to last, plastic, fantastic, and produces a unique image. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, the Holga holds a special spot on my camera shelf.

Holga Week 2017

Holga Week 2017

For several years I rocked the FPP Plastic Filmtastic Debonair, a solid performer for sure, a cross between a Holga and a Diana. But the one issue I had with it is not that it’s a 6×4.5 camera, it’s a fact the film aligned in a portrait orientation, not my usual landscape. I am in the process of modifying it to be a landscape Debonair.

Holga Week 2017

Holga Week 2017

And then there was the scare that Holga was gone, done, the factory that produced these iconic cameras closed. That was 2015, but 2017 is a year of comebacks! Film Ferrania brought back a classic film, P30, Kodak is bringing back Ektachrome. So why not Holga? An excellent question and one that people asked and the given answer, yes. There had been news that the original manufacturer destroyed the original molds, and I’m sure a great many were, but not all of them. Another factory found one, for the iconic medium format, 6×6 120N.

Holga Week 2017

Holga Week 2017

Soon, I had one in my hands. Heading over to the Holga Week website and to my joy I wasn’t late for this year’s Holga Week and took it with to a classic car night in downtown Milton loaded up with a roll of Kodak Plus-X Pan. Because why not use a roll of expired film and just have some fun. Despite having a range of quality cameras at my fingertips, sometimes it’s just fun to let loose and run with it. Of course, the best tip I ever got with shooting toy cameras is actually from the Lomographic Society. And while some might deride the folks at Lomography, I think they have it right with these rules, especially number 10. Don’t follow the rules and don’t worry. Of course, I can’t always go out and shoot like this if I’m doing a paid gig. But hey, even us professionals need to let loose.

All Photos Taken in Milton, Ontario
Holga 120N – Optical Lens 60mm 1:8 – Kodak Plus-X Pan @ ASA-125 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

The Battle of Fort George – 2017

The Battle of Fort George – 2017

Many people have asked me how I first got into the reenacting hobby; my answer is a strange one for some. I got into the hobby through photography. It was back in 2008 when the Fort York Guard requested that I come along to the annual Siege of Fort Erie event to grab some photos. I walked away with some great shots, and my presence soon migrated to the 7th Battalion, 60th Regiment of Foot, a brand new reenacting unit at that point. I watched as these dedicated individuals portrayed what the British military was like during the Anglo-American War of 1812 and learned a lot more about the conflict than I had in Grade 8 history. In 2011, I made a decision, having saved up enough money I was going to join the hobby, and trade my camera in for a musket (not literally of course).

A Spring in his Step
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Taking the Polish
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Getting the Polish On
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

I would still bring a camera with to some events, capturing more behind-the-scenes actions of camp life as a reenactor and the quirks of my unit (7/60th of course). Occasionally, I would still visit an event as a photographer, or even take a day off if I had some injury or lack of a unit to march with, which has become less an issue today. But I usually left the big guns at home because often I don’t have the room to lug around any more than a small collection of compact cameras and no long telephotos. This year’s Fort George Event had a bit of a twist; we were staying in the blockhouse on the site, so I had a secure spot for my camera gear and not having to bring all the camping gear I had room in my car.

Stalking the Line
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

You Call that Polished?
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

Drum Major
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

Saturday I stuck to the Hasselblad 500c as I was shooting for the July Summer Film Party contest and I joined the 10th Royal Veteran Battalion for both the change of command ceremony and the two battles. All of them went off wonderfully with the evening tactical being a favourite of mine. On Sunday I was ready to shoot differently, with a proper event kit, that is my Nikon F5 and 70-200mm telephoto lens and several rolls of film.

The Look
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Sentry Duty
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Oh Hai
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Having studied the work of several photographers who frequent events, namely Michael Hurley, and taking the critique from my lovely wife to heart I left the wide and normal lenses at home and packed the only the 70-200mm and 105mm lenses in order to photograph the people as well as the battle itself. And the best part is that I woke up Sunday in the right mood for some people photography. Locking my lens into f/4, I went to work around camp. The joys of being known as both a reenactor and a photographer are that I can wander about at will.

