June 30, 2004

Now I'm Just Procrastinating


Scary Trees
Taken with the Windsor/Diana Hybrid

Doorbell in the sky.

Another Spartus folding camera photo.


We spotted four American Kestrels hanging out on the tracks yesterday. Actually the first sighting of one bird was hovering beside our deck which freaked us out because baby bird is still living there in a box. Last week we had two birds but the first little bird died over the weekend. The second bird is doing very well and has developed into a fledgling. It's only a matter of time before the baby is ready to leave the nest for good. It has already successfully jumped out of the box but can't fly. Baby starlings have a stage just before leaving their parents' care in which they jump from the nest and live on the ground. The parents still feed them but also teach them to forage for food and fly. I honestly don't know how any starling babies have developed to maturity here since there is no ground. Baby bird is essentially going to have to live out those days on the deck. When that happens we will not be able to protect the baby from the kestrels and we will have to keep the cat inside permenantly (she's going to be pissed). This whole kestrel thing has really thrown us off. I'm happy to see a group of raptors living nearby but don't want baby bird to become their next meal. Everytime I go outside I hear them calling one another and see them flying nearby.

Here's a photo of baby bird taken today.

UPDATE: 3:00 pm - The baby has left the nest. This time I found it on the ground between the buildings. I have no idea how it got down three stories unharmed but it was fine. He/She is likely ready to leave so I'm not going to try to bring it back. I watched from the window and after some initial panic, both parents have found the baby and are attending to it. It has lots of weeds to hang out in and should be okay where it is. I feel like a parent with a child off to college.

I love what Andreas has done to showcase his cameras. I also really love these pinholes done with an illy coffee can. I really like illy coffee.

Posted by Gayla at 11:56 AM | Comments (8)

Folding Spartus Photo


Ghost of the Tracks
Taken with Spartus Folding Camera (circa 1939)

The Spartus folding camera turned out to be a bit of a dud. Turns out it takes eight rectangular photos on a roll like every other box camera and not square photos as the square viewfinder would suggest. It has crazy light leaks. Most of the roll is messed up in a not-so-great-kinda-way. I do like the dirty specs all over the negative though. I didn't bother to try and clean that up. Maybe I should give it to the cat to chew... a great post-processing technique if it weren't for the harmful chemicals. Someone should make "chewed by cat" photoshop actions.

I might try a roll of black and white in this camera. If I do I'll put some tape over the film counter at the very least.

Well it sure is pretty regardless. But I have rules (albeit slack ones) regarding shelf sitters.


The conversation. Also an excellent movie.

Posted by Gayla at 12:08 AM | Comments (7)

June 29, 2004



Blooms (Apple? and Allium)
Taken with the Windsor/Diana Hybrid and Close-up Filter

Over the last few months, I've been slowly experimenting with a set of close-up filters that I bought for the Windsor/Diana hybrid. I just had a stack of film developed, two of which are from this camera. I still have lots more photos to scan but I like the effect so-far. It's just nice to be able to get closer with the toy cams. Haven't tried it with the Holga yet. That camera has been on hiatus since the winter when I was going mad making pictures for the Toy Camera book. However, my VERY early birthday gift (my birthday is the end of July) is scheduled to arrive today or tomorrow. It's a polaroid back for the Holga. I'm sure that will bring the camera back out.


p.s. The *all new* much scarier conservatives didn't get in yesterday. Thank you Canada. No thanks to you Alberta.

Posted by Gayla at 12:14 PM | Comments (1)

June 28, 2004

Peachy Rose


Peach Rose
Taken with Nikon D70 and close-up filter

I'm really not a big fan of tea roses or the colour peach for that matter. But this one was very soft and delicate.


Federal election voting day today here in Canada. Can we please, please, please keep that motherfucker Stephen Harper out of office?!


Jim redesigned his site.


Just a little promo for my brother who has started a new event in addition to the other successful nights he particpates in; Footprints, Red Beet Lounge and Turning Point. The new night is called HI-LIFE and features african, samba, latin, soul, funk and reggae music. The event will be held every Thursday for the month of July on the Drake Rooftop Patio. The first night starts this coming Thursday (Canada Day) and is free of charge.

