Sunday, November 10, 2019

Staring into the downtown abyss

The face in the stone
London, ON
October 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Wandering into an alleyway off of downtown's beleaguered Dundas Street in pitch black night in search of a photo or four would usually be inadvisable.

Who am I kidding? It always is. Even in daytime, these filthy corners of an already sketchy part of town are crawling with danger. Turn off the lights and it all slides from bad to worse. I wouldn't want my kids here alone, so how does that explain my presence?

It can't. And this isn't one of my best decisions. But the texture of the wall, lit by a single flickering light from above, attracts me like a moth to a flame. I tell myself I'm only standing at the entranceway, that there's no one else around, that I'll shoot fast and then be on my way.

The excuses of the photographer: I've made them all before.

I get away with it this time. I get the shot I want - can you see the hidden image? - then I move on. No one jumps out of the darkness. This time.

I smile to myself, not because I got away with something a little edgy, but because I saw something I would have otherwise missed and I learned a thing or two about shooting spontaneous street scenes in the dark.

My comfort zone may be safe spots in daytime, but roaming beyond the usual often opens our eyes to the things we can't see.

It'll never be perfectly safe to come here at night. But who ever said life was perfectly safe to begin with? I'd hate to think what we'd miss if we always self-selected the no option, simply because we were afraid to venture into the darkness.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #downtown #urban #city #dundas #street #photography #streetphotography #monochrone #night #alley Nikon #nikonphotography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Charlotte's Web, redux?

Twisting in the beachside wind
Grand Bend, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Let's throw it back to summer today, shall we?

Deep in the shadows of an overhang facing the beach in Grand Bend, a miraculous construction project evolves in virtual silence, ignored by the sun-seeking crowds far below.

It wouldn't take much for anyone to look up and take in the wonder of this simple-yet-not-simple scene. But there are sand castles to be built, volleyball games to be played, ice creams to be eaten, memories to be made.

Summer in these parts is short enough as it is, and most folks who come here look rushed from the moment they begin unloading the car. No time for frivolities like spiders and webs.

I'm not feeling much like most folks on this day, which, to be frank, describes me on virtually any other day, too. I've gone for a walk to find a hat for my wife, but as I often do, I linger along the way as my eyes seek out snippets I want to freeze and take home with me. My wife is a very patient woman.

As often happens, this scene stops me dead in my tracks. Countless generations of evolution have led this particular spider to this particular place, and as random as the web looks as it blows in the hot onshore wind, there are perfectly explainable reasons why it looks the way it does.

As I tuck the camera away and continue on my journey, I wonder what this planet would be like if we could be as singularly accomplished in our lives as this spider is in its own. Not possible, of course, but nothing says we can't strive to be a little more focused and determined along the way.

#grand #bend #grandbend #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #monochrome #spider #web #summer #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #photography #life #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, November 08, 2019

The silence of snow

Follow me home
London, ON
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Freshly fallen snow always seems to put the world on mute.

I could probably explain the physics of it, but this isn't a science thing. Think heart, not head.

It hit me the first moment I stepped outside with the wonderdog last night. She, of course, sprinted to the nearest drift and buried her snout as deep as it would go.

I stood back and listened. Because outside of her jingling collar, there was nothing. The pristine landscape of white seemed to have swallowed up every sound. The usual cacaphony of urban life had seemingly vanished, replaced by the gentle thrum of singular thoughts in my head.

It was glorious, the kind of thing I wish would last indefinitely, but knew would probably be over and done by the time we circled the block.

And sure enough, it was. Traffic slowly returned, and the muffled beauty of a stunningly painted neighborhood soon gave way to the returning soundtrack of modern, rushed life. Tires on wet pavement. Revving engines. Horns. Relentless white noise. All of it rushed back in to fill the void, as if someone turned the volume clockwise once again.

Whoever's playing with the volume, and why, you only seem to notice it when it's taken away for a bit. If only that moment of blanketed silence could last longer. If only we paid closer attention to the sounds that shape our days. Or, in this case, nights.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #winter #snow #weather #wx #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #pets #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Kiss my asphalt

Patterned decay
London, ON
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It's only obsolete if you believe it is.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #paved #paradise #parking #lot #cracked #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Snow dog, take 3

Rediscovering her happy place
London, ON
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We woke up to the first significant snowfall of the season today, and all I wanted to do was to see it through the eyes of this little one.

Coincidentally, all she wanted to do was bury her nose in the white stuff, so we apparently made the perfect pair this morning.

