Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Photo Disaster Day

The rented Yaris in front of Nikon Canada

My day started this morning waiting for James to call, return my call, to see if he could make a trip to Nikon. The night before he told me he could be swayed into going. It was 8:30am when I made the decision to leave without him and rent a car.

I had come to the conclusion of renting a car long before talking to James the night before. It was a plan B or rather plan A, James was the plan B. A car rental plus gas would be less expensive than getting a taxi to go to Nikon and back. Plus it would let me putt around a bit, maybe even do some grocery shopping.

The reason for going to Nikon this time was to pick up my camera. I had brought in the D200 body because I dropped it last week during a boat cruise. I had a different camera strap on the body and when I went to grab the old strap, it wasn't there. Whack! The camera dropped onto a carpet.

At first it didn't look like it had sustained any damage. The lens was intact. Whew! It wasn't until I tried taking out the battery that I noticed a small hairline fracture in the body. D'oh!!! The nikon guys at the counter practically know me by name. Anyhoo... I brought the camera in last week. I got the call that is was repaired yesterday.

Because I had a full day planned for today (which was going to lunch with William and seeing "Wanted") which meant I had to get to Nikon and back before noon. With the car I was done by 10:30. The camera was in great shape. Nikon did a great job restoring it back to brand new condition. I had them replace the cracked part in the body, clean the thumb knobs, the eye piece and the sensor. It cost me $300.00 but was well worth it.

I arrived about half an hour early in front of William's house. Instead of going and ringing the doorbell I drove down to the beach, parked the car, and sat on a bench watching some lifeguards out rowing boats. It wasn't really planned, just what I ended up doing.

life guards out rowing.

At noon I picked up William and drove to the all you can eat sushi place, Wasbi, up on Steeles. Another advantage of having the car. Did I mention it was a Toyota Yaris? Wow, does this car get good mileage. At the end of the day I refilled the tank with $17.00 (more travelling to come).

After eating lunch, driving over to see the Wanted movie, driving to Best Buy where I impulse purchased a GPS, I drove William home, then drove myself home. Took a photo of a plant in the backyard that I parked next to and noticed the sky starting to getting dark. I jumped back in the car thinking I would take photos of lightning hitting the CN tower and I knew just the spot.

The backyard plant

Just south of the CD tower near the Gardiner express way there's a garage with the top floor exposed to the outside. It was my belief that I could drive up onto the garage and take photos with my camera on a tripod, aimed at the CN Tower while it was getting hit by lighting.

Skies getting dark with strange blue clouds

As things turned out, I couldn't find the entrance to the parking lot in time and by the time I got to the top of the roof I only had a few minutes to take the shot below before being pelted by rain. I was on the roof for about 30 minutes (that's how much I was billed) before leaving for some place better to photograph. Perhaps away from the CN tower looking up at it from the ground?

A panoramic photo I took using a bunch of photos and stitching them together

Traffic on the Gardiner

Me with my newly acquired GPS, looking for another spot to shoot from

There was a baseball park near the Tip Top Tailors condo and Ontario Place with parking! I parked the car and moved my gear to see if I could shoot from under the nearby building, which I think it was a bunch of public bathrooms.

I started shooting a panoramic shot, kind of boring actually, it was the rain coming down hard with a drinking fountain in the foreground. About half way into my photo taking two joggers came up to me and asked if they could use my cell phone to place an emergency call.

While one of them called 911, the other described to me what was taking place. Apparently three people in a car somewhere near Ontario Place were trapped with water pushing the car toward the lake. The joggers didn't really know where they were and asked me for their location. I said "near Tip Top Tailors". Once finished with the phone they jogged away before I could ask them where the trapped car was. The only reason why I thought to ask was if 911 decided to call back my cell phone for better location details. I didn't know where it was specifically just somewhere near Ontario Place.

Then I thought "Hey, I have a GPS.", I could find the spot and get more accurate coordinates. So I got into the car and drove toward Ontario Place. I didn't have to drive far. There were emergency vehicles already at the scene. Firefighters were already trying to figure out how to get people out of the car.

