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Street Images from New York – Part 1

I recently returned from a short trip to New York City with my husband and step-daughter. It had been about 15 years since I last visited, and my husband had never been at all.

Of course, I had been looking forward to taking street shots where so many amazing images come from, while also balancing the need to enjoy the city with my family at the same time.

We took a cab from the airport, and by the time we got into Manhattan, it was bumper-to-bumper traffic. Plus, there was construction around the route to our hotel, so that didn’t help. As a result, we asked the driver to let us out a few blocks away from our hotel since walking would be faster.

On the way to the hotel, it was already apparent to me just how different the vibe is from Toronto, even though we are a big city as well. I believe New Yorkers have more of a relationship with the street. Even within a short distance, I saw shopkeepers and workers standing outside their door, either people-watching themselves, or chatting to neighbours and customers. And the habits of construction workers in NYC are altogether different from Toronto. I assume our workers have breaks during their workdays, but we rarely see them standing on the street smoking or eating their lunch. In Manhattan, workers were easily spotted by their orange vests and since it was lunchtime then, many were sitting outside delis and corner stores eating their meals.

Since the city has almost three times as many people as Toronto in a much smaller space, the streets were a lot busier than I’m used to. In Toronto, if I want to meet a steady stream of people, I feel like I’m limited to our financial district and major tourist spots downtown.

I normally don’t process my photos too much as I feel street photography doesn’t need much embellishment. It’s the subject and the compositions that I feel are most important. In the end, I did use the Fuji Velvia film simulation which gives the images a more saturated look.

Here are a few images from our first day in NYC. More to come in the days to come. In the meantime, enjoy!

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My Ongoing Bay Street Boys Project

I just submitted seven of my images for a street photography competition organized by LensCulture. As part of that process, I now have a profile on their website. This actually makes it much easier for me to display my work as the interface is intuitive and the display is uniform and incredibly clean.

I’ve also been able to organize my work by project. My current one is the continuation of a theme I started here – Bay Street Boys. Even as the financial sector has cut back on workers, the famed alpha male working on Wall Street (or in Toronto’s case, Bay Street) still have their swagger and attitude. My focus on these men highlight their perceived strengths as well as their more vulnerable side. Here are a few from the project. You can see more by visiting my LensCulture profile.

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Spring!

I know I’ve been complaining about the cold weather, but I have no excuse now that we have much warmer temperatures.

I have been trying to go out to shoot more – it’s just so much more pleasurable when you’re not bundled in a thick coat and trying to adjust camera controls with gloves on. I also don’t feel as rushed to get good shots so I can get back indoors and warm up.

In following a lot of different photographers online, I’ve noticed many people shooting different styles all within the broad genre of street photography. This includes images that highlight very strong contrasts between light and shadow. This image I took, for example, is one along those lines:

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I will continue to experiment with this style, but as my partner reminds me, “Don’t copy other people.”

This, and some other great advice can be found in this free guide from Magnum photographers, regardless of what genre of photography you work in. (You don’t have to register for anything, just provide an email – they try not to spam you.)

With that said, here are a few recent images. I’ve also been experimenting more with colour versus black and white. I choose colour if I feel the colours contribute to the image, rather than distract from it. Besides, using colour just feels right when the weather is so much nicer.  I hope you enjoy them!

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Sun and Shadows

I’ve never been a big fan of winter, but even so, this winter seems to be exceptionally dark and dreary.

But we’re finally getting some sun and even warmer temperatures in recent weeks. I know it’s only the beginning of March, and it’s quite possible to still get snow in April. But I was glad to join other sun-starved folks out on the streets lately.

All photos taken with Fujifilm X100F and edited in Lightroom.

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Winter in Toronto

We had our first real snowfall last week. It didn’t stay for very long – even though I was glad as a pedestrian and driver that the roads were cleared rather quickly, I was a bit sad as photographer that we had such a short window to capture the blanket of white snow.

I shot these with my Nikon instead of my Fujifilm. I’m still a little bit paranoid of taking it out in the harsh winter we have. I know that I just have to protect against condensation when taking it between cold and warm environments. Winter hasn’t even officially started yet, so I imagine there will be lots of opportunity.

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Moody Nights

It’s been incredibly dull and rainy in the city these past few weeks. Today is likely the last warm day above freezing we will have before winter sets in.

Despite the urge to stay indoors, I did venture out a couple of times to make some pictures. Since it was grey during the day anyway, I brought my camera with me when running some errands downtown. Here are a few images from recent days, all taken with Fujifilm X100F.

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November Cold

Our Canadian winter is almost upon us. We put on our snow tires, put away our T-shirts and dug up our sweaters, and switched from air-conditioning to heat.

I haven’t been feeling well lately, but I try to go out to take some photos anyway. It’s definitely more challenging to do street photography in the cold weather. Everything seems more dull and people are bundled up, rushing to get where they need to and in from the cold.

In a big city, it’s still possible to find lots of subject material thanks to the abundance of indoor spaces like shopping malls and transit.

Ironically, the city gets prettier when we actually have snow on the ground. I’ve already stocked up on gloves, hoping that it won’t be too cold when we do have snow to do some photography. In the meantime, some recent images from out and about.

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Halloween on Church Street

It’s been several years since I’ve gone down to Church Street for Halloween. Church Street is the home of Toronto’s gay village and as one might expect, people really get into costumes there. For as long as I can remember, they close down the neighbourhood for a Halloween street party.

While I really enjoy using my Fujifilm X100F, I decided to go out using my Nikon D5500 with a 35mm lens. I felt more confident using this in a burst mode than I do with the X100F – don’t ask me why.

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