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Category : The Portofolio

Midnight Conversations

Venice is an astounding city. Every nook and cranny is full history; everywhere you look, beautiful architecture and art abounds. Yet with a romantic pedigree that could easily find a home nested somewhere within the pages of the Iliad. On top of that, the city is sinking! With all this drama enveloping the city, one can easily forget people here are still have to buy groceries, walk their dogs and generally just continue on living. 

It is only after you make a point to walk away from the tourist areas, say towards Dorsoduro to the south where you find Venice’s local population. By that I mean, the neighborhoods, where you find the small local stores and the grandpas hanging out their front doors, chatting up with other grandpas while watching their grandchildren playing tag.

This photos for example. Taken on a dark, rainy day… pouring actually, yet a perfect slice of life. There was a party indoors and these people had stepped out to chat and smoke a few. They were in a hall, the music escaping outward as my boat sped by. I really enjoyed this capture. A different and simple perspective from what we are used to seeing from the Venetian ideal of grandeur palaces, squares and labyrinthian alleyways. Which in fairness, Venice has a LOT.

A town full of everyday people surrounded by the memories of the Renaissance. Partying.

This photo was taken with a Nikon D700, using a 50mm @ f2.0.

Stoneman Readies

A few months ago, I had a surgery looming and was looking at going to have to stay put for a few weeks. Even though the procedure was far from lethal (that I was told of) it is always a pain when you have your freedom of mobility denied. As I was going to stay cooped in my apartment for at least a week, possible three.

So I intended on going for one last stroll with camera in hand to see if there was anything that caught my eye. Of course, there always something, however in this case, as I walked by a ravine, I decided to try something different. To actually create an item to take a photo of. As most photographers tend to be reactive rather than active in our environments, since if we were the center of attention, than how could be taking photos of it?

So, I searched for a few rocks and remembering those famous Inuit Inuksuk’s we have all seen used in the Artic, I decided to build my own. In the end, it turned up looking more of Inunnguaq (human form cairn) than I expected. Unfortunately I was limited by the rocks I could find and the wind which made it %##$@@ hard to do a legged Inunnguaq (trust me, I tried and tried…) so I had to settle for this little guy.

I couldn’t not help noticing I had built this guy near the ledge of a stone wall which for some reason gave me the dramatic impression that either he was looking down, or worse that he was about to jump! Going with that, I decided not to blur the background completely, as if to give it a sense of depth and distance. That way to further emphasize the distance to the bottom. A full blurred bokeh would have denied that perspective. The colour scheme is based on the way the light was that day, cold, cloudy and murky.

Then, I raised my Nikon and as such the ‘Stoneman Readies’ came to be. Photo taken using a a Nikon D700 with 50mm an a filter. 

Red & Misguided

Red & Misguided by The Torontonian
Red & Misguided a photo by Mauricio Alas. A larger version can be seen on Flickr.

As part of my first set of classes teaching photography, I took my small class through a quick tour of the inner city. Hoping the vibrant urban quality of Kensington Market and a few graffiti laden back-alleys to serve as a unusual type of inspiration for my students.

Going through the basics can be fun as you might actually remember the ‘WHY’ something is done, which may help, especially if you are a seasoned photographer to tweak your style, even if it is temporarily. As once everything is mastered or any habit becomes second nature, most of us don’t usually revisit they ‘why’ of doing things because we get comfortable and one less thing to worry about on assignment. 

So after a few hours walking the city, they managed to take some nice photos and increased their grasp on photography plus hopefully discovered something new about self expression. 

Now this particular shot was taken in Graffiti Alley Toronto using a D700.

Mayday, Incoming Puppy Landing!

On a rainy day, as I stood outside my sister’s house, “Terry” her hyperactive dog, decided on a whim that he was going to be a furry rocket running literal circles in her yard. Amusing? No, not really. Cute? Well, perhaps. After a few drinks.

Anyway, as he did his rounds and demands for our attention, I thought it would be perfect to catch him in an action shot to photography what puppy vivaciousness looks at work.

So without further ado, as he came closer towards me and better than if I had asked him to pose, the puppy landed on the deck. An adorable picture if I say so myself.

Taken with a D700 Nikon 50mm.