Tag Archives: Chinatown

Toronto Sojourn

I went to Toronto with some friends for the last weekend in June to attend World Pride. Unfortunately due to some awkward circumstances we had to leave early and never made it to the parade, which to hear tell was just as well because Toronto was a veritable oven that weekend and we would have suffered more than enjoying the festivities. I did take pictures, though (what, me go somewhere and NOT take pictures?). It whet my appetite for going back – there’s a lot going on there and I want to explore it more.

I’ve developed a “thing” for photographs of public transit. I started doing it here in DC, shooting Metro trains in motion at various stations. I’ve done it in New York and in Paris, and now Toronto as well. I think this was at the Spadina station, but I could be off. It’s funny how after doing this same shot in various places how different they look, despite the trains doing the exact same thing.

 Toronto Subway
Toronto Subway

To stick with the public transit theme, here’s a streetcar in Toronto. They have LOTS of streetcars and unlike other cities, they seem to have kept them going instead of ripping them out/paving them over in favor of buses, only to have to put them back at obscene expense (ahem, Washington DC and Baltimore). This one is passing in front of the Art Gallery of Ontario, which looks like some kind of glass zeppelin.

Streetcar, Art Gallery of Ontario
Streetcar, Art Gallery of Ontario

The streetscape across from the art museum is quite the contrast. A row of 19th century rowhouses has been turned into galleries and restaurants. It’s a highlight of the contrasts of Toronto, as you can see the business district skyscrapers in the background.

Toronto Art Gallery Row
Toronto Art Gallery Row

This railing fronted one of the galleries on Queen Street (the street that runs in front of the art museum). I just liked the layering of geometry happening here.

Railings, Queen Street
Railings, Queen Street

For lack of a better memory of the restaurant’s name, and in honor of Canada’s multilingual heritage, I’m titling this one “Oeufs Torontonnaise”. In reality it’s just a clever sign for a restaurant across from the art gallery. The pan must be really NOT non-stick for the egg to stay up there like that!

Oeufs Torontonnaise
Oeufs Torontonnaise

You’ve gotta love a pub called “The Village Idiot”. I’ve been told that down the street from it there is another bar with the best beer selection in Toronto.

Village Idiot Pub
Village Idiot Pub

I spotted this place on my way back from Chinatown, through the streetcar window.

Silver Dollar Room
Silver Dollar Room

The art museum is just a couple blocks outside Toronto’s Chinatown, which is very busy and vibrant. I spotted this scene shortly after stepping off the streetcar. Passing by an hour later, half the pig was gone.

Chinese Restaurant Window, Toronto
Chinese Restaurant Window, Toronto

Some very cool graffiti art on a wall near the art museum, at the edge of Chinatown.

Graffiti
Graffiti

In closing, another one of my ‘things’ – pay phones. I was shocked to see how many were still in service in Toronto.

Payphones
Payphones

I was hanging out with my best friend since my college days, Steve. I snapped this one of him while we were staying cool in the Starbucks waiting for another friend of mine, Mirza, to join us.

Steve at Starbucks
Steve at Starbucks

DC Street Photography in b/w

Chickass Jeans
Chickass Jeans
Pan Lourdes, 14th Street
Pan Lourdes, 14th Street
Street Snack, 14th Street
Street Snack, 14th Street
Philip Seymour Hoffman and My Shadow
Philip Seymour Hoffman and My Shadow

I called this one Philip Seymour Hoffman and my Shadow because the guy sitting against the Metro entrance wall just kinda looks like him, in full-on Method acting mode studying for a role.

Standing in the Doorway
Standing in the Doorway
Together, Apart
Together, Apart

This was taken around 10pm on the subway on my way home from Chinatown. I suspect these two were heading home after dinner and a long day (perhaps week!) at the office.

Oncoming Metro
Oncoming Metro
Chinatown Arch, Sunset
Chinatown Arch, Sunset

This image has me on the horns of a dilemma- would it have been better in color or as it is in black-and-white? I think it has a certain character in black-and-white that it wouldn’t have in color, but the western sky would definitely look different. Comments?

Two More from Chinatown

Spy Museum, G Street, Twilight
Spy Museum, G Street, Twilight

This is looking West on G Street, across the street from the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum (they’re housed in the same building, the former US Patent Office, once the largest building in Washington, occupying an entire square block. Designed to be fireproof (although proven later due to budget cuts during construction to NOT be as fireproof as designed), it was home to Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural Ball). If you saw photos of this street from 30 years ago you would barely recognize it – the entire neighborhood was in rough shape, and despite the museum’s presence, not a safe place to be. They wouldn’t let school groups wander beyond the museum – it was straight from the bus to the building, and back directly into the bus in those days. The whole neighborhood smelled of Eau de Homeless. Now, drinks at Zola are $10-15 each for bottom-shelf liquor, and dinner for two at Rosa Mexicano around the corner will routinely set you back $70-100.

