I spew what I wanna

You are everywhere simultaneously, but welcome to now.

This is a thinking out loud place for me, you, and them. The focus is no focus, the running underlying themes will be abstract, the parameters unmeasurable. So mote it be.
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Putuppanutha Blog

Suddenly, incongruously visible from the sidewalk upon which I tread, a beast unexpected.


Buck backlit ! My heart and mind appreciate the wash of sky mood enfolding its silhouetted presence, and then the context… juxtaposition humor’s urban bone.



I am “wow” lens. Ludicrous wildlife art installations abound in the downtown, this one floating in high key sunlight sheen held half back by cloud sulk. A grand old Victorian dame, some windows sadly bricked up but the building in use still, and around its corner another eye catching animalistic sculptation palpitator.


Lupine deuce. It is the underside howler who I most appreciate, leading to another frame inverted and processed with no restraint whatsoever wooooo.


Don’t like it? Bite me.

The city actually *has* coyotes, deer, foxes, all sorts of wildlife running amok within its neighborhoods and boundaries, but for some strange reason more and more art pieces of our less domesticated Earthlings are appearing everywhere. I must say I like it. Spat out gum and assorted windblown detritus on the streets needs to be freshened up with other types of stimuli.



So I walk, see, take picture slices off the bigness of Life. Twenty six years of living here and the pathways are well me-worn, but the enjoyment remains. The freedom and good health to partake, wide the fuck awake. Standing briefly at a railing in a small parkette where subway trains emerge below, I am subtracted back to ten years old, loving trains and the great lakes freighters, all the big jets landing and taking off at Pearson International.


The feet move west at the behest of a brain craving alternate takes on the mundane; the constant construction and endless angles.



It is a strange time of year. The lull of winter’s fade and still sleeping vegetation. There isn’t much of the photogenic to be found anywhere, but I click it walk it click it.



I walk past the 55-floor monster Four Seasons hotel, opened last October. Its shadow has placed a schoolyard nearby in perpetual recess shadow. I recall a protest that fell upon the deaf ears of big money. I remember far enough back when there existed a height restriction upon new construction in this city, but those days are long gone. Here are a couple of contextual images of and *from* the Four Seasons, not mine but good shots anyway, heh heh…


That view faces south from the hotel as it was being erected in its Yorkville (posh posh) location. The next shot looks north.


Back to street level on Bay street, I am glad for the lull between morning and afternoon rush multi-hours.


Even the upscale Yorkville streets are in a mid-seasons hush, and I stroll through with my warm but getting-ratty winter coat, photographing whatever I want and glad not to be filthy rich with orange tanning salon skin. Yorkville was once a hippie enclave, so I keep the old traditions alive when I stroll my long-haired cretinous self through its rarified air. What catches my eye most? A frou frou art gallery? The rows of pricy restaurants? Nope…


I quell an unreasonable urge to free that tree trunk from its bondage. Stupid humanity.


Even the normally busy Royal Ontario Museum is quiet on this cold grey day. I walk along its Bloor street facade for more pictures of the crazy addition that has defiled its architectural grace, then down through a winding path behind the building for other views and an eventual squirrel encounter with surrealist visual overtones.


1. Ugh


2. Yikes



3. Egads


4. Cripes

And, ha ha ha ! Just did it. Just received notification that all space for this blog has been used up and I need to purchase a space upgrade. Hmmm. I am going to have to think on that one. I’ll post what I have and wish you a good day. If you don’t see me here anymore, you know what I decided :-)



Time for epic-random


That, has to be such a drag. For the record, I approached him after taking this picture to see if he needed assistance, because you can’t assume that someone lying on snow is a drunk, a junkie, or wants to be there. He was incoherently intoxicated and my “you okay, man?” was met with half-awake muttering. Perhaps the sun was warm on his jacket, so I left him alone. It’s a rough-around-the-edges part of town and his chosen digs are a far cry from this :



- one of the many beautiful rooms within Toronto’s Casa Loma… like it? Wanna see a few more?



- I was just getting a handle on interior natural light photography, back when I visited this tourist-appreciated castle in 2009.



