Studio updates.

ride 5 - autumn finale [2014/09/20]

This was my last September ride. A rush job indeed as I had to nurse some soreness as a result of a fender-bender.

Late in the day I rushed to Tommy Thomson Park and attempted to ride into the sunset... but the wind had other plans! It was great exercise, but psychologically defeating as I slowed at least a full 10 kph as a result of the strong winds! After an hour and a half, I threw in the towel.

As I lapped the park, I noticed a quiet lookout point - that I decided would be this day's spot from which to shoot. At the end of my ride, I made my way there and quietly observed as the sun was setting behind the Toronto skyline.


Of course, as much as I like my iPhone 5, the quality of this image is not ideal. But, I think it's a decent attempt with the utilized technology. I keep reminding myself that it is purely a quick documentation of a day's event. If I had truly wanted to do the scene justice, I would have transported my full gear... but that is not an easy task when the objective is to be as light as possible for the sake of cycling.

Oh well, it is what it is... hope you like it… I do.

nico gareri
ride 4 - finally! [2014/09/07]

I was on a roll... then one thing after another, I missed three weeks of riding!

I had a great ride - 36k in 2 hrs and 7 mins - not a fast pace because of a marathon in progress and a lot of water puddles. I persevered and really took in the beautiful weather and the natural surroundings.

Given that I missed a few weeks, I've decided to post these 3 photos today. Enjoy!

nico gareri
ride 3 - a later sun [2014/08/10]

Yesterday I could not ride - I went to a wedding instead and put on a few pounds!

Today I returned to the saddle - in the evening! I rode for approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes and it was great! I may have shed the pounds added the previous day...

First, I did a retake of the shot included with my last post (the tugboat-looking vessel) - this time with my Lumix point-and-shoot... not bad... better than the iPhone version, but not as good as my DSLR.


Then, today's shot... the itinerant artists were at it again - the second image is a sample of their brick work.

nico gareri
ride 2 - a life long desire… [2014/08/04]

One of my recurring life wishes/desires is to buy a tugboat and use it as an escape vessel.

On this day's ride, my eyes wandered and landed on a boat that immediately brought all those tugboat thoughts to the forefront. I think it has something to do with a book I read and fell in love with when I was a youngster - The Lion's Paw (Robb White, 1946).

The book has been out of print for a very long time, but I managed to find a copy a few years back and re-read it. I then gave it to someone whom I thought would enjoy the storyline (because he hates to read). He didn't read it and he didn't return it either...


Back to the boat in my view today... yes, this is the second instalment of "seeing" versus "looking". My eyes saw it and it simply lay there front and center.

But now that I am back home in front of my computer, I am disappointed at the quality of the image - what should I expect, it's an iPhone!

I think it's time for me to seriously consider a proper compact camera system...

(PS - I have since acquired another copy of The Lion’s Paw and I have also acquired a compact mirrorless camera system!)

nico gareri
ride 1 - back on the bike and forcing myself to "see" [2014/08/02]

I'm certain we've all heard the phrase "... looking but not seeing...".

To "look" is one thing; to "see" is another. I think the way I can best describe it is that "looking" is passive while "seeing" is an active process.

Good photographers see very well. They actively interpret what lies before them and they are able to capture an image while incorporating their personal visual signature on it. Looking becomes seeing.

I attended a retreat once and one of the exercises was to go outdoors and to force ourselves to "see" things - and not to take what we looked at as the ultimate "view". It's a great exercise for artists who are "blocked" and need a motivator.

Well, today I decided to get on my bike and tackled two things at the same time - getting physically and visually fit!

I went to my favourite spot - Tommy Thompson Park - and respectfully did my thing...

In an effort to spark my vision, I decided to take pictures with my iPhone, and resolved to post one image per ride - in an effort to hopefully catalogue my progress, or staleness.