I should probably be less enthused about the snow. I can't find my boots, the car needs winter tires, and my bike has commuter-friendly/snow-hostile slicks on them.

But none of that mattered to her as she bounced out the door and ran circles on the snow-covered grass. She was happy, simply content to suck in the joy of the moment to the exclusion of anything and everything else. So I thought I'd follow her lead.

I'll find my boots eventually. The car will get its tires, and I'll probably be able to squeeze in a few more rides before the snow settles in for good.

But in the meantime, there's a dog who thinks this is the most wonderful way to start her day. And I'm not one to disagree with her.

I don't think it needs to be any more complex than that.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #winter #snow #weather #wx #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #pets #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Party sandwiches for the road

Barely linear, definitely yummy
Ingleside, ON
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Behold the humble party sandwich. Rather, a bunch of party sandwiches, artfully arranged in columns and rows, before they became lunch and disappeared forever.

We decided to pack a lunch for the long drive home. While we could have just as easily picked something up at a service stop along the way, there was something genteel, comforting even, about pulling out sandwiches instead. Probably a little healthier for us, too.

So we sat in the middle of an OnRoute in Ingleside, Ontario, nibbling on these impossibly soft sandwiches as we reflected on the miles of road that lay ahead. We do that, my wife and I, because road trips have become something of a regular thing for us over the past year and a bit.

I suppose at some point I’ll do the math and arrive at some kind of frightening number that puts into stark relief just how far we had to go these past few months. But for now, it was enough to nibble and chat.

And remember the moment with a photo. Because road trips wouldn’t be road trips without a motley collection of weird-looking snaps taken haphazardly along the way. And memorable moments with my partner in crime, without whom none of this would be remotely tolerable.

#ingleside #ontario #canada #road #trip #highway #travel #car #auto #automotive #sandwiches #food #foodporn #stilllife #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Scene from a cemetery...

Many someones were here
Duvernay, QC
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
These are the stones on top of my father's gravestone. They were placed there by visitors - exactly who, we'll never know - and my wife and I added to the pile during our visit there earlier this week.

We also placed stones on my mother-in-law's and father-in-law's graves, ironically located toward the top of the frame, just behind my dad's. Small world. Sad world.

No one can quite agree why Jewish tradition dictates that we leave stones behind when we visit the cemetery. Like so many things within Jewish tradition, it's been subject to debate over the centuries, and we still don't have a singular answer that everyone can accept.

I like to think it's because we're trying to solidify the memory of those we've lost. That a stone somehow speaks to a certain permanence of a person's soul that even death can't erase.

Truth be told, we'll likely never really know, but it's comforting to wonder about it as I stand over the stone, carefully place my own rock on the edge of the pile, and let my fingers linger on the cool granite.

We all need more time to reflect - on what we had, what we lost, and what we continue to hold onto as our journeys continue without them - and a bucolic cemetery in the middle of largely untouched agricultural land is as good a place as any to pause and think.

I have no answers today. But returning to this place for the first time since Debbie buried her dad, it was enough for me to just be there with her. Not everything needs an answer, after all.

#duvernay #laval #montreal #cemetery #parents #parenthood #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, November 04, 2019

One last view from the 12th floor

Dark clouds on the horizon
Laval, QC
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
You probably won't be seeing many more photos like this one.

I've stood on this 12th floor balcony countless times, my lens pointed west toward similarly countless sunsets. Behind me, just inside the sliding glass patio door, my in-laws waited patiently, alongside my wife, kids, and whoever else happened to be in town.

I'd often step outside during mealtime, or playtime, or anytime the sun was putting on a show in the sky. My in-laws knew the drill, and would review my photos carefully on the camera when I was done.

Then we'd get back to the business of eating dinner or playing, or whatever else went on in a home that was always full, always open and welcoming to whoever happened to be in town.

Today, the apartment is almost empty, and my wife works, alone in the fading light, sorting through the very last of my late father-in-law's files.

There's no furniture. The walls are bare. Virtually all signs of the vibrant family that once called this place home have been either sold, moved, or tossed. It was just stuff, I tell myself, but it still feels wrong to see this place in this way.

I stand in the breezy chill on the balcony under a sky that refuses to cooperate. The for sale sign is already up, and this will likely be my last-ever time here. We leave in the morning. I will the clouds to part, the sun to peek out one last time so I'll have a final sunset to hold onto.

Mother Nature obviously has other plans. But nothing erases the memories of what happened here, and the people who made a concrete box in the sky a home.

