Friday, May 24, 2019

Reflections on Yonge Street

Look up. Waaaay, up!
Toronto, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Let's be brutally frank for a moment: I hate crowds. Walking down one of the busiest downtown streets in the country makes me more than a little uncomfortable.

Don't get me wrong: I like people. A lot. But I get thrown off when there are so many of them, so close to me. I guess big cities just aren't my thing.

Be that as it may, my role dictates that I spend a good chunk of time in the Big City to the East - aka Toronto - so I can't be a baby about it. Or, as my late dad would have said, I've got to suck it up.

So on this perfectly sunny and warm spring afternoon, I decided to skip the subway and walk back to the train station. I left a bit of slush time in the schedule to accommodate stops along the way. And as it turned out, ducking out of the spawning salmon-like crowds to steal photos here and there was a perfect antidote to my urban squeamishness. Because nothing says "stay away from me" more than a guy pulling out a camera and pointing it skyward. Maybe I'm onto something here.

The scene here fascinates me, as Yonge Street is increasingly being built over with massive, gleaming condo and office towers. They cast huge shadows on a streetscape once dominated by three-storey walkups with mom-and-pop retail on the ground floor. And as the old-style architecture gives way to the new, it seemingly opens up opportunities to view the landscape in new ways.

Not better. Not worse. Just different.

But we've got to be willing to time-out from the day-to-day and allow ourselves the opportunity to take in scenes and moments like this. I hope the next time I decide to take the slower route home that I'm not the only one looking up and wondering what scene will reflect back at me.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #downtown #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #travelphotography #streetphotography #mirror #reflective #urban #yonge #street #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sliding doors - part 4

The waiting is the hardest part
Toronto, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I like to play with lines. And I'm hoping you're into lines, too.

As background, sometimes as I wander through the course of a given day, my brain locks in on something I happen to see - a shape, a shadow, something that stands out from the norm - and I stop what I'm doing so I can take a closer look.

I don't always have the time to stop - life awaits at the other end of the journey, and the world doesn't stop spinning just because I've been distracted by a thought-provoking scene. But I stop anyway, because it would gnaw at me otherwise. Because I don't like missing an opportunity, however fleeting it might be, to freeze a memory in place. Because I'm a lousy manager of personal time, but I'm strangely comfortable with that.

This particular memory reflects the realities of public, urban architecture. On the surface it's a subway platform, cast in concrete, virtually always ignored by the thousands of people who pass through here daily. All of its perfectly laid out lines made it cheaper to build, easier to maintain. But they also gave me room to play with angles for a couple of minutes on this otherwise-grey morning before I had to get back on my way.

The world awaited, geometry notwithstanding. And, not to worry, I arrived with plenty of time to spare.

#toronto #ontario #canada #downtown #subway #ttc #train #rosedale #station #commute #commuter #transit #landscape #building #travel #urban #photography #travelphotography #streetphotography #yellow #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everythıng

Eating ice cream on a cold, blustery day

Real family, virtually shared
St. Thomas, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
On a cold, grey, windy day, we took the kids to Port Stanley, a beachside community on Lake Erie's north shore, about 45 minutes from home.

The weather virtually guaranteed that no one was going in the water. But that wasn't the point of the day, anyway. Sometimes life just weighs on you, and sometimes the only answer is to get out of the house and explore a bit.

So we dug our toes into the cool, damp sand, closed our eyes to avoid the worst of the wind, and ate food that would make a nutritionist cringe as it soothed our soul. Because food can kinda do that if you let it.

Mostly, we just drank the day in, and spent the kind of time together that just hasn't been possible for much of the past few months. It's easy to forget to breathe when you're so focused on making it to the next day. It's easy to stay inside, literally and figuratively, when all you want to do is withdraw.

So we stepped out and reconnected with the things that make our family tick. We bantered. We laughed. We got lost (correction: I got lost, and Debbie and the kids patiently reeled me back in, or simply waited.) We took pictures. Many pictures. We were simply ourselves, and it was glorious.

I'd like to think when all is said and done, what we leave behind are seeds, traces, echoes of moments that mattered, moments that reminded us that life can be sweet. I'd like to think that days like this are what our kids will hold closest to them as they continue to grow into the incredible people they're destined to be.

I'd like to think a lot of things, but sometimes I think I just need to stop thinking, and instead get in the car and point it toward the beach. Thankfully my favorite people seem to agree.

#port #stanley #portstanley #stthomas #shaws #mackies #beach #great #lake #erie #ldnont #wind #weather #wx #nature #travel #travelphotography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #ontario #canada #lifeinthemargins #parenthood #family #everything

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

On Carl Sagan's prescient wisdom

"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back."
Carl Sagan
I'm just going to leave this here...

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Sliding doors - part 3

Safety first
Toronto, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
They say good things come in threes, and I've never been one to argue with whoever these "they" people may be. So here's a third view of the very eye-friendly Rosedale subway station not far from our Toronto office*. I think my lens has more work to do in this often overlooked place.

I'm also a fan of intelligent use of yellow. Slight clarification: I'm a fan of all colors, but especially yellow. I wish I could explain why. Perhaps in an upcoming photo vignette.

* View #1 & View #2

#toronto #ontario #canada #downtown #subway #ttc #train #rosedale #station #commute #commuter #transit #landscape #building #travel #urban #photography #travelphotography #streetphotography #yellow #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sliding doors - part 2

This time, empty
Toronto, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
So many friends and colleagues have come forward with their own stories of Toronto's Rosedale subway station since I first wrote about it yesterday that I wanted to share another - albeit similar - scene from my visit there last week.

This one was taken one minute before two trains slid into the station and completely changed the view. It's an example of small changes making a significant difference, and a reminder to me to continue to revisit familiar places in the hope that I'll find new ways to see them.

For some of us, today marks the start of a shortened, post-long-weekend workweek. As we ease out of chill mode, maybe it's worth reminding ourselves that the places, things, and even people we know incredibly well are always worth a second - or even a third - look.

Because there's always a new story to tell, always a new way to look at the world around us. All we have to do is open our eyes and take the time to take it all in. Will we?

