Feb 022020
Hasselblad 45P lens review. What a great, weird little thing.

Update. New firmware is now available, which will make this lens compatible with the X1D. So disregard the autofocus and exposure issues mentioned.  I like surprises and Hasselblad surprised me and others when they launched the 45p f4 lens out of nowhere. Nobody expected it, nobody saw it coming, but it hit a nerve. Many Hasselblad X1D users have bought into the system because of its size and mobility. The current lens lineup is fine but the weird shutter sound of earlier lenses and the weight made it only ok for carrying around. The original 45mm lens actually has been my favorite […]

  •  February 2, 2020
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Mar 312019
Hasselblad X1D super late Review.

There is a moment in the life of a photographer when he or she opens the cabinet and looks at the accumulation of stuff and realizes that there are only three options: Close the cabinet and ignore it. Sell most of the equipment and keep one system. Sign up for therapy to figure out why you even have all this equipment. Option 1 I have done for years. Option 3 Does not apply to me. So I stayed with option 2. To give you a better perspective. Over the last couple of years I had used a Leica M240, which […]

  •  March 31, 2019
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Feb 182019
First impression of the Hasselblad X1d with 65mm XCD lens. Review

This is a short review of the 65mm 2.8 Hasselblad XCD lens. I just received it a few days ago and took it out on a few walks for some handheld shots. I am currently working on a larger review of the X1D, which I will publish in a few days. So stay tuned for that. A week ago I looked at BHPhoto’s website late at night and to my surprise this long awaited lens was in stock. Since a 50mm on full frame cameras and 80mm on full medium format cameras is my preferred focal length I was hoping […]

Apr 292018
Leica SL test with 120fps in B&W.

This is a test of the Leica SL 1080 slow motion video. Shot at the skate park in Boston with Leica M Summilux 50mm 1.4 lens. Color conversion and editing in Premiere Pro CC. Triple click the running video to watch it in full screen.  

  •  April 29, 2018
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May 182017
Jean-Michel Jarre concert seen through the Leica M10

As a casual but frequent runner I like to explore my neighborhood on my feet. When I run I scout for interesting places, sights, events. Two nights ago I ran by a concert venue in the Boston Seaport district and I noticed that the event of the day was Jean-Michel Jarre. When I grew up in the 80s, JMJ was one of the megastars of the electronic music scene. As a Düsseldorfer, the hometown of Kraftwerk, I was immediately intrigued to check out this concert. So I ran home, took a shower, forgot to eat, but grabbed my M10 with […]

Jan 222017
Leica M240 at 'Women's March' in Boston 2017

I took a M240 with three lenses to the Women’s March in Boston to capture the crowd. Since it is unusual to have 100k+ people gathering in one place, carrying posters and pink hats, it is a great opportunity for a street photographer to take some photos. Personally I found it to be a difficult task to capture such an event. Getting to the right vantage point is often difficult because everybody is packed in. Things change quickly, people moving left and right into the frame. Plus the fear of dropping a lens while changing it and seeing it rolling […]

  •  January 22, 2017
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Jan 082017
Leica SL test drive.

There are two products with the name SL that both make me want to spend some quality time with them. One is the Mercedes SL, especially the older models like the W113. Light, solidly-build, fast, with straight lines. The other is the Leica SL, a mirrorless camera that targets the market of high-end DSLRs. While no serious collector will hand me a W113 for a weekend, especially not one with a snowstorm on the horizon, the Leica Store Boston offers a weekend test-drive of the Leica SL. After having dropped two credit cards on the counter, one doesn’t seem to […]

  •  January 8, 2017
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Aug 232015
Happy Birthday Old Man

Today our father would have been 80 years old. He was born on the 23rd August 1935. He died seventeen years ago in 1998 at the age of 62. Too early. He smoked pipe tobacco for as long as I knew him and in the late 90s it finally caught up on him. 1998 was probably the most bizarre year in my life. Thinking of him I sat down and typed my dad’s name into Google. I didn’t expect much to find since he died during the early stages of the internet. In 1998 I had just used email for […]

  •  August 23, 2015
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Aug 162015
QM2 leaving the Harbor.