So, here I present today's image - a work of art by an itinerant artist at one of the dump areas (with some typical constructs in the background)...



nico gareri
gallery 44 / artscape gibraltar point

In 2014, I participated in a photography residency that was held at Artscape Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island.

It was a fantastic time...

I was one of thirteen photographers who attended the first version of this programme - a joint effort between Artscape and Gallery 44 (I'm a member of Gallery 44). The working theme was "Borders and Collisions" - a very powerful and important basis for visually exploring human interaction, intervention and intrusion of the landscape.

We enjoyed two days of shooting, critique, community. learning and friendship. And, yes, eating too. It was great because I did NOTHING but focus on my photography. Many thanks to Gallery 44, Artscape, our leader - April Hickox, and our coordinator - Darren Rigo.

Below are a few images from the weekend:

- venting

- venting

Across the road from Artscape Gibraltar Point is a water filtration plant. Naturally, the process requires apparatus that infringes on the natural scape. This is a photo of an off-shore vent that simply robs the eye. An obvious but likely necessary intrusion by man on this beautiful vista.

- nature’s ingredients

- nature’s ingredients

There is nothing more beautiful than observing natural elements do their thing… this image captures nature breaking its own defining borders... water and sand. The result is form, texture, and colour... simply awe inspiring. All I added was a little perspective and the image was complete!

- molten dunes

- molten dunes

While photographing on the beach, I briefly pointed my camera towards the ground... sand actually. In the viewfinder, it appeared like I was capturing molten lava or large sand dunes from an elevated point. The mix of the golden early morning sun and the long shadows it cast painted a very textured scene. The depressions are merely displaced sand particles caused by humans walking on the beach. Imprint after imprint and then nature’s tidal wash was sufficient to sculpt the look. Continuous interplay between man and nature.

- withering trunks

- withering trunks

A unique creation… an immense palette of colours and texture... formed by the natural erosion of matter caused by the constant immersion in water or the battering of water onto the layers of a fallen tree.

- footprints

- footprints

Nature does a great job of erasing traces of mankind... at a beach, a wave can hurry to shore and simply wash away any impressions... forever.

- behind the red door

- behind the red door

Nature has no need for doors… they exist because man created borders. This one belongs to a lighthouse near Gibraltar Point.

- infinite possibilities

- infinite possibilities

Nature creates so much texture and contrast... simply amazing!

- row, row, row your boat…

- row, row, row your boat…

The ultimate space... a Sunday morning row... quiet time with nature... mankind intruding.

- memories

- memories

In the silence of nature, flowers were left on the beach... on a tree stump... a promise to remain together always... traces of human interaction...

nico gareri
spiritual undertones

To prepare for our trip to Israel, we sought out spiritual vistas… the intention was one per week. Below are my first two images captured during the first week of January… renditions of The Cathedral of the Transfiguration in Markham, Ontario.

- cathedral of the transfiguration

- cathedral of the transfiguration

- cathedral of the transfiguration

- cathedral of the transfiguration

In the second image, there is a visibly expanded colour range that gives the photograph an edge of unbelievability. That is because I purposely “pushed” the shadows and highlights so that more detail would be visible in each. I then applied a contrast boost by blending in several black + white and colour layers. Of course, I also selectively darkened and lightened certain areas in order to direct the eye.

The shots were captured at sunset on a beautifully mixed sun/cloud day. The variation in colour is a result of all that. The "colour temperature" at that time of day, with that type of sun/cloud mix was constantly changing, which made for the varied palette.

- the guild inn, scarborough

- the guild inn, scarborough

Because of poor weather conditions, I decided against an outing during the second week. Instead, I searched through my cache of medium-format test images captured in late summer of 2011.

No, this is not Rome or Athens… it's Toronto!

Yes, these are sculptures that once adorned University Avenue but have been relocated to The Guild Inn, in Scarborough. This image was captured using a Hasselblad H4D-40. I converted it to Black & White and then applied a sepia photo filter on a portion of it - a technique that is used more frequently now by many professional photographers (to emphasize items within a photograph).

