Saturday, December 15, 2018

Fun in the fog with a dog

I am Groot
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We live in the so-called "other" London, the smaller one, on the wrong side of the ocean, without the cool accent or the royals or the giant ferris wheel.

But the Canadian London has a Thames River, streets named Oxford, Dundas, and Wellington, and it gets fog. Often. And when it rolls in, as lovely as it is to look at you'd be wise to stay inside for your own safety.

The pea soup embraced us last night, a gloriously thick, comforting blanket that seemed to swallow the sound as well as the light. And since puppies need to be walked, we didn't have much choice, so out we went.

We clearly differed in our perception. I slowly walked on the sidewalk, head on a swivel as I drank in the radically repainted landscape around us and my mind raced thinking of ways to somehow capture it.

Calli the Wonderdog was less than impressed, and whimpered non-stop the entire time we were out. I don't speak dog, so I'm not entirely sure what was bugging her, but I can surmise it had something to do with the blurry optics and insane reflections.

Still, she gave me enough slack on the leash to steal a few quick photos as we circled the neighborhood, the pink safety light on her leash pinging in the murk like an airport landing beacon.

I'm sure she won't appreciate the Scooby Doo-esque menace of this normally ordinary-looking maple tree, but I am grateful she gave me the incentive to get out there in the first place. Because we walk past this tree every day, and I'd never seen it in quite this way before. Little did our pup know that she was helping me stretch my view of the world around us.

#ldnont #Calli #CalliTheSchnauzer #LittleMissCalli #puppy #puppiesofinstagram #dog #actofdog #miniatureschnauzer #schnauzer #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzer_planet #petstagram #life #universe #google #pixel2 #teampixel #fog #weather #wx #monochrome #family #is #everything

Friday, December 14, 2018

Historic glass in a transient space

Not quite transparent
Toronto, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The architecture in Toronto's Union Station is impossibly ornate, offering up treats for the eye throughout the Great Hall's cavernous volume. By the numbers, an average airport terminal might be mathematically larger, but it'll never come close to the visceral combination of space, history, craftsmanship, and reverence that defines this crossroads of humanity.

I'm here every week, just one of countless thousands of people heading to something better, somewhere else. This, too, is overwhelming, a never-ending wave of bodies, heads looking down, hands buried in pockets, ears plugged with headphones, the sound of footsteps mostly covering up conversations, greetings, goodbyes. Then there's the odd - and very Canadian - "Sorry" as intersecting pedestrians try, and fail, to avoid each other.

Everybody here is keenly aware of time: When they need to be at their platform; whether they're running late for their first meeting of the day; why their colleague isn't here yet. Yet nobody seems to look up, or around, or at each other. For a place built to be a convergence point of humanity, there's very little actual convergence going on. Folks largely keep to themselves, focused on the singular mission of being elsewhere, quickly.

Massive iron-and-stone-framed translucent windows dominate either end of the hall, steampunk leftovers that paint its otherwise cold marble surfaces with warm light during the morning and afternoon rush periods. Yet these, too, go largely ignored by the teeming masses on the floors below.

It isn't my place to ask why, or to answer the riddle of this place. I simply stepped out of the never-ending crowds into a quiet spot in the corner and tried to tell one small piece of this very large building's story. On this day, elsewhere could wait an extra few minutes, even if my fellow travellers couldn't.

#toronto #yyz #downtown #union #station #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #glass #steampunk #travel #wanderlust #explore #travelphotography #streetphotography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #urban #street #photography #monochrome #lines #life #ontario #canada

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Water, light, and kindness

Crossed light
Las Vegas, NV
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This isn't the first time I've shot water fountains, and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last. I keep coming back to scenes like this because wherever they present themselves - malls, public squares, airports, etc. - they offer up a ready-made opportunity to turn the outside world off for a few minutes and have a little fun with water, light, and any strangers who happen to meander on past while I do what I do.