One of my favorite Boston moments. Two, three times a year the Queen Mary 2 stops at Boston Harbor. It stays there for a day or so and leaves really late at night at 11pm. So you walk at night through this empty, industrial area to reach the tip of the Black Falcon Pier. You may be joined by a handful of fishing people and a few others. Not more than ten. At 11pm the gigantic vessel moves slowly, really slowly backwards out of the dock. A funk band was playing on the rear deck, which is the only sound […]

  •  August 16, 2015
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Aug 092015
Through my Ray-Bans

Here is a quick experiment. Last week I walked around Boston during a sunny day. Often the light is very strong, creating harsh contrast and washed out colors. While walking around everything looked fine through my Ray-Bans. But once I took them off to take some shots I saw the glare und almost unmanageable contrast in the light. Afternoon photography works much better. So I thought “Why not use the Ray-Ban as a filter”. I took a set of images with the sunglasses slightly away from the lens so that it only covered the center of the image. Personally I […]

  •  August 9, 2015
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Aug 012015
Istanbul, a Leica M 240, three lenses, and good shoes.

Mid July of this year I had the chance to visit Istanbul for 10 days. A great opportunity for everybody who likes street photography. My initial intent was to travel light, but in the end I took two camera systems with me. One was a Phase One/Leaf combo, including tripod for some large format work. I will cover that in another blog entry. For pure documentary-style work I took my Leica M240, equipped with a 35mm Summilux FLE, a 50mm Summilux ASPH, and a Zeiss 21mm 2.8 lens. (I wish Leica would produce a compact 21mm in the f2.0-2.8 range. […]

  •  August 1, 2015
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Mar 042015
Winter Cycle

For the last several weeks I have been covering the Boston blizzards. Before the first storm hit I went out in Fort Point/Boston and captured various spots. My ideas was to show the landscape before and after the first storm. Out of this series there was one image that particularly I liked. It shows a bike that had been attached to a parking meter. Right after the storm I walked by there again and took another photo of it and I tried to shoot something similar to the first shot. The following days I walked by that bike again and […]

  •  March 4, 2015
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Feb 222015
Boston Blizzards with the Leica M240.

There is no way to not take any photos of snow right now in Boston. Over the last four weeks the city and the entire area of New England has been covered by multiple snow blizzards, each dropping a foot or more of fresh snow onto every surface. While one storm makes the city bend, multiple storms make the city break. At least for a few days. Transportation gets shut down, people can’t go to work, cars are getting plowed in, food supplies don’t reach the supermarkets, etc. Overall it is a difficult time for everybody. Mostly because we are […]

  •  February 22, 2015
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Nov 162014
Bea Camacho at the ICA Boston

My friend and colleague Bea Camacho gave a performance at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. It took her around 8 hours on Thursday to knit the bottom part of her cocoon and another 3 hours on Saturday to finish it and to completely enclosed herself. I was amazed by the focus and determination. The result was a beautiful, yet thought-provoking performance. Bea is from the Philippines but lives and works in Shanghai. I used a Leica M9 and a Leica M240 for the photos. Since it was not much light in the gallery the M240 images allowed me […]

  •  November 16, 2014
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Jan 052014
Lucha Canaria

Lucha Canaria is the most popular traditional sport on the Canary Islands. It is a form of folk wrestling that is slightly different from the olympic wrestling and very different from the show wrestling you see on TV. The rules are basic. You fight in a round arena filled with sand, called terrero (autocorrect is desperately trying to change that word into terror). The wrestlers can touch the sand with their feet but once they touch it with any other part of their body they lose. If that happens twice you are out. That is it. Instead of hitting the […]

  •  January 5, 2014
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Dec 142013
Leica M240 vs M9 vs Sony A7R Lens Combination Review