#toronto #ontario #canada #downtown #subway #ttc #train #rosedale #station #commute #commuter #transit #landscape #building #travel #urban #photography #travelphotography #streetphotography #repeat #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everythıng

Monday, May 20, 2019

Sliding doors in a Toronto neighborhood

Toronto, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We become creatures of habit, almost always without even realizing it's happening.

This weird little thought occurred to me last week as I was on my way to the office in Toronto. Of course, living in London means long commutes when I spend the day in the big city to the east - namely a couple of hours on a train, followed by a quick subway ride up Yonge Street.

Normally I exit the same station, and walk the same half-kilometre route that's now so familiar I could probably navigate it with my eyes closed. But this time was different. I suddenly found myself examining the neighborhood closely on Google Maps, wondering if perhaps there was another way to work.

There was: The next subway stop is virtually the same distance from the office. Except it's an outdoor station. And the walk takes me past a park instead of a dense pack of dusty buildings and construction zones.

It isn't an earth-shattering change, but any change is good for the soul. This time it involved seeing the same subway trains in a place and a context I never had. Next time? Who knows. But I promise you there will indeed be a next time. Because life is too short to spend it with our eyes closed.

#toronto #ontario #canada #downtown #subway #ttc #train #rosedale #station #commute #commuter #transit #landscape #building #travel #urban #photography #travelphotography #streetphotography #monochrome #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everythıng

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Montreal bagels for the win

Eat me
London, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I left Montreal for good almost half a lifetime ago, but the city still resonates in my soul for many reasons, many of them food-related. From poutine to smoked meat to Orange Julep to bagels, there's no shortage of foods that define this city and spark adamant debates between natives and non-natives alike.

I have little patience for foodie debates - and, if we're being brutally honest, I can't stand the word "foodie", and am amused by folks who refer to themselves as such - but I do admit missing Sunday morning walks to the bakery for freshly made Montreal bagels. There's nothing quite like walking into a bakery in winter when the wood-fired oven is churning out piles of black- and white-seed* confections and you have to wait a bit to nibble on them lest you burn your mouth. Bonus points if the place has been open since before your parents were born, and hasn't been renovated within your lifetime. The handwritten-in-black-Sharpie prices and frayed notes stuck on every shadowy shelf only add to the charm. But I digress.

These are not Montreal bagels. They're the antithesis of what made bakery runs special. The ones you see here are round rolls with holes in them, pre-fab creations of a national chain, with as much (sorry, little) charm as a soulless franchise can muster. There is no wood-fired oven here. Stories will never be written about these generically re-warmed impostors.

But here in London, it's what we've got. And when you have an opportunity to snag a quick photo while you wait for your lunch order to be ready, you take it. I may be far from my original hometown, but we've managed to create other traditions in our adoptive city that resonate just as strongly. In the end, all that matters is that each one of us knows where to look.

* Montrealers don't call them "poppy" or "sesame". It's how we can tell real Montrealers apart from posers.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #bagel #bagels #timhortons #macro #montreal #mtl #quebec #breakfast #foodie #foodporn #food #lunch #bread #foodgasm #brunch #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

This is why I ride

Look forward, look back
London, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Every time I manage to ride my bike to the office, I give myself a little high-five. Because it's a victory, of sorts, a politely defiant screw-you to a universe that more than once tried to end my two-wheeler journey long before I had a chance to return home.

I've been chased by an angry pickup truck driver, and plowed into by a guy arguing with his wife. I've flattened wheels in potholes, boo-booed myself after greasing out on an unseen patch of sand, and torn an artery by turning my head wrong.

You'd think by now I'd get the message and either stay home or find some other way to get around. Indeed, I'm lucky I've got options: a city bus line that takes me virtually door-to-door, a wife who would happily drive me anywhere, a car of my own that I strangely adore. No disrespect meant to any of these alternatives - or my beyond-incredible wife - but they aren't the same.

Because nothing feels quite as right as propelling myself nearly silently across the city - the meshing of the gears and the wind in my ears providing the perfect, hushed soundtrack. Nothing comes close to disconnecting me from the rush-rush world - no notifications, no conversations, just me and my convoluted brain, free to churn new things to write about when I get to my destination. Nothing feels quite so freeing. Nothing makes me feel as alive as this.

So I'll deal with the risks, the dangers, the texting, disinterested London drivers who despise me for having the temerity to want to share the road. Because moments like this, on a bridge over a burbling river, on a bike path, when your legs feel capable of taking you anywhere, feel indescribably rich within my soul. Because life without cycling is something I never want to imagine, let alone experience.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #bike #bicycle #bikesofinstagram #cycle #cyclist #cycling #mirror #blue #sky #wheel #wheels #specialized #pink #photography #auto #vehicle #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, May 18, 2019

This one hurt my neck

Lines to the sky
London, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
In my ideal world, it's entirely normal to stand on a downtown street corner and stare directly up the facade of a building. In my ideal world, this would be considered somewhat normal instead of somewhat weird.

But I don't spend much time worrying about it, because then I'd miss out on cool little scenes like this, where the sun paints the sky blue, then reflects it off of an otherwise dull mirrored building. But in this light, on this day, at this moment, it takes on a certain life of its own, all because of what's going on around it. I get the physics, but it's still neat, still magical.

And to think I might have missed out if I hadn't looked up.

Indeed, in my ideal world, I never lose the strange sense of curiosity that puts me on street corners like this one. And in my ideal world, I never lose the urge to look up, scrunch my eyes just so, and wonder if there's a story to be told.

Of course, in my ideal world, there's always a story to be told. But we have to be willing to tell it. You know I am, but what about you? What story will you be telling? And where can we find it?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #road #downtown #urban #street #photography #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #blue #sky #glass #mirror #lines #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Waiting for the sky to catch fire

Why I stare out windows
Toronto, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I keep reminding myself to look out the window more often, because sometimes the stars align and you see something neat.

In this case, one particular star, our sun, was preparing to make its daily return to the horizon. And long before sunrise, it was already painting the sky over the eastern edge of Lake Ontario a ridiculously intense shade of orange. Or maybe it's salmon. Or pinkish salmon.

