Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Many miles away
Something crawls to the surface
Of a dark Scottish lake...

I went for a hike out on the Leslie Street Spit on Boxing Day. While the morning started out cool, it turned into a decent day with the wind (and surf) calming down the further we walked out onto the Spit. I was impressed that we made it to the lighthouse and it was the perfect way to combat the excesses of the season in the company of great friends and talented photographers. Thanks to Allan, Jeff and Louise for an inspiring day.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Truck Stop II

Truck Stop II, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

I had to stop and take a picture of this old snow-dusted truck on my way out of Pikto today.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Let It Snow" Show

Let It Snow Show, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

UPDATE: I'm having an Opening Night on Thursday, December 16th from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Drop by to view the collection, meet, drink and be merry.

I have an unexpected show at Voulez-Vous Café this month running from today to December 31st. Unlike past years, I've decided to embrace winter this time around (or at least until January) thus the seasonal theme. Drop by for some warm conversation, hot coffee and weather appropriate photography. As always, thanks to Julie and Sean for being such great hosts. Cheers.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Streetcar Named Noir

Beach Noir, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

I recently read that streetcars are as iconic of Toronto as the CN Tower. I have to agree, there are very few North American cities with streetcars, it adds to Toronto's uniqueness. I've become accustomed to going about my life within the city with these trains regularly rumbling by in the background. I can't imagine a Toronto without them. I know drivers curse them and I know what it's like to stand in the cold waiting for one but with all good relationships, you need to balance the overwhelming good with the occasional annoyance.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fire Down Below

Fire Down Below, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Fog is a pretty rare beast in Toronto so when it arrives for an extended length of time as it did recently, many photographers abandon family, dogs and various commitments to hit the streets with camera in hand. I managed to get out for a few hours and this is one example of what I found. I did see quite a few other photographers on the road and look forward to seeing some of my fellow fogonaut's captures.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tentative Steps

Tentative Steps, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

This is the view from the Leuty Lifeguard Station in the Beach on a cool Halloween morning. While I'm not a big fan of winter, I like watching how the lake changes with the seasons.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Fall Classic

The Fall Classic, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

On your mark, get set... fall.

I actually don't mind fall that much but like so many others I'm not crazy about the next season. If we could extend fall for another 4-5 months and reduce winter by 6 months, I'd actually be pretty happy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Meet 'n Greet

Meet 'n Greet, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

A reminder that I'm having an informal Meet 'n Greet tomorrow night (Thursday) at the Leaside Library from 6 to 8 pm if you're able to attend. There will be 8 previously exhibited photographs with 12+ never before exhibited pieces. Drop by if you're available for some viewing and schmoozing. You might even find a good book. Cheers.

Photo generated using PhotoFunia

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Red Sky at Night

Red Sky at Night, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

There's a small beach at the base of the Waterworks that we like to visit when we're in the neighbourhood. Dudley occasionally gets brave enough to stick his snout in the water but otherwise patrols the beach.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Make Ice Cream Not War

Make Ice Cream Not War, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Summer is over but don't despair. The Beach-Leslieville Arts & Social Club is hosting a Memories of Summer photo exhibition at Ed's Real Scoop ice cream parlour in Leslieville this month. Drop by anytime in October to check out the show and treat yourself to some of the best home-made ice cream and gelato in Toronto.

I'm honoured to be part of this exhibition along with:

Not only is this a talented group, they're also a lot of fun to hang with. Special thanks to Allan Parke for organizing the show.

Memories of Summer poster created by William Self

Friday, October 1, 2010

Meet the Photographer (Oct 21, 6-8 PM)

Held Over, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

My words+pictures exhibit at the Leaside Branch of the Toronto Public Library has been extended for another month. If you haven't had a chance to take in the show, you now have until October 29th. There are 16 framed pieces, 8 of which have never been exhibited before.