Every now and then there is a time when some interesting camera models pile up on my desk. Usually this happens during a transition the from one model to another one. Recently the stars aligned again. Since I moved up to a Leica M240 a few months ago I wanted to test it against my older Leica M9P. While I like the M240s high ISO performance I wasn’t fully sure how it compares when being used during the day. This comparison had been on my agenda for a while and it just happened that a Sony A7R showed up. So […]

Oct 062013
New England postcards

Currently is the time that landscape photographers run around New England to capture the beauty of Fall colors. While preferring a German, contemporary style of photography I sometimes find myself in front of a fishing boat or lighthouse and take what someone may describe as a typical New England landscape photo. I look at a scene and it reminds me of a puzzle cover, calendar shot, or postcard. The trick to capture that scene well is by using a tripod and a long exposure. My camera is limited to 30 seconds of maximum exposure time but that is long enough […]

  •  October 6, 2013
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Oct 062013
Time to undust and prepare for Open Studio.

It is time to undust my blog. I have neglected this channel of communication for almost a year. While at some point I had new entries almost on a weekly basis I stopped writing last Fall. Too many things came together that kept me away from this. Now I have settled into a new space with a new Open Studio just two weeks away and I have decided to bring new content to this site. Surprisingly they number of hits has gone up even without me doing anything. On average almost 20.000 pages get clicked every months. So stay tuned […]

  •  October 6, 2013
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Dec 032012
Open Studio

Last October I participated in an Open Studio weekend in my new neighborhood Fort Point. Cambridgeport does similar events but our apartment there was not really suitable to showcase my artwork at the right scale. The detail-rich prints from large-format film and large digital sensors need to be displayed in a format that allows the viewer to discover the stories within a print at a macro and micro level. Currently I am living in a friend’s studio loft with large open space and high ceiling. A perfect setting for showcasing artwork. Still, the wall space was somehow limited. I puzzled […]

  •  December 3, 2012
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Jul 302012
Megapixel shootout

  It has been a while since I wrote my last entry. Actually that was on the 18th of June shortly after the Radiohead concert. Since then I have been traveling to Germany and I moved into a new location. Enough to keep me distracted. The good news is that I spent more time on photography again. Now there are hundreds of images that need to be processed for future blogs. Throughout the last few months there has been one thing that I really wanted to try out. Last January I purchased a used Leaf digital back mounted on a […]

  •  July 30, 2012
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Jun 182012
Radiohead live

Yesterday I read the shocking news about the collapse of the Radiohead stage in Toronto. One worker died and several others got injured. Just a few weeks ago I went to the Radiohead concert here in the Boston area. A few colleagues of mine and I did a little road trip to see them and their opener Caribou. Thanks to Michael and Ramona we got amazing tickets for the area right at the stage. Along came my Sony Nex 7 and two lenses, the Sony 24mm 1.8 and my Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH. When we arrived I starting using the […]

May 282012

During the last nine months I had several camera equipment pieces that needed to be serviced. First a Zeiss 21mm 2.8 M-mount lens, which I really like, that suddenly went out of focus. At infinity the whole image looked completely blurred. Shortly after my Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH mount got wobbly. The lens was not firmly attached to the camera anymore. A few months later a purchased demo Leaf Aptus 2 12 digital back showed strange artifacts in some night images. It created a magenta haze on the edges. So all three had to be send in. Interestingly the Leica […]

  •  May 28, 2012
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Apr 082012
Easter Egg Hunt

I took this photo about 6 years ago in the South End/Boston at the Titus Sparrow Park. I lived in that area for four years before I moved to Cambridge. Every year at Easter time people from that neighborhood celebrate an Easter Egg Hunt. It is really a hunt, less a search. The idea is simple. Drop a few hundred or thousand eggs on a lawn, put some police tape around them and when the time comes you start a collecting frenzy that empties this field within ten seconds. The toughest, fastest, oldest kid will most likely get the most […]

