I spy… something red.

I had so much fun during my last I Spy photo excursion that I did it again. This time, instead of fixating on circles, I had eyes only for the colour red.

I spent about an hour and a half downtown today, and almost no one looked at me strangely for snapping photos of fire hydrants and discarded take-out containers.

As before, giving myself a theme (and a time limit) to capture a series of photos allowed me to practice observation and composition but also encouraged me to avoid overthinking. Sometimes I just need to get out of my own way.

Bonus… this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Collage. Perfect! Here it is:

I spy… something round.

I’m pleased with myself: I did an exercise. The kind of exercise I like, i.e., the kind that doesn’t involve a lot of physical exertion. I spent about an hour walking around a few city blocks, looking for circles. If I saw something circle-shaped, I snapped it – without my usual contemplation and deliberation about camera settings and angles and so on. I wanted to practice observation and do it without overthinking.

I hadn’t tried this kind of speedy, themed exercise before, and capturing a series of shots focused on an easy shape or colour seemed like a good place to start. I really got into it, and didn’t (for once) feel self-conscious about whether people thought me odd for squatting in alleyways to make photos of manhole covers.

Come to think of it, aside from being hyper-aware of spherical items during that hour, I don’t really remember being aware of too much else. Which may beg the question of whether I was actually practicing good observational skills if I had eyes for only circles? (Don’t worry, Mom, I’m exaggerating a bit… I obeyed all crosswalks and made sure no shady people were following me. Safety first.)

No matter. Finding circles was fun. (Suggestions for future themed exercises are always welcome, by the way.)

Well, I can’t promise fine art here, but if you have some time on your hands, or if you’re looking for a reason to delay scrubbing the bathrooms, writing a term paper or going to the gym, feel free to take a scroll through my collection of Circles in the City:

Artists at work.

My skills in sketching with sidewalk chalk are limited to basic shapes (triangles, ovals, hearts), the alphabet, and if I’m feeling really creative: stick figures.

Not so for these folks! Here, a few of the talented artists at this year’s Cambridge International Street Art Festival. These photos were made near the end of Day 1. Though I couldn’t make it back to see the finished pieces on Day 2, no doubt they’ll be posted on the festival’s website shortly…

June 25 (3 of 8)June 25 (7 of 8)June 25 (2 of 8)June 25 (8 of 8)June 25 (5 of 8)June 25 (6 of 8)June 25 (1 of 8)


There were five permanent installations this year, but I arrived in time only to catch one of these graffiti artists at work. Look for these beautified walls in another post!

June 25 (4 of 8)

Not exactly glamorous.

You recall yesterday’s excitement about my new neutral density filter, so I don’t imagine you’re surprised to find another photo of blurred water.

Here, surface runoff turns into silver silk with motion blur and a monochrome treatment.

May 22 (1 of 1).jpg

Most people like to use this long exposure technique to make photos of babbling brooks and graceful waterfalls.

I wasn’t in the vicinity of either, so I had to settle for a storm sewer drainage pipe.

Use what you’ve got, right?