Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Staring down at the pounding surf

Temporary texture
Delray Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Every once in a while, I like to wade into the surf, point my camera down, and see what I can come up with.

Like so many of my little, um, peculiarities, there isn't a whole lot of rationale behind this one. If I were asked about it, I suppose I'd explain it as follows:

I like water. Ocean water tops the list, but fresh water from the Great Lakes fits the bill, too. Okay, any water, really.

I like what it does when it tumbles into, over, and across a sandy beach, powered by the energy of a manta ray deep underwater thousands of kilometres away. Or a puff of wind. Or some other force I can't identify, but trust that it exists.

I like the randomness of it all.

I like how it makes me feel, both from the powerful rush of the crashing wave, and the foamy massage I get when the water reverses direction and heads back to sea.

I like the feel of the wind in my ears, and the smell of the salt in my nose. It makes me feel alive in a way few other experiences do.

I like the way nothing else matters while I'm shooting here - as if the rest of the world gets put on hold while I play photographer in the surf.

I like knowing that somewhere else, also on another beach near another edge of the planet, some complete stranger is likely doing exactly the same thing. Because we're never truly alone.

I like it, period. And we should all be spending the limited time we've been given doing things that touch our respective souls.

If you end up with a decent picture at the end of it all, so much the better.

#delray #beach #delraybeach #florida #fla #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #waves #atlantic #ocean #water #texture #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

The warmer side of (space capsule) cool

Gemini 9A, post-descent
Merritt Island, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
A not-so-funny thing happens to things when they slam into the Earth's atmosphere at 25 times the speed of sound: They burn to a crisp. So spacecraft designers use every trick available to them to keep that from happening.

Ablative heat shields - like the ones found on the blunt ends of early U.S. capsules like the Gemini 9A you see here - are designed to literally disintegrate as the vehicle descends deeper into the ever-thicker air. That carries away excess heat and keeps the inside as cool as a cucumber.

The space shuttle orbiters used more sophisticated non-ablative materials - together they formed the thermal protection system, or TPS - that, along with a bunch of other technologies, allowed these winged wonders to be reused. Old-style or new, the Columbia accident proved just how critical these technologies are, and just how lethal the high-speed, high-altitude regime in which they operate can be when they fail.

So getting up close and personal with the business end of a capsule that NASA legends Gene Cernan (later Apollo 10 & 17) and Tom Stafford (later Apollo 10 & ASTP, and instrumental developer of the F-117 Nighthawk and B-2 Spirit) flew in before I was even born was quite the rush, and I lingered over the heat-scarred heat shield for a while. Plasma can do some incredible things to human-made objects, and it's not a bad thing for any of us to see it first-hand.

It's weird how that works. You can study the physics and the engineering, and understand at a detail level how the shape of a vehicle and the materials used to build it can keep its occupants safe amid the harshest environments ever encountered by humanity. But until you can stand Right There, you'll never appreciate just what an achievement - even 53-plus years later - it was, and is.

Perhaps that's a lesson for the Digital Age, when we seem to think experiencing something on-screen is sufficient. Not always.

#kennedy #space #center #ksc #kennedyspacecenter #florida #fla #gemini #gemini9a #spaceship #rocket #science #technology #aviation #avgeek #spaceflight #monochrome #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

QOTD: On deadlines

Found on a wall at Disney
Orlando, FL
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Walt Disney was right: Everyone needs deadlines. But do they respect them? Perhaps that's a question for another day.

#orlando #florida #fla #road #trip #disney #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #mickey #mickeymouse #hollywood #studios #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #zoom #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, January 20, 2020

Art deco on blue

Color, tone, and history
Orlando, FL
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I have a weakness for art deco, blue sky, and artful combinations of the two.

Sorry.

#orlando #florida #fla #road #trip #disney #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #mickey #mickeymouse #hollywood #studios #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #zoom #design #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Connected by a Chevy Suburban

The way it used to be
Orlando, FL
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: We're wandering through Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park under a perfectly blue Florida sky.

