Just Before Dawn

This is the city of Toronto just before dawn on a Sunday morning. There’s something about the electricity of a city that is attractive, I think it’s something in our nature. I used to live here for a dozen years, it was at a time I stopped doing photography, now when I go back I bring my camera.

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Just Before Dawn
Just Before Dawn in Toronto, Ontario Canada

This spot is just east of the city, I’m sure it’s popular with photographers but there were none here at this hour. I guess I was a little lucky with the timing because just as I was finishing up it started raining. Not that I mind a little rain, but being in a deserted industrial site in the rain at this hour is, well, less fun than sitting in a Starbucks with a spiced pumpkin latte.

Another good thing about showing up late or early to locations like this, the water is smooth as there are no boats moving about. That creates the smooth reflections which are further enhanced by the long exposure. So despite the cold, the rain and the ungodly hour, this is the perfect time and setting for photography.

more panoramas

In fact this is a three image panorama. I took three, eight-second exposures side by side with a tripod and then stitched them together. The end result is a high resolution image that I can enjoy from the comfort of a warm room while sipping a latte and thinking to myself “that’s wasn’t so bad, was it?”


This is the Posthoornkerk Church not far from the hotel I stayed at Amsterdam. In fact I took this out the window of the room. It was a cloudy day, perfect for photography, and just as I returned to my room I noticed the light streaming down along the horizon. However the way the hotel was designed there were two walls of glass between me and the outside. Nevertheless the image turned out without any reflections.

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Posthoornkerk Church in Amsterdam

When I wasn’t out walking around I’d stand by the window and watch the people ride bikes past on the street below. They’d ride at all hours of day and night. When I first arrived I was on eastern time and so was up quite late. Even at two and three in the morning people were riding bikes to get around.

This church is just a five minute walk. I didn’t manage to get in, each time I tried it was it booked for some event. The last time I tried it was a film crew setting up for a production. The time before that I think there was a wedding. Its a busy place, at least when I was here.

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Next to the church I sat in a little cafe in the morning with a cappuccino as I watched the activity on the street. I then walked next door to the chocolate shop to get gifts to bring home. Across the street was a cheese shop and then meats across from that.

My impression of the neighborhood is of a little village within a big city. I think that’s true for many sections of the city.

The Heron Dreams

As the waves lap upon the shore and the stars circle the night sky, the Heron dreams. In dreams we inhabit the same landscape, perhaps.

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The Heron Dreams
The Heron Dreams on Longboat Key

We miss so much when we don’t acknowledge nature. I have recently come to believe that the elemental spirits of nature, those we call animals, are so much more connected with the truth of life than we will ever know.

I am astonished at how much these beings revere us. We take it for granted, we always have. But if we stop and think, better yet, if we connect with them, we may learn something about them. We may even learn something about ourselves.

I am coming to realize that animals have so much to teach us. I think that in our current society we gloss over this to our own detriment. Perhaps it is just a temporary condition and in years to come we will correct this.

night photography

Perhaps one way to correct this is to make an attempt to respect and acknowledge the animals around us. They are all around, shouldn’t we take notice? When you look into the eyes of an animal you will see a window to a soul or spirit that is just as viable a life as our own. More often than not see love looking back.

I think that by connecting with our animal friends we will unlock something in ourselves. All we have to do is notice. This is my simple tribute to the elemental life all around us.


I don’t need to tell you because everyone knows Ron is in Toronto. I ran into Ron the other day while wandering around Toronto. It was raining and not too many people were out, but that could have been because it was Sunday morning. In any case, as I said, I was wandering about in the rain and there, right in front of me is Ron. I was a little surprised to see Ron.

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Ron Is In Toronto
RON is in TORONTO (the sign that is)

I’m a little shy, so I wasn’t sure if I should go right up to Ron or just hang back. I decided to hang back, safer that way. There were a few other people milling about but I’m not sure if they recognized Ron.

I was about to walk up and take a photo but then it happened. As I sat there transfixed I heard an incessant noise, or shout. I looked around and as I looked behind me there was a large group of Chinese tourist shouting for me to get out of the way. I was standing in front of Ron in Toronto and ruining their shot. I can understand that, I hate when that happens. Some people can be oblivious to others trying to get a perfect photo. At that moment the someone was me.

more urban street photos

Anyway, just as quickly as they appeared they vanished into the grey morning drizzle of an October day. I was left wondering how so many could disappear so quickly. I must say these tourist are efficient in the extreme.

Finally I had my chance, it was just me and Ron in Toronto. I approached and took a picture. This is Ron, in Toronto.