August 29, 2009

Infusion Community Outreach (Aug 29 2009)

My church's youth group pulled off a community outreach earlier today.

Click this post's title to see all 48 photos at my Flickr page.

Into The Blue

There I was walking on Bay St., on my way to run my Saturday errand. I turned my head to look into Brookfield Place and saw that an exhibit was being set up. You know the rest by now...

I took a few shots, ending up with what I considered the crown jewel of this shoot.

Here's a bonus photo to give context to the one above.

I should mention that this exhibit is called Zero Gravity and it's the work of Darlan Rosa, an artist from Brazil. He has a website where you can check out his work.

August 28, 2009


I usually pick up tomatoes and bananas every Friday at Whole Foods Market's Yorkville location. While I was there this afternoon, I saw this.

At first, it looked like cauliflower with a dye job. After looking at a nearby label, I found out that it was Broccoflower (broccoli and cauliflower combined).

In any case, there was no way I'd be buying this.

The Things We Do For Love

As I said previously, I took a lot of photos while attending BuskerFest yesterday. Even after judiciously deleting and cropping photos where necessary (and believe me, it was necessary), I still ended up with 409 megs worth of high-resolution photographs. Imagine how long it would take to upload them to my Flickr account all at once!

Even with that, I foolishly tried that earlier this morning, but after discovering that I indeed valued sleep, I cancelled the upload. Thankfully, after I woke up, I uploaded the rest of the photos in different stages.

I tried something different in my shoot yesterday: instead of taking small-sized photos (1936 by 1296 pixels), I took medium-sized ones (2896 by 1944 pixels). My thinking was this: if I didn't get the best view (or even if I did), my 18-55 mm lens might not have been able to capture the action in its entire frame. Since I'd probably need to crop photos when I got home, I didn't want to sacrifice resolution or quality.

I'm ultimately glad that I went this route, but man - there's a lot of (worthwhile) work involved!


I took this shot on my way to BusketFest.

It's a bit much to expect drivers to look in their mirrors as they exit a car wash.

Toronto BuskerFest 2009 - Day 1 (Aug 27 2009)

I spent about six hours shooting photos here. I ended up getting 400-something photos which I whittled down to 153.

Click this post's title to see all 153 photos at my Flickr page.

August 27, 2009


I picked up a point-and-shoot camera for my mom earlier today. On the way to the bus stop, I noticed a broken-down toy Hummer on the sidewalk.

Trust me, if I didn't have my Fujifilm camera on me, I would have kept walking - but nooooooo...

The shoot itself was a bit of a crapshoot; I couldn't see the LCD monitor in the bright sunlight. Nonetheless, I'm thankful that something came out of it.


Lately, I've been blogging about how my new camera shoots images with 300 ppi (pixels per inch, a.k.a. dots per inch). However, the truth is that I almost missed this fact.

When I was regularly taking photos with my point-and-shoot, I took it for granted that each image had 72 ppi. This was in part due to my former post-production process; I'd process all of the photos from a shoot via the "Process Multiple Files" option in Photoshop Elements (i.e. resize, sharpen, convert to JPEG max quality). If I was only processing one photo, I'd do these steps individually.

The other day when I took "practice" shots with my DSLR, I was messing around with them in Elements.* I think I was about to resize them when I noticed the extra ppi I gained just by using a different camera.

I was elated, but this boost would have been worth nothing if I didn't stumble upon one fact - when I was processing multiple files, the ppi was set to 72. Ergo, when processing my DSLR's photos, I'd have to set it to 300 to prevent any loss of pixels. Of course, point-and-shoot processing won't change; I'll just need to be extra cognizant about the ppi setting.

*I shortened "Photoshop Elements" to "Elements" so I wouldn't have to keep writing the first term over and over again.

Waiting For The Shot...

At my Chesterton Shores photo shoot yesterday, instant inspiration struck me again in the same way that it did one week ago. There is a sign in the area which says, "Stop - unauthorized entry prohibited." I thought it would be a bit humourous to photograph that sign with a speeding train passing by. Since I can control shutter speed on my new camera, I thought this shot would be a breeze.

In one word, nope.

I'll make a long story short: due to desiring the best positioning possible, I waited one whole hour to get the shot below.

I still don't think it's absolutely perfect; I had to retouch it due to the presence of shadows. However, I still think that the wait was worth it and I'm sure I'll have many more stories like this one in my photoblogging career.