The period-correct streetscapes seem to have come alive in the warm morning sun, the art deco architecture snapping into sharp relief in a riot of pastel shades and rich textures. If I do nothing more than stare at everything I see today, I'll consider it a day well spent.

Retro-looking billboards dot the rooftops, and each one merits a photo. But this particular one is special.

When my wife was a child, her dad drove a Chevrolet Suburban. The brown and beige giant towed the family trailer, and together they formed the backbone of memories of trips across the continent that she carries with her to this day.

The towed trailer was gone by the time we started dating, replaced by an even larger one permanently moored deep inside an upstate New York campground. But the Suburban was still in the driveway. And its shadow loomed large as we slowly built the foundation of our own life together. It was a sad day when the Suburban gave way to the big green Olds.

Years later, I brought a Chevy HHR home. My little black retro-wagon was styled after the 1940s-era Suburban, something that made my father-in-law chuckle when I first told him. It was just a car, but it connected us.

So when I saw the basis for my since-replaced Chevy on this billboard, I instantly thought of him. He would have smiled. I did for both of us.

Because you never know when a cherished, deep-rooted memory will present itself. Or when the universe will choose to gently tell you where to look to find it.

#orlando #florida #fla #road #trip #disney #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #mickey #mickeymouse #hollywood #studios #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #zoom #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Finding details in a Disney facade

Ornate against the sky
Orlando, FL
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
You can't appreciate the details if you aren't looking for them in the first place.

Theme parks are, as you'd imagine, packed with them. Wherever you choose to look, there's some element of artful design that jumps out at you. Or should.

The neat thing about details is they're everywhere. Sure, Disney creates a perfect little world within a world, a snowglobe-like bubble where anything can happen as long as you can afford it.

But here's the thing: Details can be found outside that bubble, as well. Stare closely enough at a facade as you make your way to work and you're bound to see something worth capturing. Old Walt didn't have a monopoly on compelling streetscapes.

Which begs the question: Where will you look next?

#orlando #florida #fla #road #trip #disney #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #mickey #mickeymouse #hollywood #studios #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #zoom #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Bringing an iPad to life

Dinner is (almost) served
Delray Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
First light is an interesting concept. For astronomers, it is the first thing they see when they bring a brand new telescope to life.

So you can imagine they put a lot of thought into where they want to focus before they flip the switch. Meaning and history and lore and all that good stuff.

Photographers have, ah, borrowed the concept of first light, and we apply it to the first photo we take with a new camera. For example, when I brought my new Nikon home a few years ago, my wife was my first light. It remains one of my all-time favorite photos.

No surprise, as she's my all-time favorite person. But I digress.

I replaced my old, rather dead iPad recently, and then promptly forgot that the new one has a nifty camera on it.

Unlike the DSLR, where I agonized over what to shoot for first light, the iPad's camera was brought to life with much less fanfare.

Our kids love these little hot dogs in blankets, especially because kosher ones are really hard to find around here. So when my aunt and uncle ordered deli one night, it seemed like the perfect way to remember a perfect moment with folks who mean the world to us.

On the surface, this may seem like a silly way to mark first light. But it makes me smile.

And it makes me wish we had more moments just like this one, sitting around the kitchen table, eating happy food, sharing happy stories.

#delray #beach #delraybeach #florida #fla #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #stilllife #food #foodie #foodporn #hotdog #photography #apple #ipad #firstlight #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Dog snow day

Guarding her yard
London, ON
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Large chunks of the country are being blanketed by snow today. Eastern Canada, in particular, is experiencing the kind of storm that's already rewriting history and laying down lifelong memories for all who live there.

None of this matters to Calli the Wonderschnauzer. As she is most weekend mornings, she's just as happy to sit on the back of the living room couch and take it all in. And I'm just as happy to sit here, quietly, and watch her.

That said, this is a dog who absolutely loves snow. This morning's walk was spent with her nose firmly buried in a fresh layer of it. She bounced out of the house, threw herself into the first snowbank she could find, and pulled hard the entire time we were out. If only I could borrow some of her energy.

