Torontohenge is the moment, two mornings and two evenings a year, when the rising or setting sun aligns perfectly with the city’s east-west street grid. (This fall it happens on Oct. 25, at 6:18 p.m.) It’s a magic moment for photographers, but shooting a blinding sun against dark streets is easier said than done. We asked two Toronto shooters for some advice.
» Go manual: Photoblogger Sam Javanrouh warns that the sun’s brightness will wreak havoc with autofocus, so ditch the iPhone and focus manually. Then try a lot of different settings to get the right colour and brightness. “When you shoot with an automatic camera,” says Javanrouh, “it blows out the centre of the light source, so your oranges become white. Shoot a variety of exposures to get a range.”
» Location is everything: While you’ll likely be shooting from the middle of the street (yay for scramble crossings), photographer/director Jeremy Kohm suggests distancing yourself from the hubbub. “I’d advise to get a bit of height, up on a hill, a bridge, or a second storey. Above the wires and the backs of people’s heads.”
» Post-production helps: Kohm suggests some after-the-fact trickery: “Shoot two exposures from a tripod, one exposed for the sun, and another exposed for the buildings. Then use Photoshop to merge them.” Javanrouh offers a simpler idea for preventing the extreme light from turning the sun’s orangey shades an ugly yellow. “Turn the photo black and white,” he says. “The colour isn’t a distraction anymore, and it looks beautiful.”