Come on Lads
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

Let's Show 'em what we're made of
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

One Final Volley
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

When it came time to do battle I switched out for a colour film stock, thanks to my friend James. I had never shot Agfaphoto Vista Plus a fast colour negative film but it sure felt and behaves like Fuji Superia 400, even down to the negative marks on the edges. And of course switching into a shutter priority mode, something I had not done before when shooting a battle sequence. Now the trick with shooting a reenactment is burst shooting, but having only a single roll of 36-Exposures, I had to trust my gut and ability to shut off the brain and listen for the commands. Make ready, bring the camera up and compose the image, present, half-press the shutter release to get focus and exposure, FIRE, fire off a single shot. A little different than with a musket, but sometimes you need to adapt to a situation. A different way of doing things like the two digital shooters flanking me. If you want to see the full set head over to my Flickr set.

Summer Film Party – Part II (July)

Summer Film Party – Part II (July)

One of the best parts of being a historical reenactor is that you often get a chance to visit and stay in some of Canada’s historic sites, and many find their home in some of the beautiful towns in the province. And while it can be hit and miss along the Niagara River, Fort George in the picturesque Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario is certainly one such site. Having an event there during the July edition of the Summer Film Party offered me a chance to shoot in the historic walls of Fort George, a site deep in military history.

Heavy Motar

The Small Block House

Both the fort and the town have a long history in Ontario. The town has its beginnings in 1781 as Butlersburg, named for the men of a loyalist irregular unit, Butler’s Rangers from the American War of Independence. And the Butler family would continue to live in the town well into the 19th-Century, their farm seeing a small action during the Anglo-American War of 1812. It would soon take on the name West Niagara. When General John Graves Simcoe assumed the role of Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, he established West Niagara as the capital of the new colony in 1792, renaming the settlement to Newark. The small town would soon find itself home to the headquarters of the British Army of the Center at Fort George. The Upper Canada Parliament would meet at Newark until 1796 when Simcoe moved the capital to York (now Toronto, Ontario).

A Spring in his Step

Brock's First Resting Place

While my days at the fort filled with musketry, cleaning, drill, and lazing about as a good British soldier would do (when ordered to of course). It left the mornings to take out the Hasselblad and shoot, the soft morning light providing fantastic light to one of the largest 1812-era forts in Ontario. From the historic buildings (mostly rebuilt in the 1930s) to the original powder magazine that survived these 200 years, and of course, the flurry of morning activity as the reenactors cleaned up their brass and muskets from the night before, getting things ready for the pomp and battle for the day to come.

Getting the Polish On

Taking the Polish

The small town continued to grow and was the preferred town for Major General Isaac Brock during his time as the commander of the British Regular forces during the period leading up to the Anglo-American War of 1812 until his death in October 1812. Brock would even be buried at Fort George before his reinterment at Brock’s Monument on Queenston Heights. The town and fort would see capture in May 1813, and the American occupation lasted until December of that year and saw the destruction of the fort and the town. This would lead to the retaliatory capture of Fort Niagara and the destruction of many small villages and Buffalo before the new year arrived. When the town rebuilt, they shifted the location ever so slightly to ensure it was out of range of the American guns across the river.

1st (Royal Scots) Lights

Bass Drummer's Shako

The name, Niagara-On-The-Lake would be formally adopted in 1880, and would slowly become known as a popular tourist destination both for wine and theater aficionados. The surrounding wine country offers some familiar Ontario wineries and now has an active craft beer brewing industry. And the town has many theaters to perform plays during the Shaw Festival. If you ever find yourself in the town, be sure to visit the Angel Inn, a fantastic pub, a walking tour of downtown and be sure to visit both Fort George and Fort Mississauga on opposite ends of the downtown. That was July, but there’s still one more month to get on the Summer Film Party Bus! It’s going to take my lovely wife and I out to the National Capital area and the Ottawa River Valley and the small town of Almonte, Ontario and some of my favourite motion picture stocks, Eastman 5363!