Portrait Gallery Steps, Twilight
Portrait Gallery Steps, Twilight

As you can see, sitting on the steps of the Portrait Gallery is a popular pastime, although not as popular as it used to be amongst teenagers who used to congregate there in large numbers pretty much all year round. The downside was that they weren’t absorbing culture – they were there being teenagers, being rowdy and noisy, sometimes getting into fights, and other inappropriate behavior. So the museum installed speakers that play classical music. Beethoven, the ultimate teenager repellant!

More Chinatown at Night, Rolleiflex plus Fuji 800Z

More of my DC nightscapes- I was testing out the Fuji NPZ 800 that I had in my film inventory. A surprisingly good result from a film I’ve had sitting around again for the better part of a decade.

National Portrait Gallery, Twilight
National Portrait Gallery, Twilight
RedLine Pub, Chinatown
RedLine Pub, Chinatown
Legal Seafood, Chinatown
Legal Seafood, Chinatown

You can definitely see the grain in these images, but it’s nowhere near as pronounced as the grain in 400 speed 35mm film. It also handles mixed lighting pretty well, but it’s not Kodak Portra.

Oh, by the way, these were all hand-held. THAT’s why you shoot 800 speed film!

Further Colors of Night- DC’s Chinatown

Fresh Noodles Made Daily
Fresh Noodles Made Daily

The fresh noodles and Peking duck house on 6th Street, NW. I think someone needs to teach them about Windex, as the “OPEN” sign is fuzzy not from being out of focus in my composition but from the splattered duck fat on the window. And no, I’ve never eaten there to know if the food is any good or not. But if you’re lucky when you wander by you can watch them making traditional Chinese noodles in the window, stretching and re-folding the dough over and over and over again, then cutting the ends and BOOM! you’ve got all these separate strands of pasta.

Mings Chinatown
Mings Chinatown

I liked the juxtaposition of the empty sidewalk out front, the lone Prius in the parking lot next door, and the intimate diners in the window.

Secession Sushi - The Wok 'n Roll in the Surratt House
Secession Sushi – The Wok ‘n Roll in the Surratt House

This one gets a cutesy title because there’s just something so post- and meta- and ironic and all that kind of stuff about having a sushi joint on the ground floor of Mary Surratt’s boarding house, where the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln was hatched. Don’t believe me? Read the plaque on the wall of the house, like the two time-blurred figures in the photo are doing. It’s a very odd vestige of what downtown Washington looked like in 1865, and despite what Robert Redford would have had you believe in “The Conspirator” (by filming in an albeit lesser mansion in Savannah, Georgia), evidence of the utterly middle-class lifestyle of Mary Surratt.

All the above images were shot with my Canham woodfield 5×7, using my Kodak 12″ Commercial Ektar, using Kodak Portra 160nc film.

The Colors of Night – more Washington DC and environs shots

Fountain, Georgetown Waterfront, Kennedy Center
Fountain, Georgetown Waterfront, Kennedy Center

Burma Restaurant, Chinatown, DC
Burma Restaurant, Chinatown, DC
Glen Echo Sign
Glen Echo Sign


Three more in my DC at night series. These were all shot with the Canham 5×7 wood field, and if memory serves, all were taken with the Kodak 12″ Commercial Ektar lens.

Fun with the Rollei – Part 4 – more DC, some at night and other random stuff

National Archives and the Navy Memorial, Young Couple, Nightfall
National Archives and the Navy Memorial, Young Couple, Nightfall
The Verizon Center, from 7th and F Streets
The Verizon Center, from 7th and F Streets

More fun with the Rolleiflex. All of this series was shot with Kodak Portra 160 NC, which is a fantastic film for night photography because of the way it handles color in mixed lighting conditions. In my opinion, it’s probably the best color film for this kind of shooting, ever. Others may disagree.

Cyclist returning his Bikeshare, National Portrait Gallery, Sunset
Cyclist returning his Bikeshare, National Portrait Gallery, Sunset
Episcopal Church, 13th and G Streets
Episcopal Church, 13th and G Streets
The Fairmount Market, 11th and Fairmount
The Fairmount Market, 11th and Fairmount
Morning Bus Ride, 11th Street Bus
Morning Bus Ride, 11th Street Bus