Return To Chesterton Shores (Aug 26 2009)

Consider this a bonus photo shoot; I didn't think that the Rouge Park shoot would be so short.

Click this post's title to see all 9 photos at my Flickr page.

Rouge Park (Glen Eagles Vista) (Aug 26 2009)

Here it is, everyone - my first photo shoot with my new Nikon D60 camera. A sampling of the shoot follows...

I almost forgot to mention...300 ppi. 'Nuff said.

Click this post's title to see all 27 photos at my Flickr page.

August 25, 2009

Featured Photo: "A Feast For The Taking" by leefly

I love how the focus sharpens as you look at this photo from left to right; it's like waking up from a dream.

First Kiss(es)

After my morning devotions (prayer and Bible reading), I charged my new camera's battery while I showered. When this was over, I slid it into the slot and prepared the camera for its first shots by attaching the lens, inserting the memory card and setting up a few options on the camera itself. (I attached the strap earlier this morning, before I slept.)

I took a few shots around my apartment which were nothing to write home about. I will say, however, that I'm impressed with the detail and resolution that the camera gives. My point-and-shoot camera gives me 72 pixels per inch; this new camera gives me a whopping 300, even when I take small-sized photos (1936 by 1296 pixels)! I'm also impressed with how fast my photos are transferred to my PC via my new card reader. Transferring one photo from my point and shoot might take seven seconds; mind you, I directly connect the camera to my PC via a USB cord. However, my card reader transferred about twenty pics this morning and the process took less than one second.* If only reading the 191-page user's manual could be done so quickly...

I look forward to my upcoming photo shoots: Rouge Park (Glen Eagles Vista) tomorrow and Toronto BuskerFest on Thursday.

*I used the fine JPEG setting this morning; this will be my default as I'm not comfortable working with RAW images yet.

August 24, 2009

My New Girlfriend

I have more luck with cameras than with women, so I think this post's title makes a lot of sense. new rig.

(Back: Lowepro Omni Sport camera bag. Middle row: Kenko UV filter, Nikon D60 dSLR camera, Nikon 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens. Front row: Transcend USB card reader, SanDisk UltraII SDHC memory card)

Up to this point, I've been telling people that I'd wait until I found a stable source of income in order to buy new camera gear. Last weekend, however, I changed my course.

I guess my paradigm shift started when I watched Julie & Julia two weekends ago. This movie portrays the stories of two women, Julie Powell and Julia Child, who fearlessly broke the conventions of their respective eras. Julie did it by attempting to cook all 524 recipes in Julia's Mastering The Art Of French Cooking in one year and blogging about it. Julia did it by making a career out of something she loved to do - eating! The movie itself was a delight, but more than that, it was a timely paean to the power of dreaming big and changing your life.

Here's my situation: after three years and six months of working for a large Canadian bank, my job was outsourced to India. Despite my internal and external efforts to find other employment, I was unsuccessful. Having said that, my former job was definitely nothing to write home about; I basically reconciled internal accounts by filling in Excel spreadsheets. As time passed, I grew disenchanted with the job due to its lack of challenge (apart from training the person who would be training his people to take over my work).

As a matter of fact, a few months after my unit's outsourcing was announced, I showed my résumé to my manager. I'll never forget what she said as she looked it over: "What are you doing here?" She didn't mean that she wanted me removed from her team; she meant that, given my credentials, a job entailing spreadsheet updates was beneath my potential. That kind of sounds like Julie's scenario as portrayed in the movie; she didn't have an axe looming over her head, but in comparison to her friends, her career was pretty much a dead-end.

I'm still unemployed at the moment, but lately, I've been considering two options: going to college in order to get into the health care industry and working my way up as a photographer. Both choices are risky, but since I have no photography credentials other than my Flickr uploads, the latter option is the riskier of the two. However, it embodies something I've loved to do for many years and that's why I bought my new gear earlier today.

Speaking of that purchase, I'd like to commend Stan at Downtown Camera for his good humour and professionalism in dealing with me. The ten-percent discount on the accessories didn't hurt, neither; I didn't know about that going in. In any case, when all was said and done, I came in under budget.

I still don't quite know which option to take, but regardless, my photography obsession will never die. If there's any hint of a career in it, then I don't want to die wondering. In any case, I'll do anything to avoid ending up in the same situation which led to my outsourcing.

