Behind the scenes at Studio Iris Photography in Montreal, Canada

Category: Montreal Moments (page 1 of 1)

Should I, or shouldn’t I?

I see the golden light. The cold blue morning. The trees still and heavy with freshly fallen snow.

I was getting back in my car after taking photos of the giant MTL structure on rue Sainte Catherine when I saw it.

It’s just some random building on a side street – but that golden LIGHT! Those snowy trees!

I’ve already put the tripod away. My hands are cold. The car is warm. My feet are wet. The camera is in the car.

I stand there for a moment, deliberating. Then I get out the camera, set up the tripod, take just one photo – this one – and got back in the car and drove away.

Sometimes you’ve just got to follow your gut.

The “Poof” magic of a Telephoto Lens in Old Montreal

I was coming around the curve on de la Commune when I saw this scene – and thought “There it is! My shot! FINALLY!!

But is it? I’ve been trying to make an iconic Old Montreal photo for ages. What do you think? Was I successful?

Old Montreal is one of the hardest places to photograph. Most of the streets are dark, narrow canyons – and the bottom half of the shot – horizontal or vertical – is usually full of people and cars.

One thing I discovered recently is to use a telephoto lens in Old Montreal, as it cuts out the junk at the bottom third of the photo. It also compresses the buildings together and make for a more intimate composition.

I tried this shot with the wide angle – garbage – then I switched to the telephoto – and “poof” magic! It was exactly what I was looking for.

The curve is also essential, as it leads your eye into the distance. That’s a trick I learned from looking at paintings of the Old Masters I tried walking ahead a few steps – to the left – to the right – all garbage. The shot had to be from exactly this perspective.

So let me know – what is your most iconic view of Old Montreal?

Come along with me and discover the city anew…

Lights in the mist on Mount Royal

My emotions have ranged from panic to euphoria to extreme boredom (is that an emotion?) this past year with COVID coming along and stomping all over my photography business with its giant boots.

I am the eternal eternal optimist – I can cheer myself pretty much every time- and convince myself that the sun will shine even brighter tomorrow even in the gloomiest of times – but this Covid thing??? Coming along and stomping all over my business? Waaaaaaaaaaa

As a photographer, I work with people – brides, babies, businessmen, flight attendants, spice merchants (really!), nuns, water polo players – you name it. But always, always, always people.

But with COVID, people are forbidden. Off limits. Vorbotten. It’s been 10 months so far – and with Canada’s vaccine timelines stretching off into the great hazy distance – who knows how much longer this madness will stretch on.

Panic. Euphoria. Boredom.

Panic. Euphoria. Boredom.

Panic. Euphoria. Boredom.

So, while I wait for all the wonderful people to come back, and for my photography business to bloom again – I’ve been going out and taking photos of Montreal again! It’s a project I’ve been doing for awhile and one I absolutely love.

Come along with me and discover the city anew…

Rue Saint Paul during Lockdown

Rue Saint Paul. Empty. It never happens. It’s one of Old Montreal’s busiest tourist strips, and usually wall to wall people.

I couldn’t believe my eyes! Not even a car parked in the middle, to ruin the shot! I’ve always wanted to take this exact photo, but never thought I’d get the chance.

But thanks to COVID and the new lockdown rules here in Quebec, the street was completely empty at 6:00 AM.

For once, COVID is good for something…

Rue Saint-Éloi

The past echoes off the walls on Rue Saint Éloi in Old Montreal.

I see men in mud-stained cloaks. Horses. Wooden barrels. A nun hurrying to teach school. Dirty faced children sitting on a stoop. Two women in long skirts and bonnets, gossiping on a corner. There are shouts in the distance that a ship has come in. The air smells of fish and kerosene.

Today, though, the is still and quiet. There’s no one around. It’s January 7, 2021. Everything is closed as the pandemic rages on.

Just yesterday, the government extended the lockdown for another 4 weeks, and added a new curfew too. No one is allowed out on the streets from 8 PM-5 AM.

This pandemic feels like it will never end.

Silos in Dreamland

I was up before dawn to take photos in Old Montreal.

The car is warm and purring as I drive through the dark streets. The city is a quiet dreamland during these COVID times.

No one is out. Everyone is snuggled in at home. Looking up the daily COVID stats. Reading CNN on their phones. Dreading the government’s announcements later today, when further lockdowns are expected to be announced.

I arrive in Old Montreal. Get out of the car. Look around.

Wind. Empty streets. Birds. A few joggers. No traffic.

The silos – giant concrete dinosaurs – loom over the harbour like ghastly skeletons from another era. They’re massive and ugly – yet somehow weirdly essential to the charm of Old Montreal.

I take a few photos and head home. Happy to be alive.