As we both sit here by the window and watch the white stuff fall, I ponder why we got a dog in the first place. So many reasons, really, and each of them would be more than enough to validate the decision.

But on this day, in this spot, a dog's innate ability to drink in the moment without being bothered by anything else seems like the best reason of all.

Blinkered vision. Where can I get some of that for myself?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheachnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #pets #snow #onstorm #snowmageddon #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, January 17, 2020

Mouse ears in the sky

Come on in
Orlando, FL
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
When Mickey stands ready to welcome the world, we'd do well to stop for a bit and take in the spectacle.

It's easy to be cynical around a Disney character, especially one as overcommercialized as Mickey Mouse, but we should avoid the temptation. Almost a century after Steamboat Willie first appeared and introduced us to the magic of animated motion pictures, Mickey and his buddies have become not only icons of the entertainment industry, but universally recognized symbols of childhood, happiness, and inclusion.

So the image of him standing high atop the entrance to Hollywood Studios struck me as worth remembering on this, our first visit to this place. I spent much of the day with half an eye looking for signs, snippets, elements that would serve as signatures of our time here. So grabbing something right at the front door seemed like a worthwhile use of megapixels, and an effective way to kickstart a day of childlike exploration with my family.

The deeper we got into the park, the more I thought about what I had seen at its entrance. Seeing the fine detail in something as typically simple as this makes me wonder why we don't make a bigger deal of the welcome.

Even something as basic as a welcome mat on the front porch seems to soften the moment, crack a smile, instantly change how visitors feel as they cross the threshold and enter someone else's space. Humans seem to be big on beginnings and endings, greetings and goodbyes and other milestones, so it makes eminent sense to record them a bit more deliberately, to be a little more in the moment as we experience them.

I'm just naive enough to believe that paying more attention to the welcome will somehow ripple out some goodness into the universe. Call me an optimist.

Who would have imagined it would be Mickey who would remind me why this matters as much as it does? Thanks, buddy.

#orlando #florida #fla #road #trip #disney #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #mickey #mickeymouse #hollywood #studios #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #zoom #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Burn the sky down

Catch it while you can
Orlando, FL
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Who doesn't like a good fireworks display?

It is the quintessential exclamation point to a great party. As American as baseball (without the cheating), apple pie (reduced-sugar recipe), and Chevrolet (but not the ones imported from Mexico, because 'Murica!)

But it's 2020. And in between sharing and looking at cat videos, the digital literati have decided that fireworks may not be the most eco friendly way to celebrate something. They scare puppies and kittens. They light brush on fire. They annoy the daylights out of the old man down the street who's been cursing your kids for playing stickball in front of his yard since before they were born.

And they can hurt us. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says 9,100 Americans were hospitalized with fireworks-related injuries. Over one-third were children, and I'll leave the visuals out of it, because they're jarring.

And yet, they retain a certain elemental appeal. Who doesn't like to watch lots of stuff get blown up in the sky? Who doesn't want to stand on the ground and go "wow" over and over? Who wouldn't be moved by a pyrotechnic dance in the heavens?

Coordinated drone swarms are starting to replace fireworks here and there, and I'm guessing we'll see this trend continue. Because, hey, technology!

But as I stood beside a giant lake with my family and watched the sky fill with the very signature of Americana, I couldn't help but think that in the right hands, at the right moment, under the right conditions, there was nothing quite like a good old fashioned fireworks show.

We should take them in while we still can. Because nothing lasts forever.

#orlando #florida #fla #canada #road #trip #disney #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #epcot #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #fireworks #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A chef sings in an alley

Hidden art
London, ON
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
You have to look carefully for the signs, but if you do, they're everywhere.

Of an undercurrent of creativity in this city.

Of artists looking for new ways - any ways, really - to find an audience.

Of building owners trying to tighten their connections to the community.

Of hope lurking in the darkest places.

Of new discoveries waiting around every corner.

I found this delightful example just off of Richmond Street. I had gone for a walk looking for inspiration, and once again my fair city didn't disappoint.

