Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September blushing sky

One of those days when I didn't find a lot of time to take many shots, then just after dinner my wife yells out about the beautiful sky. I grab the camera and start shooting right outside my house as the colours quickly change. I used a vivid setting to get the most of the gorgeous colours and used a centre weighted exposure setting to make sure the sky was correct and accepted the tree silhouettes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I love to...

I love to... - #318/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
Another rainy day in Toronto. I turned my camera up to vivid to accentuate the metal framing and reflections.

Jumping Boxer

Jumping Boxer - #317/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
The Boxer Rebellion lead man, Nathan Nicholson catching a little pogo air at The Horseshoe Tavern. I always like taking shots at The Horseshoe because you can usually get close to the stage and they have no problem with you shooting with a DSLR (although you often need earplugs). As usual, I used my nifty 50 and decided to use in-camera B&W for a few shots. With fixed 50mm and being at the front of the stage was a little limiting, but gave me this unusual shot trying to capture his Nathan's frequent pogo jumps.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Next Mexx

Next Mexx - #316/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
Mexx are opening a new uptown mega store and I thought the architectural lines and muted tones were interesting and I used a lamppost to steady by nighttime shot.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Bobby - #315/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
Bobby organized our team for the North American Grand Masters (40+ years old) Ultimate Championships in Montreal. Bobby is 62 years old and played tirelessly on day one of play, and on many occasions played many consecutive points without substituting off. Over beers I learnt that Bobby is a very accomplished harmonica player and played on stage with the likes of Jackson Browne and on one occasion accompanied Janice Joplin ! I didn't get a lot of action shots (as I was exhausted during my sideline rests), but the thing I like about this one is that although the disc is long gone, the focus in Bobby's eyes is pure sportsman.

I wondering whether to include Bobby or any of my new teammates in my stranger project, but thought they'd fit into some kind of new set like "new found friends".

Friday, September 24, 2010

Red rocket man

Red rocket man - #314/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
Although it's obviously not a very clear shot, I quite like the composition, converging lines, colour patterns and the ceiling reflection. On the way home, I used manual setting and adjusted at each station until I had a decent balance of exposure and motion blur.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I've seen this man selling t-shirts at the corner of Yonge and Dundas for many, many years, but I never knew his name. I think I bought a Zidane head butt t-shirt from him 4 years ago as a gift for my brother. He always shows up at the corner later in the afternoon and I finally got to meet him. I knew he'd make a great stranger with his grey rasta looks.

His name his Harold and he came to Canada from Trinidad in 1968 when he was 17. He learnt from his father how important a honest living is, so when he arrived on a Friday, Harold started his first job in Canada on the Monday, and he's had a job ever since, including working as a welder. Harold is a true entrepreneur and has lots of projects on the go. His latest project is trying to motorize his t-shirt cart. Harold even builds guitars and compares the curves of the guitar body to a women's figure. He said that when I take pictures of women and should include their whole body, not just their head and shoulders !

I took a few shots of Harold and trimmed a couple with a tighter crop which I'm starting to do a lot with my portrait shots. But with his white locks and beard, the shots look quite odd so I kept these more traditional head shots.

Along with being my daily photo entry, Harold is also #72 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mont Royal view of Montreal towers

I was in Montreal for business and visited Mont Royal which overlooks the city. There was a lot of trees blocking wider landscape shots views from the edge of this observation area. As I moved around I found this angle where I could isolate a few of the taller building and by zooming in from quite a way back I could condense the depth of field.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tip toes Old Montreal photographer

When I'm in Montreal I always like to walk around Old Montreal. The old architecture, narrow streets and cafes are beautiful and produce a very European feel. I spotted this lady as she stopped her bike and took a photograph. She looks like she could a local, which would be nice as locals so often don't recognize the beauty of their own city.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I've seen Dave painting and chalk drawing at the corner of Yonge and Dundas ofr many years. I got downtown early this morning and Dave had already started a new piece. It was quiet so I introduced myself and we had a good chat about his work. This morning he was doing a corporate piece called Double Dutch. Dave's worked hard over the years to capture the South West corner as his patch for street art and is now getting more corporate gigs that pay quite well. Dave uses the money to buy new art materials to practice and improve his drawing skills. He has a lot of people ask him advice about making money in art - but really it comes down to simply working hard, building up your experience and making a name for yourself. Like many other jobs, there's no short cuts. He says people give him hats all the times with different chalk-themed aliases.