This scene appeared outside my hotel room window, and I used a long lens to capture the first glimmers of light just above the horizon. The time stamp says 4:40 a.m., about an hour before sunrise, and the Port Lands in the foreground are Ground Zero for Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs's Quayside smart city project. Right now it's all industrial, otherwise-wasted waterfront land that the digital futurists hope to transform into a Jetsons-esque showpiece featuring revolutionary urban technologies, many of which are still being invented. I don't think the flying bubble-topped cars and loopy in-the-sky apartments-on-stilts are part of the deal, though. Bummer.

I stared through my lens and wondered how technology would transform this still-gritty neighborhood, and what it might look or feel like after the bulldozers leave and the nerdiness gets switched on. I wondered whether its future residents would ever turn away from their tech-jacked reality, if they'd take the time to just stare out at the adjacent lake and appreciate the moment.

Because technology doesn't solve every problem or otherwise scratch every itch. And nature still has a role to play in helping us lead lives of purpose. A few minutes by a window watching the skies come alive was all I needed to learn this particular, albeit small, lesson.

#toronto #ontario #canada #InfoTechLIVE #hotel @westinharbourcastle @InfoTechRG #downtown #sunrise #sun #sky #nature #landscape #morning #travel #urban #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Reflecting by the water

Journeys yet to be taken
Toronto, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It's 6:57 a.m., and I find myself leaning on the fence surrounding an outdoor patio overlooking Lake Ontario, staring at the gentle waves and feeling the slight breeze on my face.

Conference days are always big days, and getting to the venue before everyone else gives me lots of time to calm my jangled nerves and get a feel for how the day will play out. It means less sleep, but who am I kidding? I'm not sleeping this week, anyway.

The ferry terminal is front-and-centre, and as the boats rock gently beside their docks, I stare into the water-sprayed windows and think about the journeys they've been on, and the people who've looked through them. I think about how genteel it must be to live in a place that has a ferry at all. To be able to get on a boat and go somewhere else, just because, strikes me as a pretty neat way to live.

I decide whoever decided to build the hotel in this particular spot was a genius. Every hotel should be near water. It's calming. Cathartic, even.

Soon enough, though, I have to head back inside. The day waits for no one, after all, and I came here to make good things happen. But a few quiet moments before kicking things into gear seems like a perfect way to springboard into a day of purpose and opportunity.

We all need more moments of quiet and refection. We all need to find new ways to make those moments actually happen.

#toronto #ontario #canada #InfoTechLIVE #hotel @westinharbourcastle @InfoTechRG #downtown #lake #water #waterfront #boat #marine #window #windows #reflection #travel #urban #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Grapefruit juice is my superpower

More than just a drink
Toronto, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I know what you're thinking: A glass of grapefruit juice? What can possibly be so interesting about a glass of juice that would merit an Instagram post? Hear me out.

I took this last Wednesday morning, as Day 2 of our conference was getting underway. Right around that time, my aunt was undergoing the latest in a series of chemotherapy treatments. In her case, she drinks what she jokingly calls a cocktail. I've joked right back that she should put little umbrellas in it and wear Hawaiian shirts to her appointments.

Her cocktails are typically lemon-flavored. And I imagine they'll finally be strong enough to lick a disease that's been hovering over her for far too long. It's what I hope. It's what everyone hopes.

Which is what brought me to Wednesday morning. As I prepped for the day and settled into my spot near the stage, I thought it would be fun to find a cocktail of my own and send her a picture of it. Why? No real reason. You don't need a reason to think of someone. Nor do you need a reason to snap a silly picture and Facebook-message it to them. Technology in 2019 has done lots of lousy things to the way we live, but it's also given us a near-miraculous ability to send any message to anyone, anywhere, at any time. I've got to believe that's some kind of superpower we all carry around in our pocket, and one we'd do well to use a little more often.

So on this morning, when my aunt was busy fighting a demon no one wants, I sent a silly pic of a glass of grapefruit juice a few thousand kilometres south. Like everything in this hotel-home far from home, it was delightful. More importantly, maybe it has a superpower all its own. Maybe we all do.

#toronto #ontario #canada #InfoTechLIVE #hotel @westinharbourcastle @InfoTechRG @ShirleyWolfeld #downtown #random #travel #juice #glass #photography #cancer #fuckcancer #sorryiswore #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #health #family #everything

Monday, May 13, 2019

Scene from a hotel room

While everyone else sleeps...
Toronto, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: a 19th-floor hotel room overlooking the east side of Toronto's waterfront port lands. I've been working on my laptop most of the night, making sure the day's run-of-show is as perfect as can be. In a few short hours, I'll be standing on-stage in front of hundreds of people - colleagues, CIOs, other senior IT leaders, members/clients, etc. - and I don't want to let even one of them down.

The windows have been dark since my alarms went off 3 hours after I got back from the previous day's adventure. But suddenly, out of the very corner of my left eye, I notice a flicker of light that wasn't there previously. I stop what I'm doing and see a perfect sliver of salmon-orange color on the horizon that begs for a photo. Life is slowly returning to this massive city, and soon enough I'll have to head downstairs and make good stuff happen.

I can almost hear the clock ticking, and I don't have the time for spontaneous photography. But the calendar says it's May 8th - my birthday - and if ever I should remember the moment in a photo, now's the time. The windows are filthy, but I find a clean enough stretch way above my head, press my phone against the glass, compose the shot, and shoot.

All it takes is one frame, and I quickly return to the keyboard. Thankfully, the day plays out as it should, and while it's a little odd to be so far from home on this day, I'm surrounded by an amazing team, and they make the day a special one. I'll celebrate with the fam jam when I get home the next day.

The lesson? Life doesn't follow a set schedule. Do what you need to do to support your family. Take the time to celebrate, even if it seems like a weird time or circumstance. And never miss an opportunity to look out the window and wonder, because the universe is always standing by to remind you why you matter as much as you do.