- Twist my arm. I could sip a big slow mug of tea in that window seat, no problem.



- I love a well painted room.



- Others, far less fortunate, love a warm subway grate. Sociological statement made, I now go random to catch you up on some recent photos. Hibernation ala winter is over.



- Sidewalk art that popped out at me.



- Mirrored marquee underside, image flipped in processing for maximum abstraction.



- The Many Tree : a section of groovy surface reflection from a french fry vending truck on the lakefront.



- Expanded view.



- I leaned over a railing to watch ducks doing their duck thing.



- This one is an exceptional underwater swimmer.



- One by one, ducks jumped out of the water to congregate on this textured backdrop. I enjoyed the directly overhead POV. (and the tennis ball)









Later during this walk, another grouping of animals presented itself, but they were of the sculpted variety…









I hadn’t taken a long city walk in quite some time, and as usual I was struck by the amount of ongoing construction. Some random building-boom shots…












- The “L Tower” is rising rapidly to its 663 foot conclusion… this portion of Front Street has wonky feng shui.






- Looking north up Yonge street from Wellington. 1 King West is the skinny tower, at 577 feet tall. Scotia Plaza is the red building which looks shorter from this angle, but is actually 902 feet in height.



- A section of the financial district, where as in New York or Chicago it is usually in shadow and quite windy from the artificial canyons.



- With a name like that it was sure to catch my eye.



- The downtown west area is massively booming. I remember this being little else but old factories and warehouses.






- Go and Via trains are vital to the commuting process.









- This part of lower Bathurst street is morphing from gritty industrial district into something upscale wanna-be.



- A defunct Art Deco warehouse sits across the street from gleaming new spires. Hopefully it will be restored and repurposed. I loved its old decaying windows.









- Jogger’s paradise… the dust and din of construction, no deterrent.






- Much has been made in the local media recently of Toronto’s population, which grows by 38,000 per year. The city has just surpassed Chicago to become 4th largest in North America (after Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles), but with only 54 homicides in 2012 compared to Chi-town’s 505, we have a way to go before attaining true “world class” status.



- A row of gorgeous Victorian homes, inexorably being dwarfed by new condo development.






- An old transformer station now surrounded by new towers; must be quite an eyesore for occupants who have paid through the nose to be there.



- The Shangri-La tower tops out at 702 feet. Recently during a windy day, one of its windows came crashing down. Tsk tsk building standards.



- Given the sheer numbers of people on the streets at any given time in this city, one cannot have windows falling out of buildings.



- L Tower sandwiched by two Brookfield Place buildings at 682 and 863 feet (L and R) : that’s a lot of glass.



- Royal Bank Plaza South is a 591 footer with gold in the windows. One of the modern buildings I do like the look of.



- Scotia Plaza and BMO tower, at 971 feet including mast.



- Too many beautiful old buildings were recklessly wrecking balled during the un-forward-thinking decades of the sixties and seventies : a few survive on lower Yonge street.



- The 1892 Gooderham flatiron building makes a marked architectural contrast to its surroundings. I love that building.



On the topic of older buildings, there stands an industrial era relic on the waterfront… Canada Malting Co. Limited …



- This dates from 1928 and is an important local landmark in terms of industrial architecture. It was once slated for demolition but was designated a heritage site. Various plans for restoration and future use are in play, but for now I am happy to have had a chance to photograph it in its decaying faded glory.



- A shot for context.



- When I view these decaying structures, I see not unpleasant aesthetics but something profoundly vital in a location’s history. How many people were employed? How many children were fed and raised from the proceeds of that employment? Toronto was a vastly different, gritty working class town in 1928.


















Next, a foray into the Allan Gardens conservatory near my home. I was seeking fractals and color on a very cold day.





























I will conclude this mega mash-up with a few test images taken recently after the purchase of a “graduated density filter kit” … this is something essential to me for accurate outdoor and landscape photographs that depict a lot of sky. Far too often I have had issues with sky blow-out, overexposure, where the land portion of an image looks great but cloud and sky definition suffers. The addition of a suitable lens filter has given me renewed excitement for the many fine weather shows that are sure to play out before my eyes as the months proceed.




















