Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dusk Walk (Toronto; July 24, 2008)

These pictures were taking during a walk from Parkdale to Christie Street, on a summer evening in Toronto. I love taking pictures of cities at sunset or in the early evening. There's a moment between light and dark where the effects of shadows are less predictable, almost eerie.

I've always thought that cities look like very different, almost fantastical places when photographed at that time, even scenes that might normally seem mundane can reveal a kind of luminescence, or alternately being shrouded in semi-darkness they take on an air of mystery that might otherwise be lacking. In the picture above, the paved alleyway looks darkly surreal compared to the still-light sky overhead, which in turn is reflected in the water pooled on the ground.

Sometimes the camera behaves differently in these lighting conditions as well. In the picture above this shows in the way the building is slightly blurred, and the reflection in the window is doubled up. It's actually hard to tell whether that's a trick of the camera or something happening with the light. You can see the same thing going on in this picture I posted previously, which was also taken during that evening walk.

This isn't the first or last photo I've taken of a corner shop at night. I'm often drawn to the low-light effect that makes windows--and lamps--glow in an unusual way. Below, the same effect is at work in this photo of a bank at the corner of Christie Street and Dupont. Because of the ambient, leftover daylight, the whole scene isn't as dark as it would be at night, so you can see the details in the building as well as the orb of light already being carved out by the parking lot lamp.

Below: Christie Street. This is one of my favourite pictures of Toronto. Again with the streetlamps, I love how they glow like little planets or stars, how you can't see what suspends them in the darkness, partly because of the contrasts between light and dark that turn the trees into sold black shadows against the still-fading sky.

Below: Davenport Road, as the sun's almost completely set. One of the things I like about this picture is the way the power lines form a shape that seems somehow analogous to the lines along the two sides of the road. Because of the strange semi-darkness the one brightest streetlight looks like either the sun or the moon (or both).