All Photos Taken at Fort George National Historic Site
Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50
Ilford Microphen (1+1) 6:00 @ 20C

Brigade Napoleon – A Soldier’s View

Brigade Napoleon – A Soldier’s View

They came on in the same old way, and we defeated them in the same old way.
– Field Marshal Sir Arthur Wellesley – June 1815

Being primarily a War of 1812 reenactor the folks I usually face across the field are the American forces, however, in 2015 I had a chance to visit Europe to join with fellow reenactors around the world to face off against the French at the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. It seemed some of the French were coming to visit us in Canada at Old Fort Erie.

Dawn's Fort

Sneaking Around

I’ll admit it was strange seeing the French tri-colour flying over Old Fort Erie, now in the role of a French captured Spanish fort somewhere on the peninsula. While marching in the army doesn’t offer me much chance to go out and take pictures, like the British army of old, there was still plenty of time to go out and get in some shooting. There were some familiar uniforms and even some familiar faces in different uniforms. While the British line was made up mostly of common 1812 units, we did have an excellent showing of Highlander units that don’t often come out to play.

British Line, French Occupied

Discussions with the Enemy

But unlike the usual scenario that we play out at Fort Erie this time the British are allowed to win and recapture the fort from the French occupiers. It made for a different experience, fighting through the narrow siege works, standing off between the redoubts and inner fort. And finally charging in with a war cry. Then promptly setting my shako on fire with my musket. Overall a fine event, it just would be nice if the other side played along in animating the fort between the action, at least make an effort. But that is something I have little control over.

The Union

On a more technical aspect, I tried out Dilution D of HC-110 for this roll of film. You’re probably thinking don’t you mean Dilution B? I had never seen Dilution D before either and had shot this roll of Tri-X at ASA-250, I was scrolling through the Massive Dev Chart looking for an option. I’ve always been a big fan of HC-110 and Tri-X so I figured this would be no different. Well it was, I found the grain a lot rougher than I expected and a bit muddy. So this clearly isn’t a good choice, which is probably why no one has heard of Dilution D.

All Photos Take at Olde Fort Erie, Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada
Contax IIIa – Zeiss Opton Sonnar 1:1,5 f=50mm – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-250
Kodak HC-110 Dil. D 9:00 @ 22C

Black Creek – Party like it’s 1867!

Black Creek – Party like it’s 1867!

Without a doubt, there’s plenty to do in Toronto. And while many prefer to stay in the downtown core, there’s a particular draw to see what the city is like on the outskirts. One such location is right on city’s north line with Vaughn, and that’s Black Creek Pioneer Village. Black Creek is a living history museum, and a ‘false’ village in the sense that it is an amalgamation of many historical buildings from around Ontario gathered into one spot and dressed to look like a small settlement of the 1860s. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you may remember seeing this place as the backdrop for my review on the Mamiya Universal. After shooting at the village, I had wanted to return with a bigger camera. So having a week off with my wife, we decided to head over to the village for a morning.

BCPV - Broom maker Shop

The Province of Ontario, formerly known as Upper Canada before the Canadian Confederation of 1867 has a rich and long history. And I’m thankful that we have several museums around the province that make a point to preserve and teach about this history. I’ve been lucky to visit three such locations, Black Creek Pioneer Village, Westfield Heritage Village, and Upper Canada Village. A Fourth, the Lost Villages Museum remains on my hit list. But this post is about Black Creek Pioneer Village.

BCPV - Laskay Emporium

The village, formerly the property of Daniel Strong; you can visit his barn and other farm buildings. His original log cabin and larger home where he and his wife, Elizabeth, raised their eight children. The Strong Family continued to work the land well into the 20th-Century with the family farm forming the core of the museum in 1960. Over the next decade, the museum increased their inventory of historic buildings from around the Greater Toronto Area.

BCPV - Roblin's Mill

These are the types of museums that make history fun because they make it come alive. Heather and I had a chance to listen in on how one employee came up with her historic impression. Based on an actual person, she researched through the massive archives of historical data in the Provincial and City Archives to build her character. As a reenactor myself, I find this dedication amazing. She brought this one woman back to life here in the 21st-Century. Plus the commitment to ensure that many of these buildings are saved from demolition by the slow march of progress ensuring that our pioneer history isn’t lost.