In this particular case, I was sitting on my hotel room balcony, looking way down, way across the street. So there were no strangers nearby for me to entertain, no far-from-home moments of connectedness with others who probably needed a snippet of kindness even more than I did.

But, still, I pulled the camera out and took the time to remember the moment before the fountain fell dark and silent. Because an opportunity is an opportunity, and there's always another way to ripple out some happiness into the broader universe. It can be a simple thank you to the person who held the elevator door just a little too long so you wouldn't miss the ride. Or it might just be a smile to a harried mom who felt the need to apologize because her kids were playing in the hotel corridor as I walked past. I told her this place needed more kids just like hers.

And as I worked the controls and tried to freeze a moment that would soon slip into my past, I thought of all the ways this simple collection of pixels, captured on a darkened high-rise balcony, could be used in a similar way. To quickly and easily plant a seed, start a ripple, lay the groundwork for someone else to smile, to be inspired, to feel connected.

In a way, it's just a picture. In another, it's much more.

#las #vegas #lasvegas #nevada #cosmopolitan #bellagio #hotel #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #abstract #photography #fountain #fountains #water #waters #light #darkness #silhouette #frozen #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #life #family #is #everything

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Seeing the road through my wife's eyes

A Hyundai climbs a hill
Photographer: Debbie Levy
Atlanta, GA
January 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This is one of the few photos in my feed that I did not take. My lovely wife, Debbie, did, on the I-75 northbound in the Atlanta core, a high-speed, no-nonsense stretch peppered with relentless curves, onramps and offramps. Lane discipline was, uh, invisible, and I was pretty stressed, so I cranked the GPS volume up and leaned heavily on my navigator - again, my lovely wife - to get us through the gauntlet as I counted down the kilometres until we were back to a normal three-lane highway.

That's how we roll in Levyland: As a team. On long trips, I'll do most of the driving, and she does everything else to keep us focused, like talking me through busy stretches and finding little ways to make the rest of the journey feel less draggy, more homey. She's a godsend, and it makes road trips, if not shorter, then way more fun and memorable.

One thing I realized as I scanned our photo logs from past trips was we didn't have much of a record of the drive itself. I was so busy at the wheel that pictures of the stuff we saw along the way didn't get taken. So she started shooting with her smartphone, always seeming to guess exactly what I might have zeroed in on had I been the one at the shutter. She's a pretty good mind-reader, too.

This is a textbook composition, the road climbing as it curved between old Olympic sites and construction sites. The Hyundai SUV seemed to mirror ours, an average vehicle filled with average folks just trying to get home safely. Meanwhile back in our lane, while my eyes were laser-focused on keeping us out of trouble, Debbie was busy telling the story of our trip home, another chapter in a life we wouldn't trade for anything.

This isn't some huge moment or huge story. But it's ours, and we've added it to the ever growing pile of small moments that make our family story worth recording. Because if we don't find some way to remember the journey, who will do it for us? Indeed, we all tell our own stories, and I've got a pretty amazing storyteller beside me.

#parenthood #life #celebrate #moments #atlanta #georgia #florida #road #trip #drive #car #carporn #i75 #highway #iphone #family #is #everything

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Why Costco rules, especially when Po is involved

Making lineups happier
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The scene: The Costco checkout line. I've come to this crowded, chaotic place to hunt and forage for my family. Okay, I stopped in on my way home from work to pick up a chicken for dinner, but the hunting-and-foraging theme sounds way more fun.

Whatever, I have a strange relationship with Costco. I generally hate shopping - the staring-into-their-phones-as-they-bash-your-cart crowds, the commercial-overkill, the overwhelming sense of being one sheep among many - but I make an exception here. I rather enjoy the working-warehouse vibe, the ridiculously oversized portions (seriously? You need HOW MUCH mustard?) and the sense of discovery because you never quite know what crap they've decided to dump off a pallet and stick a price tag on.

I'm also a fan of the way they treat their people in an un-Walmart-like way. Employees get realistic salaries, benefits, career paths, and respect. And let's not forget the snacks. I could eat a freaking meal from the samples alone.

