Photography and Art

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Urban Cathedrals

This summer, Trish and I have done a bit of biking on the fantastic network of trails that run through Toronto's many ravines. There are two large networks that are accessible close to our house, one that runs south and eventually emerges just to the east of the downtown core and the second that goes northbound to Steeles Avenue, the northernmost street in the Greater Toronto Area.

When we take the northbound route, we ride along a branch of the Don River. At one point, the pathway takes you under a massive bridge that carries the 10 or so lanes of the 401 highway across the river. The bridge was built using huge steel beams suspended on concrete arches. Underneath the bridge, you seem to enter into a strange world where even though the cars and trucks travel overhead, the sound becomes muted. It reminds me very much of the atmosphere inside one of those old European cathedrals.

Visually, there are other cathedral cues: the arched columns in rows, the path running between the columns, the giant roof supports. A photo project seemed called for!

This Saturday, I walked up the path with my slow photography gear (Canon 5d mkII, 17-40 mm wide angle lens, tripod and head) and had a very nice time taking images of the urban cathedral. The path was completely deserted despite the mild weather and I had lots of time to try different angles and exposures. I even tried merging several exposures using Photoshop HDR, but it led to some weirdness with yellow tinting at the edges and I eventually selected an under-exposed image and did some manipulation in Lightroom to get the following image.

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