Mar 112012

We just came back from a one week vacation to the Dominican Republic. Both of our batteries were exhausted and we needed a recharge urgently. The plan was to not do anything but sit in a hammock and watch the water. Because my partner needed to do some work during the week, which almost caused us not to book anything this year, we decided on an all-inclusive package. This would allow her to work in the morning, while I would put my head into the water, and to do activities together in the afternoon without thinking of cooking or driving. […]

Mar 022012
Quick DOF example

Here is a quick DOF example. I took this shot handheld with a Leaf Aptus back on a PhaseOne DF camera with a 80mm D lens. to test that combo.I used 1/180, the longest exposure time that doesn’t create motion blur with that lens. A good rule 3x the focal length. So ideally I would have used 1/250. You really have to hold still as much as possible to not get washed-out details. F4 was the aperture that I used. I am amazed how critical the focus needs to be. In the whole shot (slightly cropped) the red outlet looks […]

  •  March 2, 2012
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Feb 262012
A few shots from this week

This week I went to Indianapolis for a meeting and to NYC for a long weekend. I took along my M9P with just one lens, the 35mm 2.0 Summicron. While I did not actively take photos, I enjoyed pressing the shutter here and there. Besides spending time in the city I decided to visit Coney Island and Zion Cemetery. I had never been there before and now I had time. Actually I liked Coney Island. Great colors, even when everything is closed. I met a vendor from Pakistan, who didn’t want to get photographed but he offered me a seat. […]

Feb 192012
Cold commercial look

Today I did a short tour up to Lynn, Marblehead, Salem. I stopped at Revere Beach for a stroll along the water. On the way back to my car I noticed the strong light that hit the vehicle. With the beach in the background and no other cars around it almost looked like a commercial setting. The contrast was strong, almost too harsh for any controllable lighting. I took a shot with my Phase One camera, which resulted in a very plain, greenish looking image. It was necessary to underexpose a bit to preserve the highlights of the image. It […]

Feb 142012
Lytro in the house

Last week I had the opportunity to take a closer look at the Lytro camera. They were in town to show off their product at the MIT. They followed an invitation to our IDEO studio to get feedback from our creative group. First I have to say that it is an impressive concept. Based on research made at Standford University and further developed to a marketable product by one of their students and company founder Ren Ng, this small camera allows you to post define the focus point. How does it work? Don’t ask me, but basically it captures 16 […]

Feb 122012
Nothing there.

Today has been a strange day. For weeks I have been waiting for some overcast. I have a list of sites that I want to photograph but I would need even lighting, which an overcast day would provide. It is easy to do this in Germany and there is no surprise that Gursky’s, Bernd and Hilla Becher’s, Elger Esser’s, Thomas Struth’s early images illustrate this cold, neutral, clean aesthetic, that is characteristic for that area. Düsseldorf and the region around has less sunlight than most other areas in Germany. Perfect for someone who likes to shoot on overcast, shadow-free days. […]

Jan 222012
Good-bye Kodak

Kodak has entered its last chapter. Chapter 11. It filed for bankruptcy this week. Over the next months or years we will see Kodak selling off any valuables that they own. Intellectual property, inefficient or non profitable business units, properties, etc. It will lay off workers and will tell investors that glory times will be ahead. What most likely will happen is that Kodak will survive for a short period of time and then will drop dead. I could tell you how sad that would be, that Kodak was photography and that they could have lead the digital revolution. Kodak […]

  •  January 22, 2012
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Jan 032012
Megapixel Extravaganza

It has been almost two months since my last entry into my blog. That is a long time and not really beneficial to hold any audience. The reason is fairly simple to explain. I got distracted, demotivated, challenged, busy, bored, and lazy. But with every new year comes a New Years resolution, which may just last as long as any dietary resolution, but at least it will cover the first couple of weeks. One of my big resolutions for this year is to do “less, but better”. This rule used by famous designer Dieter Rams to describe his philosophy on […]

