In February I managed to get nearly 2 weeks off to take a road trip down to Florida. I travelled through 11 new states, visited Harry Potter World (!!!!) and Disney World (and became obsessed with collecting pins, which I had no idea was a thing). It took a few days to get used to the humidity and heat but I love it and miss it already. We also drove down to Miami, where I fell in love with the art deco architecture on Miami Beach. I explored the everglades and learned they’re actually a slow draining river, who would have known? We took a small fan boat tour out in the middle of the reeds, and I saw some amazing wildlife and got to see the open skies I grew up with. Finally we went to the west coast where I got to lounge on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico and see a baby manatee! Manatees are my favorite animals, and it was amazing to finally see some, even if it was just little bits in the water on a pretty rainy and blustery day.
I didn’t take as many official photographs as I might have intended; as the days went on it got so busy, and I was so focused on whatever I was doing, that I didn’t manage a ton but still a few! So the next few blog posts will be photographs from my little vacation, and all it does is give me the itch to travel and photograph more and more and more! This post also contains photos from some of the other states we visited: West Virginia, Virginia, North & South Carolina, and Georgia.
See PART II here!
Want more updates? Join my newsletter!
Photographing the Toronto Santa Claus Parade
It’s almost Christmas! So it’s time for a sort-of Christmas themed post!
A few weekends ago I went to my first Toronto Santa Claus Parade! It was actually the first one ever created. It started in 1905 and is still going strong! It was pretty cold and by the end my toes were numb but I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the marching bands and drumlines–I am a huge marching band/band/drumline dork so that was great! We were in a perfect spot, not too many people, and so I got to play around with my camera.
It’s so important as photographers to also shoot for yourself, and I like sharing these types of photos as well as the photoshoots; these are just another facet of my photography! Enjoy! 🙂 Remember to go out and take photos for fun too!
This year I took a last minute trip back to Vancouver for my reading week. I lived in Vancouver for about 5 years and so I was so excited to go back and visit! There’s something revitalizing about seeing the blue mountains topped with snow in the distance, the ocean and the smell of salt and seaweed, the weirdly clean streets, Chinatown, my old neighborhoods, and the best: my beloved friends.
My goal was to take portraits of everyone I met up with…. but I got so busy and it got so out of hand in the several days I was there so I only managed it with a few! However, here is what I have to share from my little break back on the west coast. There’s laughter, quiet, and a fake proposal moment to replace my friend’s actual fiance, currently attending school in France and Germany (sorry Greg!). I love taking photos of all those I hold dear to my heart… next time I get out there I will do a better job of documenting my whole time. But until then, at least I have these!
Earlier this month I got the chance to hang some of my photographs up at Mitzi’s Cafe in Parkdale in Toronto.
Please ignore my weird half-closed eye and look at the photos instead.
It was a bit of a whirlwind and definitely a learning curve for me, as I haven’t done this before and it was all done in the span of 4-5 days! This includes choosing photographs, buying frames, and getting practice prints and real prints done on time.
However, it all worked out in the end (with a few obstacles that were overcome). It was so exciting to take my visiting parents there this weekend and see my photographs surrounded by bustling crowds in the cafe! I felt really proud of what I had done, and more than anything it made me realize that I would love the chance to show more work.
I thought it would be interesting to make a blog post showing some of the process (I documented it all with my phone so that I would remember!) as well as some of the issues.
1. If things go wrong, that’s okay
The afternoon of I realized that three of my frames were broken, probably from earlier in the day when I had had to carry all 8 onto the subway and someone pushed me into the garbage cans–cool, thanks person. However, I didn’t realize until only a few hours before I was to put them up; PANIC. Luckily, I had time to race to Michael’s and grab new ones, however… there were only 2 stores in Toronto that had the ones I wanted, and they were both a bit of a ways away from the cafe.
2. If your plans have to change, that’s okay too
3. If it’s your first time exhibiting, make sure it is a relaxed place!
I was infinitely lucky to have Sasha, the owner of the cafe, be the chillest man I have ever met. He was very kind and totally okay with many of the problems I had to attempt to deal with.
4. Bring a friend to help
Without the aid of my friend Erin, I would have had to somehow measure, level, and creatively decide how to hang 8 16 x 20 frames having never done it before. Luckily she was there to help me plan what would go where, hand me the tape measure, the level, etc. A lifesaver! It also helps so you know your idea is looking okay (or not).
5. Be prepared… like too prepared
I was naive and a bit cheap when I purchased the adhesives that I used to stick the frames on the wall. The frames are light! I only need one per frame! Easy peasy! Until the next day when a message from the cafe told me some had fallen off the wall. They were okay, but I decided to go in at 7 AM the next day and fix it.
Not only that, the morning I came in prepared, even more had fallen! I felt miserable and embarrassed. My hands kept shaking (!).
Then again, it’s all a learning experience. And now I am SO PREPARED for the next one! Tools are not enough. Overthink every step and be overprepared. You will not regret thinking of everything that could go wrong. I didn’t, and then everything DID go wrong (some other obstacles not mentioned for the sake of brevity).
However, I am so proud of the end result!
This set features 8 photographs from my time in Peru in 2012. I hope that these shots can share some of the experiences I had on the streets of Arequipa, Cusco, and in the north near Trujillo. They will be up until July 30th!
