Street photography in Victoria, BC

28 Bastion Square

Spring has arrived in Victoria, BC. The temperature rose to 17 °C yesterday. In fact, many of the early blossoming trees have already shed their petals in storms of white and pink. Outside my window, buds are bursting on broadleaf maple and Gary oak. The mock orange, favourite of bushtit and chickadee, is leafed out, readying its fragrant blooms.

Having the latest renovations to home and office under control, on Saturday I hauled my Nikon D800, tripod and lenses down to the heart of old Victoria. I started out along the Inner Harbour, pausing at the soon-to-be-demolished Johnson Street Bridge and the Northern Junk Building, the fate of which is yet to be decided. A 12-storey tower has been proposed for the site.

I’d hoped to have the impressive display of cumulonimbus clouds boiling up behind my chosen subjects but the light, buildings and the meteorological phenomenon did not coincide. I moved further north, to Government Street, lined by sculpted European hornbeam trees (Carpinus betulus) capped in verdant green.

My original previsualizations were in black and white. I set up on the corner of Langley Street and Bastion Square to make a panorama, including 28 Bastion Square, the original Victoria law courts built in 1889. For nearly 50-years — from 1965 to 2014 — the building housed the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, and was a central draw for tourism in the square. It has lain empty since the museum relocated to 634 Humboldt Street, 3-years-ago.

It would make a great studio and photo gallery …. What do you think? 🙂

Just a few doors away, I set up in the road to frame the buildings on the next block. I noticed that the empty foreground, included in the levelled camera view, was nicely filled by passing cars. Shooting manually, the shutter speed was set at 1/40 sec (@ f9). With the mirror locked up, I had to squeeze the button of the remote cable twice to release the shutter. It took a bit of anticipation to get a car where I wanted. In post production (Lightroom, Nik, and Photoshop), I cropped the bottom, rendering the image at 5:4 aspect ratio.

Deluxe (Langley Street)

At the same time, my plans for any successful photograph changed — from monochrome to colour. Though the speeding car that made it into the best shot was a sleek, black sedan, the brickwork called out to be rendered in its glorious rusty shades.

As is often the case, the photo you end up with is not always the one you set out to make.

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Raymond Parker Photo
230 Menzies Street,
PO Box 39029,
Victoria, BC,
Canada V8V 2G7

PH: (250) 896-7623

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