So I shoot the grey scene before stepping back inside and locking the glass doors behind me.

I tell myself it's been a good house, and I've been blessed to have been a part of the stories we told here. We all have.

#laval #chomedey #montreal #quebec #canada #sunset #weather #wx #clouds #monochrome #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Why time deserves to be treasured

London, ON
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm not going to complain about the time change this morning. For what it's worth, we didn't gain an hour of sleep, and the days didn't just get shorter. We adjusted some clocks and now the number is a bit different. No biggie. Time to move on.

See, yesterday I was idly wiggling the fingers on my right hand, and enjoying what it felt like to have motion, feeling, and control. Most of us do this subconsciously. I don't. I was amazed at how a conscious thought deep in my brain could translate into precise movement and feeling way down at my fingertips.

Stupid, I know. But I'll never be able to shake that feeling of wanting to move my fingers, but being unable to. Or the entire right half of my body feeling like dead weight. Of my mind commanding body parts to move, and getting nothing in return.

So when my brain decided to snap back into gear and reconnect to the right side of my body, I realized how lucky I was to have been given more time.

And I decided I wouldn't waste the time I had been given - bonus time, really - bleating about the time change. Or the weather. Or traffic. Or people who aren't kind. Or anything else that feels like a waste of it.

The universe gave me more time. I'm thankful for it, and want to honor that gift by using it with greater care than I did before my brain was felled by a few tiny clots of blood.

So if I don't engage in ritual complaining on social media, or engage with folks who just don't get it, now you know why.

Funny how the smallest things can have the most significant impact. I'm not going to complain about that, either. I'd rather celebrate it.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #photooftheday #monochrome #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #photography #lifeinthemargins #stroke #awareness #family #everything

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Oops, I forgot the clothes

The look...
Laval, QC
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This may come as a shock to some of you, but I did an incredibly stupid thing yesterday.

As I was loading the car hours before sunrise in preparation for our road trip, I mistakenly hung up a garment bag in the front hall cupboard. I didn't have enough hands to get everything outside, so I temporarily stuck it there while I opened doors, wrestled luggage, and took silly photos of freshly fallen snow.

You know where this is headed: I forgot to go back for the garment bag, which we only discovered when we arrived in Montreal late last night and, magically, there was no garment bag in sight.

Thankfully our hotel was next to a mall. Thankfully said mall opened at 9 this morning. Thankfully the Internet was invented, which allowed us to exhaustively research and quickly build our we-need-clothes-right-now game plan. Thankfully we had enough time to panic-shop, change like Superman, then jet off to where we needed to be.

Thankfully we have another doofus-Carmi story to add to our family's ever-growing collection of them. Thankfully my wife has the patience of Job. Thankfully her path crossed mine, and stays crossed despite my relentless tendency to throw wrenches into the moving machinery of life.

I'm just thankful that after everything I put her through, she still looks at me like this.

#laval #montreal #quebec #canada #road #trip #highway #travel #car #auto #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Looking straight into the centre of power

Engineered symmetry
Toronto, ON
November 2019
This photo originally share on Instagram
Have you ever wanted to stand directly under an electric transmission tower and stare straight up?

I'm just weird enough that this has been bouncing around my head for most of my life.

So yesterday afternoon, in a windswept parking lot beside a Toronto subway station, I did.

There's no rhyme or reason for any of it, and the commuters who brushed past me likely thought I was slightly off my rocker.

I'm strangely okay with that.

Because curiosity doesn't always fit in a conventional-looking box. And lifelong curiosities deserve to be eventually explored, even if it means looking a little funny to strangers in the process.

#toronto #ontario #canada #road #trip #travel #power #electric #engineering #monochrome #weather #wx #geometry #lines #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, November 01, 2019

An early morning with our dog

Conflicting seasons
London, ON
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: Our driveway in suburban (other) London. It’s 4:46 a.m., and I’m out with the wonderdog because today’s a road trip day, and dogs don’t much care that adult-like stuff has to get done far away from home.

So I walk our little furry girl before my wife and I can finish loading the car, tuck the pup back in her bed with our homebound kids, and set off into the cold, windy darkness.

There’s a wrinkle in our plans, though: The season’s first blast of snow. It isn’t enough to book a ski day, but the car is covered with it, and I need to fetch the snow brush from the garage. But first, a photo.

Calli waits patiently at the other end of the leash as I quickly compose this seasonally transitional scene. I could complain about the chill and the misery, but I won’t, because it doesn’t change anything.