In addition, there will be a Meet the Photographer night on Thursday, October 21st from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Drop by to see the full collection as well as a number of pieces there for one night only. This is your chance to critique, mingle, snack, borrow a book or even purchase a framed print for yourself or a friend. Everyone is welcome, even people who've met me before :) Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Daisy's Beach at Sunrise

I waded across the bay to take this picture at sunrise when I was at Killbear Provincial Campground this summer. The alternative would be to take a path through the woods and I had visions of running across a bear while on my own (bear sightings aren't that unusual at Killbear although they generally keep their distance from humans). As it were, something that sounded "large" was moving through the trees towards the beach as I took this shot and I decided not to hang around to see if bears can swim. It was probably a noisy, fat chipmunk coming down to the beach for a drink although they can be fairly nasty as well.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Loving Leuty

Loving Leuty, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Sure it can be a bit of a cliché, but I never get tired of looking at Leuty Lifeguard Station. It helps to be 15 minutes early for your chiropractor appointment and have some time to kill as well.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Are You Experienced

Are You Experienced, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

My neighbour told me that he was practicing his Jimi Hendrix impression and smashed his guitar. He also mentioned that it was fatally flawed before the incident so the guitar's days were numbered. I told him I might try a couple photos and he said I should go for it and that I had a few days as Garbage Day wasn't until Tuesday. This is my first shot although I might try some other variations before Tuesday.

The time I burned my guitar it was like a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar.

Jimi Hendrix

Saturday, September 4, 2010


words+pictures, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

A while back, I submitted an Art Exhibits application to the Toronto Public Library and was accepted to display photographs at the Leaside Branch for the month of September.

I've always been a library freak. As a kid, it was a magical place to spend time and throughout my adult life I've always held and used a library card. These days, I try to get down to the local Beaches branch once a week to borrow books, CDs, DVDs and/or magazines.

In case you didn't know, the Toronto Public Library is the largest public library system in North America with over 11,000,000 items in its collection. I feel fortunate to have access to this well managed system and I'm pleased to be exhibiting at the Leaside Branch.

All images in the exhibit are available for sale as displayed which includes a professionally printed 11" x 14" matte-finished, signed photograph with white mat in a 16" x 20" black gallery frame for $120. Please visit my GALLERY COLLECTION for a complete selection of photographs available and contact me if you would like to purchase a print. I'm happy to provide pricing for additional sizes or formats as well.

Join me between the stacks from September 4th to the 30th for words+pictures, a collection of never before exhibited images and a few previously exhibited favourites. The library will provide the words and I'll provide the pictures.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mr. Pawnbroker

Mr. Pawnbroker, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

There are many pawnbrokers near the intersection of Church and Queen Streets. When I lived nearby, and walked to work, I would always glance in the windows of these stores to see the latest treasures and wonder about the history of the items.

It's been a few years since I lived in this neighbourhood but somethings never change and there are just as many pawnbrokers and just as much stuff.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Patience is a Flower

Patience is a Flower, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

This iconic building has been under construction for several months now. The City is in the process of adding another "floor" to the roof but all work now seems to be at a stand-still. While I was initially concerned that the addition may harm the aesthetics of the structure, now I'm just "hurry up and finish". I guess patience is a flower.

Monday, August 9, 2010

In My Solitude

In My Solitude, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

In my solitude
I have seen things very clearly
that were not true.

Antonio Machado (Proverbs and Songs)

Spotted in Woodbine Park near Coxwell and Lakeshore. The fact that this bench is wedged into a garden of ornamental grass has always caught my eye. Possibly it's a mistake and somebody put the bench too close to the garden or maybe it was done on purpose so you can sit on the bench surrounded by tall grass and ponder the meaning of life. I like to think it's the latter.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Time-out, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

A sign of winter in the midst of our recent heatwave. This was taken at the rink at Jimmie Simpson park. In the winter, this rink is constantly in use. In the summer, not so much but it lends itself to the odd picture or two.

