Thursday, May 31, 2012

In Stride - CN Tower, Toronto, Canada

In Stride - CN Tower, Toronto, Canada

May 25, 2012. "In Stride - CN Tower." Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

A commuter walks across the Bathurst Street bridge in Toronto. The CN Tower featured in the shot is the "tallest freestanding structure in North America" and an architectural icon for the city of Toronto and one of the highlights of its ultra-modern skyline.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/250. f/8.0. ISO 100. LR 2.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Change - Toronto, Canada


May 24, 2012. Change. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

When I started this photo blog a few months ago, I mentioned that I may diverge at times from street photography posts or from posts specific to the Orlando, Florida area. This isn't really a change.

I spent this past week in Toronto, Canada, visiting my in-laws. Toronto is a very photogenic city, going through a rapid wave of change and immigration that makes me think of what New York must have been like 100 years ago, only with more hipsters. The next several posts will feature photos that I felt captured something special about Toronto and Torontonians.

The "change" photo is appropriate though, because there are changes in how the other pages of this blog are organized. This is, and will continue to be, "Orlando Street Photography." For shots where I digress and explore other places that I want to share, separate sub-gallery pages will be created.

The photo above was taken in the Scarborough area of Toronto at a Roots store. For those who have never been to Canada, "Roots" is a Canadian athletic clothing brand similar to American Eagle Outfitters or The Gap. Canadian tourists in Europe are particularly fond of Roots clothing because it helps identify them as being Canadian.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that being Canadian makes one much more likeable than being American.

Personally, I've found that the manner in which you treat people when visiting another land has a much greater bearing on how affable they find you than the country printed on your passport.

That said, the vast majority of Torontonians are genuinely friendly, affable folks with a strong sense of both individualism and community. Hopefully that will shine through in the photo posts that follow.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/60. f/2.8. ISO 200. LR 2.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Orlando Skyline from I-4, Monochrome

Orlando Skyline from I-4, Monochrome

May 20, 2012. Orlando Skyline from I-4, Monochrome.

A color version of this skyline shot was posted last week. While I love the blue tones in it, I prefer the monochrome version.

This shot was taken from the passenger's seat driving down I-4 through downtown Orlando. The best views of the city are from the south (west) approach.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/60. f/2.8. ISO 1600. LR 2.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Orlando Skyline from I-4, 2012 Color

Orlando Skyline from I-4, 2012 Color

May 20, 2012. Orlando Skyline from I-4, 2012 Color.

I realized the other day that the only skyline picture that I have up is from 2006, and there have been a number of changes since then.

This shot of the Sun Trust building and the 55 West residence building was taken while moving down I-4 right after sunset. A black and white version (which I prefer) will be posted next Monday, but I thought it was worth posting the color version as well.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/60. f/2.8. ISO 1600. LR 2.

Monday, May 21, 2012



May 4, 2012. Q. Apopka, Florida.

If you find a post named "Q" and think "James Bond's about to get a new watch!", you've just Googled your way to the wrong blog.

This is a photo inspired by the other "Q." Good, greasy, smoked with a sweet and seasoned hot sauce Florida style Barbecue. That's BBQ if you're a sign manufacturer with a limited budget.

The place pictured above is not the best BBQ in Florida or even in Orlando, but it is close, convenient, and comfortable.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/30. f/2.8. ISO 1600. LR 2.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Their Own World

Their Own World

May 11, 2012. "Their Own World." Photo 5 of 5 of the Snap! Orlando Series.

In the fourth photo of this series, a young couple on a Friday evening date were pretending to watch a Marc Gouby street photography movie at Snap! Orlando.

Somehow, the series of photos seemed incomplete without this shot bringing it to a happy ending.

The Marc Gouby "Sleepers" and "Commuters" display was excellent. Ultimately, though, street photography is about people, and there is no more important person than the one who is next to you.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/30. f/2.8. ISO 1600. LR 2.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Date Night

Date Night

May 11, 2012. "Date Night." Taken at the Snap! Orlando photography exhibit in downtown Orlando, Florida.

Picture 4 of 5 from the Snap! Orlando series is a continuation of yesterday's post, this time focusing in on just one couple watching a street photography movie by Marc Gouby.

Something about the girl in the picture reminded me of one of my favorite Salvador Dali paintings, "Girl's Back," except refreshingly less lonely in this shot.

For me, this shot is a celebration of the awkward moments when you first start falling in love; the days when the highlight of your Friday evening is pretending that you're engrossed in a documentary film, while the someone next to you does exactly the same, just so that moment won't have to end.

This photo sets the stage for tomorrow's fifth and final shot of the series. I hope that you see a little of yourself in the faceless couple and return tomorrow for the conclusion.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/30. f/2.8. ISO 1600. LR 2.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Through the looking glass

Through the looking glass

May 11, 2012. "Through the Looking Glass." Photo 3 of 5 of the Snap! Orlando series.

