One fine beat-down

Posted on March 9th, 2010 7 great comments. Room for one more!

To be perfectly honest, there’s nothing I enjoy more than having someone tell me how to operate my own equipment. I mean, a suggestion is one thing. That I don’t mind at all. It doesn’t make any presumptions. But when that short, older man (wearing a Yankees cap!) told me, “you can’t shoot directly into the sun, son”, I could scarcely contain my rage.

I took him to the nearby corner of Yonge-Dundas Square and I showed him a few things.

yonge-dundas square, street corner, late afternoon, toronto, city, life

“You see, sucker”, I thought to myself. “There’s enough ambient light on the sidewalk”, now out-loud, “to illuminate subjects from the front. They’re kind of shadowy, but I think that’s kinda cool. All thanks to this iContrast thingie.”

“Ah!”, he marvelled. “What camera is this? I have an EOS Rebel XSi at home. Is that a Rebel too?”

“No”, I replied, “it’s a … umm …”. I’d forgotten the name. Flipped it over. “Oh, yeah, a Powershot … SX 10 … IS. Fixed lens (can’t stick another lens on there) … but what a lens!”

I went on to extole the virtues of the camera and its lens while flipping through the other photos.

hudson's bay company, bloor street east, toronto, city, life

“So, it has all the same software?”

What an odd question.

“I dunno. I guess so. I just know that I can manually control everything – seems pretty complete anyhow”, I explained. I can see the virtue of being able to focus by grabbing the lens and twisting, but the jog wheel isn’t a bad second option. That, I explained slowly as we stood in the brilliant golden sunshine, is the only regret. By the way, brilliant golden sunshine; you know what that means? I was outside before 8:30! Hoe lee crap.

yuki sushi, all you can eat, dundas street west, university avenue, toronto, city, life

Haha! All-you-can-eat yucky sushi. Who wants that? Man, they really should think of a new name.

At this point, the astute reader who may frequent the areas herein pictured would point out that the sun is actually shining from the west. My diversionary tactic with the funny sign will have failed. “Golden sunshine of the morning my ass!”, they may say. And right they would be to do so.

The images were actually taken later in the day. My second outing. So far in my listless bobbing on the ocean of unemployment, I’ve gotten into the habit of going out at least twice a day. Twice at the nice times. I don’t know if this is a habit I should be getting used to. You know, what if I end up back doing the same mind-numbing labour? Having now tasted the nectar of sweet freedom with its restful nights, that’d make that pill extra hard to swallow.

Should I be getting my hopes up?

taxi driver, yellow cab, yonge-dundas square, toronto, city, life

Oh wow. That guy totally reminds me of me. Leering. (Good word suggested by a friend’s wife upon sighting my mug shot in the about section. — Thanks, J.) Maybe he’s just tired. Maybe angry. Look at those smug dipsticks in the back. I dunno who they are, but I’m sure I already do, and I don’t like ‘em one bit.

And, just like the narrative, the older man had disappeared at this point, presumably to go flip through his Rebel’s manual. I think his point-and-click days are over. Fight: won.

I let the adrenaline subside, jiggled my neck muscles loose, and breathed deep. Ah yeah, that was one fine beat-down. Old bugger didn’t even know what hit him. I wasn’t feigning ignorance, I really don’t know if the software is the same or whatever. I just know my own camera and happen to know it enjoys the sunshine. God, hadn’t I just gone through this with someone else recently?

Guess I’m gonna have to edumacate them all one at a time.

7 Comments on “ One fine beat-down ”

  • Inge'
    March 9th, 2010 2:49 pm

    I have an Olympus that is all I know. I can do things manually with it, but, I am just learning so I am not that well versed in the how-to's of it all.

    When I have someone try to tell me how to deal craps like I haven't been doing it for over 15 years, I always say, "I'm a professional. Don't try this at home." Works every time!

    Sorry to hear about your employment status. I have not been able to keep up as much as I would like these days. I hope things change for you soon!

    Read more from Inge' at:
  • Patrick
    March 10th, 2010 6:11 pm

    My older sister takes the professional title in our family when it comes to photography, Inge. I'll ask her if it's worked for her too :) Please don't be sorry about my employment status. Things come and go, I'm trying hard to turn it into a positive. Getting plenty of wonderful rest in between. Finally started working on my portfolio too, so that's a good sign :)

  • Karl W.Klambauer
    March 10th, 2010 2:42 pm

    Years ago, i was a volunteer for Maclean-Hunter Television as a Camera Operator. Learned how to setup a television camera, the basics of taking shots in different outdoor conditions, and about the technical stuff related to outdoor events and film.

    One of the things we did at the very beginning was do a "white-balance" check before we started shooting film. Anything white and the camera would set itself up for the ideal conditions in the surrounding area.

    These Days some camera's will have a white balance button built in. That should be pressed whenever your doing pics with sunlight in them.

    Some professional camera's have the white balance test built in so it's done automatically as well. Digital camera's have both.

    When doing pics with sunlight in them, try to aim the camera just below the sun "line" in the area or streetscape. then take a pic.

    The sun "line" is usually a point where the camera lens itself doesn't have the sun in the picture area itself but you know it's just outside it, if you move the camera slightly up or down.

    the sun can highlight certain pics with a needed background effect as well.

    All in the name of great picture taking!.. Your streetscape pics of toronto are the BEST too, pat!

    Love that area of dundas/yonge and over to bay towards the greyhound bus depot area and surrounding area. i remember many sporting goods places inbetween those areas..

    And of course, one block north to the World's Biggest Bookstore and surrounding building scape pics!

    Read more from Karl W.Klambauer at:
  • Patrick
    March 10th, 2010 6:23 pm

    Funny you should mention white balancing, Karl. "ABWB: Always Be White Balancing", is my motto. (borrowed from Glengarry Glen Ross) On this particular model, you can balance the sun into a brilliant yellow or almost pure white by moving the white card in a partial shadow. A centimeter over and the tone changes. White-balancing at night is tricky because none of the light is natural, and downtown it's just a big old messy pile of light. Do you go with the bright red bulb? The pale but numerous blue ones? Aaren't they supposed to look blue? Fuck it, neon lighting preset.

  • Uma Shankari
    March 10th, 2010 9:04 pm

    Ah, What a play-around with light! All lovely pictures. I am painfully reminded to pursue my intended hobby – photography – and how useful it could be to make a blog come alive.

    Read more from Uma Shankari at:
  • Patrick
    March 11th, 2010 7:18 pm

    Then you should get out there right now, Uma!

  • Kato
    March 11th, 2010 1:57 pm

    God I love being able to pove that I am right.

    Awesome pictures!

    Read more from Kato at:

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