First off, thank you for checking out this blog post. It’s a little random but I figured I’d document and capture some stuff that happens during the day, between work and more work. I’ve been toting around a disposable camera reloaded with film (typically Kodak Tri-X 400) and taking shots on trips or hanging out with friends or just walking about. I’ve also started using my iPhone a bit more to shoot for moments when I don’t have my disposable on me or if I’m out of film. This set was shot on my phone since I had just used up the last of my film while hanging out with a friend earlier that day. Hope you enjoy the photos and the little anecdote.
Pigeons are fearless in Toronto. They do as they please, fluttering about and perching on just about any edge. My neighbourhood house hundreds of them on the building rooftops. They’re often seen flying in flocks throughout the summer.
It was a cold afternoon. I had just hung out with a friend for the day and we had gone for a quick little hike in Halton Hills but returned home due to the frigid weather. As I got out of my friend’s car and wished her a safe drive home, I noticed a huge flock of pigeons flying overhead. They swept the sky, dozens if not over a hundred pigeons.
I was quite surprised to see so many in flight, given that there were weather warnings of the extreme cold that weekend. Most of the time they stay in their nests huddled together to stay warm. I looked around and followed their flight paths. They kept swooping down further up the street, so I decided to follow them and see what the commotion was about.
I got to the school where they were landing. I wasn’t quite sure why they were drawn to this area so I inched towards them. Believe me when I say this: there was more fear within me at such close proximity than in the birds. These pigeons were unfazed by their visitor.
After getting in close enough that they were walking around my feet, I saw they were feeding on huge amounts of seeds left on the ground. Could barely make out the patches of seed left behind because they were covered with all these hungry birds. I looked around and found an old lady holding a pouch of feed. Typically pigeons were considered pests and feeding them were discouraged. But this lady took it upon herself to feed these birds that were trapped here in the cold. She glanced over and gave me a smile. I couldn’t help but smile in return. I took her photograph from where I was standing and turned around to continue taking photos of the birds, some feeding, others hovering about waiting for their turn. At this point I was deep in pigeon territory when something took me by surprise.
I had gotten too comfortable with these birds. I was standing with them taking photos when all of a sudden they all took flight at once. I took a shot just as dozens of pigeons flew past me. So close the collective sound of their wings resounded like thunder.
I thought I was going to get hit by a stray bird. But I was stuck in fright vs flight. My feet felt as if they were set in the cement sidewalk. My heart beat so fast blood pounded through my veins like a freight train through a tunnel. I checked myself, surprised I was left untouched considering just how close I was. I looked over and the old lady just kept tossing feed onto the ground. I checked my phone and saw the image to the left, glad I was able to capture the flurry of birds whizzing past me. I scrolled through and was glad I decided to venture off instead of going straight home and crashing on my bed. But that was enough fright for an afternoon so I decided to call it a day.
It’s funny what you see or experience when you venture off a little. Irresponsible? Maybe. Stupid? Absolutely. But after looking at some of these images I can say it was absolutely worth the close encounter. This year I hope to capture a bit more of what I see and find beauty in the things or places that I come across.
On that note, I’ve started shooting a bit more with my phone and with my reloaded disposable. I do like the simplicity of having your camera set and just pointing and shooting what I see. I hope to post more stuff like this (albeit a bit random) but I’m excited to see what adventures I go on this year, big or small.