Good things. Small packages.

A tiny package came for me in the mail the other day: a filter. A small, round, neutral density camera filter.

This girl – who usually collects only bills and realtor brochures from the mailbox – hasn’t been so excited to pick up the mail in a long, long time.

A neutral density filter is mounted on the end of a camera’s lens with the purpose of reducing the amount of light going in. This allows for longer exposures in bright conditions, which can result in interesting photographic effects like motion blur.

With my new toy in hand, I scampered to a source of moving water with no time to waste. I wanted to try making a smooth, milky effect with the movement of the creek. It took some fiddling with the settings, but here are the results of my first time out:

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Okay. This is WAY more fun than bills and real estate (no offense, realtors).

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Detours and diversions.

Today I took a wrong turn while driving through Hespeler. As I’m learning, though, it’s hard to discover anything new by always travelling the same road.

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It’s a good thing, too, because had I turned right instead of left, I wouldn’t have captured a door to share in Norm’s weekly feature, Thursday Doors.

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The facade of this building has a slightly different vibe than most art galleries, yes?

Back at home (I managed to get there without getting lost again, in case you were wondering), Google informed me (herehere and here) that the Underground is a gallery, store and studio headed by Ean Kools, a local street artist.

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As it happens, earlier today I picked up a flyer for the Cambridge International Street Art Festival, taking place this June. I had missed the festival last year, but I do plan on wandering the streets to check out this year’s gathering of artists as they work their magic (maybe I should bring a map?).

Thanks, as always, for visiting.

Drab to fab.

I don’t have grand, elaborate entrances this week for my submission to Norm’s Thursday Doors. In fact, today’s doors are pretty inconspicuous. They’re hidden inside a work of art.

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For that, we can thank artist Stephanie Boutari. This mural transforms the rear of this bland and generic strip mall into a unique and colourful canvas. Street art can truly add personality and interest where they may be lacking. I like the vibrancy and sweeping curves of this piece.

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The details were carefully considered to ensure the look is unified in the big picture. The lines are sharp, clean and vivid – even up close. Only the metal ring in the bottom photo, jutting from the wall, shows a little wear and tear.

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In this week’s post, the walls are more impressive than the doors themselves, but given the state of these walls, I didn’t think you’d mind. Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Paint the town.

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Detail from a mural by Shalak. Cambridge, Ontario.

I’ve taken a shine to graffiti (the artsy kind).

I’ve always lived in suburbia, and admittedly I’m pretty sheltered, so I can’t say I’ve had much exposure to street art.

But a few quick searches on the web are enough to blow me away. I’m always amazed by people who excel at skills that, in me, are simply non-existent.

These artists execute their visions in massive, full-colour glory – often with complex tricks of perspective that are incorporated into the existing urban design.

Today’s photo displays detail from a mural spray-painted on a building in downtown Cambridge, Ontario, where an International Street Art Festival was held last summer. This, so far, is the only true street art I’ve seen up close. The face pictured was painted by Shalak, a Canadian-Chilean artist whose work embodies “psychedelic magical realism.” Visit her website for more lovely examples of her art.

I didn’t attend the festival, but I plan to be there this year so I can actually watch the art unfold.

And then… I may just have to find more time to wander the streets, camera in hand, looking for more magic.