Along with being a daily shot, Dave is also #71 in my 100 strangers project.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shadow half bowls

Shadow half bowls - #309/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
This is a neighbourhood lawn bowling club. I liked the crisp lines of the shadows and the asymmetrical pattern contrasted wit the other symmetrical elements.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jim - ultimate veteran, valued friend

I've known Jim for a very long time and have seen him a few times recently at ultimate [frisbee] events. I've always admired his playing skills, but more importantly Jim is a true gentleman, one of the nicest guys I've ever met. When I was out of work, I remember Jim being very sympathetic to my situation and offering his help if I needed it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

High school

High school - #207/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
My son started high school a few weeks ago. I tried to capture a shot that shows the classic architecture of his school and also create a sense of grandeur and intimidation. Luckily my son is far from intimidated by high school, but the thought of high school for many "minor niners" or for perhaps some of us as we reflect upon our entry into high school creates a distinctive image.

I got my D80 back from Nikon today. Although the $300 repair bill for the aperture control unit and cleaning was a little hard to swallow, I'm happy it only took 7 business days.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The plot

The plot - #306/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
Another in-camera feature you find on point-and-shoot cameras and now with some DSLRs is the aspect ratio setting. I'm not sure if it's by design, but I find shots in 16x9 often look like a frame from a movie. I positioned the men in the centre of the frame and thought it looked like they were characters in a movie, perhaps casually plotting a political takeover.

New concert listings

The Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers will be performing at Sound Academy on December 4th.

Tickets go on sale this morning for the Live Nation presale and Friday for the general sale.

Dane Cook is coming to Air Canada Centre. So if you like comedy, tickets go on sale Friday September 24th.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sepia cable curves

Sepia cable curves - #305/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
I like some of the in-camera effect in point-and-shoot camera, and our old Canon has a sepia setting and in combination with a little grain from a close up zoomed in shot I like the soft sepia mood and thought the flow of the cables was pretty. It was shot on my desk with the city skyline in the background and a little glossy reflection in the foreground.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September summer shadows

I only had our old Canon point-and-shoot today and I was struggling trying to correct an under-exposure warning with non-auto settings, so in auto I did't have a lot a control on the technical elements of the shot. But I thought the subject was fun having the converging long shadows and well defined silhouettes of my daughter and I.

Piggy and Raccoon lookalikes

I quickly snapped a few backyard shots before the mosquito feast. I got lucky with how the flashlights fell on their faces highlighting my son's noise and masking the daughters eyes.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Woody and his cast

Woody and his cast - #302/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.

I'm a Woody Allen fan, so when my wife suggested we see go and see the premiere of this latest film, You Will Meet a Talk Dark Stranger at The Toronto International Film Festival I was pretty excited. Woody introduced the majority of his ensemble cast before the screening (before he flew back to NYC), from left to right, Gemma Jones, newcomer Lucy Punch, Freida Pinto, Josh Brolin and Sir Anthony Hopkins. I loved it - classic woodism spot on casting and tragic comedy.

I thought our Fuji point-and-shoot did well to capture this shot from the upper balcony. However, it's in-camera trimming quality was a little poor, so I did crop this one in Photoshop. I chose to leave the front row photographers in the frame to help with the context of the shot. I love how Brolin is joking with Hopkins, Punch's attention to her director, Pinto's shyness and Jones' class and of course a classic gesture from Woody.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pink in the city; kids' street signatures

There was a number of charity events in my neighbourhood yesterday for the battle against Women's cancer. While on a run with my dog I saw that a load of kids had written their names and greetings all over the road. Later in the afternoon I jumped on the skateboard and went back to grab this shot.