Some gifted stranger has clearly been busy. And on a gray afternoon deep in the shadows of a forgotten alley, I smiled at the prospect of someone I've never met having the power to move me, if only for the briefest of moments.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #downtown #urban #city #richmond #street #photography #streetphotography #art #color #alley #chef #restaurant #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Cool lamp in a cool hotel

Shedding some light on the subject
Knoxville, TN
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Let's get this out of the way right here: I shoot weird things. Sorry. (I'm also Canadian, so...)

It's my way of dealing with Planet Earth and all the unpredictable stuff that happens on it. Some folks get me. Some don't. That's OK, too.

My latest example of weird is this desk lamp, found in, of all places, a hotel room in Knoxville, TN. Weird as it may seem, this seemingly unassuming light fixture, in this room, in this place, on this day, helped shape a moment that our little brood will likely remember for some time.

A few hours earlier, we had found a delightful hotel tucked away in a quiet corner of a city far from home. Rather, my wife had found it. From her phone. As I drove on a crowded, darkened highway.

Technology. Wonder. Serendipity. Whatever we call it, the universe seemed to want us to stop at this hotel. So we did.

The place was fairly new, and whoever designed it was given free rein to fill it with the kind of flourishes that made weary travellers smile. It's a little thing, but ultimately it isn't. Good design matters. So do smiles. Never forget that.

As we happily buzzed around the room in the morning, getting ready to leave this place behind on our way home, I zeroed in on the lamp. I can still hear the banter in my ears as I composed and shot. It was a good moment, a sign from the universe that dark chapters eventually end. Or maybe they continue on, but you keep finding flashes of light amid them.

I'm actually not entirely sure how that works. But as long as you keep looking for the light, then chances are you'll find your way through. Or maybe it's as long as the light continues to find you.

Whatever the case, there was light in this place, and I didn't want to forget what it felt like before we continued on our journey.

#knoxville #tennessee #tn #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #i75 #tru #hilton #hotel #stilllife #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, January 13, 2020

You're shooting the wrong way, moron

With the sun at my back...
Cocoa Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
While everyone shoots toward the horizon, I'm the idiot facing the other way. Why?

Directional challenges notwithstanding, I'm out here in the early morning for two reasons:

1) I don't enjoy hot days on the beach. I’m not particularly fond of crowds or oppressive heat, so the prospect of wedging myself in between towel-flicking groups of teens and middle-aged men spilling out of their Speedos while they fish crumpled Camel cigarettes out of their cracked blue-and-yellow pleather Adidas gym bags doesn’t rank high on my priority list. Goodness, this makes me seem old. So be it.

2) We were only in Cocoa Beach for the night, and would be leaving just after breakfast. So I needed to log some quiet time by the ocean before we loaded Stella up and hit the road.

Thankfully early mornings, when the beach is nearly empty, have always been my jam. And this morning, just south of where NASA and its partners launch rockets - and soon humans - into space, was a perfect example of why I love places like this. As I shot the sunrise, I dug my toes into the cool sand, and wished I could somehow capture, or freeze in time, what that felt like.

Once the requisite sunrise photos were taken, I turned 180 degrees and focused up the beach instead. I love these moments, when the low-angled golden sun paints shadowy evidence of all who were once here. Doubtless in a few hours it’ll all get jumbled again under the feet of countless new visitors to this place, but for now, it feels frozen in time.

I could feel through my toes the warmth slowly displacing the coolness in the sand, a sign that my quiet break from the rest of the planet would soon have to end. So I finished shooting and headed back, promising myself I'd return soon.

Almost forgot to answer that why-I-face-the-opposite-direction question. Simple: I'd rather tell my own stories, which sometimes means going where others don't. Or looking where they aren't.

#cocoa #beach #cocoabeach #florida #fla #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #sunrise #waves #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Learning a sweet, difficult lesson

Almost too perfect to eat
Cancun, Mexico
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Not a day goes by that we each don't learn some hard lesson about how tough life can be.