BCPV - Half Way House

And of course, the highlight of the village is the historic brewery located in the basement of the Half Way House, a pre-confederation inn, and tavern from Scarborough. Where dedicated brew masters continue to use traditional techniques to create some of unique beers I’ve ever tasted. And yes, I brought a growler of their fantastic India Pale Ale back home with me.

All Photos Taken At: Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto, Ontario
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:4,7/135 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100
Pryocat-HD (1+1+100) 16:00 @ 20C

Summer Film Party – Part I (June)

Summer Film Party – Part I (June)

Not doing an overall film project over the course of the year has not stopped me from getting out and shooting and it’s freed me up to join in on the year’s film contests that the fine folks over at Emulsive have put on, well, for the most part, I joined in on their TMax Party for the two months, although I missed the Acros Party. But with the sun finally starting to shine I decided to make a point to get in on the Summer Film Party. Running the three summer months here in North America with June being the first up. Now the trouble is that the summer the light gets pretty harsh by the middle of the day, I made a conscious effort to get out earlier in the day before the sun got too high in the sky and the temperatures skyrocket. The first stop is the small village of Kleinburg located north of Toronto, Ontario and a part of the City of Vaughn. While the village downtown was rather busy I decided to head down into Bindertwine Park. Big Mistake. There was a 5K run happening along the trails, and the bugs were bad, four sheets into the eight I had brought along I was done. Between the bugs and the heat, I made my escape.

Sometimes I shoot Flowers
Some flowers along the path that a camera club was shooting.
Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Rollei RPX25
Pryocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

High Voltage
While the trails through the park show a great piece of nature, but I do enjoy catching man’s influence on the natural environment.
Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:4,7/135 (Orange) – Rollei RPX25
Pryocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

Tree By the River
A more peaceful scene than what I was actually feeling, itchy and sneezing.
Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Kodak Ektar f:7.7 203mm (Orange) – Rollei RPX25
Pryocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

I wasn’t going to let this stop me so Sunday morning before heading to Church I decided to finish off the remaining four sheets in downtown Milton specifically Victoria Park which sits just off of Main Street and our historic town hall the former county jail which was restored between 1982 and 1985 after sitting abandoned. Again I had been blessed with some beautiful morning light.

7.7 cm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art
Milton’s Great War Trophy, a German 7.7 cm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art, captured 28 September 1918 on the Arras-Cambria Road.
Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Kodak Ektar f:7.7 203mm – Rollei RPX25
Pryocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

The Victoria Park Gazibo
At the center of Victoria Park is the Gazebo, a great place to hold an outdoor concert.
Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 (Orange) – Rollei RPX25
Pryocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

The Prison Yard
The former prison yard, now a garden, great for wedding photos or outdoor events.
Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Rollei RPX25
Pryocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

Last year I completed a 52-Roll project using only Rollei RPX films, one of my favourites was RPX 25, so when a local film supplier brought in a small number of boxes of RPX 25 in 4×5 I jumped on the chance and then let it sit. I’m glad I saved the box and now that it’s cracked I hope to bring it out more this summer for large format fun! Of course, the film is hard to handle, thin polyester base, and the notch code isn’t always stamped out. It makes for trouble figuring out how to load it up. Part II coming next month, with the Hasselblad 500c, Ilford Pan F+, and Niagara-On-The-Lake!