  •  January 3, 2012
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Nov 142011
The marketing dinosaur

When your best friend sends you an email saying; “Slacker!  When do you post something new?”, then it is time to post something new. A few days ago I walked down Memorial Drive in Cambridge/MA. Sunlight was quickly disappearing at a time too early for my liking, when I spotted a yellow/red beacon. Since I moved to Cambridge Port I couldn’t stop looking at and photographing the old Shell sign right at the corner of Magazine and Memorial. It is part of a gas station installation but has been neglected for decades. I don’t know when it was installed but […]

  •  November 14, 2011
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Oct 232011

It is crisp Sunday morning and our heating system woke up from Summer hibernation with a short, cheap sounding “Plop”. It gave up before it had even started. So I am hanging out in our study, the only warm, electrically heated room in the house. While drinking tea and chewing on a honey covered slice of bread I discovered two articles in the New York Times magazine, one about the training of Afghans to protect their homes and valuables from the Taliban, the other one is a photo essay about life in war zones. The first article is written by […]

Oct 162011
Images from 'Occupy Boston'.

Yesterday and today I stopped by at the site of ‘Occupy Boston’. I spent an hour to take some quick shots of the activities. Here are some of my visual impressions. D!RK    

  •  October 16, 2011
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Sep 272011
Zone focusing with manual lenses

There is always this moment of excitement, appreciation, and respect when someone looks at a manual focus lens. The rings, numbers, and lines communicate control while demanding a certain amount of skill. A well designed, manual lens is a piece of beauty, like a jewelry or a precise tool (which it is). In recent years lens design has led to visually simplified lens constructions. Autofocus and viewfinder focus-confirmation have eliminated the need for manual controls. While photographers can still switch to manual focus, they often don’t have any focus lines printed on the barrels anymore. You still find distance indicators […]

Sep 042011
The Southwest: The National Parks

Getting out of Vegas felt like a breeze of hot, fresh air. Suddenly you have space, lots of space, and less noise and people. Traveling through the Southwest is every European’s dream and so it was no surprise that most people in the parks were Germans, Italians, and French. It felt like being home, just with a different landscape. Our first stop was Hoover Dam at 120F temperature. Not only on hot days I can recommend the tour inside this amazing structure. Next stop was Grand Canyon Village on the South rim. Around five hours from Vegas this cozy place […]

Sep 042011
The Southwest: Las Vegas

Two weeks ago I left Boston for a well deserved vacation in the American Southwest. I had never been there before and seeing Vegas and the surrounding landscape had been on my to do list since I crossed the US border for the first time. My partner Kathrin had been invited to a sociologist conference in Vegas. Yes, what better place for them to talk about social dynamics, while at every street corner you can order women to your room within 20 minutes. Question: If Vegas represents the American Dream then what does Vegas tell us about our society? I […]

Aug 132011
Bats of Austin.

If you ever make it to Austin, don’t forget to check out a few highlights. 1. Stay at the Hotel San Jose on South Congress street. There is no other tranquil place like this in that city. Calm, understated, contemporary, relaxing, still right where you find the hip and edgy. 2. Check out the music scene on 6th Street. 3. Walk over Congress Bridge and imagine what is underneath. During the day around 1.5 million bats stay inside the bridge and take long naps. Right around dusk they seem to wake up and fly off the bridge to find food. […]

Aug 132011
Does an upgrade from an M9 to a Leica M9-P make sense?

    NO! That is basically the short answer. The slightly longer answer would be; No it doesn’t make sense at all. So why do I have an upgrade floating around? Because life doesn’t always make sense. The M9-P is more or less the same camera. Technically it is identical with the M9. Cosmetically the top plate is slightly different, without the M9 sign and the red Leica dot. Instead it shows an engraved Leica name and camera origin on the top surface. The hot shoe is now black instead of satin silver. While the black M9 and the M9-P […]

Jul 192011
Hipstamatic, still filling a gap.