Monday, August 2, 2010


David, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

My neighbour asked me to take a few pictures of him for his work so we headed down to the park at the end of the street this afternoon. We took a number of shots, had some laughs and hopefully caught a shot or two he can use.

David 2, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

David Outtakes, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cat Street

Cat Street, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

There's a funny little street in the east end of Toronto called Craven Road that only has houses on one side. I believe at one point many years ago, this was originally a driveway into the Monarch Park Estate (although I may be wrong) and the city grew up around it. Regardless, for whatever historical quirk, there is now a big long, city maintained fence up one side of this road that is fairly undistinguished other than a collection of art work by Christine Kowal. This is one example of her work which is mostly done on canvas and stapled to the fence. It's a fascinating collection that enhances the street and gives it some additional character. Keep up the great work Christine.

Fly Me to the Moon

Fly Me to the Moon, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Did I mention that I like the Waterworks? With the recent Jazz Festival it was tough getting down there for a visit so we took full advantage of the first Jazz-free evening (which happened to be a full moon). I saw this motorcyclist pausing on the roadway into the Waterworks admiring the calm lake and view. I was trying to get up behind up and was prepared to ask him if I could take of picture of him and his bike against the backdrop of the lake when he took off. Knowing he'd probably circle back to exit, I positioned myself along the driveway and waited for him to drive into view. He did, I hit the shutter and caught him as he zoomed by.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"The Solitary City" Exhibition

Opening Night, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

I'm pleased to be presenting photographs at Leslieville's Voulez-Vous Café throughout the month of July. The Solitary City exhibition is an assortment of photographs that represent found pockets of calm and solitude within the city. While I've always appreciated and enjoyed the urban experience, I value moments where I find myself suddenly and inexplicably alone in a city of 2.5 million people. I've tried to capture that experience with these images. All photos were taken in quiet corners of Toronto's parks, backstreets and waterways, mostly at sunrise or late in the day when crowds are at their thinnest.

All images in this exhibit are available for purchase in a variety of print sizes and types, framed or unframed. Please visit my gallery collection to see a full catalog of photography available for sale.

  • 11 x 14" framed metallic print in a 16 x 20" frame - $125
  • 11 x 14" framed matte print in a 16 x 20" frame - $120
  • 11 x 14" metallic print - $60
  • 11 x 14" matte print - $55
I'm honoured to be the first photographer to display their work on the walls of Voulez-Vous Café. May I be one of many more to come. Thanks to Julie and Sean for providing their happening cafe as the venue for the show. Drop by to see the collection, the coffee alone is worth the trip. Cheers.

Michael Mitchener

Friday, June 11, 2010

Turn Me Loose

Turn Me Loose, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

A rare plug to wander over to The Urban Voyageur blog and learn more about canoeing in the big city and the misadventures of Nessie the formerly nameless.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Lung Ta

Lung Ta, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Tibetan prayer flags at the Leslie Spit Healing Garden during sunrise.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Parkhenge, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

I imagine this ring of park benches has seen more than its fair share of warm summer picnics, strangers stopping to rest, evening bonfires, late night romances and even an occasional afternoon dog walker.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Easy Street

Easy Street, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

I'm always fascinated by indoor furniture in outdoor settings. Generally this happens whenever someone decides to get rid of an old piece of furniture and puts it outside for garbage pickup or if they're hoping someone grabs the item for a second life elsewhere. Whenever I come across a scene like this, whether I have a camera with me or not, I mentally look for the photographic possibilities.

A true connoisseur of the art of street furniture is Toronto photographer, Gabi~ who can be found on flickr.com. Check out her amazing Lazyboy Collection to see how to do it right and to get an idea of how frequently you run across a variation of this shot within the city.