#toronto #ontario #canada #InfoTechLIVE #hotel @westinharbourcastle @InfoTechRG #downtown #sunrise #sky #landscape #building #construction #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #travel #urban #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother's Day sucks - again

The very centre of my world
Dryden, ON
July 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Disclosure: I'm not a fan of Mother's Day. Like every other manufactured "holiday" designed to sell greeting cards and stuff we don't need, this one rings somewhat hollow to me.

Don't let me wrong: I was lucky to have had a mother who managed to get me to adulthood without poisoning me or otherwise inflicting permanent damage. I'm even luckier to have crossed paths with a woman who agreed to become my wife, and proceeded to show me and anyone else who knows her what wonderful motherhood looks, sounds, and feels like. Having a front-row seat to Debbie's adventure through motherhood has been the privilege of my life, and our kids adore her not solely because she gave birth to them, but because she has given everything of herself to them since the moment we knew they were on the way.

And while the basic sentiment of Mother's Day - celebrating moms - is laudable, it doesn't come without its downsides. Not everyone is a mom. Some can't be. Some, like mine, have lost a child. Some moms are no longer with us. Some struggle day-to-day. Perhaps some shouldn't be moms at all. In fact, any defined "-Day" holiday - Father's, Valentine's, whatever - has its own dark side that often gets lost in the commercial push to sell us more crap and adhere to commonly accepted norms of behavior. Card? Check. Flowers? Check. Gift. Check. Good; done for another year.

I'm not really this cynical in real life, but I'm troubled by the complete disregard of the mainstream zeitgeist toward those who don't fit the Mother's-Day-ad ideal. Face it: Humans suck at appreciating those who fall outside preconceived notions of normative lifestyles, backgrounds, and behaviors.

We celebrated Debbie today because she richly deserved to be celebrated. We'll celebrate her tomorrow for precisely the same reason. Indeed, we'll do so every day for however long we're given. We didn't - and never will - need a radio ad to tell us we needed to.

#ldnont #london #dryden #ontario #canada #throwback #mothersday #mother #mom #holiday #photography #levy #parenthood #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, May 06, 2019

Where I spend the week on a stage

London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The week ahead promises to be action-packed. The brilliant people I get to work with every day at @InfoTechRG are hosting a conference for a few hundred of our closest friends. It's called #InfoTechLIVE, and it essentially involves getting top CIOs and IT leaders into a few very large rooms for a few days so they can hear directly from our freakishly accomplished analysts.

If you've followed my adventures of late, we held LIVE in Las Vegas last November, then Orlando in February. Now it's Toronto's turn, and by the numbers, it'll be our biggest one yet. Here's the funny part: I'm the MC.

Scary? Of course. Because I'm used to doing my thing in quiet studios where you don't see the folks you're talking to. Being on-stage is an entirely different experience, and I'd be lying if I said it was well within my comfort zone.

But that's kind of the point to this life thing. We weren't always meant to be in our comfort zone, because that's not how we grow as people. Or influence others around us. Or get to feel, at a visceral level, what it's like to truly live.

So I said goodbye to my little fam last night, and will spend all day today prepping and rehearsing with our dream team before we go live tomorrow morning.

And if I feel those butterflies deep in my tummy as the lights get bright and I begin to speak, then I'll take it as a sign that I'm exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to do for my peeps back home. It is, in the end, why we never stop striving.

Let's do this, shall we?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #stilllife #life #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #InfoTechRG #InfoTech #itrg #InfoTechEvents #workhardplayhard #bestjobever #family #everything

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Butterfly at rest

Beauty in an unexpected place
London, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The wonderpuppy and I took a bit of a different route on our morning walk today. As we left the house and approached the first corner, she pulled right instead of our usual left. And since I wasn't in the mood to leash-wrestle 14 pounds of feisty Mini Schnauzer, we went right.

Along the way, we came across a big old tree with a pair of impossibly colorful butterflies clinging to opposite sides of its massive trunk. They were just chilling in place, slowly opening and closing their wings. If I didn't know better, I'd swear they were waiting for us.

Somehow, Calli remained calm as she sniffed around the base of the tree, carefully avoiding our two new friends.

Somehow, I racked off a few pics before they continued on their epic journey.

Somehow, our bouncy pup knew that this was the way we were destined to go on this sunny Sunday morning.

Maybe dogs are a lot more perceptive than we think. Maybe I should just drop the maybe.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #butterfly #butterflies #nature #urban #street #photography #texture #sun #shadow #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Looking for the rest of the puzzle

So many unknowns
London, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: I'm walking back to the car after a long day of trying to outrun time. I spot a single puzzle piece in the middle of the sidewalk beside a busy downtown road and walk a few steps past it before my brain hits the brakes and forces me to head back.

I stand over this forlorn piece of cardboard and wonder where it comes from, what the full puzzle might look like, who might have owned it, and what their reaction will be once they finish the rest of the puzzle only to realize they're one piece short.

At least that's what I imagine, because the more likely scenario is that no one cares, that this is just another piece of discarded modernity among countless such pieces I've walked wordlessly past my entire life.

Because not everything has a story despite my idealistic wishes that it might.

But just in case, I crouch down and compose a few frames before continuing my journey. I think most of my photos lately have been of the just-in-case variety. Sounds like a reasonable enough excuse to record whatever trivialities the universe decides to throw across my path.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #road #downtown #queens #avenue #urban #street #photography #grey #concrete #texture #monochrome #puzzle #game #lost #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Spring has sprung

Life begins anew
London, ON
May 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Every spring, there seems to be a moment where we look up and realize the trees, which had been completely bare the last time we looked, have suddenly exploded with life.

I think today was the day, when Mother Nature decided to finally lay off the clutch and give it some gas. And when I needed to look at something other than an LED-backlit screen today, the trees lining the riverfront path were more than happy to offer up enough energy and color to lift my spirit. I'm pretty sure my writing for the rest of the day was better than it would have been had I remained inside.

We don't always remember the power a walk among the trees can have. Working away in an office, juggling deliverables and deadlines, it's easy to forget about the subtle things just on the other side of the window.

