Writing with Light


Ground Floor, Please.

Because of the nature of its stacked design, The Elgin Theatre on the main floor and the Winter Garden Theatre on the top floor, access to the Winter Garden is via the grand staircase or the hand operated passenger elevator. Yes this is the real deal, grill door and all! And it works…I went for a ride 🙂

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Winter Garden theatre, Elgin Theatre, Toronto, elevator, vintage, operated, interior,

Winter Garden theatre, Elgin Theatre, Toronto, elevator, vintage, operated, interior,

All The World’s A Stage

I was going to switch gears and take a break from my Winter Garden images but I was watching the Oscars last night…Ahhh…the fashion, the jewels, the musical numbers, the movies! So given my “magic of make believe” state of mind I thought that another image of the Winter Garden was appropriate.

Here’s a closer look at the stage and the fire curtain. Should a fire break out backstage or on the stage the fire curtain comes down and restricts the passage of heat and flames from the stage to the audience area. The fire curtain you see here is the original hand painted one from 1913 which was restored in the 80’s.

I want to draw your attention to the circular light fixture in the upper left hand side of the ceiling. Among the clouds and mountains it’s the moon.

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Winter Garden theatre, Toronto, stage, balcony, fire curtain

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

The hallway in this image, on the top floor of the Elgin / Winter Garden Theatre complex,  is meant to lead the theatre goer forward. The final destination…the Winter Garden Theatre and (depending on the show) another place or time that you can immerse yourself.

I converted this image to B&W using the just released Topaz B&W Effects 2. I really like the upgrades in version 2, the user interface has been greatly improved. Topaz B&W Effects 2 is a complimentary upgrade for existing owners of B&W Effects 1.

Don’t have B&W Effects? Get it for 30% off until the end of February with coupon code bwfx2 (expires on 2/28/13) This coupon code is also good for any bundle purchase. Click here to purchase.

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Winter Garden theatre, Toronto, hallway, garden, painted walls, bench, black and white

Let Me Entertain You….

Here’s another view of the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. In yesterday’s post I gave you a little bit of the history on this beautiful theatre (you can see the post here) but didn’t give you any shooting information…sorry.

Knowing that I’d be shooting inside this theatre and having been here before (as a theatre patron not as a photographer) I knew that I would need a fairly wide angle lens. I rented the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens and I fell in love. I loved the versatility of this lens and have now added another item onto my wish list.

Due to union rules we couldn’t turn on any stage lights so the only lighting available were the house lights. A tripod was a must and 90% of the images that I took were bracketed.  Today’s image was 3 separate exposures of 30 sec, 1.3 sec and 30 sec.  With both yesterday’s image and todays I adjusted the white balance in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) before tone mapping the brackets in Photomatix. I then brought the tonemapped image into Photoshop and used Topaz Detail to bring out some of the finer details in the scene. Don’t forget you get a 15% discount on all Topaz products by using the code ELPHOTO.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

theatre, Winter Garden, Toronto, interior, stage, balcony

Welcome to the Theatre….

One of the wonderful things about being a member of a photography club is the opportunity to shoot places that you wouldn’t normally have access to. One of these opportunities came about last month. I’m on the board of my club, The Toronto Digital Photography Club and I made mention that it would be great to be able to shoot at the Winter Garden Theatre here in Toronto. The answer came back…”that’s great Edith can you arrange an outing for us.”  So after months of coordinating with the management of the theatre we were able to schedule a date when the theatre was dark, for our members to come in and shoot.

The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre complex was built in 1913 as the Canadian flagship of the Marcus Loew’s theatre chain. It was built as a double-decker complex with the Winter Garden seven stories above the Elgin Theatre. It was originally known as the Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre.

The two theatres were so dramatically different in style (as you’ll see in the images that I’ll post over the next little while). The Elgin was the more traditional of the two theatres, filled with gold leaf,  rich fabrics and ornate opera boxes. The Winter Garden on the other hand was a botanical fantasy. The walls were painted to resemble a garden and its ceiling was adorned with branches, leaves and lanterns. “The theatres played host to such greats as George Burns and Gracie Allen, Sophie Tucker, Milton Berle and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.”

With the decline of vaudeville the Winter Garden closed in 1928. The Elgin continued to function as a movie house but it continue to decline into disrepair with each passing decade. In 1981 the Ontario Heritage Trust purchased the building and in 1987 a $29 million restoration project began. The walls of the Winter Garden were painstakingly hand cleaned to avoid damaging the original hand painted watercolors. In 1989 the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre reopened and has once again become one of Canada’s finest theatre houses. Hits such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Rent, Tommy, Avenue Q has graced the stage and every year it now serves as one of the venues for gala screens for the Toronto International Film Festival.

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Theatre, Winter Garden theatre, Toronto, historical site, stage, balcony

Grand Dining

One of the nicest things about being on a cruise is the dining experience, especially when you have dinner in the main dining room. The service is excellent, the food is delicious, the wine sublime and our week onboard the Navigator of the Sea was no exception. When we stepped into the dining room I felt as if I was walking into the dinner scene from Hello Dolly. Our waiter, Stefan was exceptional and tended to our every need. Actually I knew I was in trouble when on our first evening I couldn’t decide between two desserts. Stefan looked at me and said…”that’s not a problem…I’ll bring both.” Oy!

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

dining room, cruise, ship, navigator of the sea, interior