Whine or no whine, the temperature will still be below zero and the car will still be blanketed with the white stuff. Besides, that’s what seat and steering wheel heaters are for.

Within seconds, I’ve got what I want, a simple little vignette in the dim light of our driveway. I kiss the dog on her head for being such a good girl, then bring her in one last time.

Soon enough, my wife and I pull away into the blustery pre-dawn, the friendly light from our front porch slowly winking out in the rearview mirror.

The weather gets worse as we merge into the highway and accelerate into the featureless murk, the driving snow furiously painting the landscape ahead of us. I blink away the fatigue and focus on staying between the lines.

Silently, I count my blessings.

Because while this may not be a momentous moment by any stretch of the imagination, it is, to me, another step among many, another sliver of time to be remembered and tucked away.

When they read the story of us, it’ll be built out of moments like this. Something tells me the next few days will offer up a few more of them.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #road #trip #highway #travel #car #auto #automotive #carporn #stella #winter #snow #weather #wx #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Dog sculpture on a downtown sidewalk

London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It isn't often that you come across a copper-clad, full-relief sculpture of an obviously well-behaved, permanently inanimate dog, sitting pretty in front of a downtown restaurant.

So when you do, the only real choice you have is to shoot a picture of the absurd-yet-delightful snippet of urban life.

I use that word, life, deliberately. It isn't just a biological thing. It's all the little elements of the world around us that make us stop and go, "Huh?" Or just stop and say nothing. Silence is a thing, too.

Life as we know it is far more than the big obvious stuff we cross paths with every day. It isn't just partners, colleagues, jobs, teachers, commutes, bills, schedules, and all the other ingredients of modern existence - though all those things are, of course, pivotal to us all.

But like soft winds that tickle your ear on an otherwise still early morning walk, there's a whole other or alternate universe of more subtle experiences around us that can shape and color our existence more than we'll likely ever know.

Like this dog.

But you have to be looking for them. Or at least be open to appreciating them when you find them. So many of us just keep going, unmoved, and I find that a little sad, like a lost opportunity.

I often use the #lifeinthemargins hashtag when I post to social media. I do so because that's how - or more precisely, where - I tend to lead mine, and in doing so I've discovered this life thing can be more fun than the daily slog might suggest. That even when you're in the midst of a seemingly endless grind, there's room for the wonder of good dogs that sit in the sun, and the places around us that value them - and life - enough to share them with us.

It's the difference between life and life well lived, and I hope you, too, can find your own version of the copper dog soon.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #downtown #urban #city #carling #street #walkabout #weird #dog #art #abstract #photography #streetphotography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The glory of the perfectly imperfect, plain leaf

Still glorious in its own way
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The same thing happens every year: We chase autumn colors, then lament the moment they fade away and are replaced by the cold greys of winter.

I’m no different than the herd, as I like a good explosive-color scene as much as anyone else.

But I noticed something this year on my half dozen or so color-seeking photowalks. Namely, it wasn’t always easy to find the color. Some trees stayed stubbornly green. Others turned less spectacular shades of yellow or brown, or went straight from green to empty. Some days, I wandered around looking for color only to realize Mother Nature was telling a different story.

Which got me thinking about why we idealize certain things in the first place. We’re so focused on the spectacular, the headline-grabbers, the biggest, best, and brightest. Yet lurking in the shadows there may be stories worth telling - only they won’t get told because everyone’s breathlessly going after the superlatives, the keepers, the perfect examples.

It’s like tourism, where the same iconic places get overrun by hordes of the same people, all looking for the same thing. The Eiffel Tower, the gondolas of Venice, the Taj Mahal. No one turns the other way and looks for the unseen alleyways of Paris, or the neighborhoods behind the tourist town, or the villages that made the marble-clad monument possible.

Pity that.

Which brings me to this imperfectly green, stained, plain-looking leaf. No one celebrates it like they do the blazing ones. It exists in the unsought shadows, the forest-equivalent of a back alley, a place where no right-thinking soul ever deliberately goes looking for inspiration.

Doesn’t make it any less worthy. Or beautiful. Or poignant in its solitude.

Popularity is overrated, anyway. And I like being able to shoot without the masses jostling me for position.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #park #thames #river #forest #trees #leaf #autumn #fall #color #colors #green #shadow #stilllife #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

These ivories will be tickled no more

End of the musical road
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This old piano has been sitting beside the road for a few days, a sad curiosity for our dog to sniff around as we walk past.