So when I come here, even for a single item, I like to have some fun. I wander around looking for the dumbest products I can find, just because. I chat with the sample ladies to alleviate my guilt for not always buying what they're selling. I hang out in the electronics section because that's what geeks do. And when I get to the checkout area, I take a picture and, hopefully, make some folks smile in the process.

This trip's pic was an easy one. Po was in my bag - where she had been since I last photographically played with her in Vegas - so out she came. A quick pose on top of my backpack and we were done. I think the family in the lineup next to me thought I was about to be rounded up and taken back to my cell, but the kid on the other side kept calling out to Po, so we'll call it a win.

Life can be random like that, but only if we allow it to be. I hope that's what you're doing whenever you, too, find yourself hunting and foraging for your family. It may seem mundane and routine. I guarantee you it isn't.

#ldnont #costco #shopping #retail #urban #random #spontaneous #public #photography #moments #google #pixel2 #teampixel #po #red #teletubby #london #ontario #canada #life #family #is #everything

Monday, December 10, 2018

A line of Boeings

Triple-tailed
Vancouver, BC
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
During a long-ish layover at Vancouver International Airport - yes, the same one where Canadian officials this week arrested Huawei's CFO and touched off an escalating crisis with China - I found myself looking for inspiration despite the gloom outside.

I didn't have to look long to find it, a simple line of Air Canada aircraft, all Boeings, a 787-9 Dreamliner in front, with two 777-300ERs behind it. I attracted more than a few stares from confused passers-by as I wandered back and forth, looking for the best possible composition. There's something lovely about the way aircraft tails look when they're arranged just so. It speaks of motion, extreme engineering, and more than a dash of artistic expression.

I've probably taken tens of thousands of plane pics in my lifetime, but I doubt I'll ever reach a point where I'll feel like I've taken enough of them. That's the wonderful thing about creativity: The final artifact, as nice as it is to look at, need not always be the ultimate goal. Rather, it's the moment now lost to time, that that photo can instantly recall - in me and in others - that feels like more meaningful outcome, especially when you're far from home. And you can never have enough of those reconnected moments.

Somewhere out there, there are people who crossed my path on that day, who may remember that funny-looking/sounding guy who took weird plane pictures. I made them smile. And by sharing this here, I hope I've made you smile, too. Y'know, we all have that power within us to connect, as long as we choose to use it.

#vancouver #yvr #international #airport #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #aircanada Air Canada #flight #flying #aviation #avgeek #boeing #aircraft #airplanes #planes #planeporn #dreamliner #widebody #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #life #family #is #everything

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Be the light, please

Eighth night
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Quite a change from a week ago. So much more light, so much more warmth. So much more...reflection, both optical and the kind you feel more than see.

I can't help but think that this holiday is about more than a bunch of multicolored candles, potato pancakes that keep cardiologists in Bentleys, weirdly-shaped spinning tops called dreidels that introduce kids to gambling, and enough gifts to make Santa rethink Christmas.

And I can't help but think the lessons of Chanukah extend well beyond our tiny religion, that you don't have to be Jewish to appreciate what makes this holiday meaningful.

Because in my own admittedly strange world view, Chanukah has always been a metaphor for believing in miracles even when logic and facts suggest they are impossible. They aren't, and belief and drive can overcome much. It's also been about the power of the underdog, the refusal to give in to oppression and hatred and fear, the belief in where you come from, who you are, and the strength of community.

If all of these things matter to you, now you know why this holiday, my people, my community, our shared history, are so fundentally woven into who I am. And why those beliefs do - and must always - extend beyond my own world, my own community.

That light you see? It belongs to all of us, and we're all responsible for taking its lead and making it a part of who we are. Because if we don't, we all become victims, we are all at risk of suffering the unlearned lessons of history.

So are you in? More importantly, how will you start? (Hint: Share this. Like this. Comment. Weigh in. Start the movement.)

