Kensington Market Winter Solstice Parade

A photo meetup group led me to an annual parade unlike any other I’ve ever seen in Toronto. The Winter Solstice parade takes place on December 21, they shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. To celebrate the coming of longer days, the parade culminated in a large fire and fire performers.

The night time photoshoot came with its own set of challenges. I couldn’t use a tripod and long exposures, because the subjects were constantly moving. The only option here was to use a large aperture and high ISO to gather as much light as possible and avoid the blur of longer exposures. Using spot metering or centre-weighted metering helps too, the ensure the exposure is set for your subject.

I took over 400 pictures, the vast majority of which were rejected for blurriness or bad focus. Here are some of the best photos I took that evening.

Distillery District Christmas Market

I returned to the Distillery District for their annual Christmas Market. Taking photos at night time can be tricky. First, a tripod is absolutely essential, as you can count on your shots having longer exposure times and shooting by hand would only result in blurry photos. In the digital realm, using a tripod also allows you to reduce your ISO and produce cleaner images with less grain.

The second thing to consider is that scenes at night in urban environments are extremely contrasting. Electric lights fight against the darkest shadows. Our eyes can easily adapt to the high contrast, but our cameras have less ability here. For some shots, I decided to expose for the light. This leaves the darkest area completely in black. The photo of the clocks are a perfect example, where the walls they are on completely disappear, and the detail in the clockface are clear, giving them the impression of floating in the air.