This year saw the start of a new franchise in Toronto, the first ever professional Transatlantic sports team. The Toronto Wolfpack rugby league team play in the English Kingstone Press Division 1 league. Drawing excited crowds of over 5,000 supporters, some of whom know the game and others who for the first time are encountering this fast, skillful and, at times, brutal sport, the Wolfpack play their home stands at Lamport Stadium here in Toronto, while playing their road matches in the North of England. Truly a radical move in the world of professional sports.

The beauty of Lamport Stadium, realistically a bit run down, with cold metal benches for seats, is that as a photographer you can get very close to the action without getting on the field. This is not like BMO Field, the Rogers Centre or, God knows, the ACC. This is accessible shooting and a great way to hone your action photography skills. Combine the attraction of being able to shoot with the passion of the game and the friendliness of the players – both teams come out to chat and drink a beer with the fans after the match – and you have an unbeatable way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Try it. You’ll love it.

Toronto Wolfpack vs York Knights
Fui Fui Moi Moi – the battering ram of the Wolfpack team

Toronto Wolfpack vs York Knights
Toronto wing Jonny Pownall, buried under York Knights players

Toronto Wolfpack vs York Knights
Greg Worthington, raised in Bradford, Yorkshire, playing in Toronto, Ontario

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There are some times when, to feel fully creative, one needs to just let go of the norms, open your mind to the great possibilities that are out there and break out into something new. I’ve been reading a lot of work by the Canadian photographer David Duchemin recently, both his blogs and some of his published work, such as the The Vision Driven Photographer. David encourages you to open your mind, to try to reach for the creativity that all of us have to some degree or other. While I don’t feel that I am, or ever could be, the world’s most creative photographer, I do believe that with the technology available to us, everyone’s creativity today can be enhanced to levels that would have been almost impossible only a few years ago.

Whether the audience who sees my work are appreciative or not is a different story. The difficulty with impressionist photography, or Photographic Jazz as I’m thinking of calling it – maybe I could copyright that term? – is that it is, by definition, outside what is considered ‘normal’ photography. It will not win any prizes in the local camera clubs, that’s pretty much a nailed-on certainty, but it is an expression of art, of creativity, and – possibly very luckily – I don’t depend on it to earn my living. But when an idea comes I get a knotted feeling of anticipation in my stomach, I need to plan, to make notes, to think about where I’m going and what I need to do, to visualise what the finished picture could look like.

Heart Lake
Multiple exposure – Wind on Heart Lake

Recently I bought a new Fuji X-E2s mirrorless camera. I love the quality of my DSLRs, don’t get me wrong, and I’ve no plans to trade them in just yet, but the light weight of the Fuji plus the quality of the images from the APS-C sensor frees me to carry this camera everywhere and to have complete confidence that the images are going to be first rate. One of the techniques that had been on my mind for some time is the photo montage, a series of pictures of the same object from slightly different viewpoints, blended together to make a new composite.

With the Fuji in my bag I was able to take it to work so I could take the necessary shots during my lunch hour. No huge weekend plans to be made, no disruption to family life, just a quick trip across the road at lunch, take the shots and then back to the office. So much easier than having to cart the DSLR around. That’s why I’m going to love mirrorless; not just because it’s light, not just because of the image quality but because it frees me to just take pictures, it opens up opportunities to encourage and build that creativity.

Toronto schoolbus
Composite – 700 University Avenue, Toronto

Marilyn Towers
The ‘Marilyn’ towers, Mississauga

Queens Park
Bowl of Light, Queen’s Park, Toronto

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