There's something particularly poignant about an instrument that's been discarded, especially something as central to the average home as a piano. Someone decided it wasn't worth fixing, keeping, fretting over. It'll never play another note again.

And in the gloomy murk of a cool evening in suburbia, its story silently ends, ignored by everyone except the curious puppy who has something new to play with - however temporary it may be.

Soon enough it'll be picked up one last time. Wherever it ends up, I quietly wish whoever was lucky enough to have - and to know how to play - this once pristine instrument holds onto the memories of the music that came from it, the connections that were made around it, and what it felt like to be surrounded by the things that matter most in life.

Music has that never-ending effect on us, even if the instruments that make it eventually wear out and end up forgotten beside a dark and lonely street.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #piano #music #street #random #urban #suburban #stilllife #night #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Bell Building, up close

Lines and reflections
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Everyone in this town knows it as The Bell Building, and everyone seems to have a story connected to it. Either they worked there, or know someone who did. #LdnONT is like that: We're all connected somehow.

In a now-vanished era when Ma Bell typified the kind of benevolent employer you'd work for for life, this represented the ideal for generations of Londoners. Those days are gone, of course, but the physical relics of their existence remain.

Bell no longer owns the place, and its massive floors are increasingly being filled by smaller, techier businesses. But its place in the psyche of this strangely old-world-thinking town is as rooted today as it's ever been. It anchors the downtown core, a gateway-like beacon for everyone coming into this troubled part of town.

Perhaps the future here will be as storied as its past. Perhaps buildings like this will collectively serve as the backdrop of a much-needed turnaround for a neighborhood that continues to struggle.

Whatever happens next, there's nothing wrong with a reflective moment on the street outside to ponder what once was and what might be.

#london #ontario #canada #bell #building #519ldn #519london #downtown #office #architecture #reflective #mirror #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #photography #monochrome #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Temporary red blanket

They're everywhere, for now
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Autumn is hardly a linear season. Colors don't change on a set, consistent schedule, and leaves don't fall on a steady pace.

Sometimes, you wake up and realize that lovely red sugar maple beside the boulevard near your house summarily decided to drop its entire canopy while you slept. Just like that.

So did all the other maple trees, because apparently they speak to each other. And the ground is now a blazing mess of wet leaves tracing an impossibly diverse mess as far as the eye can see.

The winds are howling, driven by the low, steel-grey clouds racing overhead. The ground is slick underfoot, random leaves sticking to my increasingly soggy shoes as the dog tugs on her leash and I consciously try to remain vertical.

Speaking of the dog, her ears are pinned back by the wind, and she clearly isn't enjoying herself. She keeps trying to turn for home.

It won't take long for this reddish wet landscape to morph yet again into a dull grey. Then frozen white. Then slushy brown. Then fresh-grown green.

Because the cycles never really end, and they unfold on their own schedule despite our thinking we control any of it.

We don't. But what a ride it is.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #canadian #forest #trees #autumn #fall #autumnleaves #autumncolor #color #colors #red #weather #wx #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Another year of hatred

By the book
London, ON
April 2011
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It's been a year* since 11 people were murdered in their suburban Pittsburgh synagogue, simply because they were Jews.

You'd think humanity would have long since figured it out, but you'd be wrong.

The massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue is merely another event in a long line of events that illustrate just how inhuman humans can be. We've normalized hatred, learned to make excuses for it, become adept at turning our heads away, in silence, lest we, too, inflame it still further and become victims ourselves.

But here's the thing: Silence accomplishes nothing. They'll come for you anyway if they've been listening to a particular dog whistle for long enough. All you have to be is different. That's enough.

We use words like "tolerance", as if grudgingly accepting someone else's right to exist is some kind of ideal for all of us to strive for. It isn't. We shouldn't merely tolerate differences. We should learn from them, celebrate them, enrich our own lives and the lives of our respective communities by immersing ourselves in them.

Instead we ignore the lessons of history. We allow xenophobes to occupy our highest offices, then do nothing when they spread the same extremist-baiting propaganda that fuelled previous genocides across the globe.

The synagogue in Pittsburgh remains closed. In any other synagogue, we wonder when some stranger with a gun will come for us, too, and where we'll run.