In light of the movie and the inspiring story of a Torontonian spa owner (which is far from finished), I coined the following expression:

If Julia Child could do it
If Julie Powell could do it
If Kristen Gale could do it
Then I can, too!

I conclude with this scene from The Pursuit Of Happyness. Hopefully, I can at least open these boxes before I sleep.

Stand Out

Right now, I'm listening to Stand Out by Tye Tribbett & G.A. - hence, this post's title.

I took this shot after making a long-awaited purchase. Dinner was a long way off, but I still didn't accept the free Hershey's chocolate being given out.

I promised to come back to this location (Chesterton Shores) after getting my hands on my new dSLR. Technically, I fulfilled my promise. :-)

This shot wasn't planned...consider it a bonus.

August 23, 2009

Festival Of South Asia (Aug 22 2009)

I wasn't sure if I'd attend this year's Festival Of South Asia, as there was a chance of precipitation last night. Fortunately, the weather held up for the duration of my shoot.

A sampling of the shoot follows.

Click this post's title to see all 58 photos at the Flickr page.

August 22, 2009

Featured Photo: "pinks*purples" by RustyCottage

Note how the colour of each yarn seems to go with that of the dish or the polka-dot cloth in the photo I've featured today. The fact that blue is my favourite colour doesn't hurt, neither.

August 21, 2009

Featured Photo: "Colorful Dinner" by pixierella

While I'm at Flickr, I sometimes take a look at the most recent uploads. If a picture strikes me as unique in any way (or just well-done), I add it to my list of favourites. I figure that if I spread good vibes, I'll eventually get them back.

Earlier today, I got the idea to feature Flickr photos by other community members. Keep in mind that the post title will be linked to the photo's Flickr page since some members don't want their photos to be downloaded or deeplinked.

With that said, enjoy this inaugural feature from pixierella: Colorful Dinner. Note how the orange seasoning jumps out at you when you see the photo.

ANSI Z 26-1/AS-5 Z 26-1

I've uploaded yet another photo to my Flickr photostream. Here it is below.

It's funny how inspiration can strike you when you have your camera on you.

Three Hardboiled Eggs

I didn't photograph three hardboiled eggs, but I'm eating them as I type this entry.

Before I slept this morning, I remembered that a few months ago, I took a picture of an egg similar to the one above. I decided not to feature it, but I did it this time because I thought of a funny title to go with the picture: "Side Effects Of Viagra." (Note the double yolk.)

I snapped this photo on my way to lunch with a friend. This is one of the crosswalks at Eglinton Ave. W. and Allen Rd.

Both photos are now in my Flickr photostream. FYI, wherever appropriate, I'll probably start linking blog titles to either my photostream or a Flickr set.

August 20, 2009

Like Scar Said, "Be Prepared"

Due to having my camera on me, I took a few shots after my workout this afternoon.

This was taken at King St. W. and Blue Jays Way; as you can see, the streetcar is already full, so Lord knows why these people want to get on it.

I wanted to take a picture of the "Waiting for the 87" sign ever since I saw it on a past joyride. However, when I reached this site, I thought it would be better if I shot a bus passing by.

On my ride home, it was raining very heavily. Thankfully, it tapered off on the last leg of my journey.

On My Radar: Scrambled Egg Edition

The On My Radar series is where I'll list my upcoming photo shoots. This post's title refers to the fact that I was frying a scrambled egg when I started typing. :-)

Anyway, I have three events where I'd love to do photo shoots, weather permitting:

Looking at Toronto's weather forecast for this Saturday, it looks as if the first event is a go.

Joy And Pain

Yesterday evening was supposed to be one my better ones. After having spent the day taking photographs at Toronto Botanical Garden & Edwards Gardens, I was looking forward to making my Flickr debut with photos which I thought were more than just up to snuff.

Before I upload photos, I usually make any necessary edits in Adobe Photoshop Elements (a scaled-down version of Photoshop). This usually means resizing, rotating and applying a bit of Smart Fix if necessary. I don't like doing the last thing too much; I try my hardest to get the settings correct when I actually take the photograph (i.e. white balance, exposure, etc...).

My usual process involves using the "Process Multiple Files" feature in order to sharpen and resize my photos in one shot. I also convert each file to JPEG Max Quality while using that feature. Yesterday, however, I did things a bit differently in light of my Flickr debut - I sharpened the photos and then resized them. I was planning to keep the high-resolution photos for the Flickr upload, but after sharpening them, I nixed that idea.

