Sunday, February 23, 2020

When little pups cast huge shadows

When we were giants
London, ON
February 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Spend enough one-on-one time with a dog and you eventually learn to read each other's minds.

I know precisely where she's going to start whimpering because she hates the house with the big, scary-looking dog who always barks madly at her from behind the flimsy screen door.

She, on the other hand, knows to stand in one spot when I pull out the phone for a spontaneous photo shoot. Patient girl, she is.

I don't know if she appreciates optical phenomena like golden hour or shadows, but I'm thankful we found ourselves in this particular spot just as the sun was about to slip below the horizon.

Because even a simple moment with a puppy deserves to be held onto.

#london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheachnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #pets #sunset #shadow #street #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Tim is dead

No coffee here
London, ON
January 2020
This photo originally shared in Instagram
There's irony in this scene: A #LdnONT #TimHortons coffee shop that literally defines the term, “throwaway”, is itself thrown away.

There are thousands of these restos strewn across the country - plus a few hundred more in Americastan - and depending on where you stand, they’re either iconic reflections of Canadiana or sullied examples of a society that’s blind to its impact on the environment around it.

This particular outlet stood at the end of a strip mall at Wharncliffe and Base Line, a beacon of the south London community around it. I don’t ever remember this place being less than full, yet here it is, abandoned.

Why might that be? I’m no expert, but I’m going to guess it’s because it didn’t have a drive-through lane. Because apparently walking into a restaurant isn’t convenient enough for most time-addled coffee addicts. And a franchise with a drive-through makes a lot more money than one without.

So they built a spanking new Timmies just a few hundred metres south of here. Big parking lot. Drive-through. Should make the franchise-holder and Brazilian-owned parent company happy.

In the meantime, I sit in another Tims, drinking my tea, writing this entry. This place has a drive-through, too. I guess that makes me part of the problem.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #519london #519ldn #519shooters #random #urban #street #photography #restaurant #resto #building #architecture #ruinporn #retail #apocalypse #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, February 21, 2020

Instagram 2K

That day I stopped on the doorstep
London, ON
October 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Instagram tells me this is the 2,000th photo I’ve shared on the platform, so I feel the need to mark the occasion in some way.

This despite the fact that I’m generally not one for milestones.

Who, after all, decides that #1,000 should be any more special than #647? Why we work ourselves into a tizzy over numbers and dates is beyond me. The recent internet meme-a-thon over the significance of February 2, 2020 was a perfect example of this numbers thing taken to its ridiculous extreme.

Well, today is February 21, 2020: That’s got to be significant in some way, right?

Which is my convoluted way of saying every day matters, and it’s entirely up to us whether we choose to recognize it.

The photo I’ve chosen to mark this not-a-milestone milestone exemplifies that mindset. I took it October 27, 2017, an ordinary mid-autumn Friday. The sun was putting on quite the show behind the empty trees as I stepped out to go to work. And despite the need to get out and get on my way, I fetched my Nikon so I could remember the moment.

Not a 2,000th-photo-class day, mind you. But I don’t much care. It was special in its own right. Unique. Irreplaceable. And now I can remember what it felt like because I stopped on my doorstep and took a picture.

I hope you’re able to remember your days - all of them - in a similar way. Because they all matter.

My annoyance over misplaced milestones notwithstanding, it’s been a privilege to get to share my weird vision with you here, and I hope the future offers up countless more opportunities to do so. Long may we all shoot (photos), write, and share.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #519london #519ldn #519shooters #sunrise #orange #sky #light #photography #throwback #tree #trees #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Two kinds of bricks

Pick a side, any side
London, ON
February 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We've all been taught since early childhood that there are two sides to every story. But we've also probably figured out over time that life is a lot more complex than that.

So we'll need a number bigger than two, but a two-sided brick wall is all I've got today.

Which begs 2 (!) questions:

1 - Which side are you on?
2 - Why?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #519london #519ldn #519shooters #random #urban #downtown #ridout #street #photography #building #heritage #architecture #brick #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Same building. Better view.

Under a brilliant blue sky
London, ON
February 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Here's another view of 88 York Street, the down-on-its-luck building I included in my feed this past weekend.

Funny how a slight change in perspective can make even the saddest subject look just a little happier.

I keep reminding myself to set aside the time to do just that, to look at the same scene again - at a later time or date - and look for the beauty or inspiration that may be eluding me at the moment.

Perhaps this isn't just a photographic thing. Perhaps I've stumbled on something of a metaphor for life, as well.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #519london #519ldn #519shooters #random #urban #downtown #york #street #photography #building #architecture #ruinporn #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

One bird. One wave.

Surveying her domain
Cocoa Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
A single bird cruises over the dying waves as morning light gradually returns to the beach. We should all be so comfortable in our environment as she is in hers.