Today I didn't forget. I'll try not to forget tomorrow, as well, because something tells me the show in the trees by the river might be even more inspiring. We just have to give ourselves the room and the time to get outside for a bit.

I hope to see you there. I'll be the guy shooting weird photos, but I suspect you already knew that.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #bud #buds #leaf #leaves #life #spring #green #nature #light #stilllife #photography #bokeh #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Never again means never again

Be the light
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I sing in a choir. "Sing" is probably stretching it, as I don't read music, wouldn't know a C from a G, and only my rubber duck thinks I can carry a tune. I do my best to avoid tripping up everyone else, and so far they haven't shown me the door. So far.

Last night we sang a song at our community's Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) ceremony. We remembered the 6 million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazi regime and its collaborators, and bore witness to our own responsibilities to carry the victims' and survivors' stories forward and ensure the lessons of this dark era are taught, learned, and applied.

The song we sang was Ani Ma'Amin (I Believe), and what made it special, aside from the haunting tune and arrangement, was the fact that this wasn't just another tune. It was often sung by victims as they were marched to the gas chambers. In spite of the terrible atrocities that surrounded them at that moment, in spite of the darkness that was about to swallow them, in spite of the complete lack of hope, they sang I Believe, en masse, as they walked to their deaths.

I shot this photo after the ceremony was over. After 91-year-old survivor Elly Gotz held us spellbound with his detailed story of how he and his parents stayed alive. After the hundreds of people who packed the community centre had begun to return to their lives.

I chose to shoot the memorial candles (okay, light bulbs, but still) because I couldn't stop looking at the light. On a night where we remembered the darkness that lurks in the deepest recesses of the worst of humanity, we also spoke of the light that banishes the darkness, the light that survivors like Mr. Gotz carried out of the ashes of Eastern Europe and used to build lives of purpose, accomplishment, and kindness.

Light is the revenge of the victim on the evil that would have snuffed us out. Light is the ultimate sign of victory, and we must never allow ourselves to lose sight of it.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #holocaust #memorial #yom #hazikaron #survivor #history #light #stilllife #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

It only looks like a puppy

All natural, all the time
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
For as much as the future of groceries will likely become increasingly e-commerce and technology-driven, present-day realities still dictate periodic trips to conventional stores, where we hang out and play with actual produce before tossing the whole enchilada into a squeaky-wheeled cart and lining up with the other proles at the checkout aisle. It looks and feels a lot like grocery runs with my dad when I was a kid, and that’s strangely comforting.

Also comforting is getting up close and personal in the fruits and vegetables section. Because unlike the boxes and bottles of processed unmentionables that fill the rest of the store, this stuff has texture. And soul. I’ll never get tired of shooting here. Or in any other kind of grocery/retail environment.

I do, of course, have to move quickly lest the grocery cops take exception to my, ah, addiction. A sense of humor and a well-placed smile or two also come in handy, because folks tend to let you get away with stuff when you’re nice. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

None of this is groundbreaking. The resulting photos won't merit frames and over-the-mantel positions of honor. They won't be iconic, or turned into posters for kids to plaster their walls. Not every photo is about the photo.

But that’s entirely the point. Because I’ve found these seemingly trivial shoots to be just the kind of little experiences that take the edge off of a challenging chapter. Because it’s hard to frown when you’re staring at a giant root that sort of looks like a puppy. Because it’s hard to ignore the old lady over there who’s smiling as she watches the moment unfold. Because the how can matter more than the what. Because in-public, on-the-street photography has always been a remarkable way to connect. And our world needs more, and better, ways to connect.

I’m not saying I have the answers. I am saying we owe it to ourselves to keep trying.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #stilllife #photography #streetphotography #fruitography #grocery #store #supermarket #shop #shopping #retail #sweet #potato #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everythıng

Monday, April 29, 2019

The first ride

Just add rubber
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
After weeks of kicking myself for doing nothing, I finally dusted off the pink wonderbike yesterday and took it for its - and by extension, my - first ride of the season.

I'll be brutally honest: I was afraid to get back on the road. With each passing year, motorists get more distracted, more adversarial, more aggressive, less tolerant of anyone else sharing "their" road. I worry I'll end up on the wrong end of someone's grille, simply because I chose two wheels in a world designed for four.

For the record, I also drive a car. And I wish more motorists would get some pedal-time in, as well. Empathy and understanding are good things.

Our city, in its infinite car-centric, rapid-transit-killing wisdom, thinks painted lines will protect commuting cyclists. With all due respect, our city is dead wrong. We need separated, protected lanes across the city, not a disconnected patchwork of paint that often dissolves into nothingness with virtually no warning, leaving cyclists at the mercy of impatient, high-speed traffic. You really do need ice in your veins to ride in this town.

But the alternative - not riding - is worse. I decided yesterday I'd rather live with a bit of fear than miss cycling entirely. It's simply too much fun, too good for us, and for those around us, to not get out there just because we're scared. Because nothing changes if the bike stays home.

For what it's worth, the ride was glorious, and it only whetted my appetite for more. So look out for the guy on the pink StumpJumper. It's my road, too, and I have no intention of giving up my right to enjoy it safely and collaboratively.

What a world it would be if cities would finally stop treating cycling as some kind of fringe activity that threatens the status quo. Indeed, it is precisely that status quo that'll render our cities unlivable if we sit back and do nothing.

Ride safely, my friends.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #bike #bicycle #bikesofinstagram #cycle #cyclist #cycling #forever #perspective #cyclingislife #wheel #wheels #specialized #pink #color #photography #auto #vehicle #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Sunday, April 28, 2019

They kill Jews. And Muslims. And Christians...

London, ON
February 2012
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Another day, another vicious hate crime against Jews. This one in a Poway, California synagogue, six months to the day since a Jew-hating gunman opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue. See a pattern here?

Although it seems like the stuff of nightmares, you're not imagining it. The drumbeat of anti-semitism has been getting louder of late, with Anti Defamation League data confirming a 57% increase in Jew-targeted acts in the U.S. in 2017, the largest single-year increase ever. Those swastikas showing up on Jewish homes overnight? Not just punks with paint.