Thanks for checking out my blog.

Time for a 2013 Post

A very belated “happy new year” to you. I have been bloggy remiss. Reasons? Busy with work, always a good thing. Busy playing guitar and writing song pieces again after a lengthy, by my standards, layoff. A third contributing factor is my overall lack of enthusiasm for blogging and being a public contributor to the vast internettery, so much of it remixed and repeated. I even remix myself far more often than I care to admit. I’m about to do it again here, to some extent, though I d0 have a few newer images to cast into the pot. Valentine’s Day is soon arriving, and though I currently have no Valentine, my romantic heart keeps on beating. Here’s a remix – redo of an impersonal “big city indifference” shot I snapped a few years ago on a subway platform.





See the floaty hearts? I have inserted them well after the fact, obviously. Toronto’s subway system is a place of reduced or completely avoided eye contact. Maybe this is true for all subways. A little love between fellow citizens could go a long way, because fact be known the Toronto Transit Commission offers up lamentable service far too often when the price of a ride is taken into account. Next up is an older image of a section of Toronto’s Don River, down south near the lake. I have rotated it 90 degrees to give it allegorical heft as my homage to a recently viewed and quite scary documentary that focuses upon the ongoing global water crisis, and also serves as a brutal wake up call to the gluttony of the United States of America. We’re no angels in Canada, either, being blessed with an abundance of the world’s one percentile of drinking water and behaving as if it will never dry-slap our faces… the movie is Last Call At the Oasis. Go and seek it out. Especially if you have children or live in places like California.





I call this image “Dry Mouth : the future of water?” … view it as a before and after composition. In a related picture, here is a re-tweaked shot from 7 miles above somewhere ala lake Michigan on the American side of the border. I wanted to believe this discoloration of the lake was due to silt runoff after a storm, but there are “super farm” operations in the immediate vicinity and I suspect we are looking at something far more sinister. That cannot be ideal for wildlife or homo sapiens in the area. The byproduct of these industrial large-scale farming factories is something that will extract a nasty toll.






- is that an accusing glint in your dead eye?



Here follows a happier water shot ; sailing vessels on the sunlit waters of Juan de Fuca strait as the airplane containing my ass begins to descend to Victoria B.C.’s airport. I think this makes for a pleasing abstract, don’t you?





Another abstract-ish shot is from the harbor of Halifax Nova Scotia. Barnacles and a little starfish. You note that I am showing salt water now, which covers most of the planet and is not part of the potable water crisis equation. Desalination plants abound on Earth and the process is costly, slow, messy, not altogether a solution at all for the looming point of no return.





Speaking of salt water, here is an aerial postcard view of Victoria where she sits across from America’s Olympic mountain range in Washington state. It has been known for a very long time that many of the massive cruise ships that visit Canada’s little jewel of a city feel free to dump their raw sewage in the strait en route. This deplorable practice is ignored in favor of those big tourism dollars, and when viewed through the green-tinted tree-hugging glasses of Vancouver Island’s populace, must be particularly galling.



Yeah, it’s another wake up call, people.





Now I go random… here is a link to the afore mentioned documentary :   http://www.lastcallattheoasis.com

(I realize that links don’t always work here. Don’t be lazy. It only takes a second to stick this in your browser. Thanks.)



- taken from a 9th floor balcony where I worked yesterday… our winter is wild thus far : snow dump, bone chilling temps, sudden mercury rise and slush mess




- this big conifer is a couple of hundred feet or less away from my balcony… I love this tree




- snow has freedom of movement within the gravitation by-laws




- winter walkabout




- one of my favorite abodes in the Victorian era Cabbagetown neighborhood… the Lamb house, with a fresh snow coating in January




- the old Victorian chapel of Cabbagetown’s Necropolis Cemetery




- a groundskeeper’s residence beside the chapel




- a pig on the move abstract, taken at the nearby Riverdale Farm




- a couple of happy sheep, posing for the Acidwoods camera




- picnics on hold… heading down into the wildlife sanctuary just east of Riverdale Farm




















- assorted images from the ponds and environs




- a snow boot … how very cool, literally




- cat ? rabbit ?




