So it’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. Life’s been keeping me occupied, and I seem to have picked up some new hobbies or rekindled old ones (hiking, cycling). As I was chillin’ with the lady, we got to talking about stuff. One thing she brought up was that I haven’t updated my blog in a while. As a long time fan, she occasionally drops by my site and reads my ramblings. As we sat there after an evening bike ride, we started bouncing topics off each other and finally settled on “favorite photography locations in the city”. We both agreed that was better than “top 10 things I get asked about photography”. It just sounds so buzzfeed-ish (her words).
Bear in mind that I haven’t shot everywhere and there are tons of locations in the city that I haven’t been to yet, but I’m slowly working on that. I picked these because they’re easily accessible, they have great aesthetics, and they don’t really require permits (unless it’s a commercial shoot). From perusing for sample photos to show here, I’ve noticed that I don’t repeat locations too many times, but then again, a favorite spot doesn’t have to be repeated. It just has to stand out in one’s mind.
First up. Everyone knows this as the Chinese finger trap, and the bridge everyone loves to hate, the Peace Bridge. I don’t see this as a waste of tax dollars. It might be overpriced, but it ties Sunnyside to the downtown core quite nicely and made crossing the river more convenient. Plus it adds a bit of color to the city. I’m not here to discuss tax dollars and politics though. What I like about the bridge is the depth it can give my photos. Whether shooting long or wide, the longitudinal bridge provides an excellent backdrop. The extra pop of red and and the LED lights on the railing and near the ground make it look like an entrance to a spaceship at night. Here are some samples from past shoots.
Next up, and every wedding photographer’s favorite spot. The SAIT parkade. Designed by Bing Thom Architects, it boasts a very contemporary and minimalistic interior foyer. The angular lines and the clean looking concrete walls and floors make it an ideal spot for most photography really. On a rainy, summer Saturday afternoon, you’ll probably find 4 or 5 different wedding parties taking shelter and waiting to get their turn at getting photographed. I’m not gonna lie, this is one of my top places to go for a quiet day of shooting. I’ve rarely encountered anyone there, except one other time where a family photo session was being done. I love modern architecture as well and the space provides a peacefulness to me with all the natural light seeping through the large glass roof. Beware though, this place can turn into a hot sauna on a mid summer day. Maybe the ventilation was broken that day but it felt like a greenhouse on a hot summer afternoon.
Last but not least, another great location that I’ve been exploring in the last few years is the Sunalta area. This quaint little neighborhood houses some local icons like The Sentry Box and Mike’s Juke Joint. It’s a great little area with lots of character. There’s a mix of industrial and residential. The old buildings and houses and alleyways provide some great backdrops. The best part of this area, to me, is being below the Bow Trail and Crowchild overpasses. The area is pretty secluded after rush hour, and it’s quiet enough to not get bothered on a weekend. The afternoon and late afternoon light is great as the sun sets in that westerly direction and there’s also shade for those fantastic, flat light portraits with minimum shadows.
What about The Bow building you might ask. Well, the building isn’t exactly the most accessible. What with the dozen tourists there on a nice Saturday or Sunday afternoons, and the security guards chasing you off the premises. I’ve learnt to travel light when shooting there. Minimal lighting, while adopting a guerrilla style of shooting. Meaning, knowing my shots prior, and my lighting conditions so I can be in and out as quick as I can. Did you know that the front steel sculpture was modeled after a young Spanish girl’s head? And the sculpture hugging a tree on the north side is a real casting of the artist himself?
All in all, there are a ton of locations that have been good to me. Everytime I scout, I try to look at what the location has to offer because chances are, I’ll be back again and shooting a different subject. It’s like a good movie. The “replayability” has to be decent and everytime we watch that movie, we are trying to study it from different perspectives, or coming up with different theories/conclusions. The “what if’s”.
What are some of your favorite locations? Feel free to leave a comment!