Photographer's Summer Vacation (2019)

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Been busy, people!

It's been an amazing Summer, largely on a personal level, and although that does - inevitably and salubriously - admix with my photography, it also interferes, plus: that's not what I blog about.


Somebody art-ed up this wall in Toronto

Almost every year, recently, a small group from my Inner Circle reunites for a few days in Toronto (a little village west of us up the highway).

If you believe yourself a member of my Inner Circle but don't get invited to TO, then please rest assured that I have several circles, and I love you too.

But you're not in that one.

I essentially don't like and don't do Street Photography, but I'm showing the one below. I believe that the subject remains unidentifiable, which matters to me. She never knew that I was there, unlike the occasional photograph where I later find the subject boring a hole through me with their eyes - a little embarrassing, albeit in retrospect.

Young woman on curb on work-break

My companions were endlessly patient with my photography, and for the image below I just had to walk twenty steps off our route to avoid some urban wires, and I snapped.

Ontario Power Building

The former Ontario Hydro Building has reflections, and I am drawn repeatedly to reflections. It also includes several prominent wires, which somehow nonetheless I think fit in well; note how they parallel some of the other visual elements. (Did I see that at the time? Let's say "sure", but I didn't see them consciously.)

I made several other similarly-themed photographs, expositing to my enthralled entourage (well - one other person at that moment) about why not to photograph in full sun and then why I was doing it anyway, and if one has to do it, then how.

Ask me about those technicalities sometime. It resulted in the following:

Toronto Harbour skyline, CN Tower

I like getting the CN Tower in there. I use a polarizing filter more often recently, as I used to do years ago, and then less often for a while, for obscure reasons; I have always liked it.


Gardening doesn't do it for me. Photographing my garden does.

Hostas in bloom

Flowers have featured so prominently in art since like forever, and with good reason. I sometimes think "more flowers?", and then I photograph more flowers.

Maple Acura

Rolling into Maple Acura in Vaughn, far from home because I wanted a specific but scarce car, the skies opened and for a minute I dared not even exit the (soon-to-be-traded) vehicle. However, I whipped out my cellphone and shot a few frames through the windshield.

Maple Acura in the rain

The dealership later said, yes, sure, they would like a print of that. I asked them for their budget, and ... that was a while ago. If you're there, remind them. They will never quite see it like this again.

Automotion 2019

This annual car-show in Brockville never fails to amaze. This year I seem to have homed in on details, like this air intake.

Engine air-intake eye-art

(Apologies to the artist, whoever they are, for posting their work - if they have any objections, I will take it down - or gladly acknowledge them.)


I wandered Hardy Park, just looking for something new, early one morning, and was photographing something else when this little critter poked out from between the bushes, just a few steps away from me.


The subject below, however, is what had caught my attention, a Sabrejet from a bygone era.


I and many others have photographed that plane before ... but not like this. (What's holding it up?!?)

Assisting at the Power Squadron booth at the Tall Ships Festival, I espied the Brockville City Hall tower, and made what I subsequently described as a photograph of urban wires.

Brockville City Hall tower with wires

Such wires profoundly consternate urban photographers everywhere, and yet I suggest that, in this image, they constitute the actual subject, with the tower as the secondary visual accent.


A friend of mine is selling his boat, and asked for some advertising photographs. It took four of us in two boats a couple of hours, and

  1. boats!

  2. photography!

so that was simply goodness all around.

Temora - 30 foot heavy-duty cruising sailboat for sale

He got his photographs, seems pleased (I feel pleased), and if you're in the market for a heavy-duty, 30-foot (gorgeous) cruising sailboat, then I know a guy.


By now late August, I found myself again at dawn at Prescott, Ontario. I didn't go there to photograph the harbour-beacon, and I, along with many skilled photographers, have captured it before. Still ...

Beacon at Prescott Harbour - dawn

I have made two previous visits, both times at dawn, one of them at a temperature of -16C, to photograph the ancient pilings just downstream from that beacon. This time, needing something fresh, I looked ... afresh, really just basically trying harder, more for details than vistas ... and located this interplay of reflections.

Reflection - Prescott pilings

Many have liked it. Some have said that they "don't like abstracts" - fine, but

  1. does it actually qualify as an abstract, seeing as I photographed a real reflection, and

  2. it seems more important to me to ask "does the work interest or appeal to me?", without reference to any preconceived notion of what constitutes a Proper Photograph.