If you were to go through the door of the melancholy couple from yesterday's post, this bright room is what you'd find.

On the left is a series of Tokyo street photographs by Marc Gouby, part of the "Ginza Line-Tokyo Project." Straight ahead, a video portion of the project is projected against the wall.

In front of that wall, a story will develop over the next five minutes of life. To be continued in photos 4 and 5.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/30. f/2.8. ISO 1600. LR 2.

All the world's a stage

All the world's a stage

May 11, 2012. "All the world's a stage." Photo 2 of 5 from the 2012 Snap! Orlando photography exhibit series.

Photo #1 of this series focused on the timeless instant aspect of photography. Photo #2 focuses on the beautiful silence.

When you see the scene above, what sounds do you picture? Quiet whispers? The hum of an air conditioner? Gentle echoes?

The light touching the sensor is more serene than the reality. Just behind the red curtain, a group of musicians loudly banged an African drum piece over a hundred sushi-eating socialites sipping drinks and laughing loudly.

I did not want a picture of the drum beaters or the martini sniffers. I wanted a picture of people like me; the ones whose souls seek tranquil open spaces and meaningful moments with just one person, or perhaps a few.

There are a few stylistic elements in this shot that come up from time to time in my favorite photos. Silhouetted people against a contrasting background. Light reflecting off of foreground surfaces. The color red.

People walking through doorways intrigue me as subjects. Light sources often differ dramatically from one room to the next, naturally illuminating a person in transition. It's a powerful metaphor of change.

Watch people walk through doorways in social spaces. You'll notice that they often aren't looking forward. They glance longingly at the things and people they're leaving behind. It's a semi-conscious sort of melancholy that we probably all fall victim to from time to time. Remember the wife of Lot.

The title for this post is from Shakespeare's As You Like It. I found it particularly appropriate due to the real action in life occurring behind the stage, along with the likely possibility that the city of Orlando was named after a character in that play.

The stage is set. The actors are in place. Photos 3-5 of my Snap! Orlando series will take you through the doorway of the melancholy couple into the bright realm of two young lovers oblivious to the world around them. Stay tuned...

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/30. f/2.8. ISO 800. LR 2.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Stop. Celebrate the photograph. Snap.

Stop. Celebrate the photograph. Snap.

May 11, 2012. "Stop. Celebrate the photograph. Snap." Downtown Orlando, Florida.

This entire week will feature a series of shots taken at the annual Snap! Orlando photography exhibit.

I'll start with this fitting title slide, and a story about why this shot makes me smile.

Snap! Orlando changes venues each year. This year, the main exhibits were held in a warehouse dubbed "Urban Wild" in downtown Orlando, right next to the Interstate. An illuminated, temporary sign kiosk was placed out front to mark the way to the overnight museum, which was filled with trendy, mostly overdressed folks who looked beautiful, like they were straight out of the first five minutes of any CSI Miami episode.

I framed and shot this two times. The first time, it was just the sign. Immediately after clicking the shutter, I saw the bicycle zipping along the sidewalk and thought of that famous photo of the bicyclist by Henri Cartier-Bresson. No time to change the shutter speed, I quickly changed the camera into manual focus so that it would take the picture when I wanted it to and got this one shot off.

So my bicyclist is a little blurred, too, as was Henri's. Still, this imperfect photo captures what I love about photography. Part composition. Part inspiration. Part happenstance.

Every shot a unique moment, never to happen again.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/15. f/5. ISO 1600. LR 2.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Thinker

The Thinker
April 29, 2012. The Thinker.

Even Mickey Mouse daydreams about the weekend on Fridays.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/60. f/2.8. ISO 100. LR 2.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Love Pie

I <3 Pie

April 29, 2012. "I <3 Pie." Celebration, Florida.

Another shot from the Great American Pie Festival in Celebration, Florida.

A member of the Publix "Pie Police" stocks up on a handful of free samples at the end of the festival.

I don't know exactly what "Pie Police" do, but I think the sticker should be standard issue for all law enforcement officers. Wouldn't it be less stressful if the officer writing you a speeding ticket had a big "I <3 Pie" sticker on his chest?

Description. Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/250. f/11. ISO 400. LR 2.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Moby on the photo less taken

You probably have heard of Moby as a musician.

This weekend, the same Moby will be one of the featured photographers at the Snap! Orlando Photography Festival, showcasing his Destroyed collection.

beautiful quote from the interview:
"My interest was always in taking pictures of things that seemed strange or odd. From an early age I sort of understood, the last 170 years of photography, the beautiful stuff has been photographed a lot and I sort of felt like… there are so many incredibly talented photographers taking pictures of mountains and sunsets and puppies and beautiful people and… I was like, they know what they're doing. I'm going to go take pictures of strange things that no one else is going to take pictures of… What can I take a picture of that other people might not have access to, or what can I take a picture of that's ignored?"