A family looks over at a car between two broken sewage pipes

At first glance it looked pretty crazy. The car trapped was sandwiched between two springs of sewage water. Then with a little more inspection I noticed that the levels of the water really wasn't that deep. Maybe up to your shin or even knee. Still, the firefighters piggybacked the people out of the car.

Firefighters start to help people out of car

Car in relation to all the water

The sludge water.

Sky starting to clear up.

With a bunch of photos I drove back home to upload them to the Sun (newspaper). Should they be interested in them I didn't know but figured it was worth a try. This time I got photos of actual firefighters at work... rescuing people.

On the way home I noticed some really cool sky colors. The sun was setting and the clouds were starting to break up. I pulled the car over and ran out and took some shots before continuing on.

Normally, that would be a pretty interesting day as far as photo taking goes. Since I had the car I decided to see if Darryl wanted to meet up for food. Maybe we could drive somewhere that we don't usually go to eat. On my way to the office I drove by Queen and Spadina. There was smell of smoke in the air. I parked the car nearby and walked over to find that the police had just gotten there and started taping off the area.

A third floor fire had broken out in a building across the street from the Cameron (a local bar). I thought to myself why are there all these disasters and me carrying my slow lenses. Agh! I tred shooting a few shots. The flood shots of the car when seen on my computer monitor were a bit blurry and I only got a few non-blurry photos (seen here). Now there was a fire. The sun had gone down and my largest aperture was 3.5-5.6? arg! For the wider photos it wasn't too bad. For the long shots (300mm, f5.6) I ended up squeezing next to a telephone poll to shoot so the photos wouldn't suffer from camera shake.

Police block off Queen street.

Fire on the third floor

fire engine parked near the fire

A closer shot with the help of a telephone pole.

wide shot

Recognize this family? They were at the car flood. How's that for coincidence? We joked that we'd meet each other again at the "famine".

Fire fighter going into action

Fire put out from the inside

Parked fire trucks

The fire truck ladder operator

Police car on Cameron blocking traffic and pedestrians

Waiting for the fire to go out.

Once the fire was over I went to Darryl's office and conveyed the odd day I had while using his machine to upload the fire photos to the newspaper. We went for dinner at Xulah, a restaurant located only a few blocks away from the office.

Darryl at Xulah

The moral of this blog entry? Even though it would have been way more convenient to get a lift from James, going out and renting a car allowed me to see all this stuff. A good example of "When a door is closed, God opens a window." or for everything bad the happens something good comes out of it.


The next day in the Sun there was a better photo of the flooding that happened. The photo featured a TTC bus and car in the water... a lot deeper water. As for the fire, I didn't see any photos of it at all.


Anonymous said...

Amazing Day!!! Whoa.

Which GPS did you get? Garmin, right? Which model?

BagelHot said...

250W. It was on sale.

Rick Dolishny said...

I've been meaning to comment. This blog post is exactly why I could never work in an office or in a room for too long.

People don't get outside as much as they should.

I'm reminded of my mountain bike trip to New Zealand. I biked for weeks and saw so many incredible things that I never expected to find. And I met so many people. It was awesome. But the most incredible part is when I ran out of money and had to get to the Auckland Airport in 24 hours to get a cheap flight home, I rented a car and drove through the countryside that I spent four weeks biking through.

Four weeks or 20 hours.

We spend hours rushing around and missing so much awesomeness.

I think about my commute from Oshawa to Toronto and remember the time when I said, "I wonder if I could ride my bike to work" and one day I did just that. I saw some incredible things, bugs, coyotes in Rouge Park, fish spawning, kids going to school in neighbourhoods that I trained through every day and didn't even know a school was even there.

Sadly I was incredibly broke and couldn't afford film for my camera (ah, before digital). Actually, that's not quite true. My two year old had a Jam Cam, a 640x400 digicam that I took with me. I wonder where those files are today?

It held a grand total of eight pictures.

Rick Dolishny said...

I found the Jam Cam pictures.


Nothing like looking through old backups when you have lots of work to do, that you don't want to do. :)