paulkporterphotography – A Year Exploring Ontario

I want to inspire people to explore through photography.

From Niagara Falls to Muskoka, the Scarborough Bluffs to the Cheltenham Badlands and the City of Toronto itself, there really are photographic opportunities everywhere. You just have to look for them. I have been fortunate to explore lots of these places, and meet lots of people in this last year, my first year based in Toronto.

I relocated to Toronto from Whistler, British Columbia, on May 1st 2014. That means moving, from probably one of the most photogenic places on the planet, to the busiest city in Canada, a year ago this Friday. I had a lot of people tell me that my move was going to affect my photography, and they were right, it has. I believe that the move has made me a better photographer. A landscape photographer, moving to a city is a very big change. My passion for adventure led me out of my comfort zone.  Being able to adapt and take my need to explore, opened up this environment and helped me develop myself and my future prospects.

A key driver for my photography in Toronto, apart from my passion and adventurous spirit, is the huge social media community in the area. I have been to many Instagram meets, met some incredible photographers and  have been a featured photographer, increasing my exposure. This has helped me explore,  meet people, be inspired, and inspire others at the same time.

Here are 10 images from the Toronto area that I have captured this year, a little bio and the location I made the image:

Toronto Skyline | 30 second exposure | f10 | ISO 100
Toronto Skyline | 30 second exposure | f10 | ISO 100

1) Polson Pier – Needs no introduction really, one of the best view points of the city, with Billy Bishop Airport to the left, and the dockyard to the right. I was also fortunate to meet some cool photographers from the area who you should check out: @416shots | @capricebianca | @marnib_photography_ | @menenzescaptures

Location: Polson Pier

Jumping the CN Tower | 1/800 second exposure | f5.6 | ISO 160
Jumping the CN Tower | 1/800 second exposure | f5.6 | ISO 160

2) Jumping the Tower – I have been told that this image ‘is so much Toronto in just one shot” We have the CP24 news truck, jumping over the iconic CN Tower. I looked at this for a while before making the image. I wanted something different and had to get really low, poking my lens between the fence, to make this work. This image was used by www.everythingyktn.com to promote a previous @TorontoClicks event.

Location: Queen Street West and John Street

Toronto Blues
Toronto Blues | 6.0 second exposure | f22 | ISO 100

3) Toronto Blues – This has become one of my most popular Toronto images. I liked the viewpoint, and the various shades of blue. Making a long exposure image with a small aperture allowed the water to be flat and enhance the reflection of the skyline.  This image was featured by @toptorontophoto

Location : Ontario Place parking lot

drifT | 10.0 second exposure | f16 | ISO 100
drifT | 10.0 second exposure | f16 | ISO 100

4) drifT – I had been to this area a couple of times and had a gut feeling that I could make something from this viewpoint. Waking up at 3am and heading out to catch sunrise is something I really enjoy to do, especially when the colours come out like this. Using long exposure and small aperture allowed everything to be in focus. It also meant that the reflection of the clouds and the cityscape could feel soft and serene.

Location: Humber Beach

Niagara Sunrise - 6.0 second exposure | f20 | ISO 160
Niagara Sunrise – 6.0 second exposure | f20 | ISO 160

5) Niagara Sunrise – The falls really are an incredible sight to see and a must for anyone to visit at least once in their lives. Another 3am wake up call found myself shooting with Patrick (@candidcameraman) before he left for Paris. We discussed making images and walked the area looking for a spot that felt right, before the hoards of tourists came by. Again, the early morning was worth it for the colours and the feeling this image gives me. I vividly remember the moment the sun started to rise making the oranges and purples shine through the mist. We knew the early rise had been worth it.

Location: Niagara Falls

Toronto Aurora? | 30 second exposure | f5.6 | ISO 1600
Toronto Aurora? | 30 second exposure | f5.6 | ISO 1600

6) Toronto Aurora? I follow http://www.softservenews.com a website that gives you up to date details on the Aurora Borealis (As mentioned in my previous blog) Seeing the Aurora is dependant upon a KP storm. March 17th saw a KP storm over Toronto of 9KP. It does not sound like a lot, but it was the biggest storm in recent years, especially over the City of Toronto. I took a chance and headed to the beach. I wanted the city in the image as well as a lot of sky space, over the lake, should I be able to capture something. This was my only shot of the evening that showed any sign of Aurora potential.

Location Ashbridges Park, Nursewood road section by RC Harris Water Treatment plant.

The Flat Iron | 1/400 second exposure | f7.1 | ISO 400
The Flat Iron | 1/400 second exposure | f7.1 | ISO 400

7) The Flat Iron – I really like the architecture of the St Lawrence Market area in Toronto. I especially like the Gooderham Flat Iron building, it gives a focal point to any image that it is included in. It was 3pm in November and so the sun was setting, giving these colours, and the feeling that winter is coming. This image was shared by @welovetoronto and @postcardsfromthe6

Location: Front Street and Market Street

Ready to Roll | 1/250 second exposure | f4.5 | ISO 250
Ready to Roll | 1/250 second exposure | f4.5 | ISO 250

8) Ready to Roll – I had this image in my mind for a while. I saw where the streetcars sleep at night and I waited. I had to wait a long time actually, because I wanted a white image and it took a while for the snow to actually fall in Toronto, but when it did, I knew exactly where I was heading. The streetcar is a great Toronto icon. This image was shared by @welovetoronto

Location – Connaught Drive, Queen Street East

Snowy Skate | 20.0 second exposure | f16 | ISO 400
Snowy Skate | 20.0 second exposure | f16 | ISO 400

9) Snowy Skate – Ashbridges Skate Park is another location that I find can make a good image. The energy around this place has a really good feeling, but now, completely covered in snow with nobody around, it’s calm. There are leading lines from the streetlights, pulling you into the CN Tower in the middle. Snow hides all imperfections, and yet graffiti still shines through.

Location: Ashbridges Skatepark, Lakeshore Blvd E and Coxwell Road

Frozen Rainbow | 8.0 second exposure | f11 | ISO 200
Frozen Rainbow | 8.0 second exposure | f11 | ISO 200

10) Niagara’s Frozen Rainbow – Niagara falls was so cold this year, that it almost froze over. The ice buildup within the falls was incredible and an amazing sight to see. I waited till the temperatures started to drop, as I knew that the Ice would be at its largest mass, giving a more dramatic image. Using a long exposure enhances the water cascading over the falls, highlighted by the colours beamed onto them. The wisps of water coming up from the bottom give this image more movement.

Location: Niagara Falls

If you have any questions regarding my images, please leave a comment below.

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