Polson Pier Toronto

Postcard from the Road #10: Toronto Skyline at -40 degrees

Polson Pier Toronto
A Porter Airlines flight landing at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport at sunset on a frigid February day. Temperatures plunged to below -40 degrees with windchill

I came to Toronto at the start of November as I mentioned in my last post and time flies. I’m ten days away from my next chapter. On Sunday, amid temperatures that plunged below -40 with windchill (F or C, take your pick, we dropped to the crossover point), I headed out to brave the cold at the famous Polson Pier for the quintessential Toronto skyline view.

Why would I be insane enough to go out in this weather? Well, first of all, I wasn’t alone. Second, I wanted to try out my new Hoya 400X neutral density filter on my camera. Third, the frigid air usually leads to a few interesting atmospheric occurrences that make for unique photo opportunities.

Air that cold can cause tiny droplets of water in the air to freeze in the atmosphere, creating an almost shimmering effect in the air. Also, the temperature of the water on the lake is so “warm” relative to the frozen air around it, that steam comes off the lake, an effect which you can see to the left of the picture past the ice where it looks like there is a patch of “fog” over the lake.

I nearly got frost bite on my hands from trying to get this shot of the Toronto skyline, but such is life in the frozen north and this is part of who we are as Canadians. I can’t say that I won’t be happy to be heading for slightly warmer climes in the not-too-distant future, but this place sure is pretty in the dead of winter if you venture out.

Overall, I feel like I have a bit more work to do with this ND filter, and getting used to it, but for those who don’t know, I basically put “sunglasses” over the front of my lens, allowing me to capture the bright sunset more clearly without overexposing my shot. I hope you like it, as I froze my butt off taking this one. I will be thinking about this sunset for a while, though. It was just so very beautiful.

That plane? It’s a Porter Air flight landing at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Rather than the big hub at Pearson, the City Airport is very convenient if you are traveling around the Northeast US and Eastern Canada. You land on an island directly across a very narrow channel from downtown, and the views of the Toronto skyline from the flight are spectacular.

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