I'm under no illusions, as hatred touches us all. But for some reason, Jews stubbornly retain their spot near the top of the list of convenient targets, and after a lifetime spent looking over my shoulder, I still can't understand why.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #judaica #jew #judaism #jewish #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

* Related:

Saturday, October 26, 2019

A quarter century of parenthood

Virtually connected
London & Dryden, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
25 years ago, a little guy battled his way into the world and immediately turned us into parents.

His name was, and still is, Zachary Akiva Levy, but anyone who knows him calls him Zach. And if you know him, you love him.

He was a dream baby, a sweet munchkin who slept well and smiled at everyone he met. So easy a child was he that we rolled the dice and had his sister and brother, too. It all started with him, and our family's path turned for the richer the moment we first held him.

A lot can happen in 25 years, but he's still that chill, sweet, kind soul he's always been. And along the way he's built an adult life every parent would wish for their child. Married to his best friend, on a career path that challenges him, surrounded by a circle of friends and family. Throw in a couple of adorable cats who may or may not have escaped from a circus train and you have all the ingredients for a life well lived.

Where did all those years go? We're not entirely sure, but if we had to guess, it would revolve around enjoying the ride with him so much that we all just lost track of time.

Good kids tend to have that effect on us.

Happiest of birthdays, Zach. We all love you more than words can say, but I promise you we'll never stop sharing those words with you, anyway.

#parenthood #life #birthday #celebrate #moments #family #everything

Friday, October 25, 2019

Staring across the Hudson

They drown townhouses here, don't they?
New York, NY
November 2009
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Almost 10 years ago to the day, I stood alone on the western shore of Manhattan and pointed my lens across the Hudson River toward New Jersey.

I was fascinated by the row of townhouses facing the water, and wondered what it must be like to live with the world’s most recognizable skyline literally right in front of your window.

Sure, global warming will probably turn these units into unplanned swimming pools in a few years. But for now, it looks like a fun street to live on, and I’m sure any of us would love to drop in for a visit.

But that would be a bit creepy. So shooting with a long lens was my only alternative. Which, on reflection, is creepy in a different way. Maybe I need a new hobby.

Either way, I liked the lines. Sometimes it’s enough to stand way across the water and wonder about the distant lives of strangers.

#new #york #newyork #newyorkcity #nyc #travel #travelphotography #photography #water #geometry #perspective #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Still peering into the sky...

The things you see when you take the time to look up
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Still looking up.

Still reflective.

Still walking the neighborhood.

Still looking for inspiration.

Still peeking at windows.

Still watching the ever-changing sky.

Still taking the time to take it in.

Still looking for ways to live a better life.

Suggestions welcome.

#ldnont #ontario #canada #onelondonplace #519ldn #519london #downtown #office #building #architecture #reflective #mirror #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #photography #blue #sky #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Radiated history

Feel the heat
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Old buildings often take their sweet time to give up their secrets.

We’re coming up on a year since we moved into our lovingly rebuilt office, and not a day goes by that I don’t stop somewhere along the way and take in a detail that I somehow missed up until that very moment. Like this radiator that’s probably been here since before I was born - which should come as no surprise given this block of buildings dates back to the late 19th century.

I’m thankful that someone along the way decided to keep it around. Even though it isn’t connected to anything anymore, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a purpose in the middle of a fast-paced office environment. Indeed, it now serves to inspire us to slow down and reflect on what once was. To appreciate where we’ve come from, where we are, and what we do - as well as who laid the foundations before us, and the colleagues who now share our journey.

Yes, this radiator is a relic of a bygone era, and it no longer does what it was originally designed to do. But even relics have their place, and the concept of purpose is hardly rigid.

If this old radiator can serve a different role in a world that didn’t exist when it was first created, then perhaps we can, too.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #345ridout #infotechrg #itrg #historic #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #texture #downtown #office #building #stilllife #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

The mirror to the city

Mirror, mirror on a (very large) wall
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
If the eyes are the mirror to the soul, then some particularly reflective buildings may be seen as the windows to the communities that surround them.

So as I walked past One London Place (again) and stopped to stare (again), it should surprise no one that I took a picture (again) to remember a particularly unique moment in the life of a highly familiar structure in my little burg.

I had decided to take a lunchtime walk. I do that often - get up from my keyboard and head outside so I can stare at distant objects and unplug from the attention-killing grid that. I'd like to think it makes my writing better, but I think it feeds my soul a little bit, too. And even though I often walk through a downtown neighborhood that feels like it's spiralling out of control, I realize there's beauty and inspiration even in the most challenging of landscapes.

