Reading the Leaves

I keep looking back at this photo from October in Canada, I think/hope that there is a message there somewhere, written in the leaf-stains and screw-heads. It is simply the deck of a motorboat become stained with autumn leaves, caught in the late afternoon light, just a small spot of pink reflected in the hinge-plate.IMG_1266

Union Station from the Royal York Hotel, Toronto

The Royal York Hotel in Toronto is a glorious remnant of grander times. The lobby is decked with fabulous chandeliers, the Library Bar provides that old world, dark-shadowed leather-padded comfort perfect for sipping cocktails all named after writers. There was a Mojito for Hemingway, a gin, lime and cucumber for Scott-Fitzgerald and a  concoction with strawberry jelly spheres, orange juice and Grand Marnier called “Breakfast of Champions” for Kurt Vonnegut. My room was on the third floor facing onto Front Street with expansive views over Union Station and the high rise blocks down toward the lake. After numerous “jumpers” the hotel has decided to restrict the opening of all windows to 4 inches, making photographing somewhat challenging. I managed to push my telephoto lens through the gap to capture these views of the re-development of Union Station in the evening light, the newly-coppered roof-lights glowing softly against the honey coloured stone, set off by the garish blue of the blue lining of the new roof.

Union Station, Toronto

Union Station, Toronto

Niagra Falls

Its one of those places that many of us feel we should go to but its not necessarily high on our list. Today I got the chance to go – it is a powerful sight indeed. Apparently 20% of the world’s fresh water passes over these falls and the first recorded person to go over the falls was a middle-aged ex teacher, who launched herself  (and her cat!) in a barrel. She survived unscathed, sadly many followers have suffered severe injury or died in the attempt.

If you get a chance to go, make sure to visit the tunnels below where you can experience the deluge of water passing safely by with a mere spattering of water.

Niagra Falls

Niagra Falls

Slatted Shadows and Reflections 2

Straight railings casting their shadows on a rough stone wall.

Straight railings casting rippled shadows on a rough stone wall.

Accidentally having the camera on the wrong setting caused camera shake during the long exposure but made an even more interesting image from this quilted copper-lined elevator in the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

Quilted Copper lined walls in the elevator in the Art Gallery of Ontario

And these over-sized wooden blinds were marvellous, maybe I’m addicted to parallel lines.

Over-sized wooden venetian blinds in the Art Gallery of Ontario


I am attracted by juxtapositions of colour – thay can make all the difference to how you see something.

A cliché perhaps but lovely none the less, the first red leaves of Autumn in the lakes north of Toronto.

These vibrant colours were an unexpected delight contrasting against the black polished marble of a downtown Toronto office building, snatched from the car whilst at a stop light.

Four lanes of traffic waiting to set off from the lights on a dull day – the colours really saurated. I wish I’d had time to compose the shot better and include more of the orange sign pointing across the road. Each vehicle, engine revving, almost perfectly lined up to lead the eye, has its own colour point, linking up with the coloured flags on the facia of the building and then the verdigris on the roof.

The Toronto taxi colours seem to be designed to match the  surroundings, the Autumn leaves and the red brick and verdigris copper roof of one of the few Victorian bulidings left in the downtown area, all set against the tall grey skyscrapers behind..

More on Stairs

The Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto staircase designed by the Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry.

I spent quite a while taking of photos of this staircase. Walking down feels unusual as although the stair is open, the views outward are limited and you are enveloped in warm, subtly lit flowing forms.


I have collected lamps of various types for a while – Art Deco, 50’s and modern, here are a few of them, mostly working, some sadly not.

The wooden post of this lamp was badly worm-eaten, now repaired, re-painted and the chromed steel shades polished, it is my favourite lamp. I assume it dates from the ArtDeco period but there are no clues in terms of maker’s labels or stamps.

I bought this lamp in the 80’s as new but its required transformer was missing, I got it wired up with a new one but then blew it by using too high a bulb rating. It looks very pretty when lit, I must get it repaired. The bulbs, one  each side of the shade, are low voltage halogen and the current runs through the arms.

I was lucky enough to buy a pair of these lamps, a very dark green almost black painted metal shade and base, made by Phillips I think in the 70’s, rather nasty plastic switches which don’t always work, it would be good to replace those.

The lobby of the Royal York Hotel in Toronto – the most glorious lamps