I still struggle with losing my preconceptions - not in any way a trivial challenge - more on that below.

Tall Ships Festival

Every so many years, Brockville holds a Tall Ships Festival. This may be only the second (third?). Ships come from far and wide, people quite enthusiastically flock to see them (and they are impressive pieces of machinery!), go onboard, get out on tours, participate in numerous ancillary activities, etc.

The Brockville Yacht Club sends out a flotilla to greet the tall ships on opening day, and I had to go to a wedding or something (which was, however, lovely.)

Earlier, I did manage to grab an hour to wander around with camera, and, as with Automotion, this year it seemed that I heard the call to photograph smaller details.

anchor, antique yacht, sea-grass

This anchor, above, on a small, antique yacht, has been in use - note the sea-grasses. I like that it isn't purely decorative!

Below, Nao Santa Maria ("New Saint Mary"?), fashioned I presume after one of Columbus' ships from 1492, carries her yardarms at a jaunty angle.

Nao Santa Maria yardarm

Below, Empire Sandy, a tour-boat from Toronto, cuts a fine sight out on the water.

Empire Sandy at Brockville Tall Ships Festival

Abstraction in the 1000 Islands

This art exhibit, curated by impressive local artist Fraser Radford, hangs for the month of September at the Brockville Public Library. For reasons unknown to me, but to my delight, Fraser asked me to participate, and for the occasion I made a new work.

Focus #1 - non-representational photograph by ctLow

It matters not what it is. (It is something.) It's not identifiable (by prescription and design). The only question need be if you find it interesting or appealing.

Now, "abstracts" aren't my thing, not really, the recurring theme of "reflections" notwithstanding. Fraser's criteria were, "light, colour, and ... unidentifiable".

And, I found this really tough. I mean, the whole starting point with photography is to find something to photograph, so ipso facto generally that will be a real something. Many photo-artists have of course got way beyond that long ago, but not this photo-artist.

I went out numerous times, and eventually worked up eight images, from which to choose one. As usual, it was one from my first outing.

Now, from my perspective, this is pretty far out there - somewhere. But I have got the bug, just a bit, and intend to make another one or two in a series, but I don't think that I'm going to go permanently "non-representational". I feels odd that I enjoy finding ways to photograph ordinary things in ways most of us haven't visualized previously, and yet it seems like such a big step to make an abstract.

Incidentally, as if abstract photography didn't challenge me enough, I added in the personal goals of

  1. not simply blurring something, and

  2. of not using macro-photography.

Either would have easily turned a subject into something unidentifiable, but felt like cheating. I didn't want it that easy.

Anyway, go to the library, up on the second floor in the "quiet area", and there you will find mine - "Focus #1" - and ten other magnificent works of art by talented (dedicated, hard-working) artists, in various media. Go today so you won't forget, as the show doesn't last long.

You quite likely will want to purchase one.

Be sure to set aside the time and date for he official opening - I expect to see you all there!

Abstraction in the 1000 Islands

Official Opening

Saturday September 21, 2019; 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Brockville Public Library

Fog and Freighter

That brings us to this morning, at Cardinal, Ontario, at dawn.

Summer's Over!

Autumn has not officially arrived, but we all know. Back to work, people! That includes me. Not that the photography above wasn't work, but I feel that in this case, the old saying is true: "You'll never work a day in your life if you love what you do."

While You're Here ...

Reminder: I make photographs and I sell photographs.

ctLow Photographer

Art - Most of the photographs which you see on this web site are for sale. Prices at the time of writing, for example, for an 11x14" fine-art print with a generous white border would start at about $65, and you can go up or down from there. Check the rates page. More importantly, check out my gallery. I would love to provide you with a work of fine-art photography, or to discuss a commission.

Portraits - Book a sitting - the right frequency with which to commission formal portraits is a bit more often.

Anything (almost ...)! Please inquire for photography categories such automotive, industrial, charitable ...

Another reminder: kindly leave a comment, or contact me to sign up for new blog notifications. I will very much appreciate recommendations to potential new subscribers. I am very careful and respectful with your privacy.

Thank you so much for reading.

Charles T. Low


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