#cocoa #beach #cocoabeach #florida #fla #atlantic #ocean #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #sunrise #waves #water #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Watching the waves roll in

Patterns in nature
Cocoa Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Note to self: Spend more time staring at - and listening to - waves as they roll into shore. Bonus points if it’s just after sunrise or before sunset. Even more bonus points if the occasional bird drops in.

Life really should be this simple. Except, when you look really closely at the forces that make moments like this possible, it’s rather complex.

But when you get to imprint moments like this into your mind forever, nothing else matters. Thanks, Mother Nature.

#cocoa #beach #cocoabeach #florida #fla #atlantic #ocean #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #sunrise #waves #water #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Small boat. Huge ocean. Orange Sky.

Somewhere to go
Cocoa Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
As I stand alone on the edge of the planet waiting for the sun to reappear, I spot a boat in the distance under the brightening sky.

The sight makes me wonder about who wakes up this early so they can race along the edge of the horizon in a giant ocean.

And it occurs to me...

Everyone's on a journey.

Sometimes they decide where they go and how they get there. And sometimes they don't.

Sometimes their path is smooth and predictable. Sometimes it's rough and challenging.

Sometimes what awaits at the other end is warm and welcoming. Sometimes it's decidedly less so.

Sometimes they're surrounded by those who give them strength. Sometimes they must deal with those who stand in their way. Sometimes they're all alone.

Sometimes we know their story, but more often than not we don't.

Something to keep in mind, I think.

#cocoa #beach #cocoabeach #florida #fla #atlantic #ocean #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #sunrise #horizon #boat #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, February 17, 2020

The thousand-mile stare

Are you going to walk me or what?
London, ON
February 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
She's a difficult one to ignore. I mean, that face.

The frightening thing is I'm pretty sure she knows it.

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

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Old orbiter. New code.

Atlantis poses for another closeup
Merritt Island, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Never underestimate the power of software to influence our day-to-day lives. This is true for all of us, of course, but it seems to be especially so with creative folks.

Although the only time I'm ever going to be called an artist is in the middle of an insult-comedian's set, I treasure the apps I use to create stuff. Writing, photography, editing, shaping...mess with my software and you may as well mess with my life.

For years, I had been using Apple's Aperture to manage my photographic workflow. It was as comfortable as an old shoe, and it made it easy to rip through large volumes of raw photos and turn them into smaller sets of lovelier photos.

Then Apple decided to get out of the photo-editing business, and announced Aperture would be shutting down. Now, it's an app I paid for and downloaded, so in theory I should have been able to keep using it. But here's the thing: It was a 32-bit package, and Apple's newest operating system for Macs, Mojave, dropped all support for 32-bit code when it went live last September. The writing was on the wall: upgrade to Mojave and say goodbye to Aperture for good.

I pushed off updating my Mac for as long as I could, but eventually, I had no choice. In 2020, we don't run older OSs.

So I've switched over to Adobe Lightroom, and it's taken me a few weeks to get comfy with it. That old shoe and everything. Today was the first day where the tool finally felt right, and I've been busy ripping through my large backlog of pics.

Here's Atlantis's left OMS pod against the rear cargo bay as backdrop. More to come.

#kennedy #space #center #ksc #kennedyspacecenter #florida #fla #spaceshuttle #shuttle #atlantis #ov104 #rocket #science #rs25 #aviation #avgeek #spaceflight #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

The promise of urban renewal

Rich past. Hopeful future.
London, ON
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
88 York Street has seen better days. This rambling yellow-brick building looms over a gritty block on the edge of #LdnONT's downtown, a nearly forgotten fixture in a nearly forgotten neighborhood.

The view across the street from this forlorn structure is a dismal one. Between the Greyhound bus station to the left and a liquor store to the right sits an abandoned lot, the rusting, empty sign hovering over the sidewalk echoing back to a time when some people lived and worked here, and others came here for a legitimate reason.

Today, everyone just passes through. Or sets up camp in the brush beside the tracks. Or buys booze before disappearing for good.

I can never tell if 88 York is alive or not. An optometrist has set up shop just out of frame to the right, but the rest of the building seems abandoned in place. Like so many other heritage properties in the core, the clock is ticking here, as well.

New residential towers already cast fresh shadows from the west, and cranes have popped up all over the place, signals of a new chapter, perhaps.

History paints a troubling story for the future. This isn't a city that values its heritage. Developers wield the balance of power over a city too afraid to challenge them. Heritage designations mean little, and enforcement cycles endlessly between non-existent and laughably inept.

We've learned to record buildings like this while we have them. Because on York Street, like everywhere else, nothing is ever guaranteed.

#london #ontario #canada #519london #519ldn #519shooters #random #urban #downtown #york #street #photography #building #architecture #ruinporn #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Ridout Street Bridge, Redux

Empty this time
London, ON
February 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This is the scene I was trying to capture the other night before a passing car so rudely crossed into the shot.