Hipstamatic is nothing new. It has been around for years and people seem to have fun with it. What surprises me is that from time to time it makes me leave my pricey camera at home to just take shots with my IPhone. It is amazing because if you look at any specs the software really sucks. The resolution is low, the processing speed is really slow, sometimes it shifts the lenses without any obvious reason, the viewfinder is ridiculously tiny, and if you don’t wait long enough after taking the shot it may get lost completely. Still there is […]

  •  July 19, 2011
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Jul 122011
Pure lens porn

A dear friend of mine sent me the link of a video that illustrates how Leica manufactures their lenses. It is amazing how much craftsmanship is involved. No wonder these lenses are so expensive. I really appreciate this dedication to detail and hand assembly. I watched this video and it made me feel differently about my lenses at home. I guess I will pick them up today and look at them with different eyes. It is fascinating that some of the best lenses in the world are hand assembled and don’t come out of a fully automated clean-room. I guess […]

  •  July 12, 2011
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Jul 102011
Snow trucks

This morning I spent some time cleaning and deleting Lightroom collections. A bit of housekeeping in my digital archive has been necessary but neglected at the same time. I found this small collection of images of toy trucks in the snow. Looking at them made me feel refreshed. As much as I dislike the New England winter, seeing it in summer has some positive effect on me. That’s why I am sharing these images now, on a nice, hot day. In the meanwhile I will keep looking for my 2008 surf images. If I could decide between beach and mountain, the beach […]

  •  July 10, 2011
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Jun 262011
Urban stages

It has been two weeks since my last post and I am realizing that writing them on a weekly basis is harder than expected. This morning I am sitting in front of my computer waiting for the weather to warm up so I can do a short bike ride before heading out to a BBQ this afternoon. A few days ago I prepared some examples around PS Photomerge which in the end didn’t look too convincing. So I looked through some of my recent images, not too many I have to admit, and found one shot that triggered a little […]

Jun 122011
The cropped cows

Since I started using a camera I have been following discussions about cropping images. Should a photo be cropped or should the final print show the untouched outline of the captured frame? People who are pro cropping may question why their artistic expression should be limited by frame or sensor sizes that someone came up with in a technical lab. On the other side photographers who see cropping as a sin would probably use Henri Cartier Bresson as an example of a master who never cropped his images. Actually he never cared about the printing part of photography so he […]

May 302011
Memorial Day

Have a great Memorial Day, wherever you are. Yesterday I went to the Boston Common, America’s oldest public garden. On display were thousands of flags, each representing a person from Massachusetts that has fallen during a war conflict. Just knowing that most flags stand for an individual tragedy that will never be told makes you pause. It reminds you of that famous quote: ‘The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.’ (Most likely first used by Tucholsky, not Stalin. WikiQuote)

May 302011
Following In Sook Kim

Years ago I had the strange idea to not only take photographs but to collect some of them as well. I think that a mix of passion, financial opportunity, and Grosskotztum ( a word that can not be translated from German) came together. At that time my focus had just shifted to more contemporary artists, still I started looking at Ansel Adams prints, since they had been an inspiration for a long time. It turned out to be a quick route. Actually a dead-end street. Prices were astronomical, far out of my reach. So I looked into more recent photographers […]

May 172011
Toronto outtakes

Here are some of my Toronto workshop outtakes as well. These images didn’t make it into the video because they didn’t fit the story or they were not strong enough. Still, I like some of them and that’s why they belong here.   First, a few more from the red/yellow theme   And a few random street shots.

  •  May 17, 2011
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May 152011
Toronto fog

Yesterday the weather changed from being nice and sunny to foggy and rainy. We had been lucky throughout the workshop. The weather was nice and pleasant, sunny most of the time. I walked around the distillery district until I decided to stop by in the financial district as well. When I passed Union Station I took this picture of a high rise. It is a well known building in Toronto but I have no idea what it is called. It stood out with its golden glass while everything else looked dark blue. The fog created a nice fading effect which […]