For you, the dress code is casual.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Plethora of Photos: Robson Square and Spanish Banks

More photos. I decided to just wander around downtown and the beaches, since it dawned on me that the trails would be super muddy after our recent rain. Here's my booty.

The beaches were nearly empty, which is always an amazingly cool thing in a city of a couple million. I call this "Slow Lifeguard Day."

slow lifeguard day b&w

When the tide is low here, it's low. An interesting point for those who think our water's freezing. Due to all the protection from islands and such, our water's pretty damned warm. Today, it was about 62 degrees (16 celsius), warmer than the air temp.

cloudy north shore b&w

I love when low clouds obscure the mountains but you can see the outline of 'em behind the city still, like this.

panorama downtown in clouds-tld

No, we don't have surfers. They're skimboarders. But they still look cool as a frontdrop.

panorama d-t w surfers-tldsmall

Robson Square is a fascinating architectural centre of Vancouver's downtown core. It houses a great civic area that includes a lot of places to sit and walk, lots of greenery, an ice rink in the winter, and the impressive Law Courts. Designed by local reknowned architect Arthur Erikson, the Square has all the modernistic qualities of any Erikson design. Some sources claim that the two universities designed by Erikson have the highest suicide rates in the country-- which some speculate are because of all the enclosed areas Erikson designs into his creations, enabling people to always find a private place.

It's those qualities that make Robson Square one of the finest places to hit the bong in the city. Thumbs up, Arthur.

robson square stairs-tld

From the highest point in Robson Square, the Art Gallery is dead ahead, and your standard highrises are scattered around.

wide on square w gallery

Behind where I stood in the photo above, a couple hundred feet off, is the Law Courts, seen here. If you'll notice, the exterior of the structure is entirely made of glass. Erikson reasoned that he felt the glass reflected the philosophy that true justice should be transparent, which he hoped would be the case here.

law courts

More stairs for ascending up towards where the Law Courts are.

angle on stars b&w

I got to listen to a bit of sax blues before I headed into my movie. (For those keeping score at home, this is also shot on my digital 7.1 megapixel Canon PowerShot S70, but I use the software it comes with (a little more user-friendly, and faster, than Photoshop-- ArcSoft's PhotoStudio-- to convert to 8-bit greyscale with anywhere between 10% - 35% film grain [found under 'Effects,' and "fine art"] to give it that authentic b&w look.)

sax guy

Ed. Note:

The sax guy was so worth my dollar. I totally forgot how much I loved shooting b&w during the day, and shooting that photo reminded me of a roll I shot in San Francisco, with this incredibly jazzy old black dude blowing on a sax in front of San Fran's MoMA. I'd earlier published the top two photos, Slow Lifeguard Day and Cloudy North Shore in colour, but I realized later on-- and far into a bottle of wine later-- that black and white would better suit the mood of those melancholic shots.

This is one of those rare moments where I actually feel self-satisfied. I totally forgot how much I love black and white. Wow. It strips away all the interpretive elements of a shot and you're left with the two most important things-- the lines and the light. It's all it is, man, and there's nothing left to cloud your judgment. But should you believe something silly, like it's too simple, then you should know there's at least 63 shades of grey in any black-and-white shot.

Black & white photography's essentially the fine art of implied simplicity. Composition is more important in black & white. Nothing else can really compensate for it, not even light. But if you can master light and composition, then that's all you can do. My photography teacher once said, "If you can shoot a beautiful sunset in black and white and not lose any of the potency, then you're a photographer." I did, once, at the Midnight Dome in Dawson City, Yukon Territory. Nothing but hundreds of miles of horizon and a split in this wispy-thin band of northern clouds, with the sunset at 2am, and us camping on the top of the highest point for a hundred kilometres, the Northern Lights flaring above our heads, south of us.

Fuck, the city blows sometimes. And God, I wish I could spend the summers in the Yukon. God's country? You don't even know the half of it. What a fortunate time in my life that was. Nothing makes you wonder about a higher power more than a miidnight sun and northern lights.

What can I say? In vino veritas.