#ldnont #yxu #london #ontario #canada #chanukah #hannukah #candles #light #eight #eighth #night #holiday #miracle #tikkunolam #repair #the #world #neveragain #jewish #jew #judaism #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #life #family #is #everything

Never Again. This time with meaning.

I've known Gary Rush since we were kids growing up a couple of blocks apart in an idyllic suburb north of Montreal. He's a gifted photographer, life-long runner, and an inspirational contributor back to the communities he serves. You want to meet him.

He shared this photo on Facebook earlier this evening, and I felt compelled to carry his message forward. Here's what I wrote:

Indeed, light will always find a way to vanquish not only darkness itself, but the forces that cast its shadows over us.

That we live in an age where Never Again seems to have been forgotten, and Jew-hatred seems to be not only de-rigeur and de-cloaked again, but outright encouraged by the so-called leader of the free world, who dog-whistles white supremacy to his racist base, should chill us all.

The 8th night of Chanukah, where the light shines most brightly, is an ideal time to raise the volume on this message. But make no mistake, this is a battle that will not end with the dimming of the Chanukah lights. We're just getting started, and we delude ourselves by assuming this is a fight that involves only Jews. Remember who they also went after, and remember those who stepped in on their behalf.

Inspiration on my kitchen table

Grapes of the opposite-of-wrath
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Every once in a while, a bolt of inspiration materializes out of nowhere, usually while you're in the middle of doing something else.

To wit, these grapes on our kitchen table. As far as I can remember, they were sitting there yesterday, but they didn't jump out at me until just now this morning, as I came back in from walking the dog and was slowly putting my winter woolies away. A narrow shaft of soft sunlight spilled through the gap in the window shades where Calli usually barks at the squirrels and rabbits who dare to play on our lawn.

And suddenly, thanks to a bouncy puppy and some slightly displaced blinds, a non-descript bunch of grapes that had been sitting there quietly, possibly for days, became the most interesting thing in the room - aside from my wife, of course.

You never know how an apparently random set of circumstances will turn your perspective around by 180 degrees. You never know whether those circumstances are indeed random at all.

That's just another inexplicable facet of this universe - at least until the kids wake up, join us for breakfast, and polish off the entire bowl of grapes. We can all write another chapter tomorrow, and until then I'll keep my eyes peeled for whatever else the sun chooses to paint.

#ldnont #kitchen #table #still #life #grapes #fruit #fruits #morning #sun #sunlight #goldenhour #spontaneous #macro #photo #shoot #backlit #google #pixel2 #teampixel #family #is #everything #london #ontario #canada

Saturday, December 08, 2018

There's a hole in my roof!

Let the sun shine in
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I was leaving a funeral last Sunday. Our community lost an inspirational leader, and his family lost a dad, a husband, a grandfather, a man who exemplified the ideals we all strive for within our own homes and families.

As I slowly walked, deliberately alone, back to my car, I found myself wondering about the ingredients of a life well-lived, and what it would take to ensure we plant the right seeds to benefit others long after we're gone.

My coat was open on this unusually warm and sunny early December day. I could hear chatter behind me about the lovely weather, and how appropriate it was that the sun came out as he was being buried.

I got to my car, saw the sunroof and decided it needed to be opened. As it slid open above my head and exposed the brilliant blue sky, I further decided the moment needed to be remembered. Because small, simple moments of happiness hold immense power to heal.

Sure enough, as I sprawled over the a-pillar to get the shot, friends of ours walked up to their car, parked right next to mine. They know my photographic deal, and were delighted to see me having a bit of fun at a time that ordinarily made little room for it.

Soon enough, I had my photo, and it was time to go. Creativity had won out on an otherwise dark day, and the lessons I learned from the man we mourned were applied to a frozen moment of a hole in the roof of my car. Maybe I planted some seeds of my own on this sunny, sad afternoon.