The first thing you have to do is see the space (or at least get rough measurements), envision your work, and think about how you can make it happen. Remember to plan it in stages, as all at once can be overwhelming… particularly when you have to do it on a short timeline! Breaking it up into small doable steps is possible though, and things mostly work out. 😉
Before I had frames or prints chosen, I went to the location and did rough measurements (like with my eyes only since it was a cafe that was open and had customers) of the space and took photos. Then I jotted out ideas of different framing and layouts. I ended up with the more classic exhibit layout, only because of the space, my budget, and symmetry.
Once I knew I wanted them all to be the same size, I had to decide which size with the wall only a memory and a photo on my phone. I made my own versions (with totally accurately sized images of course) and hung them up on my own wall to try and judge which I liked best. I went for 11 x 14 prints so that you could see them when you walked into the place.
So when I knew the print size and the idea of the layout in my mind, I went frame hunting. I ended up getting a simple frame with only one matte, because I liked the space it gave the photo to speak for itself. However it was time consuming to try and decide and figure out which worked with what. Then I had to traverse to the faraway stores that actually had the frames. Here is my dining room where I laid them out playing around with them. Guest starring my Swiffer!
This took awhile, only to gather the frames. In all of Toronto there were only two Michaels that had them. Again, with the help of my dear friend Erin, she accompanied me to the Michaels way out in Scarborough to pick up the originals (not including my detour to the Michaels up in York to get the replacements the day of…). This probably took up the most time/stress. Plus, 8 of these in one bag is SO HEAVY. The bag was ripped to shreds by the end and I was just hugging them desperately on the streetcar to keep them from falling all over the place.
I then got some test prints done to make sure they looked okay at the size. For these I went to Walmart as it was only overnight, cheap, and if they ended up looking awful it wasn’t a huge loss. Here I just taped it overtop the still wrapped frame to get an idea of what it would look like.
Once I was pleased I sent my photos to be printed at Downtown Camera, who–with a phone call from me sort of begging–managed to get them printed the afternoon I needed them, which was a day earlier than originally scheduled for the prints. What a great company!
Be sure to put up a label that has all of your contact info on it! I opted out of signing and dating my prints/mattes, as I wanted the photographs to simply be. This was my sneaky alternative in case anyone was interested in my work. Notice my lovely hand drawn logos…..
The setting up process is always a bit messy. Make sure to have pencils, a tape measure, a level, and your hanging devices. There will be lots of math, calculations, and re-measuring. It is a bit time consuming and your arms feel like jelly after but it is so exciting to be there and see your prints up on the wall, one by one!
So there’s my little blog post on how my Mitzi’s Cafe Peru photo set went up for the month of July, 2017; one of the most exciting/stressful/fun things I’ve done this summer!
Last weekend I visited Canada’s Wonderland for the first time with some friends. Although roller coasters and scary rides terrify me, it was still fun! I went to the water park, got a sunburn, and enjoyed the amusement park atmosphere. Best of all, I brought my camera with me and got to explore while my friends rode said scary rides. A bonus of living in Toronto is going to this place!
Several weeks ago I managed to get a day off to take a few hours to go to Toronto Islands! Toronto Islands are a chain of islands just off of the shores of Toronto itself! You have to take a ferry to get out there. It has an airport, summer amusements, beaches, yacht clubs, and get this, some pretty cute old squashed houses! I wasn’t expecting them, for some reason.
I decided to go on one of the chilliest days in late October. I took a ferry across at 3:30. Despite the cold I made sure to stand outside and watch the wake of the boat and the giant city behind me getting a bit smaller as we got closer to the island. Because it’s the off-season, there isn’t much shelter there. So after 3 hours of wandering a bit (I only got through half of the eastern islands because I was taking so many photographs!) I was so cold it was time to hop on a ferry back! I wanted to make sure I got the sunset, and I definitely did. The Toronto skyline is a gorgeous site, I took too many photos! I will definitely be back to the Toronto Islands to check out all the sites I didn’t get to see.
The best part: walking around the back of the island and seeing Lake Ontario look like the ocean, a peaceful still mirror of the sky with giant maple trees dropping their leaves gently into the water.
This past weekend I decided to go outside with my friend Tamara and take a break from schoolwork to take photographs, explore, and learn new things about my neighborhood. I live not too from Kensington Market, which is this crazy neighborhood in Toronto. It originally started as a Jewish neighborhood where small shops started out of the houses; an influx of Caribbean and Chinese presence occurred after WWII and it has now grown and evolved into a mish mash of great dining, cool little shops, vintage clothing, and intriguing bohemian Rastafarian-inspired places of enterprise. It can get crazy packed but it’s so fun to wander and just stare at people and stores and eat food! For example, I had the most delicious takoyaki (octopus balls) I’ve ever had, just from a little temporary stand in an alley. We also wandered down alleys, found cool graffiti, and all sorts of stuff! I’m excited to get to know this city better. 🙂 Any recommendations for places to go take photographs in Toronto, feel free to let me know!
Well I recently moved to Toronto to complete my masters degree, and after taking a few weeks to settle in and get used to this new hectic pace I have (hint: I’m still not used to it) I decided I needed a day off! So I transited for 2 hours to the Scarborough Bluffs, which is part of a series of cliffs that run along the edge of Lake Ontario. I went to two parks: Cathedral Bluff Park, which is the high view, and the Bluffers Park Beach, below it (but it took an hour to get to!).
I discovered several things:
a) It’s beautiful!
b) There are still like four parks over there I want to explore
c) Life without a car is weird to get used to again. I ended up walking for about 4 hours altogether! Phew!
I hope you enjoy!