Category Archives: Postcard from the Road

Postcard from the Road #9: Toronto Skyline at Night

Postcard from the Road (Top of the World Edition)

Toronto Skyline at Night
The city of Toronto sparkles on a frosty January night


Dear friends of TGB,

Here is a photo of yesterday’s Toronto skyline. I shot this from the CN Tower (once the world’s tallest free-standing structure) Observation deck through a curved window that was reflecting the lights from inside the room. This made for a difficult shot to begin with. 

Add the fact that I was using my new camera and new lens (and I am very unfamiliar with it) as well as having no use of a tripod, I was wondering how this was going to turn out. Well, the answer was “pretty well.” I used a circular polarizer on my lens so that I could use a lower ISO setting (125) and slow down my shutter speed further. That way, I could get the streaks of light from the moving traffic, get the clouds and the steam rising from the buildings to have movement as well. If I used a higher ISO with no polarizer, I would have had too much light; if I used a faster shutter speed, I would have no light/cloud motion. So this was a fun experiment that worked out pretty well! Oh, and I did this while drinking a beer as well, so we killed two birds with one stone. I look forward to taking photos with this new camera when I head out on my next adventures. Our blog posts should be even more vibrant in the not-too-distant future as a result. Hope you will enjoy them.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our recent posts featuring Cuba and Bali, please have a look.



Camera set-up details are below
Nikon D810 / 16mm focal length, ISO 125, F/4.0 at 15.0 seconds, circular polarizer, no tripod, one handed shot with beer in other hand.

Postcard from the Road #8: White Rock Canyon, New Mexico

Dear Friends,

Earlier this summer, I attended a photography workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, under the tutelage of Brett Erickson. Before I flew back to New York, I drove to Los Alamos County to check out the ruins at Bandelier National Monument. Near the park shuttle bus terminal at the White Rock Visitor Center is the White Rock Overlook Park, from where I took this photo on a partly overcast day. The cliff plunges 1,000 feet to the canyon below. The river you see is the famous Rio Grande, and you can clearly make out an almost perfect mesa in the distance on the lefthand side, as well as the one directly in the middle. If you look really closely at the bare patch on the right bank of the river, right before it curves, there is a little community there of a couple of houses and some trucks. The cactus in the foreground was blooming and this was just a magnificent viewpoint, but one to avoid if you are scared of heights. Hope all is well with you.


White Rock Canyon Overlook, Los Alamos, New Mexico
White Rock Canyon Overlook, Los Alamos, New Mexico



The Gentleman Backpacker

Postcard from the Road #7: Steveston, Canada

Dear Friend,

This postcard may be slow to reach you. I forgot to mail it until near the end of my trip. I was looking south across from Steveston at the mouth of the Lower Arm of the mighty Fraser River. This scene struck me, with the driftwood, the boats passing by, and the purple wildflowers growing by the water’s edge. In the distance, some islands, including Vancouver Island provide a nice silhouette. It was just a beautiful scene that stuck with me.

My friend Melinda Green Harvey was in BC around the same time, and took a magnificent photo of driftwood, if this sort of thing interests you. I promise to continue with posting about Iguazu Falls later this week.


A magical Pacific Northwest summer sunset
A magical Pacific Northwest summer sunset

All the best,

The Gentleman Backpacker