-silo church

-silo church

It was a very cold, snowy grey day and I happened to be in Collingwood, Ontario for a “boys” eating retreat during the third week. My bro and I ventured away from the gang and came upon the above scene. I had visioned it many times, in different seasons; The abandoned silos beckoned me to capture the image on an appropriately dreary day. The raw image was a very low-contrast grey composition and needed some magic to make it look like as it is above.


Night photography has always been a "hit or miss" activity for me. There are simply too many variables to expect outright success. But, as the saying goes, “nothing ventured, nothing gained!” So, in week four, I searched downtown Toronto for shot.

This is a night shot of the skating rink at Nathan Phillips Square. I went through the steps of processing the image, attempting to minimize digital "noise" (because of the long exposure required to capture the scene) and then giving it that final look - only to decide that I didn't care for the colours… and so I made it a black & white photo.

The ghost effect (on the skaters) is totally a result of the long exposure used. In reality, there were upwards of 100-125 skaters on the ice, but the movement of the skaters essentially made them invisible in the photo because the exposure was set at 4 seconds; so, only those skaters that moved very little or not at all were recorded as discernible items within the photo.


When it comes to photography, Winter is simply too dirty! So, I decided to end the series in week five.

Trying to find an environmentally harmonized (or simply pleasing) location is so difficult at times, especially when there is only a thin patchy layer of snow on the ground. So, I travelled to Markham again because I remembered seeing this long, interesting driveway leading to a very large farm at the edge of the development envelope. This farm will likely not be there in a few years. The day was cloudy and grey, but when I arrived, the clouds seemed to part to allow the sun to make an appearance, just before sundown.

nico gareri
nanogagliato exhibit

This is one of 24 images that will be exhibited in the town of Gagliato, Italy from July 23, 2011 to August 13, 2011.


The image was captured in September 2007 and has never before been published.

Delicate processing was required because of all the considerations in converting it from colour to black & white. In the conversion process, the sky was completely blown out and masking was required to leave that section untouched while making contrast adjustments.

The white areas were enhanced because the print was made using Ilford Gold Fibre Silk Baryta paper, which displays a very warm tone.

nico gareri
camera ready

This photograph is a treasured shot for me. It's a very simple example of why it's always a great idea to have a camera nearby and ready to shoot.


A couple of years ago, I had attended a photo seminar in Mississauga and was en route to Vistek (photographic supplier) when I drove by a housing development site that had just been cleared and staked out (lot surveyed). It must have been a parcel of approximately 20 acres. I sat there in my car and simply stared at this natural shot opportunity. I parked the car, walked a few hundred feet into the property (snow was deep), composed the frame of what appeared to be the signature piece of the spot - a single line of trees and the skeleton of an old brick or stone house - and presto! When I looked at the capture, a shroud of sadness came over me because it seemed as though the shot was a "good-bye" statement of a once beautiful natural setting.

It seemed very appropriate to make the image a black & white.

nico gareri

For me, this image is... simply surreal!

The colours are rich, the detail is spectacular and the clouds and sun mix are eerily perfect, given that the Mt. Etna volcano is in the background (on the right).


I used an ultra-wide-angle lens to capture this image - the perfect effect lens to use given the semi-circular nature of the amphitheater. For those of you who are not familiar with Taormina, it is a town near the peak of a mountain, in Sicily, overlooking the Mediterranean. The Greeks built the amphitheater along with many other beautiful structures... of course, they are all restored ruins now. However, Taormina is one of the most exquisite places I've visited. Awesome restaurants, quaint hotels and townhomes, infinite shops, cobblestone streets that are kept very clean, an extremely natural setting, ample multi-level in-mountain parking. A definite bucket-list place. I was there in September 2007 for only one day and rushed to see only a minute part of it. Definitely demands more than one day.

nico gareri