Doors Open: Toronto

Doors Open: Toronto

When it comes to Doors Open events, there’s no bigger one in Ontario that Toronto’s. With 2017 being the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation, Toronto made it a goal to have 150 buildings on their doors open event. And what a selection there was, with lots of old favourites and plenty of new ones especially to me. I’ve visited Doors Open Toronto on many occasions, but always seem to hit up the same locations over and over again. So this year I made a point to visit many of the places I’ve never visited, or haven’t been happy with my photographs in the past. I also made a point to visit a few additional sites on Sunday as well. This year I managed to visit a total of fourteen locations, a record for any doors open event I’ve visited in the past. I also made a point this time around, like Doors Open Hamilton, to stick to film with only one location being shot mostly on digital. So without further fanfare, Doors Open Toronto. Photography wise I used my trusty Nikon F5 and carried or more rather lugged a series of lenses along with me, a way to force myself to capture both the wide open spaces that the sites presented but also to focus in on the details. The film I chose is a new favourite of mine, Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 to give me some speed in the spaces where I would have to shoot handheld. Sadly when I pulled the film out of the tank I noticed that most of my interior shots were so dark not even bold efforts in Photoshop could recover them. Of course, it wasn’t until later in a dream (and talking out loud apparently) that I realized my mistake. Streetpan likes sunlight, it thrives on it. Also having no information about the film’s reciprocity, and I was sunk. At least I was able to recover a few shots for each location.

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church: Always a favourite of mine, St. Andrew’s is the oldest Presybertian congregation in the city and the regimental church of the 48th Highland Regiment of Canada. Constructed in 1876 under the watchful eye of William G. Storm this Romanesque Revival Church is one of the most ornate Presbyterian Churches I have visited; it even surpasses St. Paul’s Presbyterian in Hamilton, Ontario.

DO:T 2017 - St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Campbell House: Toronto is home to many museums, some better known than others. The Campbell House is one of the lesser known museums. Built in 1822 in the Georgian style, it was home to William Campbell, the Sixth Justice of Upper Canada. It stands as one of the few surviving examples of buildings from the town of York, saved in 1972 by the Advocates Society from demolition. And as exciting as it was to be finally able to go into this small house that I had passed unnumbered times now, it was this single shot from the outside with the storm clouds and the Canada Life building in the background that struck me.

DO:T 2017 - The Campbell House
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Church of the Holy Trinity: In Toronto there are many buildings that have simply defined the steady march of the city growth, places like Fort York and Campbell House, Montgomery’s Tavern, and Holy Trinity. You might have never even seen this little church because it sits hidden, a small pocket tucked out behind the Eaton Centre. And yet throughout its history, the church has had a big impact on the city. From leading the charge with social justice causes and the arts, has been a lead in fostering social diversity in Toronto in many ways including organizing concerts and community events for gay dances held by the Canadian Homophile Association of Toronto in the 1970’s and providing a location for early church congregations of Armenian and Japanese Canadians. This is the little church that can.

DO:T 2017 - Church of the Holy Trinity
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Kodak Portra 400 @ ASA-800 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

MaRS: While not my usual spot for a Doors Open Event, but having a wife who is in the medical field, a visit to MaRS was certainly in order. Built as the College Wing of Toronto General Hospital in 1913 is certainly a spot that shows the power of adaptive reuse. The Beaux Arts building designed by Frank Darling looks as it did when it was built, but you cross the threshold and it’s a contemporary wonderland. And while like many locations I lost all my interior shots, I did make a point to capture the beauty of the exterior including the central tower.

DO:T 2017 - MaRS
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Church of the Redeemer: When a congregation decides to stay the course and rather than abandon their historic home makes a choice to restore and repair, they are to be applauded. Redeemer is one of those churches that has seen the growth of the city, while not a soaring cathedral, the church now sits in the shadow of skyscrapers. Constructed in 1871 in the Gothic Style, retains its historic beauty and charm. But my favourite feature in the whole church is the World War One Memorial windows showing wounded soldiers being watched over by an image of Jesus Christ.

DO:T 2017 - Church of the Redeemer
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Bloor Street United Church: Like some United Churches, Bloor Street opened its doors as a Presbyterian church back in 1890. The 1920s saw the original entrance to the church demolished with the widening of Bloor Street and the congregation voting to join with the Wesleyans and Methodists to form the United Church in Canada. It was the 1950s that the history of the building gets interesting, a fire destroyed much of the building but rather than build a mid-century modern building, the building was restored to its original Victorian style designed by William R. Gregg. The highlight is, of course, the Great South Window that highlights the mission of the United Church, the unity of everyone. Look closely, you’ll see a sporty red car.