On behalf of all photographers, students, and feral cats, I thank anyone who has ever left a big, old, red, love-seat on the curb and I'll remain on the lookout for the next street furniture opportunity.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Night Court

Night Court, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Growing up in Vancouver, fog was almost as common as rain. I didn't realize what I was taking for granted until I moved to Toronto and discovered photography. In Toronto, fog is about as common as killer whales on Yonge Street which is unfortunate as fog can really add to the atmosphere of a shot.

Many of my photographer buddies feel the same way as I do so if there is a patch of mist in the forecast, word often gets out by e-mail on the fog network and gaggles of fog-starved photographers hit the streets looking for that perfect shot. Finding an e-mail in my inbox with the subject, "FOG!" is usually my first clue that fog might be coming to town.

It's been way too long since we had a spot of fog in Toronto and I say we're overdue. I'll be watching the long range forecast for a hint of the magical stuff and will be ready to send out mass e-mails to my fellow lunatics if I spot some. Please keep your collective fingers crossed.

I took this tennis court shot on a rare foggy evening in the Beach and I liked what the mist did to defuse the lighting. Check out some of my other too rare fog captures on my flickr site.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bench Warmer

Bench Warmer, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Is winter over? Past experience would indicate that we still have the odd blast of cold and even snow in store for us. I did see my first snowdrop today though which seems way early so I'm hoping I'm wrong and that it's clear sailing from here on in. C'mon hot, humid days of summer.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Go Canada Go

Olympic Table Hockey

Olympic Table Hockey, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

My sister has been volunteering at the Olympics in Vancouver and has been close to a lot of the action including the men's Canada vs. Russia hockey game the other night (shown here) and the women's Canada vs USA final last night. It sounds like there's quite the ongoing party happening in Lotus Land.

Photograph by Kelly Visscher (tilt-shift attempt by me)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

East Meets West

East Meets West, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Taken from the back of a streetcar of a following streetcar passing another streetcar. Transit geek alert.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Robots Need Love Too

Robots Need Love Too, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Robots need love too
They want to be loved by you
They want to be loved by you
They want to be loved by... (repeat at will)

[Dan Mangan - Nice, Nice, Very Nice]

Find out more about Dan at www.danmanganmusic.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Slurry Beach

Slurry Beach, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

On a visit to Bluffer's Park a couple of weekends ago, this bay near the western bluffs was filled with a slurry of ice and cold, cold water. With the motion of the waves and wind, the slush was constantly moving and made an eerie grinding noise.

I visited this park once many years ago in the summer and it was full of people. I think I prefer it in the winter despite the cold with its near empty landscapes and dramatic winter scenes. If you look really close, that's my pal, syncros on the far shore of the bay getting another perfect ice monster shot.

Go wide or go home.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chandelier Archipelago

Chandelier Archipelago, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Thanks to my flickr buddy, Missy for including me in a Photo Walk at Scarborough's Bluffers Park last weekend. It was definitely full blown winter on the shore of Lake Ontario but manageable thanks to multiple layers of clothing and strategically placed hand warmers. It is a beautiful park with the stark bluffs and lots of interesting beaches and trails.

We ended the morning at the Stone Cottage Pub on Kingston Road which is worth a visit on its own. All and all a great day hanging with some great photographers including the Mississauga flickr Club. Thanks all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winter's Eve

Winter's Eve, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

My dog loves winter. In fact, as a rescue dog, I suspect he was probably a hunting dog in his former life who got lost along the way. When it's -20 outside and you want to crawl into bed and hide, Dudley is ready to go for a jaunt and let's you know it. Despite his scrawny fur, he has no use for citified dog coats or blankets. Despite my complaining, I have to admit that Dudley forces me to get some exercise over the winter months and we do manage to see some interesting winter city scenes that I'd otherwise miss.

This shot was taken on the last walk of the night. It didn't quite work out the way I had planned so I played around with some PS filters trying to give it a painterly feel. With a streetcar passing by Jonathan Ashbridges Park, you get a feel of what winter in the city is all about. It has a unique urban atmosphere to it as people bustle about in the snow and cold.