Yet as one hard day in a hard world gives way to another, I'd like to think we largely retain the capacity to hold on, hang in, and find the good amid the less-than-good.

Because I refuse to believe that we've been given life so we can fritter it away whining about how much it sucks. Headlines notwithstanding, it doesn't. Far from it.

This is a plate of desserts that was left in our hotel room during our recent vacation. These lovelies didn't last very long after this photo was taken, and for the record, they were divine.

The more I look at the sole remaining photographic evidence that they ever existed, the more I like the shot. It isn't often that texture, color, and composition somehow suggest sweetness, but somehow here they do.

And I'd give anything to have that moment back.

#cancun #mexico #food #foodporn #foodie #instafood #foodphotography #foodstagram #dessert #color #stilllife #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Finding Canada in a distant land

Maple Leaf Forever, Wherever
Orlando, FL
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
You can't help but smile when you find a tiny slice of Canadiana so far from home.

#orlando #florida #fla #canada #road #trip #disney #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #epcot #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Hanging out on the backlot

Light from darkness
Orlando, FL
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I don't think I view theme parks through the same lens as anyone else. Then again, I don't think I view ANYTHING through the same lens as anyone else. Part of the joy of being me, I guess, for better or for worse.

To wit, Hollywood Studios. Disney's newest park is a riot of overlapping storylines, themes, and architectures. Everywhere you look, there's some kind of stimulus, some kind of element, be it large or small, that defines the movie-ness of this place to the exclusion of all else.

There is no real world here, which is what makes being here such a remarkable experience. Just come on in and immerse yourself in the storytelling.

I admit I struggled a bit at first to take it all in, not sure where to look or what to focus on. It was the most obvious kind of sensory overload I've likely ever experienced, yet I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. When I eventually stopped worrying about what I might miss along the way, I got back into my usual look-into-the-margins groove and started to really get the vibe of the place.

The Backlot Express is one of the park's countless restaurants, and it quickly became one of my favorites thanks to an aesthetic that seemed perfectly aligned with the "why" of this entire park. Standing outside the warehouse-like architecture, I was struck by how subtly it echoed what an actual studio lot might feel like, right down to the roughly scrubbed, corrugated metal shed that housed it all.

This photo belies the frantic pace that seems to define life in Disney's world, and transports me right back to a moment when we got to pause and take in a gently nuanced corner of the planet, under the watchful eye of a crescent moon.

Light, darkness, and composition: A perfect mix that moviemakers for generations have been striving to refine. In this frozen moment toward the end of an epic day for my family, it all somehow seemed to come together.

#orlando #florida #fla #road #trip #disney #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld ##hollywood #studios #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, January 10, 2020

Face-to-face with Space Shuttle Atlantis

Where she rests
Merritt Island, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
So I saw Atlantis.

I grew up watching her and her sister ships expand our horizons in space. I would wake up early, stay up late, or even fake being sick so that I could stay home from school and catch a launch or a landing. I plastered my walls with newspaper and magazine clippings (so old school) and memorized every last data point about the program. I viscerally remember where I was and how I felt as I watched the Challenger and Columbia accidents, live on TV.

But I had never seen an orbiter up close - until now. And despite the fact that adults my age aren't supposed to be humbled by much, the moment humbled me. Profoundly.

She was born in an era when America still reached for the stars. Never mind that the original promise of routine access to space was laughably unattainable, or that the Space Transportation System as designed was fatally flawed from the start. It still represented the best in American engineering, and it built today's space reality.

At one point, I just stood under her, near the midbody, and simply reflected. I'd spent a lifetime following this program, and was now in the shadow of its very centrepiece. It felt strangely comforting to be so close to something that had been a faraway reality for so long. Something that defined both my childhood and my adulthood. Something that had lit the fires that pushed me into a technology-based career and fuelled the wonder that drives me to this day.

To that end, the value of an artifact like Atlantis goes far beyond the merely physical. The hundreds of people milling around her weren't just looking at a decommissioned, pockmarked spaceship. Almost without exception, I could see new fires of inspiration being lit, and future plans being drawn up.