- rotated softened existing photograph crop from an outdoor exhibit in the Distillery District




- blue tube group, from an aquarium in Sidney British Columbia




- the starfish happy dance, from the same aquarium




- yep, you guessed it




- moth on the move




- double x prism, as seen in my sleeping computer monitor one night




- “wall art” beside my living room window last week




- “hard rock chakra” via an effect from the Imac built-in camera that I dislike… BLS = Black Label Society… finger configuration = Horns Up !



Until next post, I hope the new-ish year is treating you all more than satisfactorily.

that time of year

Had to run a little shopping errand and decided to check out the “controversial” new Christmas tree inside Toronto’s downtown mall, The Eaton Centre. I had seen a few TV newscasts about the loved-hated tree, and wanted to also take a gander at the huge reindeer decorations under the same roof… so here are some shots on the way to and then inside the mall world.
































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Seasons Greeting to you and yours. All the best for 2013. Catch you on the flip side.


~ Rick

pink clouds and night shots


It gets dark very early at this time of year. Workers on rooftops have limited sunlight hours to do their thing.


By five o’clock the sun is on its way to shining on Australia, and I pose on my balcony for a head-in-the-clouds abstract ten second exposure.


Across the street and adjacent parking lot, a concert and clubbing venue is not ideally located within a residential district, although I myself have seen many fine shows there (without acting like a rowdy dick and disturbing the neighborhood peace, I must add)… I set up the tripod for some varied time exposures of the throng which seems eternally stuck in the cold drizzle, waiting…

















scoopy doop










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for the want of a blizzard




I was fiddling around one evening, digitally restoring a couple of beaten up 1984 35mm shots taken when I lived on the shore of mighty lake Huron… and got to wishing that Toronto would receive a taste of good old fashioned winter. “Snow belt” winter, with lashing winds and mounds of snow reminiscent of that glorious storm when our idiotic mayor of the time called in our armed forces to assist with clearing the white stuff. Copious narrow residential streets downtown, millions of residents, blah blah blah : help us! It made our city a bit of a national laughing stock. Compared to so many locations around this broad chunk of real estate called Canada, the biggest city gets next to nothing in terms of winter precipitation.

Here we are many seasons later, with another idiotic mayor in office (but not for long because a judge has ordered him to leave… long story, I’ll spare you) and on the cusp of another big December “I wish it would snow in time for Christmas” retail orgy. Towns all around the metropolitan area have already gotten a taste of snow, but outside my windows the usual expanse of urban concrete and now bereft of leaves trees… no wonder I cleaned up the two old photos with a touch of nostalgia. They aren’t even snowy pictures. It was a frosty November sunset and I snapped a few moody shots of the lake and shoreline, is all. Shitty (at the time) film camera that I wish I had kept, for the old school in it.







We moved from the city to a small town on lake Huron because my dad was transferred to a job at a massive nuclear generating station up there. You wanna talk about snow? We kids were transfixed by the mountains of it on both sides of the highway. Telephone poles were only half visible due to the drifts, for mighty Huron is a windy lake and those slicing marrow snap winds were a constant coming inland. There were regular winter blasts where you couldn’t see the hood ornament on your vehicle : “white outs”, they call ‘em. Of the many misapplied names for events and things, this is definitely not one of them. Outside of the town which had an approximate population of 6000 during the off-season (when tourists flood in for the clean beaches and recreation), you were doomed without a snowmobile or kick-ass truck. I worked in the biggest supermarket on night crew for quite a few years, and there were storms that closed the main highway. Food couldn’t get into the store or on the shelves. I remember a winter in 1978 where all we seemed to do was shovel the property around home and clean off the car. I’d be out several times a day just to keep the porch and front door clear… it was crazy. That particular winter was bad enough that the locals made up t-shirts : “I survived the winter of ’78″… but there was a camaraderie within the challenge. Something human and warm that I don’t find very often in the big city.

It has been an observation of mine that you will find some of the kindest most genuine people in locations with the harshest weather conditions.

