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Nature City: Photographers Explore the Wild Corners of Toronto

Article and curation by Mike Simpson

Photos by Taku Kumabe, Lisa Robertson and Carlier Morejon

Cover image: snail in High Park (Carlier), blackbird in Don Valley (Lisa), and Humber Bay Park (Taku)


From the parks and forests to the rivers and valleys, and waterfront, Toronto’s natural bounty provides landscape and nature photographers opportunities to shoot all kinds of birds and animals, and natural scenes inside the borders of the city.

If you wander to the edge of the downtown to places like the Humber Bay or Tommy Thompson Park you will encounter lots of wildlife. It’s a bonanza of beautiful scenes and also presents opportunities for recreation and hobbies alike: take a hike, walk or bike ride and get some practice with your photography in relaxing epic vistas that will reward your soul and your artistic side.

Toronto’s landscape is in large part directly related to its location in the Great Lakes watershed, on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Multiple river valleys have been formed, and feed into the lake, including the two mightiest: the Humber and the Don.

Let’s explore the flora and fauna from the everyday to the unusual as we tour around Toronto in our look at Nature City Toronto.

In our exploration we accompany three ace photographers who explain their motivation and relation of their art to their photography practice.

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Taku, Lisa and Carlier, all of whom are worthy of your time. Follow them on Instagram! Let’s explore! 

Lake Ontario and GTA photography with Taku Kumabe

In the Greater Toronto Area, Taku Kumabe is known best for nature photography by the Humber Bay on Lake Ontario. The artist’s portfolio includes captures of birds in flight, gorgeous sunrise light and tips on shooting

Taku writes:

“Being able to photograph Toronto’s natural beauty is very rewarding for me. Not only are you enjoying the outdoors, but you get to capture nature’s fleeting moments at any given time. Whether I’m photographing icicles along the lakeshore or water fowl in Lake Ontario, there’s always a challenge to get the shot that I envisioned in my mind. And when I do get it, the patience and effort make it all worthwhile.”

There’s magic in the air when you arrive at the Humber Bay for sunrise. At Sheldon lookout joggers and cyclists stop to take in the scene and inevitably some strollers or photographers are sprinkled around on the hill or waterside rocks, everyone anticipating the arrival of the sun.

Off in the distance, across the water at the wilder part of the area, in Humber Bay park, you’ll find Taku, staking out a prime spot to capture the beauty of the landscape by the water.

Though Taku’s sunrise meetup was cancelled this fall if you explore his gallery you’ll find an abundance of images and media that will immerse you in the artist’s world. It’s a place of calm and beauty and another excellent example of how beautiful this city can be in the natural environment away from the towers and highways. 

Taku. also photographs his travels in places like Japan and the Northwest Territories, where he leads an annual photo trip to capture the northern lights.

Photo Locations:
Cherry blossoms at Kariya Park, Mississauga.
Ice formations at Humber Bay Park.
Seagull at Humber Bay Park

Check out Taku Kumabe’s IG: @smaku

Don Valley and Rosedale Ravine with Lisa Robertson

Lisa Robertson’s gallery explores nature from around the GTA. Our picks are from the amazing Don Valley area which lies just to the east of the downtown core – it’s a world away from the rush of Yonge and Bloor, yet right in the heart of the city. 

Lisa writes:

“Toronto offers so many different and beautiful locations to explore and take photographs. As a nature lover, I tend to find myself in the many parks and ravines we have in our city. These are ideal places to find peace and beauty while stepping away from the busy city. The numerous trails provide lots of opportunities for photographs. Birds, wildlife, incredible trees, flowers and ponds – this city has everything..“

These images explore nooks in the valley such as the Evergreen Brick Works and Rosedale Valley ravine. Venturing further east of the Don the photographer documents nature among the corners of the Beaches and Ashbridges Bay as well.

Photo Locations:

Robin at Evergreen Brick Works
Snowy walk at Rosedale valley ravine
Blackbird at Brick Works

Check out Lisa Robertson’s IG: @lisarobertsonpics

High Park and the Humber River with Carlier Morejon

If you stop for a while and breathe deeply you’ll experience the wonder of nature in the city. If you pause and take a closer look you’ll be amazed at what you find.

Photographer Carlier takes the time to focus on the little things and these photos of a snail in High Park and salmon in the Humber River take the viewer deeper into the scene and experience of nature in the city.

Carlier, originally from Cuba, has a gallery full of natural goodness. The photographer writes:

“I grew up in a small village in the heartland of Cuba. Growing up as sustainably dependent on our rich planet to survive, I developed a strong and emotional connection to our natural world. After moving to Toronto, I had to start from scratch by getting to know my natural surroundings. I picked up my very first camera about two years ago and started exploring our city’s natural habitats a little closer. Very quickly I realized that Toronto is truly a City within Park. I love sharing my discoveries and art with people so they too can make Toronto their favourite playground while living in total harmony with its natural environment.“

Check out the photographer’s gallery for some exquisitely detailed close-ups and other nature shots. 

Photo locations:

Snails and chipmunk in High Park
Salmon jumping in the Humber River

Check out Carlier’s IG: @carlieramat

Thanks for Reading

We hope you enjoyed this exploration of Toronto via some its best nature and landscape photographers. It’s an amazing place offering many opportunities for photography and urban exploration in the wild corners of the city

Be sure to follow the photographers and Tdot Shots on Instagram: @tdot_shots

Special thank you to our fall blog series sponsor ego ride share. Visit their website and download their app! ego is a ride share service by people who care. They’re Cheaper. They’re Local. They’re Better.

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