He also talks about how he came to love photography as a child, the joys of developing film, and how leaning to shoot on film versus learning to shoot first on digital affects shot selection habits.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Crisco Fan

Crisco Fan

April 29, 2012. Crisco Fan. Celebration, Florida.

It's actually not that she's a Crisco fan. It's more that she's a fan of the luscious pies made possible by Crisco.

You see, this shot was taken during the Great American Pie Festival (yes, there is such a thing) in Celebration, Florida. For a few dollars, you can get all-you-can-eat pie during the festival. For irony's value, in an ideal world it would be followed by the Type-2 Diabetes Festival with all-you-can-prick blood glucose meter strips.

What is Celebration, Florida, you ask?

It's a "master planned community" south of Orlando that was originally developed by the Walt Disney Company. For some, it is an ideal modern American community. To me, it's a fake monstrosity of people who wanted to live in Main Street, USA and kind of reminiscent of the scary community where "The Truman Show" was set. Or maybe the community where Indiana Jones survived the nuclear explosion in a refrigerator.

It's not that Celebration isn't aesthetically pleasing, because it is. It's cute. It's just fake. I guess pretty fake is better than ugly fake, but it's still fake.

It's kind of like a Chia Pet. It's kind of natural. But it's also kind of ridiculously fake and disturbing at the same time.

Still, nothing says middle America stuck in a southeastern peninsula setting filled with retired New Yorkers than a Mayberryesque town at capacity with people gorging themselves on cheap cherry pie.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/250. f/11. ISO 400. LR 2.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Strings Attached

Strings Attached

April 29, 2012. Strings Attached. Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

In Orlando perhaps more than any other city, cartoons share with us the three dimensional space of reality.

In the real world, even cartoons are subject to the laws of physics.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/125. f/2.8. ISO 1600. LR 2.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

How Orlando, Florida got its name

How Orlando, Florida got its name

April 8, 2012. How Orlando, Florida got its name...

I have posted about the legends of how Orlando, Florida got its beautiful and unique name several months ago.

I've found that a lot of this blog's visitors, particularly locals, were curious about this story. I am reposting some of the details of both versions from my post mentioned above, along with a previously unpublished picture of the "Orlando Reeves" memorial on the shores of Lake Eola.

Originally, Orlando was known as Jernigan after a prominent cattle family in the area. It became Orlando in 1857. There are two versions to the story. I'll relate the official version endorsed by the city first, followed by what I consider the more likely story.

According to the city, Orlando got its name from a soldier named Orlando Reeves in the Seminole War who was killed on the banks of what is now Lake Eola in 1835. The problem is that there are absolutely no records that a soldier named Orlando Reeves ever existed. Some have tried to explain around this fact by pointing out that it may have been a landowner in the area called Orlando Rees, an associate of John James Audubon, but the dates of death are all wrong to fit with the legend.

Another version of the story is that the name was chosen by Judge T. G. Speer, who arranged for Orlando to become the county seat through some creative vote manipulation. Judge Speer was a huge Shakespeare fan and named the city after his favorite character in "As You Like It." This version is very well documented by his descendants, and it also helps explain the naming of Rosalind Avenue.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/125. f/8.0. ISO 200. LR 2.

Friday, May 4, 2012



April 29, 2012. Tinkertoys. Downtown Disney, Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Happy weekend. Now go play!

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/30. f/2.8. ISO 1600. LR 2.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Portrait of the Artist as a Bronze Statue

A Portrait of the Artist as a Bronze Statue
April 30, 2012. A Portrait of the Artist as a Bronze Statue.

A bronze statue of James Joyce sitting on a bench patiently meditates outside Raglan Road at Downtown Disney near Orlando, Florida.

I'd also like to add a brief word about stylistic influences. Included among those for me is Mr. James Joyce.

It isn't Finnegan's Wake, Ulysses, or A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man that resonates with me. For me, it's Dubliners. Published in 1914, it's a poignantly human collection of short stories depicting middle class nobodies encountering their personal turning points in life.

These are the written snapshots of decisive moments predating Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau. After all, what is street photography but the portrayal of the sometimes unvarnished, gritty, and natural moments of modern existence that precipitate epiphany?

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/1000. f/2.8. ISO 100. LR 2.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Deadmau5 Invasion

Deadmau5 Invasion

April 30, 2012. Deadmau5 Invasion.

Downtown Disney. Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/500. f/3.5. ISO 400. LR 2.



April 29, 2012. Carousel. Downtown Disney.

Children become knights and princesses for a few instants one evening at Downtown Disney.

Shooting Tip: the Leica X1 has an unusably slow auto focus, particularly in low light. The Fujifilm X-100 and X-Pro1 are known for the same difficulty. This shot was taken by manually focusing on the outside rim of the carousel at about the same distance as the midpoint of the shot would be.

Leica X1. 24.0 mm. 1/125. f/2.8. ISO 1600. LR 2.