The story behind five of the day’s pictures – January 9, 2021

The sun was shining when I woke up today. As I stared at the reflections of light in the mirror, I told myself that I had to get up and get outside today. That was the motivation I needed to get out of bed on what I was hoping would be a rather lazy Saturday.

By the early afternoon, I still hadn’t left. My buddy texted me to say that the weather was going to be better today than it’s supposed to be tomorrow; we’ve been trying to meet more regularly to go for appropriately distanced walks. I replied that I wanted to get out to take some pictures and asked if he’d be cool with that. We met up within about an hour.

Most often, I go out on photo walks by myself. I put my headphones on, pick a genre for the soundtrack, and start looking around. The headphones help me block out the perceived judgement that I feel when I’m holding my camera up to my face. As I’m looking out at the world, trying to frame it nicely, I’m made anxious by the thought of the world looking at me. The music gives me a rhythm to follow, a beat to march to, as it were. With the music on, all I can do is see the world around me.

The stories

Today, I thought that I’d share some of the stories behind five of the pictures I took. In all, I took 66 photos. I’d be curious to know what your thoughts are, so please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Pigeons on a perch

I like how the pigeons are sitting on the windowsill. The even colour of the building is made more interesting by the reflections in the windows but the pigeons break up the pattern. At one and the same time, they do and don’t belong there.

Skateboarder trying to fly

Initially, my aim was to take a picture of the shadows cast by the tree on the building. Without any leaves, the trees and their shadows have a very similar aesthetic. Both are almost flavourless. The orange of the building stands in sharp contrast. I found the shadow on the right that’s pointing into the peak of the roof particularly interesting. I got lucky with the skateboarder trying to do a kickflip.

Requisite sunset on the water

Lake Ontario has its moments. There were a whole bunch of folk taking pictures of the sunset tonight, probably because we haven’t seen the sun in nearly a month. Across the way is Toronto Island. What drew me to the scene was not the water or the sunset but the seagull sitting atop the poll on the left. The pier was roped off, which is likely why the seagulls felt safe enough to sit there.

Woman on the left

As we were walking along the boardwalk, I saw the woman on the left sitting there. It struck me as odd that she was there alone, only because she looks to be well-dressed and concerned about her appearance. She didn’t appear to be waiting for anyone to join her. I actually doubled-back to get this picture. If I had more confidence, I would have taken a better picture of her. The rest of the image isn’t all that interesting to me.

Unattended dog

I saw this dog and stopped to ask my friend if he thought the dog’s owner was around. The dog looks cold, despite the jacket. He’s sitting on the concrete, close to the road, and he’s untethered. There’s an element of danger. You aren’t allowed into many buildings these days so I couldn’t figure out why the dog was unattended. It pulled at my heartstrings. We waited a bit and the dog’s owner eventually showed up.

Keep taking pictures

In all, I’m not too pleased with the pictures I took today. Even still, I’m glad that I went out with my camera. Photography of this sort – within the street photography genre – is fascinating to me because it’s unmanufactured. The goal is to capture the world as it is, and then display the world as it was. To do this, you need very little – just a camera. Every day that I go out and take pictures is a good day, no matter how the photographs turn out because it opens my eyes to the world I live in.


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