#ldnont #honda #civic #civicnation #red #sun #sunroof #blue #sky #weather #wx #funeral #death #life #spontaneous #parking #lot #shoot #car #carporn #cargram #auto #vehicle #automotive #google #pixel2 #teampixel #london #ontario #canada

Friday, December 07, 2018

Up here vs. down there

Light is never too far away
Somewhere over Michigan
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I rarely write about the weather. I suspect it's largely due to my reluctance to follow the crowd: Everybody whines about the weather, so I hardly feel like I'm contributing to the advancement of humanity by joining in.

But I'm going to make an exception today, because a (figurative) lightning bolt hit me while I was out walking the puppy this morning.

Here's the deal: It snowed last night. A lot. We get squalls off of Lake Huron, and the result is usually a ton of snow within a fairly narrow geographic band. We're lucky enough to live right in the middle of the so-called Snow Belt.

So the morning was spent hauling my sick, congested self out of bed so I could clear the snow, walk the dog and help get everyone out of the house before tucking my sorry self back into bed with a box of Kleenex, (tm) and a comforting mug of tea.

Every neighbor I saw this morning cursed the snow, often using words not appropriate for my innocent ears. The skies weren't helping - a cold, windy steel-grey that added to the foul mood below.

Yet after I took the dog out and watched her happily nose her way through the fresh powder, I thought about this pic, which I shot on my way south last month. Had I been on the ground that day, it would have been grey and miserable. Yet from 39,000 feet, it was brilliantly sunny for as far as the eye could see.

The lesson: How you choose to feel often depends on where you happen to be. And if you're stuck on the ground on a grey day, just imagine the view a few thousand feet up. It doesn't take much to change your perspective, now, does it?

#las #vegas #lasvegas #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #aircanada Air Canada #flight #flying #aviation #avgeek #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #cloud #clouds #cloudstagram #cloudchaser #cloudyday #instaclouds #skywatcher #weather #wx #life #family #is #everything

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Dog at rest, for now

Yes, I'm a pretty girl
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
At 19 months-old, I can't say with any confidence that we've figured her out. Bedtime is still a riot of bouncing around and exploring every corner of the room her super-nose can sniff out before she eventually settles into a cozy ball, often on top of my wish-I-could-be-sleeping head. Mornings are spent with her standing over us in bed, crying in our ear asking to go outside, only to run away from us and hide under the dining room table when we head downstairs and fetch her leash. She's odd like that, and in so many other ways, and not a moment goes by that you're not wondering what comes next.

I say this not to complain, because I'm smiling as I write it. Sure, I shake my head often when we're together, but also, always, with a smile. Somewhat perversely, I enjoy the nuttiness that is Calli, and often think the universe dictated we'd have a dog as wacky as we are. She's a Levy - what can be wrong with that?

Today was an especially good day for her. I woke up with decidedly more cold virus in my system than I apparently had last night. So a day home from the office was called for - complete with giant hoodie, soft jammies, endless tea and a whole lot of whining (mine, not hers.)

She followed me around for the entire day, plopping her 14-pound self down beside me whenever she thought I needed a cuddle. She's usually a cuddlebug, but only on her terms. Today, she seemed to shift a gear as she realized not all was normal in our usually predictable world. I could almost see the thoughts form in her head: "Daddy didn't leave the house at the same time as Mommy did today, so maybe I should turn on the canine-empathy machine."

Who am I kidding? I'll never read her mind. But that's not what matters. Today, I got to hang out with a particularly good puppy. On balance, that makes the day a good one.

#ldnont #Calli #CalliTheSchnauzer #LittleMissCalli #puppy #puppiesofinstagram #dog #actofdog #miniatureschnauzer #schnauzer #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzer_planet #petstagram #life #universe #fortytwo #family #is #everything

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Construction time again

Oasis of light
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I've been walking a lot lately, The dog, lunchtime strolls through the new-to-me neighborhood downtown, and, as you can see here, walks to the car in the darkness.

