Avoiding the Cold

Jan. 11, 2018.jpg

The shadowed form pointed at me, and moved toward me. I figured it was probably talking to me. 

The subway passed with a roar and whoosh of air as the woman’s finger came within arm’s reach. 

“I’m not in any of those pictures am I?” she spat, her head angling in an accusatory way. 

The song conveniently had ended in my headphones as she hissed her words at me. I shook my head. 


A lie. 

Taking pictures on the streets of Toronto you deal with some stupid people some times. 

Obviously, I wasn’t taking this lady’s picture. I was much more interested in the way the light was splashing across the northbound platform and waiting for the subway to roll into the station so that I could snap the photo as it passed through the shadows. 

Yet, you still deal with the occasional person who thinks you’re some stalking weirdo. You deal with the odd glances, photo bombers, and all kinds of different forms of jack-assery you can think of. 

To be honest, I’ve dealt with it all. Oshawa in particular was notorious for its characters, all of whom would come out of the woodwork the second you step onto the street with your camera. 

Earlier in my career, it was slightly nerve-wracking. 

I’ve got a bit more spine now. On the street, you’re in a public place, you’ve got every right to stand there and take a picture. 

Similar to this lady, I’ve been asked by people whether they’re in my photos. I’ve been asked to delete photos (which I don’t do), and I’ve been told to leave certain areas. 

Generally, a picture is not worth getting into a fight over, so I usually just walk away. 

Enough about that though. 

Yesterday was a brief shoot. I had a busy day of writing and reporting to do, but I knew I wanted to get out and take some pictures. I used my hour lunch break to get outside. 

The main problem there was, it was absolutely frigid cold. 

I saw the news article before I left. An extreme cold warning. 


So, I checked my list of photo spots and, with a smile, opted for one that would mostly keep me in doors. 

The museum subway station is, as the name suggests, the station that drops you off closest to the ROM. It’s not your usual, pastel-tiled, 70’s themed subway station like many others on the Toronto subway line. This station is supported by pillars turned totem poles and thick columns etched with Egyptian-style hieroglyphs. In short, a great spot to take some pictures. 

It took about 20 minutes to ride the subway there, and after about 20 minutes of shooting, I made it back home just a few minutes after my hour timeline. 

As I stated in a previous journal, the aim was to get one shot I’m happy with. 

The place was pretty quiet in terms of people, which I was hoping for. Generally you want some people to be meandering around as they make good subjects, but the bedlam that is the Bloor/Yonge station or St. George, is just absolutely impossible to take pictures in, unless you are looking to get trampled. 

The initial shot I wanted was of the subway roaring into the station on one side of the frame, and one of the cool carved pillars on the other. I thought the contrast would be pretty cool. 

I was kind of right.


It’s not exactly the shot I was looking for, perhaps it’s missing a person standing closer to the platform or something, but it just doesn’t have all the elements for me. It’s good, but I’d say like a 2/5 rating. 

The shot that I ended up giving the check mark to was one that I didn’t really expect to get at all. Looking straight down the platform, you can’t really see any of the cool poles, or they aren’t the main subject anyway, however, I got lucky enough to capture this guy walking right now the middle, and it made for an interesting shot. 


So, in terms of being happy with it? Yes, I can put my seal on that one. However, I think I’ll probably go back to Museum station some time, there’s still more opportunity there for sure. 

Thanks for reading, 


Joel Wittnebel