180731 Piers - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

No, I'm not actually named for the places to dock large boats that also occasionally host amusement parks or waterfront promenades. My middle name is an old variant of Peter, a name that wouldn't suit me at all, and is pronounced "piers", not "pierce".

These photos are of the pier on Toronto's Centre Island, taken very early in the morning on two adjacent weekends. The ferry to the island doesn't get here before dawn in the summer, but when I see the sun rise with a camera in hand I've usually reached it the long way around.

The pier isn't very large, as these things go, but it gives good views of the lake and is an excellent place to experience wind. The land in the distance here is the Leslie Street Spit, which shelters the islands and the outer harbour, and is the other place where I like to spend early mornings with a camera.


Photo details, for those who like that kind of thing:

All are taken with my XT2 and XF16 lens, supported on my big Jobu Algonquin tripod. I laugh a bit at the Wildlife Photographer competition that lists the tripods the winners use, if any, but the Jobu really is worth highlighting. And no, I don't mean Joby.

The first photo from beside the pier is a four-minute exposure with about a dozen stops of ND filtration, taken at f/9 for depth of field and iso320 so that I wouldn't have to spend seven minutes crouching on some rocks. The tripod is actually in the water on a morning with few waves.

The second photo was from a very windy morning at a mere twenty seconds, iso200, f/11, with a ten-stop ND filter. The waves were strong enough that one of the white buoys has completely blurred away. To take it I was at the end of the groyne nearest the pier with the sunrise behind me.

The final photo was taken at 3am from a groyne at Manitou Beach, which has beautiful sand and clear shallow water. I didn't go in, but next time that's high on the list if the waves will let me wade a bit. The photo is at f/5.6 and sixty seconds at iso200, with the long exposure coming naturally instead of through filters.


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