Here where I have now lived for 25 years, in the bosom of a huge city, the weather is “political”, or “commercial” by comparison. There are reasons for terms like “political climate”. There are reasons why every December the media outlets trot out the same recycled stories about how much people will or will not spend on Xmas gifts. There are reasons why some of us tune it out and become weary jaded shadows of our younger selves. I know it is only snow, but last night after work I was bone tired and wanted to see some of it. Not on a computer screen or in an old photo, but through the window panes and coating the streets and trees and rooftops. I recognize that Toronto’s climate bubble seems to shield us from real hearty winters filled with flakes, and that by February one can climb the walls after months of barren ugly concrete or filthy brown slush. That recognition makes me crave snow this time of year, and has me wishing up a real winter season. One like Nova Scotia gets, or Georgian Bay, or Winnipeg. It will break the pattern and has every chance of warming up this sometimes chilly populace.

Happily, the first dusting of snow came down last night. Just enough to whiten up the sidewalks a bit and make the decorations where I live look more festive. I watched a family approach and admire the lights, then snapped a few shots to remind myself that this annual ritual of December does pack a lot of joy and meaning, with or without snowfall.
















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Zombies in the Fall

Autumn is fully arrived and leaves have gone Crayola.





I see on the news that the tenth annual “zombie walk” is happening, with up to six thousand of the undead and fakely bloody congregating over at city hall and then partaking of a walk through the downtown streets. On the official website for this event, which grows in popularity each year, I find a route map and plan accordingly. I want to arrive at Dundas Square when the zombies are supposed to mass. I time my departure and walk through nearby Allan Gardens park, where you see the pretty tree above. (on my return later I saw a guy giving it a big loving hug as his buddies took pictures of the affection : I approved )

At Dundas Square there were more rain drops than zombies. Smatterings of youthful faces in various states of putrefaction, but no mass gathering as the clock should have delivered. After a twenty minute sit and wait, and with rain on the abate, I decided to walk the zombie route according to the map. Not before seeing the usual colorful character that always manifests at this public square that is actually a triangle…







This guy is wheeling along with a little coffin in tow. Creative, no? He whipped past me and the shot wasn’t focused to my liking, so here he is processed to Hell and back. This is at the corner of Yonge and Dundas. I proceed west along Dundas.





This zombie had stylin’ wheels but no sidewalk etiquette. His speed was a risk to pedestrians. As I continued backward through the walking route that had very few zombies, it became clear that I would be backtracking all the way to city hall and the gore headquarters. Here is a shot walking through a courtyard and very close to the main gathering, which seemed reluctant to do any street walking.











If you are squeamish, now is the time to depart, but I’ll share a dancing happy zombie to start off…






I shut up now. The images are self explanatory and I limited myself to an economical number of frames. Many of the zombies were very agreeable to having their pictures taken, and I will finish with my favorite. Let me add one very important item : this year’s zombie walk was teamed up with The Heart and Stroke Foundation in an effort to turn a gory good time into a socially responsible and helpful event. Applause !




















































sheep for symmetry













- several pics from Riverdale Farm in Toronto




- with Halloween arriving soon, I am in horror movie mode and chuckled over this typo from my film collection vault… a riper ripper is a scary thought indeed




- future pies and lanterns, from a farm on Vancouver Island




- life was Good, from the Necropolis in Toronto




- silly Halloweenie fusion between a pre-existing backdrop via PicMonkey, and a crow I photographed in B.C.




- this time the sky is mine and the ghosties are from PicMonkey… boo !




- a veteran photo journalist at Toronto’s G20, morphed for Halloween… sorry, buddy, but you were a bit of an ass to me so here goes it !




- one of my movie books, a jar of garlic, and Bela…




- moonmood




- slow arriving Autumn colors in Toronto, taken from a 9th floor balcony where I was working recently




- and in mono




- the pleasant surprise of curb sides




- down in the Don Valley




- a pond in a Don Valley nature preserve, processed with a ghost feel




- same place, wider view




- same area, old field stone bridge




- yes, leave it where it falls




- from a bike riding day north along the Don Valley and river… a bridge and stairwell accesses the Martin Goodman Trail




- what high speed and auto focus does in a heartbeat : I liked the weird appearance of those distant buildings





























- looks like beaver teeth have been busy ?