But let's not kid ourselves: If you're Muslim, or Christian, or any other identifiable religious group, you're at risk, too. Muslims slaughtered in Christchurch and Quebec City. Christians blown to bits in Sri Lanka. All because they had the temerity to express their faith.

No doubt today's political climate contributes to the spike we see now. But, again, hatred has been with us forever. Thanks to dog-whistled support from the highest offices in the land, it's simply emerging from the shadows. The irony that the same politicians fuelling today's hate-driven fire have the unmitigated gall to tweet out the now-de-rigeur thoughts-and-prayers stupidity should enrage us all.

I almost don't know what to say anymore, or what to do. I read the San Diego gunman's so-called manifesto, a screed so filled with hatred that the mind struggles to understand how someone can become so warped. It makes me fear for humanity's future.

Key word in my previous paragraph: Almost. We can't afford to be silent. Because cowering in fear only gives power to those who hate, allows them - and the leaders who validate them - the room and resources they need to expand their malevolent, society-killing influence.

We must also stand together, because an attack on one religion is an attack on all of us, and a cancer that can and will ultimately reach our homes, our communities, no matter who we are or where we live.

Because if they haven't come for you yet, your silence ensures they eventually will.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #jewish #tradition #synagogue #antisemitism #judaism #christianity #islam #religion #together #enough

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Abstract matza

Edible, sort of
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Dear Internet,

Can you see what I see?


#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #passover #pesach #holiday #matzah #kosher #jewish #judaism #tradition #indigestion #stilllife #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family

Friday, April 26, 2019

Scene from a parking lot

Civic Nation, at rest
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It’s Wednesday, 6:05 a.m., and I’m on my way to the big city to the east for a day packed with cool work with cool people. Taking the train in means getting in long before the rest of the city is awake, and returning long after the streets go quiet.

It also means a quick drive to the office to drop the car off before I walk the remaining few blocks to pick up the train. And on this morning, the parking lot is especially quiet. I’m running a few minutes ahead of schedule, so I take a beat to take in a space that’s normally crammed with cars and the frenetic movement of a fast-growing company.

There’s a certain poetry to the way the building’s light spills out much as an oasis might. There’s no one inside right now, but it still has an energy that makes me want to stick around a little bit longer as the sky continues to brighten.

But the clock continues to tick, and I need to continue the journey. Because even perfect moments like this eventually have to end. Tomorrow’s another day, and as I turn into the street and feel the damp wind through my jacket, I promise myself I’ll find some other way to remember whatever I come across then, too.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #345ridout #infotechrg #parking #downtown #urban #street #photography #honda #civic #civicnation #car #carporn #cargram #auto #vehicle #automotive #red #color #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Looking sideways into history

Step carefully
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Look closely at the little details around you.
Because the big stuff is often too overwhelming to take in all at once.
So you put the blinders on.
And focus on one thing only.

Before long, you see things you didn't see before.
Like the texture on the side of the staircase.
That you climb and descend dozens of times a day.
But never really stop to appreciate.
Until now.

You almost feel like you're going back in time.
To when history was the present.
When this part of the building was outside.
Instagram didn't exist.
No one had a smartphone.
And even phones were still a new thing.

Time has a funny way of reshaping the world around us.
But the story means nothing if we don't stop what we're doing.
And hear the whispers.
Of the now-vanished people who laid the foundation for today.
And allowed us to climb into whatever opportunities await us above.

#ldnont #kingandridout #345ridout #downtown #urban #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #brick #concrete #stairs #monochrome #london #ontario #canada #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #infotechrg @nicholsonsheffieldarchitects #workhardplayhard #family #everything

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

That fresh groomed feeling

Pretty again
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Someone wasn't too happy after her grooming appointment yesterday. She gets this way whenever she loses 20% of her body weight in fur. A little cowed, like a canine version of a sad clown.

Even on our late-evening walk, she whimpered more than usual and had to be coaxed to continue. Usually she bounces down the sidewalk. Not this time.

It's hard to know what she knows, but I hope deep inside that lovely head of hers, she knows she needs an occasional trim, that the mattes that had crept into her fur needed to be taken care of. That her humans will always do what's right for her, and she can always feel safe and loved.

Either way, she's getting extra hugs and treats, which I'm hoping are enough to return her to her usual boisterous self before long. Because as far as I can tell, dogs can't be sad. There's a rule somewhere, I think. And even if I'm wrong, I still contend it's our job to make them happy.

For all the good they bring to the world, we owe them at least that much.

#Calli #CalliTheSchnauzer #LittleMissCalli #dog #puppy #schnauzerlife #schnauzermini #schnauzerpuppy #minischnauzersofinstagram #schnauzersofinstagram #minischnauzer #miniatureschnauzer #miniatureschnauzers #minischnauzers #schnauzergram #miniatureschnauzersofinstagram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #pets #family #everything #ldnont #london #ontario #canada @schnauzer_planet @schnauzerworld

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Not-so-little green men

Alleyway alien
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
They lurk in the shadows of the city, hastily-painted creations usually perceived more as nuisances than art. While some of them pop up in the corner of your eye as you walk the streets, most are well hidden in alleyways, in the darkened nooks behind buildings, in the places most of us would never go.

Yet as I walk the downtown streets kissed for the first time in days by a warming springtime sun, I find myself veering, often, off my defined path in search of these hidden gems, painted by folks I'll probably never meet, but wish I could.

Don't get me wrong, there's graffiti and there's art. Badly scrawled tags and words I can't use on-air deserve to disappear as quickly as they first appear. Yet amid the chaos and the wasted spray paint, there are flashes of genius we'd do well to take in before they, too, disappear from the urban landscape. I suspect we need better filters to decide what does and does not contribute to the urban fabric.

I have no idea who painted this one. But I can't help but think whoever it is deserves to find another, perhaps more legitimate, permanent, and lucrative canvas to share their work. Because art can often happen in places you'd least expect. I'd hate to miss out because I was busy judging the venue.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #road #downtown #urban #street #photography #graffiti #art #streetart #graffitiart #mural #urbanart #green #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, April 22, 2019

Adult Tonka Toy

They put up a parking lot
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Perspective is a fascinating thing. Stand on the ground and this tractor is massive beyond description. But head up a couple of storeys and view it from on-high and it becomes more like the toys we played with as children.