There indeed was some beauty to be had on this windy day. I just had to look up a bit, away from the street-level plane where the lives of countless people play out shoulder-to-shoulder, across a spectrum of experience ranging from ostentatiously successful suit-wearers in illegally-parked luxury cars to to tragically vulnerable people in the shadows of an abandoned store's entryway. The sky was putting on a show, reflected in the mirrored glass that's been witness to countless stories both above and below. It wouldn't solve the day-to-day tragedies playing out on the street below, of course. But it might offer a small, temporary diversion.

As I composed the shot, I attracted more than a few stares from the strangers around me, some of them turning skyward they tried to figure out what I was up to. Maybe I'm not the only one trying to find inspiration. Maybe I'm not the only one trying to see this city through a different lens.

#ldnont #ontario #canada #onelondonplace #519ldn #519london #downtown #office #building #architecture #reflective #mirror #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #photography #blue #sky #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The tragedy of dogs who can't vote

Vote for me, please
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It's the morning after the night before here in the Great White North, and all across this great land we awake with a king-sized, post-election-night hangover.

What does it all mean? The minority Liberal government. The rise of the let's-not-mince-words separatist Bloc Quebecois. The outright rejection of the barely-concealed-racist People's Party of Canada. A burgeoning #wexit movement. The inevitable parade of toppled cabinet ministers. The unmitigated nastiness and lies that persisted right through the victory and concession speeches and beyond.

So it's hard to tell what it all means, and we're only just beginning to unravel this massive - and massively knotted - ball of political twine. But Canadians tend to lean toward the glass-half-full side of the equation, and I'm no different. We've seen what ultra-polarization has done to the political and social landscape elsewhere, so I'm thankful that Canada held onto its humanity last night.

Which brings us to a dark, grey morning when the dog still needed to be walked, so off we went through the darkened, wet-leaf-covered neighborhood. Calli the Wonderschnauzer had no inkling of what played out last night, of course. She just wanted to follow her nose, safe in the knowledge that her doofus human-dad was firmly holding onto the other end of the leash.

So that's what she did. Because life goes on the morning after the night before. And so do we all.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #elxn43 #election #democracy #rules #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #pets #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, October 21, 2019

She wears her years well

London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Have you ever stopped and imagined what it might be like if we could visualize time?

What would it look like? How would it evolve?

I think I may now have an answer. Only it’s probably not a complete one, though.

Behold this cross-section of a once-vibrant tree, now doing duty as a fencepost beside a busy road in east London. I was able to count out about 20 rings. 20 years of growth. 20 years of cleaning the air around us before someone decided this dusty stretch of road needed an ugly stretch of fencing.

If humans wear their years in wrinkles and smile lines, I’m going to guess that trees do the same with their rings. Each one tells a story, but just like a grandmother’s face, the specific details of a tree’s life aren’t so easy to tease out at first glance, if at all.

Which is as it should be, because nature loves a good mystery. And as I stand stand beside the thrum of traffic and think about what that mystery would look like if I could divine it from the rings below me, I imagine the kind of things this tree would have encountered, the people who would have sat under its shade, the lives that would have played out around it.

Soon enough I continue my journey. I’ve got errands to run, a life to return to. And all around me, countless other trees stand silent, imperceptibly adding rings of their own, ever so slowly changing the landscape while the rest of us rush past in ignorance.

Perhaps we’d have a better appreciation of the preciousness of time if we took notice of the signs all around us of its inevitable passage.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #canadian #forest #trees #wood #monochrome #texture #adelaide #street #random #urban #stilllife #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Where I eat Smarties before an election

Yes, I eat the red ones last
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Tomorrow is election day in Canada - #elxn43 - and Socialmediastan is filled with sometimes-copied-and-painted missives about why we need to vote.

Not gonna disagree. If you don't vote, in the ideal world you would be banned from commenting on it until the next election. Democracy works as well as it does because people show up. Don't show up? Try some spending some time in a place where basic human rights aren't as entrenched as they are here.

But jumping on the every-four-years bandwagon just because all your pals are doing it? Not my thing.

There. Rant over. Thanks for indulging me.

Sadly, this campaign has been ugly. Well, uglier than usual, with candidates more often than not spending more time and energy ripping into their opponents than explaining what they stand for. As the clock ticks down, the lies become more brazen, the memorized, repeated-ad-nauseum talking points less grounded in reality. It's hard to watch.

It's also antithetical to Canadian values. This isn't who we are, and I fear for our future if this is is our new baseline for national dialog. I fear this darkness is all-pervasive. It's too easy to submit to it and assume the world is becoming a meaner, more dangerous, less inspirational place.