Posted by Gayla at 03:30 PM | Comments (5)

June 25, 2004

Stove Bits and World Cups


Fridge and Stove Bits
Taken with Mamiya C330

Scenes such as this will become scarce in this area as remnants of the used appliance district (aka "No Man's Land") are pushed out to make room for restaurants and galleries.

God help us all World Cup is on. I caught this crazy scene crossing College Street yesterday evening on my way back from the Farmer's Market. This guy was the street clown stopping traffic and forcing drivers to kiss the flag. It took me a few minutes of standing and watching to realize I had a camera and maybe I should take some photos. People doing stuff just isn't my usual subject. One good thing I can say about loud honking, crazy manic street rabble-rousing is that no one seemed to notice the camera.

This last photo is more my style. This was the last photo I took as I turned the corner away from the action and towards home.

Posted by Gayla at 10:34 AM | Comments (8)

June 24, 2004

Lansdowne and Dundas


At Lansdowne and Dundas
Taken with Horizon 202

And Another

A baby starling fell from the nest yesterday. Another one this morning. They are both in a box on the deck and the parents are feeding them. They are so insanely adorable and energetic. The cat is not happy about being kept inside.

Posted by Gayla at 12:34 PM | Comments (6)

June 22, 2004

Camera Mania


Bone with Ants
Taken with Nikon D70 and close-up filter

Busy day. I had a different photo slotted to go here but then we went to the camera store where I bought a filter set to fit the Nikon. I took this photo on the way home and am so thrilled to have my short depth of field back. Yay.

They had tons of cameras in the used section at the back of the discount store. Toronto people... run to Henry's. We spent quite a while there mulling over old camera bits. In the end I chose an old Spartus folding 120 camera from 1939. It's all metal and takes square photos. Mr. Risk picked up a small 35mm rangefinder. The cameras came to $23.00 CDN total!

A super camera geek started a conversation with us but lost me within the first five seconds when he started raving about some super excellent lens "A marvel of engineering!" that had been scratched. "Broke his heart..." it did. I can't really say much because I can be as geeky at times, but when it comes to lenses you might as well be talking about hockey. I blank out. Eyes glaze over. My expertise/interest in lenses goes as far as "glass or plastic".

It's been a crazy camera day. Mr. Risk purchased a Zenit camera kit AGES ago that finally arrived from overseas this morning. So all day it's been trying lenses, opening cameras, testing shutters. Cameras, cameras, cameras, cameras! My head is exploding.

Posted by Gayla at 10:32 PM | Comments (6)

June 21, 2004


Touched by the Hand of god
Taken with Lubitel 166U

This is an oldie from last fall taken on Ward's Island. I don't know what happened with the crazy light business there.


I'm tired. Had to get up early. I am not an early bird. Tried to watch City of God last night but it was too heavy for my current state-of-mind. If you go to the Miramax site for the movie you can win a trip to Rio. Too much.

Posted by Gayla at 10:13 AM | Comments (8)

June 19, 2004

Needle on the Beach


Shot with Nikon D70

When I get a chance, I'll have to post the other photos to illustrate, but this needle was found at the base of a sign warning people about needles on the beach.


Am starting to get used to the camera. We went down to the water last night and I took a bunch of pictures (not of plants) that I actually like. After this post I imagined readers thinking "Boo hoo poor me I don't like my fancy, expensive camera. Tears."

Yep. It's hard.


This made me giggle. (see under "Ontario")

Posted by Gayla at 05:05 PM | Comments (10)

June 18, 2004

One More Time


1283 Queen ST. W
Taken with Seagull 203

A photo from the Milky Way.


We enjoyed ourselves last night at the Spacing magazine launch. I especially enjoyed the night ride to and fro. I know it sounds pathetic that I'm getting excited about a bike ride but people I have been a working machine who hasn't gone out in the evening (except for walks around the hood) in a very long time. Night-time biking is so much fun because the air is cool and there is less threat of death by car. Anyways a lot of people came out. The place was packed and SWEATY. I ran into Rannie who introduced me to Adam of Inconduit, and Sam of Top Left Pixel.

Here's a photo of one of Mr. Risk's photos projected and here's one of mine.

The new issue is great. Especially the East End Laneway article which is a topic that is close to my heart ...except that I'm a west end girl who rarely steps foot into the east side of town. Which is why I invite you to read Matt B's west end alley article from Issue 1.

Posted by Gayla at 12:33 PM | Comments (3)

June 17, 2004

Satin Heart


Taken with Seagull 203

Don't forget the Spacing magazine launch tonight.