It's been good for me to get out, turn the rest of the planet off, and just spend some quiet time alone with my thoughts. Correction: It's anything but quiet, as my brain seems to spin into overtime whenever I'm out. And even though the thoughts that creep into my head aren't always happy ones, I'm still glad to have the opportunity to shift gears a bit and connect with the world around me.

I had parked a couple of blocks away from the new office. To get there, I had to walk through a well-worn edge of the downtown core, hard by the rail line and businesses that have been around for longer than I've been alive. It was 6:14 p.m. Most of the downtown had cleared out. The streets were empty, save for a hardware store whose warehouse was inexplicably opened to the street, spilling light, oasis-like, onto the darkened asphalt just outside. No one was around, and I felt somewhat guilty for even standing there, worried an employee would spot me and think I was casing the joint.

Well, I sort of WAS casing the place, but only for a picture. My fingers hurt as I set up for the shot in the damp cold, wondering why I had never before seen this particular door open, wondering when the next opportunity to peek inside would present itself.

When I was happy with what I had captured, I put the smartphone away and continued on my way. It was a simple moment, in a simple place, but given the chaos of the past few months, it felt comforting to be able to put the blinkers on, if only for a couple of minutes, and focus on something not overwhelmingly dark. Going for a walk and slowing myself down allowed me the opportunity to cross paths with this pool of unexpected light in a place that often has none. I see more walks in my near future.

#ldnont #downtown #building #architecture #architecturephotography #facade #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #copps #hardware #store #explore #streetphotography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #urban #street #night #photography #life #london #ontario #canada #family #is #everything

Monday, December 03, 2018

Walking home downtown at night

Building, interrupted
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: York Street, just outside London's Via Rail train station. It's 6:46 p.m., and I've just returned from a day at the Toronto office. Much good work was done there, and as I crank up Hooverphonic on Spotify, tuck my earbuds into my oddly-shaped ears, and pull my soft black hat over my head to ward off the damp chill, I catch sight of the building across the street. I've been here countless times, but for some odd reason this is the first time I've really noticed the stately late-19th-century facade at the corner of Clarence Street.

The sky long ago faded to night, and I really should start the walk back to my car so I can go home to my family. It's been a long day. I'm tired. Happy-tired, but still: It's time.

But as so often happens in the strange space between my ears, a gnawing little voice won't let go. It's not enough to tuck the inspiration away and come back another time. My brain is spinning now. Sure, the building will be there, but perhaps the light, the tone, the feeling of being right here, right now, won't be. Or maybe I'll forget in the chaos of everyday life.

So I stop and pull my smartphone out. The fast-dispersing crowd around me barely notices in the rush for taxis and lifts. I tell myself they're welcome to take their own pictures, then feel a pang of sadness when it dawns on me that no one else ever seems to.

This may be an in-between moment for me at the end of a long, not-particularly-unique day. It may be of a building I've passed hundreds of times before, yet strangely never thought to shoot until this very night. But it's special and worthy all the same, especially when I get photobombed by a Batmobile-wannabe. Okay, it's probably not the Batmobile. More likely a train-warrior much like me, driving home to their family, too.

Either way, I'm glad I stopped. 14 frames. 2 minutes. It was worth the slight detour and delay, wasn't it?

#ldnont #downtown #building #architecture #architecturephotography #facade #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #travel #wanderlust #explore #travelphotography #streetphotography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #urban #street #night #photography #life #london #ontario #canada #family #is #everything

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Holidays suck. Sort of.

You be the light
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
There are a lot of things I don't do on social media:
  1. I don't post cut-and-paste entries about cancer, mental health, or any other illness or issue - if I want to share something, I'll write it myself.
  2. I don't put frames around my profile pic whenever there's a terrorist attack or natural disaster - I don't believe in bandwagons or greenwashing or pinkwashing or anything else that purports to convince us we'll ever solve an issue by posting pretty pictures and colors.
  3. I don't post two-word, "Happy Birthday!" messages because Facebook tells me to do so - I don't believe in shallow wishes that reinforce the fundamental disconnectedness of this allegedly social platform. You'll know when I'm moved enough to write something worthy of our relationship.
  4. Similarly, I don't post generic "Happy [fill in your holiday here]" messages. See previous for why.
The common thread among all of these is easy to spot: We've made it so easy to share throwaway thoughts that barely demand any thought at all that what we're left with has little to no meaning.

