R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, Toronto


So believe it or not I forced myself to try taking some photos on this very cold morning. On my way home from my Saturday morning brunch at The Beacher Cafe I noticed this remarkable band of clouds on the horizon across Lake Ontario. I rushed home, grabbed my camera and headed down to this water filtration plant called The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, a.k.a The Waterworks. It is an amazing example of art deco architecture, built between 1932 and 1941 and named after Rowland Caldwell Harris, Toronto Works Commissioner from 1912 until his death in 1945. Unfortunately for photographers the complex has been under major construction for the last few years, making it very difficult to get a good shot of the place. It’s still the City of Toronto’s largest water treatment facility. Coincidentally, my very first apartment after moving away from home was across the street from the Waterworks. Nowadays one bedrooms run between $1,000 and $1,500 monthly. Back then I paid $212.00 a month all inclusive. Currently I live just up the street from here, about a ten minute walk away. Anyway, back to my outing. I was about 20 minutes into it when my batteries died from the cold, so I had to give it up. I’ve got a lot of shots I still want from there so I’ll be going back. As for this shot, I really messed with it and maybe it works, maybe not, but I’m happy with it. I was just playing around.

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16 Responses to R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, Toronto

  1. Interesting ‘lines’ of sky/clouds, water, and buildings, LP. Your composition is also engaging. Mmm. Wonder what you’ll do when your batteries are ‘warm’ again. Luck!

    • davecandoit says:

      Thanks. I’m sort of surprised I didn’t go there sooner. I guess because it’s so close to home and it’s been photographed to death by others. But I’m definitely going back at some point.

  2. Mauro Metallo says:

    This is gorgeous. The sense of composition is remarkable and the subtelity of colors makes it for an outstanding piece of imagery.
    I guess this is the first time a color shot of yours gets 5 stars from me…
    The outing was definetely well worth, even if the cold killed the batteries of your digi.
    p.s.
    I could say that my camera doesen’t have this problem (once it runs without batteries at all), but I’ll try to restrain myself… 🙂

    • davecandoit says:

      Thanks you, Mauro. They make cameras that don’t take batteries??? Who knew!!! 🙂 (just kidding)

      What’s funny is after I posted this photo I went out to the local Timmy’s for a coffee and got to thinking about the photo while reading a magazine on photography techniques and had all but decided I was going to remove it once I got home. I like it, but thought no one else would appreciate it. And low and behold, you and 47WB like it too! Now I’m leaving it up. 🙂

  3. lynnwiles says:

    I agree with Mauro about this stunning photo. No comments about batteryless cameras here though. The trick I heard from danjurak is to put the batteries in your pocket to keep them safe and warm until you start to shoot.

    • davecandoit says:

      Thanks, Lynn. As for the batteries, once I got out of the truck I kept the camera on the whole time. I use auto bracketing and if I turn off the camera I have to reset it. Usually, I carry two extra sets of batteries but didn’t expect the cold to drain the set in the camera so fast. From now on I’ll always carry the spares.

      On another note: Hope you’re all stocked up for the big storm. Not sure it’s hit you yet, but if not, it’s on its way. It’s going to miss us in Toronto but hit out east coast tomorrow. Maybe you’ll get out and take some neat snow storm shots. Try your fastest shutter speed to see if you can freeze the snow flakes in the air. 🙂

      • lynnwiles says:

        The snow is supposed to fall from midnight to 8:00 am, so I may well be in dreamland while the snowflakes are falling.

        Why are there the marks are especially the right hand side of the tour? Doing a little dodging and/or burning?

  4. davecandoit says:

    “Why are there marks, especially the right hand side of the tower? Doing a little dodging and/or burning?”

    Truth? I’m not even sure what dodging/burning is. 🙂 I think the marks are chromatic aberration, a.k.a colour fringing, caused when I dialled up the contrast and colours. I can’t really get into it, because I don’t honestly know enough about it to speak to it. I don’t know how to correct it or I would have. It’s too bad, really, because I would like this photo a lot more if I co0uld eliminate it.

    Hope you don’t have a lot of shovelling in the morning.

  5. lynnwiles says:

    Well you could gently ‘burn’ the lighter areas in Photoshop so that they matched the other parts of the sky. I still really like it.

    A foot of snow means a lot of shoveling.

  6. lynnwiles says:

    It might not work, so make sure you work on a copy of your lovely photo.

  7. davecandoit says:

    47 WB: No worries. I’ll only replace it if I can improve on it.

  8. copingkoala says:

    exactly the kind of rectilinearity i love 😉

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