I'm not sure which one I prefer. Maybe both, because not everything needs to be a competition.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #urban #downtown #ridout #street #road #bridge #photography #car #carporn #speed #traffic #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, February 14, 2020

Unvalentine

Her
Toronto, ON
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I don't need a manufactured holiday to tell me how I should feel or what I should do. If being told by advertising is what it takes to get us to show affection, we may need to re-evaluate how we define affection in the first place.

Still, it's never a bad thing, today or any day, to stop what we're doing and wonder about who matters most to us, and why. Once we're finished with the wondering part, it's never a bad thing to let them know.

So in case you haven't yet been introduced, this is my wife, Debbie. She finishes my sentences, laughs at most of what I have to say, and puts up with my weirdness.

She's also the very centre of our world, the pillar of our family, and the reason our house is home not only to us, but to anyone we know. The universe smiled on me when our paths first crossed, and it's been smiling on me ever since.

So, yes, today matters to us. But not because Hallmark says it should.

And tomorrow will matter even more, because that's the way this life and love and family thing is supposed to work. Of course, I won't be able to buy a February 15th Day card for her, but it was never about the cards, anyway.

I'll just have to find some other way to let her know. In other words, just like any other day.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #valentine #valentinesday #holiday #live #laugh #love #levy #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Lightning strikes local swimming pool

Freeze it whenever you can
Delray Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The planet feels a little more grey than it usually does, so I find myself looking for vibrant colors. Call it my one-person campaign to find joy.

You're welcome to join me if you wish. Because we could all use a little more color in our lives.

#delray #beach #delraybeach #florida #fla #swim #swimming #pool #water #blue #light #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Rushing home under a darkening sky

Crossing over
London, ON
February 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
At the end of an intense day of writing that reminds me why I Iove writing for a living, the 15-minute walk back to the car is a perfect opportunity to decompress.

I can feel the cold air settling into my lungs as I walk along the icy sidewalk. As I cross over this rusting old bridge that's scheduled to be replaced, I stop and look around because it suddenly occurs to me that I've been crossing this structure for years, but I've never taken the time to really look at it.

I decide I don't do this enough. We move from here to there, yet can't be bothered to remember what it looks like along the way. We're so focused on the destination that we fail to appreciate the things we encounter in between here and there.

Which means we're missing so much of the story of us. Perhaps too much.

So as I line up a simple geometric composition, traffic picks up and I end up rather unexpectedly capturing a speeding car in the frame, its owner headed, I guess, home. Just like me.

Whoever it is, I hope they're also taking the time to soak in the journey. I hope they're enjoying being in the middle - of work and home, of two banks on a river, of day and night, of whatever - as much as I am.

#london #ontario #canada #random #urban #downtown #ridout #street #road #bridge #photography #car #carporn #speed #traffic #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Same tower, shadowy perspective

Make your influence felt
Toronto, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Toronto’s CN Tower is as iconic a civic signature as you’ll ever see. Like New York’s Empire State Building or Paris’s Eiffel Tower, you instantly know where you are when you see it.

That iconic presence means it finds itself front-and-centre often. Some might say too often. Aren’t there enough other buildings in Toronto equally worthy of a little visual love? Is there such thing as overkill when it comes to sticking a giant phallic telecommunications tower into the middle of Every Single Picture?

I guess it all depends on perspective. If every one of those pictures is taken from the same vantage point, in the same light, with the same composition, then, yes, it can quickly get to be a little much. Or even a lot.

But what if you shake it up a bit. What if you find new ways to look at something that isn’t so new? What if you squint your eyes just so and force yourself to see - or feel - it in a way you never had before? What if you turned the storytelling on its ear and told a different story? An unexpected one?

Never assume that a particular story can ever be fully told. Or an iconic, or familiar thing can’t be looked at through another lens, in another light, from a different perspective. There's always another way.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #photography #CN #tower #cntower #concrete #shadow #reflective #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #streetphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, February 10, 2020

Pick a direction

Whatever you do, don't turn right
Toronto, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I know a lot of people rage on Mondays, and they probably have good reason to do so. Who knowingly wishes for weekends to end, after all? I sure don't.

But time's going to move forward whether we like it or not, so I'm choosing to use photography for a little new-workweek inspiration. This long shot of Toronto's iconic CN Tower poses a number of interesting questions:
  • Which road will we take?
  • Will we take the direct route?
  • Or will we turn off, and take the road less travelled?
  • Will we stop at the greens at all?
  • Will we follow the rules?
  • Or will we push them, just a bit?
  • (No, I'm not advocating you burn red lights.)
  • How will we choose our destination? Or, more likely, destinations?
  • Will we even have a destination in mind when we set out?
  • Will we take the time to pause and take it all in?
  • Or will we just set off and figure it out along the way?
  • Either way, how will we know when we get there?
  • Who will be along for the ride with us?
  • How will we improve the journey for them?
So many questions. Never as many answers as we'd like. Still, sounds like the right recipe for a productive week. May everyone's journey be charmed.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #photography #CN #tower #cntower #concrete #glass #reflective #mirror #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #streetphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything