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Elora, Ontario

(View of downtown Elora by the water. Shot with my LG G5 phone, after my camera ran out of batteries... see technical note at the bottom)

On Victoria Day (a Canadian long weekend holiday just before U.S. Memorial Day), I had the pleasure of taking a day trip to Elora, an hour and a half drive from Toronto. With an infant, short day trips within Ontario seem to be the best way to travel.

Unfortunately, I hadn't done enough planning so we had to wing it in terms of finding places to visit and photograph. If I had done my research, we would have known that Elora Quarry, one of the big attractions in the area, has not yet opened for the season (FYI - it opens the first Saturday in June).

Nonetheless, we were able to enjoy some hiking within Elora Gorge Park, and of course, I wasted no time in trying to photograph the moving water in the Gorge.

(Sony 16-35mm at 16mm, at f13, 1/20s with ND filter. Unfortunately, my cheap ND filter ruined many of my long exposure shots with major flaring and colour cast issues. This was one of the few that I recovered because the sun wasn't in the scene.)

There were also interesting forests by the gorge that reminded me of the bamboo forests in Kyoto.

(Sony 16-35mm at 16mm, f9, 0.8s - note the strange flaring and red colour cast at the top of the photo from the ND filter.)

After some hiking in the park, we visited downtown Elora and admired some of the neat buildings by the water. It's always interesting to check out the different architecture in small local towns. The way the buildings line up by the water also reminded me of the buildings along Kyoto's Kamogawa river.

(Sony 16-35mm at 16mm, f14, 1/100s - no more ND filter!)

It was late on a holiday Monday, so most of the stores had closed by the time we arrived. This was fine with me as I prefer less busy scenes when photographing the street.

(Sony 16-35mm at 35mm, f14, 1/500s)

I also came across this sweet looking Nissan Figaro parked along the street. Apparently only 10,000 of these were made, and Nissan held a raffle to determine who could buy one. For a car made in 1990/1991, the owner had kept it in pretty great shape. I also caught Kaoru in a cool pose in the reflection by the orange wall.

(Sony 16-35mm at 16mm, f8, 1/800s)

Technical note: the top photo for this blog post was taken on my LG G5 phone at the end of the day, after my camera ran out of batteries. To overcome the limitations of the smaller sensor in the phone camera (e.g., blown out skies that appear completely white), I shot multiple exposures and combined them in Lightroom to preserve the highlights in the clouds, and to bring out the details in the buildings. It's a more manual way of doing high dynamic range photography (HDR) (as compared to using the HDR option in the camera app), but I have more control over the final product. I hope to have a tutorial on this later!

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