I keep reminding myself of that simple fact, that where we stand can change the tone, the flavor, the trajectory of whatever it is that we're looking at. Get closer for more detail, pull back for some context. Move up, down or all around to place that whatever-it-is differently, relative to whatever else happens to be around it. Even when the world around you seems static, you have the power to change it, simply by moving. Or squinting your eyes just so. Optics and perspective - I'll never get tired of playing with them both.

Somewhere deep in my head - or maybe it's my soul - I think there's a broader lesson there, that with a little more thought I can unlock one of those elusive keys to life and hopefully figure out a better way to navigate my way through it. But it's Monday, and the cumulative weight of the last few months is sitting on my shoulders a little more heavily today. The truth is I don't have magic answers to much of anything, let alone the giant tractor sitting just outside my office window. All I can do is look out that window and try to see it in a way that makes me want to remember the scene, to capture the moment.

If it makes me - and others - smile, or think, or reflect, then I've succeeded. The bigger, life-changing stuff will have to wait.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #downtown #kingandridout #345ridout #infotechrg #construction #building #renovation #contractor #engineering #project #big #yellow #tractor #urban #street #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Dog shelter

In her own perfect world
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
She has no idea that the world is filled with hatred, no clue when headlines blare the latest human-fuelled tragedy from afar. Or not so afar.

It's a cloistered existence for her, no worries beyond the rabbits who scamper through her backyard or the squirrels who torment her from the other side of the window. She thinks they represent the ultimate existential threat. If only.

Perhaps it's just as well that Sri Lanka means nothing to her, that she'll never register in her Schnauzer brain that people willingly kill others not for survival, but for no reason at all beyond blind rage.

The now-standard wave of statements from world leaders in the aftermath of the bombings in Colombo included at least a few references to the killers as "animals".

Sorry, but I don't buy it. Because not even animals would wantonly take the lives of others for no reason at all. This is what humans have become, and we should all be saddened and ashamed.

Life as a dog looks better and better with each passing day.

#Calli #CalliTheSchnauzer #LittleMissCalli #dog #puppy #schnauzerlife #schnauzermini #schnauzerpuppy #minischnauzersofinstagram #schnauzersofinstagram #minischnauzer #miniatureschnauzer #miniatureschnauzers #minischnauzers #schnauzergram #miniatureschnauzersofinstagram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #pets #family #everything #ldnont #london #ontario #canada @schnauzer_planet @schnauzerworld

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Spontaneous roadside photography

As the rain begins to fall
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
When the winds begin to blow and the skies open up, most of us head for shelter. Which is a bit of a pity, because we end up missing the unique - and temporary - sight of Mother Nature repainting the landscape.

This is the railing in the middle of the Horton Street bridge that crosses the Thames River that snakes its way through the middle of town. The rain-splattered surface tells the story of a gathering storm, of skies opening up, of a miserable moment in a miserable place where pedestrians rarely want to be.

No one gives this sliver of the city a second thought, so busy are they rushing either east or west. This is true when the weather is lovely, and even more so when it turns dark.

Yet here I am, because life doesn’t always deposit you in the most perfect of places at the most perfect of times. The challenge is to make the most of what we’ve been given, so I grab the one frame as quickly as I can before I book it back to shelter, and home.

Stories from inhospitable places, told at times when everyone else flees for shelter. Sounds like a theme to me.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #road #downtown #urban #street #photography #grey #sky #rain #weather #wx #thames #river #bridge #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #bokeh #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Structures, up close

A bridge too far
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Here's a fun thing for you to try the next time you're out and about: Walk right up to something - a building, a streetlamp, or pretty much whatever you wish - and stare at it for a while.

I can guarantee you'll get stared at, as well, by strangers who will doubtless think you're a weirdo. But ignore them.

Instead, stand your ground, keep doing what you do, and enjoy the process of appreciating something you've probably never really appreciated previously. Enjoy hitting pause on everything and everyone else, even if it's just for a few fleeting moments.

This is the pedestrian bridge a few steps away from my office. I had some extra time to kill on a sunny Saturday morning, so I slung my Nikon over my shoulder and took a walk.

I spent a while walking the wooden-slat walkway under the century-old trusswork, ducking between the shadows and feeling the magic of this often overlooked structure. It took a while for the visuals to firm themselves up in my head, but eventually I got the photos I was destined to get.

I was indeed stared at. So I smiled back. Maybe next time they'll bring their cameras, too. We could always use more eyes looking at things whose stories aren't told as much as they deserve.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #urban #street #photography #monochrome #king #bridge #civil #engineering #design #lines #perspective #thames #river #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photo #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Shooting flora in the pouring rain

Life happens everywhere
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: A desolate section of Horton Street just south of London's downtown. I'm walking back to my car after picking up my wonder-laptop from the wizards at Mac Outpost who fixed it (pro tip: Always shop local. You're welcome.)

For reasons that make precious little sense in the cold light of hindsight-informed logic, I decided to walk the 1.5 km from the office because, well, we could all do with a little more walking. But it has now begun to rain. Deep inside my brain, it dawns on me that perhaps walking wasn't the best choice. And yet, here I am. Life doesn't always go according to plan, and I'm good with that.

As I approach the bridge over the river, I notice these awesome plants swaying over the steep riverbank. The texture is divine, even in this dull, muddy, rain-flecked light. I should probably continue walking quickly - there's that logic thing again - but they grab my eye and refuse to let go. It's been an ugly week, so a surprise photographic antidote to the ugliness is a welcome sight.

You never know where you'll find inspiration. Often, it presents itself in the most unexpected places. You just have to allow yourself the luxury of appreciating it. Because in the end, scenes like this are less luxury than necessity.