And now back to work.

Posted by Gayla at 12:17 PM | Comments (4)

June 15, 2004

Seagull Camera


Poles and Person
Taken with Seagull 202

Just a note to say that The Beaver cafe has become our unofficial portrait studio. Many, many photos have been taken there.

The above is from the Seagull 202 camera Bob sent way back when. Not an easy camera to use. It's very fiddly in a fairly unintuitive way. Lots of levers in awkward places and checking and double checking and shutter cocking and whatnots. Sure does look cool though!

I had lots of trouble with the winding mechanism because it is medium format film but has a 35mm style mechanism rather than the usual medium format turny knob. This is one of the photos that experienced some accidental slippage.


Oh and before I forget Spacing magazine is launching issue 2 this Thursday at the El Mocambo. They will be projecting photos! We're going to break with our long tradition of antisocial behaviour and actually go.

Posted by Gayla at 12:08 PM | Comments (3)

June 14, 2004

Mantid & Mouskouri


Taken with Horizon 202

The praying mantis has long been a favourite insect. When I was a kid I used to go to the library and take out piles of sciency kid's books with titles such as "The Frog" or "The Earthworm". They were kid's books, so they were small and packed with photos but each book had me excited to go out and find these creatures. I once found a praying mantis and kept it as a pet for a few days. I didn't put it in a cage but let it run loose in my room. I also took it outside and left it on a sedum where it caught a large bumble bee and proceeded to eat the entire thing. The whole ordeal was fascinating to watch. I also fed it drinks of water with an eyedropper (as per the book). Some mantids can be quite aggressive. I once encountered a large female on the sidewalk and she actually hissed at me as if to suggest she could take me on!


I just went to Rannie's site and there's a photo of me posted! It's from back in the fall on a trip to Ward's Island (before the haircut). I had long hair most of my life but I'm so used to the short now it's kind of strange to look at long hair photos.


An article about my gardening site came out in the Globe & Mail over the weekend. Of course I wasn't notified but thankfully a reader emailed me and I was able to procure a print copy in the nick of time. Still trying to locate copies of articles from the National Post and the Ottawa Citizen. There were a few boo boos in the article (but overall not too shabby) but the part that had me giggling was a description of me as "...slight, intense, and wears the glasses of the artistically inclined." Slight? No. Intense? I'll give her that. The whole glasses bit? Well I love how things have changed because 10 years ago I was told by more than one person that I "Looked like Nana Mouskouri" or that I, "Intimidated people with my scary schoolteacher look." What a difference a day makes.

Posted by Gayla at 08:56 PM | Comments (9)

June 12, 2004

Blue Piece of Whatever


For Tying the Vine
Shot with Nikon D70

Posted by Gayla at 09:25 PM | Comments (6)

June 11, 2004

More Blathering About the Digital SLR


Discarded Mountain Scene
Shot with Nikon D70

I really wanted to post a pic from the new camera today but man was it hard. I like the camera for it's intended use; photos of plants. That's working out great! But the photos I have taken just for me have been blah, blah, blah. I like other people's pictures taken with digital slrs but not my own. I think I'm just used to striving for and attaining a certain look from my film cameras that I can't capture with a digital.

It's frustrating. I can't see what is there because I only see what isn't. I may have to just use as it was intended and get over it already. But on some days its the only camera I carry and when I see something...

I had speculated before buying the camera that once the book was done the camera would be adopted by Mr. Risk. That's likely going to be the case unless something shifts.

Posted by Gayla at 11:53 AM | Comments (6)

June 09, 2004

Panoramic Seagull


Seagull (Ward's Island)
Taken with Horizon 202

You might recognize this location from an older photo. Terrible scan by-the-way. I rescanned from the neg and should really post that. I'm not a believer in going back and editing. I have this thing about preserving things as they are even if they could be improved.

Posted by Gayla at 12:35 PM | Comments (7)

June 08, 2004

Wall with Green Door


Wall with Green Door (alley)
Taken with Horizon 202

I love Six Feet Under but they won my heart all over again by using Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" in their trailer (even if it makes no sense and tells me nothing about the new season).