- an insect abstract







- I missed out on the Monarch pre migratory massing this year, somehow : these are shots from a few years ago



















- huge hydro towers run along the Don Valley in humanity’s usual harmonious aesthetic




- the artistic canvases beneath bridges are always changing… hunch mellow ?




- inversion abstracto reflectivus




- me part of a bigger shadow




- a store that wants to be all things for all people




- waiting for street meat eaters




- trying out wacky new processing ideas for alternate and nearby dimensions




- Graffiti Alley, just behind Queen street west to the south




- advanced color rot




- a quick ride-by picture of some Autumn splendor throughout residential streets




- from a few seasons ago




- from the Niagara Escarpment region, a few Autumns ago


Nothing special. Just realized I hadn’t posted in a while. Peace, all.




The Bird Zone and Other Places

In my quest to once again witness the Monarch butterflies en masse prior to their long flutter south, I pedal my ass from downtown to the favorite escape zone of Tommy Thompson Park on the Leslie landfill peninsula that becomes wilderness and bird sanctuary almost inexorably. Don’t fret. Not every sentence I type for this post will be so long winded.



The recreational area is only open to the public on weekends. There is one main paved artery and several offshoot gravel roads that cut through the various arms of the main peninsula, but I always prefer the less worn trails. What I show above gradually becomes a choked off chest high wild growth area, but my bike is a hybrid and can hack the trails up in there. This is where I found hundreds of butterflies a couple of years ago.



Along the way there are glimpses of the extended area. It appeared to be a very photogenic sky day, albeit already late afternoon by the time I was out there.



I rode out to the southernmost fringe of a favorite butterfly staging area, but they were few and far between. Just grasshoppers and lots of small birds springing up out of the tall weeds and flowers as my bike broke through. I spent some time on a pile of boulders, drinking water and loving the space around me.



Very few butterflies. I rode back and headed west on a main gravel track, stopping to take pictures of a nice marsh area.



Wet density. Dense wettity. Above me, a gorgeous sky.












From the marsh I headed down a section of barren gravel road that slopes through the woods toward lake Ontario, narrowly avoiding snails that have little death wishes.



Where the road ended, a huge tree trunk had fallen across its base. Beyond it opened a vista of strange ingredients. Old ugly fencing in mid collapse was in a meander around the area. Stumps of once proudly standing trees were scattered about in many shapes and sizes, some of them fossilized looking. There were marshy slime sections where it seemed the tide had gone out, although this lake has no tidal bore. Wildflowers grew helter skelter. Above me the sky contained heavy clouds and beautiful open blue patches, more reminiscent of what we see in October. When the sun was obscured, all of this ambiance drastically changed and became almost eerie, and this had me shooting in both color and monochrome. No other people were down in this mucky beauty. My bike was already a mess and burrs stuck to my jeans and shirt. It didn’t matter at this point and going forward into this never before seen section of the peninsula was my only choice and option.



























To the east, the beginning of a bird sanctuary perimeter.






Breeding area. Cemetery. I continued along the shoreline as it curved south, stepping gingerly to avoid the many avian remains. A much more alive group flew overhead.






























Hard to believe a metropolis of almost six million people is just across the water, isn’t it?









I proceeded along the shore, now heading north and facing the emerging skyline. To my right, the eerie bird sanctuary with its stripped bare trees, nests, and a few Cormorants within the limbs.



























I include that last one in color to show the suggestive power of monochrome… after photographing the nesting area, I continued along the shore into a vantage point of my city that I had not before seen. Foreground of natural rot and rubble, with the always recognizable skyline.


















With sunlight on the wane, I turned around to negotiate the muddy swampy landscape behind me. I didn’t want to get trapped out here after dark…



A final look at the bird zone, before I climbed back over the fallen tree trunk for the ride back up to a main road out of there.



I end with four frames from the ride home, when the sunset was in its final showy stages.
















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