Although there isn't a lot of contrast, I maximized the resolution to pull out the detail and looked for an angle and made sure the chalk work filled the whole frame.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where I find new music: Part 5 - NOW Magazine

Ever since I've lived in Toronto, I've read NOW for its music, film, arts and theatre listings.  Along with staying up iwht concerts coming to town, you can sometimes cross reference a band with a new CD review or a tip on next week's hot tickets.  Today as I was browsing the concert listings over lunch I band called Mystery Jets caught my attention as my brother used to play in a band called the Mystery Dates.  A few pages further, their latest album was reviewed and got a strong 4 stars.  A few clicks later and I was sampling their stuff on MySpace and YouTube.  Great stuff, thanks NOW.

Mystery Jets are playing The Horseshoe Tavern on Monday night.

Previous posts in the series:

Where I find new music: Part 4: Streaming radio

When I'm at the office and got my head down doing email or working on some tech config, I occasionally open iTunes and pick a saved streaming radio station.  I have a few saved that provide just the right mix of smooth and mellow music, either with electronica or jazz DNA.

Here are a few of my favourites:

The trick is that when you're listening and hear something that you really like, then need to make a note of the current track because it may not be easy to review past tracks.

The track I found today was a something new from a Norwegian electrofolk band called Flunk called Sit Down.

Previous posts in the series:

Charlie Mime

Charlie Mime - #300/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
I'm not certain if this is a new mime to the Yonge and Dundas neighbourhood, but I'd never seen a Charlie Chaplin before, but what better timing than the Toronto International Film Festival ! I've taken lots of other shots at this corner and it's quite difficult to get an uncluttered background, so I crouched down and used the beige building as a more neutral background. As I've been using my Fuji point-and-shoot a daily basis as my DSLR is being repaired, I'm getting used to some of the more advanced settings, in this case I forced the flash and added 0.3 EV.

New Concert Listings

Just a quick note to say that Mt. Desolation is coming to The Drake Hotel on October 28th. This is the supergroup formed by Keane members Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quin. See my supergroups post for more details. Tickets go on today Friday September 10th. The album comes out October 18th. You can here a couple of songs on their website here. I have to say that I am liking Departure on first listen and State of Our Affairs has grown on me, so I am quite excited about seeing them.

KT Tunstall is coming back to Toronto. I have seen her twice and she is really great live. If you haven't seen her, you can catch her at The Phoenix Concert Theatre November 23rd. Tickets go on sale today.

Macy Gray is playing Mod Club October 2nd. Tickets on sale today.

Other interesting upcoming events:

Boxer Rebellion Sept 27 at The Horseshoe Tavern (we're going)
The xx September 29th at Massey Hall (just won Mercury Prize)
K'naan (with opening act Shad) Oct. 1 at Kool Haus (saw them both last year)
Temper Trap October 5th at The Phoenix (saw them twice last year)
Hot Hot Heat October 8th at Mod Club (I'm going)
Belle & Sebastian October 12th Massey Hall
Sufjan Stevens October 13th Massey Hall
The Dears October 13th, 14th and 15th at The Garrison
Gorillaz October 14 at ACC (PJ going)
OK Go October 14 at The Phoenix
Band of Horses October 21 at Kool Haus
Stars October 23rd at Massey Hall
Greg Laswell October 30th at El Mocambo
Florence and the Machine Nov 3rd at Sound Academy (saw them last spring)
Sara Bareilles November 8th at The Phoenix
Kate Nash November 13th at The Phoenix
Mumford & Sons November 14th at Sound Academy (sold out)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Church of The Holy Trinity

I work very close to the Church of The Holy Trinity and had gone to its cafe before but it was the first time I'd been inside the church. The church functions today like a church should, opening its doors to people in need and excepting modern day diversity. The Church staff were quite busy serving coffee and soup, helping a young man find a place to sleep and spending time with a disabled person. The staff allowed a man to sleep against one of the walls and quite a few street people freely coming and going. I spent some time reading about the interesting history of the church which was built in 1847 with funds from an anonymous donor. You can read more about the history and its current day services here.

