Toronto Skyline Photo

I’m teaching my Lightroom seminar today to an almost sold-out crowd of close to 600, here in Toronto (thanks Toronto!), but I did manage to get out and take some touristy photos after I arrived on Sunday. Whenever I go to a city, I try to make it a point to take a photo of the skyline (if they have one) or something unique to that city. Personally, I actually like the typical touristy spots too. At least when it’s my first time to that city. I find whatever the “usual” spot is, tends to be one of the best, so that’s where I head first.

This photo is from Toronto Island. You take a 10 minute ferry ride over to it, and it’s really cool place. I wish I was here when it was warmer because it looks like a great place to spend the day and explore. Anyway, I headed out to get there by sunset, but the sun went behind a bank of clouds before that happened. That’s okay though, because I tend to like city skylines during twilight the best. That’s when the sun scatters it’s light around the clouds and gives off lots of blues and oranges and magentas. Plus, you can see the lights in the buildings better than when the sun is still up.

Oh, and the detail on this photo is just sick! You’d be amazed if you saw the full 7000 pixel image on my laptop screen. It almost looks 3-D. So make sure you click on the photo below to see it larger.

(click to see photo larger)

A Little Long Exposure Action!
The only other thing I did differently here is I used a neutral density filter. I didn’t use the Lee Big Stopper that I’ve written about before because it was too dark. My shutter speeds were getting too long with it. So I used a 3-stop ND filter to slow the shutter speed down enough to blur some of the clouds and the water. One of the things I like to do with static subjects, like a skyline, is add some motion. You can’t, of course, blur the buildings because that wouldn’t look right. But blurry clouds, for me, help add that dynamic feeling to the photo. And I really don’t care for choppy water (it was windy last night – and did I mention cold ;) ), so the longer exposures help smooth that out as well.

Photo Details:
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII
Cable Release: Vello Shutter Boss Cable Release
Aperture: f/8
Shutter Speed: 45 sec.
ISO: 100
Tripod: Gitzo Traveler
Ballhead: Really Right Stuff BH-55

Thanks for stopping by. If you’re at the seminar today make sure you come on up and say hi. Have a good one!

  • Jeb Buchman

    Hey Matt, great skyline shot. My eyes were drawn to the texture of the blurred clouds and the colors of that awesome violet sky blending with the color of the CN Tower.

    Do you ever get down to the DC area for your workshops or seminars?

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Hey Jeb. I was just there with the Lightroom seminar in June. It’ll probably be a while before it’s back :(

  • elmercruz

    Hey Matt, nice shot. I guess you were here in all the mayhem of the local ARGOOOSS! winning the Grey Cup (Canadian version of the Super Bowl). Have a great Lightroom Seminar :)

    • Matt Kloskowski


  • eyeondesigns

    Welcome to Toronto, Matt! You should definitely shoot here when it’s warmer… I’d suggest end-of-summer, mid-fall. So much to explore here. Please share how someone (like me) could get a higher-quality dig. version of that awesome image.

  • Dennis Zito

    Hey Matt,

    Wow, that is a Great Photo! You’re right it does look almost 3D! Seven thousand pixels should get you the detail! Have a Great day in Toronto! Safe travels make home! Thanks for sharing!


  • ffurb

    Great shot – love the detail! Two questions:
    1) would you get the same effect by changing your f-stop by 3 stops (you listed F8) as using the 3-stop neutral density filter?
    2) where would you get a large print made? MPIX goes to 24×36 unless you have an MPIX Pro account (which i don’t)

    Thanks again!

    • Matt Kloskowski

      You probably could. I like shooting the 70-200 at f/8. With that level of zoom I want the sharpest aperture possible. If it weren’t so darn cold out I would have done a test and shot it both ways :)
      As for large prints, you could also try

      Thanks Frank!

  • Utah Wedding Photographers

    Wonderul Image. Great composition and post production. Well done.

  • eyeondesigns

    Sorry Matt, I wasn’t trying to offend you by my question earlier. I should have phrased it like this:

    Would you consider selling the image file as a stock image, or maybe prints of the image?

  • Jason Goss

    Hey Matt, I was at your seminar today (Nov26) and was very impressed with your knowledge, and information that you provided to the participants. I am certain that the techniques you demonstrated will benefit myself, and others when using Lightroom. The photo of the Toronto skyline is exceptional!! Thanks for a great presentation, and wishing you well in your future endeavours!

    Cheers! Jason

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Thanks Jason. It was a GREAT crowd. Seriously! Everyone was so welcoming. :)

  • Dave Gregoire

    Hey Matt, I was also at Toronto seminar today, had a great time, learned a lot!
    Thanks! Great shot of our skyline!

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Thanks :)

  • Bastian Sander

    Great shot. Tip for the next time: If you move on the islands further west you could have gotten a shot with the Rogers Center in it.

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Thanks. I actually knew that ahead of time and agree with you – it’s a better shot from there. I wanted to get to Center Island. But between the walk over and back, plus shooting time, I would have never made the next Ferry back. Unfortunately I wasn’t well dressed for the wind out there. As soon as I got off the Ferry I knew I wasn’t going to stray too far so I could catch the next Ferry back :) Maybe next time.

  • Gerardo Rico

    Great Picture as great seminar

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Thank you!

      • Richard Comely

        Could i use your photo in a Captain canuck postcard?

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  • Katherine Mann

    Matt, I do hope you found time to turn around and walk through the community on Ward’s Island. It is what I would call an expressive place. Artists abound, the houses are all personal statements and you will find many delightful things to shoot. Don’t miss the pebble stone murals near the club house (directly behind your photo spot). I moved north from there in 1990, but it remains in my heart.