So while Chanukah starts today - first light was tonight - I'm avoiding the happy-happy memes that have doubtless been clogging your feed. Yup, I'm a curmudgeon.

But there's method to my madness. Instead of a massively overshared meme, here's a pic I took earlier tonight, just after we lit the first candle. Notice the light. There's lots of it, and it'll only get brighter over the next 7 nights.

Whatever you do or do not believe, please focus on that light, its warmth, the way it banishes the darkness, the way it makes you feel. Think of ways, over the next week and well beyond, how you plan to spread it to places it currently isn't. How will you be kinder? How will you move beyond cut-and-paste slacktivism?

Maybe you're Jewish and maybe you aren't. Makes no difference to me, as we're all human, and we're all responsible for each other. Maybe we can all indeed make that difference that memes can't. Now that would be a miracle.

#ldnont #yxu #london #ontario #canada #chanukah #hannukah #candles #light #holiday #miracle #jewish #jew #judaism #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #life #family #is #everything

Where water dances in the dark

Curtains
Las Vegas, NV
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: My hotel room balcony, 18 floors above the Las Vegas strip, and right across the road from the Bellagio fountain.

I don't have much free time this week, as conferences are always so jam-packed with work-related stuff that there's seemingly never enough time to truly break away. Beyond the hours spent covering everything we originally came here to accomplish, there are late nights and early mornings spent writing, rewriting, cramming over a glowing laptop, prepping for whatever comes next and trying to stay ahead of the endless wave of accountability.

That's what makes so-called in-between moments like this as precious as they are. You don't expect them. Rather, you grab them as they present themselves. You steal these snippets wherever you can, to carve out a special memory before setting off to the Next Big Thing.

In a place where everyone cares about your deliverables, the big things you pull off in meetings, on podiums, under spotlights in front of lots of people, this is the one thing that matters to you alone.

So I worked quickly to capture these world-famous dancing waters as best I could. The light was awful. I had the wrong camera with me. I was too tired to see or think straight. Someone upstairs was smoking a lot of weed. But for a few glorious minutes, I got to play with light and water, and in doing so managed to make myself smile for the first time since leaving the house days earlier.

Temporary escapism via viewfinder. I'll take that.

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Saturday, December 01, 2018

The rituals that ground us before long journeys

Journeys, theirs and mine
Laval, QC
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It's 6:46 a.m., and I've decided to take a walk alone through the quiet neighborhood outside my father-in-law's place before my wife and I finish packing the car and set off for home.

It's something of a tradition now, this pensive stroll before a long drive. I always bring my camera along because you never know when you'll want to record what you were feeling at that moment. But it really isn't about the photography. It's about closing one chapter before setting off on the next part of the journey.

Every journey is different, of course, and this particular journey has been a rough one. So today there won't be any easy and clean chapter-endings. We leave here with more questions than answers about my FIL's future, with uncertainty both ahead of and behind us as we begin to make our way home. We're already planning our next trip here, but even then we know the dark clouds will continue to hang over us all.

But life has never been predictable, anyway. And the fact that I CAN do any of this at all - afford to take the time to be here, have kids who can keep their own lives on track despite the roller coaster we've been on of late, have the support of friends who will do anything for us, any time, any place - is something I will never take for granted. The game may not be playing out as we had envisioned. But the fact that we are able to play the game at all is the only thing that should matter.

As that last thought flashes into my mind, I notice a family of ducks quietly making its way across the river channel that carves its way through these small, impossibly lovely islands. I wonder about their journey, as well, and silently wish them safe passage as I tuck the camera into my pocket and head back to my wife.

Because in the end, we're all on some kind of journey, we never quite know what lies ahead, and no one is ever truly alone.

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