I took a few traditional wide angle shots showing stained glass windows, but I wanted a shot that showed the lovely iron work, the unusual pews and the wonderful ceiling.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Green glow parking garage

It was so quiet when I went to my car after work today. There are some good angles, lines and symmetry in parking lots and the added bonus here was the creepy green glow and organic-like ceiling. I played with a few WB setting (fluorescent) and bumped up Fuji's dynamic range setting.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


I played a few games of Carcassonne with the family on the weekend.  I was in the Apple store at lunch today and picked up the new iPhone4.  I paged over a few pages and accidentally touched an app without noticing what app icon my finger was on and Carcassonne opened up. What a surprise, I didn't even know there was a Carcassonne Apple app.  Of course, I had to play for a few minutes.  Love the game and now available as an app for you iPhone and iTouch, with iPad to come (which we'll be really nice with the larger screen).

Coloured construction corner

There's a lot of construction going on in the Eaton Centre these days. Along with the interesting angles created by all the scaffolding (already taken one of those), there are these colourful temporary boards surrounding the construction areas. I took this corner shot with my Blackberry and included some of the complimentary floor work markings.

Monday, September 06, 2010


Err - #296/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
...(ctd from yesterday), when I got home from the long weekend, I tried a few other diagnostics to see if I could snap my D80 out of its "Err" state. No luck. I set up my Fuji FinePix on a mini tripod and got in close for this shot.  (Since this shot was taken, I took the camera into Nikon and they've now told me the aperture control unit needs replacing.  Total bill will be around $300).

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Tour di Via Italia

Tour di Via Italia - #295/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
Our family visit to Windsor coincided with the annual Tour di Via Italia cycling races on Windsor's Erie Street in Lit'l Italy. Although many pro photographers took up their position just a little past the apex of the corner I found that the most dramatic shots were from a low angle right on the corner. It was a rather dangerous position with no barriers and bikes passing by within inches at about 30mph so I fired a lot of continuous bursts as the pack raced by. I was using my Zeikos battery grip and had a second (Zeikos) battery loaded as I'd read somewhere that it can speed up the frame rate. I also only shot in jpeg to get the best buffer rate.

But, this was apparently too much for my D80 and after about 5 lengthy bursts, I got the dreaded "Err" message displayed on the top LCD and the camera stopped functioning. I tried a number of different remedies, but nothing fixed the problem (to be continued).

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Windsor morning ceiling

I was the first one up at my parents home. I thought a blurred shot of the ceiling fan would be interesting but on its own it was kind of dull. So I zoomed out and brought the curves and lines from the front window into the shot to provide some context and contrast.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Classy Windsor ride-by

My sister-in-law with her coordinated outfit for her retro bike was too perfect to pass up. I used a slow flash sync to give her some highlights which also automatically set a relatively slow 1/60 sec so when I panned I got a nice blurred background and wheels.

Betty Davis Eyes

My wife and I went to see Brandon Flowers (of The Killers) play a solo gig last week and one of the tracks he played was the classic Kim Carnes' hit Betty Davis Eyes.  I hadn't herd that great song in a very long time, and then I heard it again on the car radio this morning.  I just went out to run another errand and heard the same original version being played at St. Louis Wings on their outdoor patio speakers.  I ran my errand, and as I'm returning back to my car, the same restaurant is now paying The Killers' big it Sombody Told me.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Jacks building

Jacks building - #292/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
I liked the unusual decorative jacks on this new glass tower and the fluffy clouds broke up the blue sky nicely. Rather than a completely symmetrical composition I chose to include the angular side which seems create a better sense of space.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Heat wave windows

Heat wave windows - #291/365, originally uploaded by PJMixer.
It's been a hot summer in Toronto and this last week of August saw another heat wave. These apartments are close to my house and thought the open windows summed it up nicely. A took a while to find a decent angle that captured a lot of windows in the frame and opted to go with a smaller aperture to keep them in focus.