DO:T 2017 - Bloor Street United
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

The Daniels Building: I was excited to see that this building was on the list for doors open. This is the historic home of Knox College, established in 1875 at 1 Spadina Cresent in the Gothic Revival Style. It has been a building I had always be curious as to what secrets were behind the walls. And what a story this building has, it’s been a number of departmental homes for UofT, an Eye Bank, Hospital, Laboratory, Barracks, and currently, the new home of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Landscape, Architecture, & Design. The original Gothic Revival Building restored and a new addition added to the back. It was also one of the more popular spots.

DO:T 2017 - The Daniels Building
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

The Waterworks Building: This was a throwback for me, the giant empty waterworks building is the result of a make-work program in the city of Toronto during the Great Depression. Leaving the city with an Art Deco work building. Yet the site holds a bit of city history, being the original site of the St. Andrew’s Market, built in 1837, providing folks in the western expansion of the city a market like that of St. Lawerence. Inside it was like many of the industrial abandoned buildings I had visited in the past, at least this time around I wasn’t looking over my shoulder for cops or security.

DO:T 2017 - Waterworks Building
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Fort York: I can technically visit Fort York anytime I want, it is, through reenacting, my home fort. But it made for a good place to end the day. Sadly I missed all the artillery demonstrations that saw the fort show off Canadian and British firepower for the past two centuries from the Anglo-American War of 1812, through the Boer War, the two World Wars and even into modern day conflicts that Canada has been involved in. At least it wasn’t too crowded and Heather and I did grab dinner at our favourite spot in the area, The Banknote.

DO:T 2017 - Fort York
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Humber Lakeshore Campus: Built as the Mimico Asylum in 1888, the hospital was the first in Ontario to use the Cottage Plan first pioneered by Medfield State Hospital as a way to control overcrowding at Toronto and Hamilton. The doors opened in 1890 the hospital would grow to 10 buildings. The hospital would go on to trial several different treatment methods. Like many hospitals across North America by the 1970s the treatment of mental health issues moved to a more in-patient method and the smaller hospitals were closed, Mimico would close in 1979. The campus would be broken up, with the old hospital buildings being leased by Humber College in 1991. The cottages and administration building would become office and classroom spaces; even the tunnels saw restoration and use. The old carriage house/fire hall would be the only service building to survive and now is a Tim Hortons. While I originally wanted to include a photo of the tunnels as I was able to secure a tour, I decided to use a photo taken of one of the old female cottages against a bright blue sky. Much stronger images than the snaps in the tunnel.

DO:T 2017 - Humber Lakeshore/Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital
Sony a6000 – Sony E PZ 16-50mm 1:3.5-5.6 OSS

Montgomery’s Inn: Despite being a fairly old city, it takes a lot of effort to find the hidden historical sites within the modern structures. And yet they’re still there. Now I have never had the pleasure of visiting Montgomery’s Inn, despite having heard about it through a fellow reenactor. While rather hidden, it’s in a rather modern looking area. I think that’s what I like about it the most is that it’s again that little pocket of history among the modern city of Toronto.

DO:T 2017 - Montgomery's Inn
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Applewood, The Shaver Homestead: Inside you’ll find all sorts of people who will tell you more history about the place than you need to know, the gentleman greeted me at the entrance. And for such a tiny museum it has a huge history that stretches out across the country. This 1851 Victorian farmhouse would become the birthplace of James Shaver Woodsworth, he would go on to form the democratic socialist movement in Canada and the political party he founded would form the foundation of the New Democrat Party of Canada. When the vote on Canada’s entry into World War Two reached Ottawa, it was Woodsworth alone who would oppose it, he would die in 1942. That’s a lot of history for such a tiny home.

DO:T 2017 - Applewood, The Shaver Homestead
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

I think next year if I do Doors Open Toronto I’m going to focus on the eastern side of the city, use my car to move around at first before hitting the streets on foot. But we shall see. If you want to see more, check out the whole collection over on Flickr.