It's how we build better tomorrows: By allowing past triumphs to open our eyes to what we'd each like to accomplish next.

#kennedy #space #center #ksc #kennedyspacecenter #florida #fla #spaceshuttle #shuttle #atlantis #ov104 #rocket #science #aviation #avgeek #spaceflight #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, January 09, 2020

When twin tragedies hit home

No way out
London, ON
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
On a day when #LdnONT joined other communities across the country and around the world in coming to grips with the unspeakable loss in Iran of 176 of our best and brightest, one anonymous person tried to stay warm in the city's biting cold.

There is no easy answer for either one of these tragedies. Maybe if we tried being kinder to each other. Maybe if we looked outward instead of inward. Maybe if we stopped seeing others as "others" at all.

I just don't know. But something's got to change.

#london #ontario #canada #iran #iranplanecrash #ukraine #ps752 #downtown #urban #city #dundas #street #photography #streetphotography #alley #homeless #homelessness #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Spaceship Earth, up close

Multifaceted, defined
Orlando, FL
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This may come as a shock to you, but I was a Disney Virgin* until a couple of weeks ago.

Never went as a child, and never much wanted to go as an adult. I love Mickey's sweetness and all that he represents, but I don’t much like crowds. Or wall-to-wall commercialism.

That all ended on New Year’s Eve with an absolutely wild and unforgettable trip to the Magic Kingdom. It was so crowded that they ultimately had to close the park to new admissions. At various times through the day, we stood sardine-like in the middle of the street, waiting for the throngs to clear.

Don’t worry, I have plenty of pictures of that, but it’s this one, taken on a much less frenetic New Year's Day at EPCOT, that sticks with me.

I’ve always had a thing for domes, and the iconic Spaceship Earth ranks near the top of list thanks to its multifaceted surfaces that could keep me occupied all day. I especially love how it's been the centrepiece of Disney's message on sustainability since long before sustainability was even a thing. This structure is inspiring on a number of levels, and we'd do well to listen up.

Of course, if I had the time, I'd shoot every facet of this remarkable piece of architecture. But we had a park to explore, so I shot quickly before we moved on.

I rather like how this one turned out, but I've already got other ideas. Guess we'll have to plan a return visit.

*Credit for the term “Disney Virgin” goes to our daughter, Dahlia. Find her on Instagram @dahlialevyphotography

#orlando #florida #fla #road #trip #disney #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #epcot #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Quasi-museum in a pharmacy

Classic lineup
Delray Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Pharmacies are supposed to be places where you obtain (legal) drugs, make squeamish jokes in the birth control aisle, make even more squeamish jokes in the adult diaper aisle, buy overpriced junk food, and wait in line while Thelma* pays for her Vitamin D supplements with exact change from her teal-colored patent leather change purse.

Pharmacies aren't supposed to be photographic studios.

Except, of course, when they are. When an unseen buyer in an anonymous concrete-block office in suburban Chicago orders too many slightly oversized toy metal cars for the almost 10,000 CVS locations that dot the American landscape.

When that same buyer ships them across the country and forces beleaguered employees from coast to coast to sell the hell out of them to people who just wanted to get some (legal) drugs, cheap (but hopefully effective) condoms, adult diapers that didn't look like adult diapers, and Vitamin D supplements that wouldn't turn their fingertips teal.

So why would Thelma buy a die cast vintage Mercedes 300 SL gullwing coupe? Well, it turns out she wouldn't. And neither did anyone else.

So these things were EVERYWHERE in this particular southern Florida CVS, cascading down and off of a giant display plunked right in the middle of the service desk. Where Thelma felt compelled to complain about the price of her supplements.

Be that as it may, I seized the opportunity to shoot some still-lifes in a place seemingly built for them. Canadian pharmacies, you see, aren't this cool. They're smaller. No toys. No exotic variations of M&Ms and Snickers.

And our versions of Thelma aren't nearly as entertaining.

* Names have been changed to protect the perpetually annoying.

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