I decided that I'd upload the resized photos to Flickr, so using the "Process Multiple Files" feature, I resized the photos. What I didn't do this time around was check the "Convert Files To JPEG Max Quality" box; since I already did this during the sharpening, I thought that doing so again would have been redundant.

This seemed like a good idea at the time.

I looked at one of my photos - specifically, this one.

Look at the letters in "Toronto Botanical Garden"; there is obvious evidence of compression which I'm not used to seeing in my images. When I saw that last night, I lost it. I even came very close to deleting this batch of photos since, in my opinion, they weren't up to my usual standards. If it wasn't for the fact that a program was using them, I may have went through with that deletion and put myself in more misery.

As you should already know, I ended up uploading the compressed photographs. Despite their subpar standards, I still think I got some good shots yesterday. Sometimes, perfect is the enemy of the good; it almost became my enemy yesterday night.

August 19, 2009

Toronto Botanical Garden & Edwards Gardens (Aug 19 2009)

Note: clicking this post's title will direct you to the Flickr set where my photos are located.

I headed over to Toronto Botanical Garden & Edwards Gardens for a photo shoot earlier today. During the shoot, two of my batteries became very hot; I ended up having to dump them because they almost completely burned a hole in my leather purse.

Here are two photos of one of the batteries.

You may not notice from these two photos, but due to a brain cramp from God-knows-where, I neglected to check the "Convert Files To JPEG Max Quality" box during post-production.

Smooth move, especially since I'm making my Flickr debut with this album...

Flickr Upgrade

I've had a Flickr account for a few months, but I've wanted to upgrade to a pro account before uploading my first photos there. As of a few minutes ago, I've made the upgrade.

Keep in mind that I've been waiting for a day when the Canadian dollar was relatively high compared with its American counterpart. I checked 680News on the radio before making my purchase; when I heard that the CAD$ was at ninety-one cents versus the USD$, I decided to make my move.

Even more good news - I should be able to upload my first set of Flickr photos tonight. I'm planning to shoot photos at Edwards Gardens later this afternoon; it's a perfect day for doing so.

August 17, 2009

Scarborough Town Centre and area (Aug 17 2009)

I used to make a point of always having my camera with me in case any photo opportunities arose. I'm glad I restarted that habit today.

I like the perspective suggested by the structures in this photo.

On my way to McCowan R.T. station, I noticed a band of geese.

Here are a few of them crossing Triton Rd. I wanted a bus to arrive so that I could snap a shot of it waiting for the geese to finish crossing.

This goose was kind enough to let me take a few shots of it.

This goose is not sleeping; it's adjusting its feathers. Also note how the pole almost lines up with the goose's foot.

A profile shot of the first goose (kind of).

This goose was bringing sexy back...or, at the very least, showing off.

This Morning I Had The Strangest Dream

I don't dream about cameras too often, although I think I did so a few weeks ago. This morning, however, I had a dream revolving around my dream camera, the Nikon D60. While I don't remember the exact specifics of the dream, I do remember having it in my hands while using a prime 140 mm lens. (Do those even exist?!) I also remember wishing I had a tripod and someone walking by with one, which I think I asked to borrow.

In the real world, if it wasn't for the fact that I'm currently unemployed, I would have bought the camera already (with a few lenses). At the moment, I'm forced to stick with my trusty point-and-shoot, the Fujifilm Finepix A510. Up to this point, it's proven to be a capable thief of time, but I want to take my photography to the next level.

A Few Samples

I've uploaded a few of my better photos for your perusal. Click each photo in order to see a bigger version of it.

IceFest 2009

Wintercity 2009: Pi-Leau by Close-Act

Doors Open 2009

Riverdale Farm

2009 Toronto CUPE Strike (featured at

August 16, 2009

DSCF0001.jpg (a.k.a. Post #1)

Good evening. My name is Tsar Kasim, as you've probably figured out. He Shoots... is a blog about photography, as you may not have figured out. Specifically, I want to feature my photo shoots from Toronto places and events, although I'll probably also write general posts about photography. This is my fourth attempt at maintaining a blog; I've previously started three of them, only to put them on the back burner due to a loss of interest.

Many years ago, I realized that I have more fun behind a camera than in front of one. I'm used to going to events and being a wallflower, but if you put a camera in my hand, I can interact with total strangers like nobody's business. Keep in mind that I've never taken a photography course nor undertaken any professional projects. All I have is a deep-seated love of stealing time.