Posted by Gayla at 11:37 AM | Comments (8)

June 07, 2004

Charcoal Snake


Charcoal Snake
Taken with Great Wall DF- with closeup filter

I found this tiny charcoal snake while walking around on Ward's Island last weekend. It really takes me back to a happy memory from my childhood. My friend and I used to buy packets of these snakes around firecracker holidays. Igniting the pellets produces a little charcoal poo ribbon and a hell of a lot of thick, black smoke. Somehow that was highly entertaining. What I don't get is why shopkeepers sold these things to us. Fire+kids=bad.

Been taking shitloads of photos with the D70. Nothing to post here though. Aside from a plethora of plant stuff there's about a hundred photos of the cat. I'm curious about how people are using their digital slrs? I'm finding it really hard to get used to manual settings. It's just a lot more sensitive than my clunky ole cameras so my usual settings are way off. It's just too easy to fire away with auto but of course then I lose control.

I already want a macro lens but may have to settle for a close-up filter instead. No room in the budget for fancy accessories.

Posted by Gayla at 11:16 AM | Comments (12)

June 04, 2004

Blue Chair | New Camera


Blue Chair
Taken with Mamiya C330

I went into this place yesterday. I bought onion rings but had to throw them away after a few bites. They were just too greasy! I didn't have time to sit down and hang around because I was meeting Mr. Risk at the Farmer's Market and then we went across town to pick up a Nikon D70. Good god they are hard to get in this city! Everyone sells out the second they come in. We managed to snag the only one from a small camera shop.

I don't expect to be posting many digital images here and I'm not planning to abandon film anytime soon. The new camera is for the book. I would not have purchased it otherwise. I have TONS of small images to take and I was blowing the budget doing film only.

I have to admit that I've been more giddy about the camera than I thought I'd be. I spent this morning out in the garden snap, snapping away. It's just too easy to take photo after photo without the kind of attention I put into my film shots. I think I've taken over 300 photos since I got the camera. Madness. Years ago we took our first digital camera on a two week trip to Mexico. At the time I thought coming back with over 700 photos was insane. That's nothing now. That's a couple of hours.

Posted by Gayla at 12:02 PM | Comments (9)

June 02, 2004

Precious Moments


Taken with Great Wall DF-

Lots of tangents here.

If you look hard at the bottom window of the house you can see a black blob and brown blob. Those blobs are two ceramic horses. If I hadn't been on the tracks I would have gone over to that house and photographed the window. It reminds me of a house in Guelph's Ward neighbourhood. The house is set on a street corner and has a variety of plastic and ceramic horses lined up in the window.

There's a house in my neighbourhood (also a corner house) that has Precious Moments figurines lined up in the window. What is it with figurines and windows? Is there a lines-figurines-in-their-front-window type?

When I was a kid I won a few Precious Moments figurines in church for memorizing verses and whatnot. I was a good little memorizer. So much so that I can't get those damn verses unstuck from my mind. One day I went for a sleepover at the house of a girl from my church who was the minister's daughter and also the girl I came to fight in grade 6 (re. the Kentucky Fried Chicken part). In her room, which was very pink and girly, was a cabinet filled to bursting with Precious Moments figurines. She must have done a hell of a lot more memorizing than I did.

As is true in all stories of this nature, the minister's daughter got knocked up out of wedlock (which you may know is about the worst thing that can happen to a minister's daughter) and the kid they thought would amount to no good did not. When I first heard this I laughed at the irony of it all. I also laughed because I really disliked that girl fairly intensely. But then I had the sudden realization that it couldn't have been easy for her growing up with all that pressure and expectation. And I wonder; is it harder living with the pressure to succeed or the pressure to fail?

Posted by Gayla at 11:20 AM | Comments (8)

June 01, 2004

Vesta Lunch + FEAR


Vesta Lunch
Taken with Great Wall DF-

Today I discovered a bunch of unscanned film. I took this photo while waiting for the bus two months ago.


All the superstar gals are talking about creativity on their sites. Andrea, Keri, Claire. It's good timing for me. This book is kicking my ass. It is pushing every single button that I've got to push. The last few months have been incredibly trying and tiring from the constant button-pushing. There's so much fear. Everyday there is a new challenge and a new button pushed. I move past one fear and into the next.

I have to constantly remind myself that this is a good experience and I need to enjoy it. Then the publisher sends me the author questionaire and it's "Oh god I have to answer these questions?!"

Posted by Gayla at 11:46 AM | Comments (6)