P.S. I got royally soaked. And I didn't care.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #road #downtown #urban #street #photography #grey #sky #rain #weather #wx #thames #river #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

My steampunk glass commute

Where's Waldo?
Toronto, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
A quarter of a million people pass through Toronto's Union Station every day. The vast majority of them slog along filthy concrete walkways, dodging hastily rearranged construction cladding and precariously dangling temporary light fixtures and cables as they shuffle, sheep-like, into and out of the serpentine tunnels that stretch out from this massive hub like an oil rig's undersea pipes.

Some, however, get to walk high up, through these steampunk-esque glass-and-iron monstrosities that, more than anything else, define this incredible space and challenge the teeming masses who pass underneath it to break their monotonous downward gazes and look up for a change.

I haven't had enough time to explore this space, so the way into this glass-enclosed wonder remains a mystery to me. Perhaps on my next visit I'll carve out enough time to a) find the way in, and b) not get hopelessly lost in the process.

But until then, this photo will have to do. Which explains the spontaneous grumbling from those around me as I step out of the current of commuters and point my lens toward this delightful glass monstrosity. The grumbling is worth it, because a little sense of wonder in the middle of a long journey has got to be good for the soul. That's enough for me to crack a smile as I tuck my camera back away, heft my backpack over my shoulder and continue toward my train home. I'm sure I'll have more stories to tell about this place on my next trip in.

#toronto #union #station #ontario #canada #viarail #train #downtown #building #glass #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #travel #monochrome #urban #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Bright light on an historic stage

Fresnel, not Fresno
Toronto, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
They say you shouldn't stare directly at bright lights. But I've never really cared who "they" are, anyway. So last week, when I noticed the really neat stage light lurking in the shadows of the stage at work, I found a 10-second sliver of time to steal the shot in between takes.

First, some background: Our Toronto office - where my super-smart colleagues create IT research and support our members across North America and the globe - is a former concert hall. Wait, ignore that: It still IS a concert hall, and is available for bookings during off-hours.

Back in the day, Led Zeppelin played here, as did Pearl Jam, the Ramones, the Tragically Hip, and virtually every other rock band you've ever lusted after. The Rolling Stones loved the place so much they used it to practice whenever they were in town.

These days, I'm here just about every week to shoot new segments of our #InfoTechBrief video series. We try to mix things up a little, shooting in different parts of this historic building to give our work a varying visual signature. But we always come back to the concert hall, where I stand on the same stage where Mick Jagger once danced. Even better, many of my colleagues have vivid memories of coming here for concerts before our company bought the building.

So I almost feel a responsibility to capture the feel of this place, even if it means ducking into the shadows while our beloved production team sets up for the next shot. We're pretty blessed to get to do what we do, in this hallowed place, and a random photo seems like an appropriate way to remember what it feels like to be here.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #yonge #street #888yonge #InfoTechRG #InfoTech #itrg #downtown #design #life #travel #explore #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, April 15, 2019

Holding onto history

London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
At first glance, it's just a door handle, a simply curved slice of, I'm guessing, iron, bolted to a door just a few metres away from my office home away from home.

But the word "just" seems so inadequate around here, where every seemingly simple fixture, from door handles to window frames to the subtle arches in the brickwork, has its own story begging to be told. I often stop as I walk the halls to admire the tiny details that would otherwise go unnoticed. Frankly, they all deserve to be noticed.

I don't know who made this particular handle, but I'm reasonably sure they made it long before I was born, their work now serving as a lasting memorial to their expertise.

I wonder what they'd think if they could fast-forward a century or so and see how this place has been reshaped as a workplace for the 21st century. I hope they'd be proud that their craftsmanship stood the test of time, and continued to inspire others to raise their own game, far into the future.

#ldnont #life #kingandridout #345ridout #downtown #urban #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #brick #iron #wood #london #ontario #canada #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #infotechrg @nicholsonsheffieldarchitects #workhardplayhard #family #everything

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Red-tinged reflection in a parking lot

Looking back
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I forget stuff. All the time. Like the power chord for my laptop, which in a moment of absent-minded stupidity I forgot at the office when I headed for home on Friday.

So a return trip was called for, because batteries never last as long as we'd like, and work still has to get done, even on weekends.

After pulling into the parking lot and getting out of the car, I caught this reflection in the far corner of my eye and thought I should record it somehow before heading inside to fetch my adapter.

Like so many of my day-in-the-life photos, this one won't ever merit being framed and mounted. That does not, however, degrade its worth.

Because without this scene frozen in time, I wouldn't have the memory of a particularly memory-worthy Saturday morning, when the sun was out, the air was breezy and warm, and my head was filled with thoughts of the day that awaited with my favorite people when I got back home.

Life is good. Even better if we work just a little harder to record the simpler moments and places along the way.

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Friday, April 12, 2019

When stores die on Yonge Street

Toronto, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: Yonge Street, Thursday morning, rush hour. I'm walking from the subway to our Toronto offices for a day of shooting videos before heading back to London on a late train. Normally this stretch is choked with traffic, but this cold, windy morning is different. Something feels off as I walk on the nearly-silent sidewalk. There's no hum of traffic, no hustle to avoid oncoming phone-addicted pedestrians. I stop and look around, half-expecting to find myself either in the middle of a movie set or a possibly bad dream.

Across the street sits a row of derelict buildings awaiting their fate. A massive condo development is slated for this block, and and these buildings stand meekly, abandoned, as the construction closes in around them.

Not so long ago, these storefronts had an energy all their own, an endless string of activity that spilled onto the sidewalk and powered the streetscape. While the new development will include some street-level retail, don't count on the local, owner-operated stores ever coming back. They've moved on, retired, walked away. Retail isn't what it used to be.

Neither are these buildings. I stand on the dirty sidewalk and try to imagine what they must have been like during their heyday. I wonder if anyone stood here then and admired the streetscape as I do now. I use "admired" deliberately: This place is still compelling, still worth taking in. Soon, though, I'll get off the subway and it'll be gone for good. The inevitability saddens me to no end.

As I continue on my way, I think about the people who once gave this area life, and hope wherever they've ended up, they're doing well. Maybe the new retailers and residents who move into the shiny new megabuilding slated for this site will create something special, too. Maybe they'll bring life back to this now-lifeless stretch.

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