So my answer is a simple one: Spontaneous photo shoots with assorted Smarties. Because everyone loves color and treats, especially if they're made of chocolate.

How do YOU stave off the darkness?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #canadian #election #color #colors #smarties #stilllife #foodporn #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Racing the sun to the horizon

The rainbow just above my head
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
6 minutes before sunset, I rolled my bike to a stop on the grass of London's Harris Park, transfixed by the insane color of this one tree just off to the side of the silent concert stage.

I was late leaving the office, and knew I'd be fighting the light on the way home. Darkness is a frightening time for cyclists, and what I should have been doing was cranking the pedals to stay ahead of the fading sun.

But that color.

5 minutes before sunset, I tripped the shutter, then continued my ride beside the lazily burbling river to my left. I may or may not have stopped again a few hundred metres away, where a particularly lovely bridge looked particularly fetching against the twilight sky.

It was dark by the time I rolled into my driveway and safely tucked the pink wondermachine back into the garage. Another victorious battle between the forces of responsible logic and spontaneous exploration, another moment where I zigged when I probably should have zagged.

But, you know, that color. Who would ever want to miss out on that?

You already know my answer.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #canadian #forest #trees #autumn #fall #autumnleaves #autumncolor #color #colors #downtown #harris #park #cycling #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, October 18, 2019

Reflecting by the water...

Shades, reflected
London, ON
October 2016
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Some of our most profound memories are also our most fleeting.

Like the leaves you see here, destined to be swept from the trees within days, doomed to be heaps of soggy brown on the forest floor.

Or the water that's reflecting this scene, already flowing out of frame. Or the wind-whipped ripples that change by the second, only to disappear entirely as the winds die down.

Or the entire scene that fades to black as the sun slips beneath the horizon.

It'll look different when light returns in the morning. And it'll never again look as it does in this moment.

All the more reason to stand by the water and drink it in.

All the more reason to appreciate the small joys of life.

Because they are, in the end, not small at all.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #canadian #forest #trees #autumn #fall #autumnleaves #autumncolor #color #colors #springbank #park #thames #river #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #dslr #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Homeless close to home

Home for someone
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The red blanket haphazardly strewn across a field of rocks under an overpass for the four-lane road that borders our sleepy suburban subdivision betrays a dark secret that #LdnONT probably doesn't want to face: Homelessness is growing faster than we thought, and it's spreading to places whose residents think it's someone else's problem.

Homelessness in London always happens far away - at least that's what many Londoners will themselves to believe. It doesn't happen in our neighborhood. It's a downtown thing, and when we return to our quiet little houses in our quiet little 'hoods, we can comfortably tuck in at night, safe in the knowledge that it happens somewhere else.

It doesn't. Somewhere else is now here. Everywhere. And this picture, captured as I wandered an otherwise idyllic path through the woods just a few blocks from home, paints a different reality than the one we've tried to construct for ourselves.

The irony of this photo is stark: Look at yesterday's pic of a brilliantly colored stretch of trees. Seconds after I took THAT photo, I turned around and shot this one of some unseen stranger's temporary home. Night, meet day. At least whoever slept here had something nice to look at. If only that were enough.

What we see in a frame almost never tells the complete story. Then again, many of us aren't ready to hear the complete story, anyway. That needs to change.

#london #ontario #canada #homeless #homelessness #random #street #photography #medway #valley #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The ravine gets painted again

Strictly temporary
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Mother Nature has been busy with her paintbrush again. And given how quickly all of this disappears into the monochromatic monotony of winter, I thought a few random injections of color into my feed might be helpful.


#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #canadian #forest #trees #autumn #fall #autumnleaves #autumncolor #color #colors #medway #valley #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Forgotten red berry

Texture at our feet
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I stare down at the ground a lot.

My balance was never all that good to begin with. It’s far worse ever since my little dance with the universe. I don’t stumble around like I’ve had 6 beers, but I do have to watch myself when I’m standing or walking, and I’m always aware of my less-than-perfect ability to remain vertical.

I say that not as a complaint, mind you - I’m lucky to be here at all, so I won’t quibble about some trivial and easily managed balancing thing - but as an explanation for why I tend to walk a touch more slowly than most, somewhat more deliberately.

The upside is I notice things that would normally get missed. Like this single berry on the pavement that I came across while walking the pup early on a Saturday morning. The color was near-hypnotic, and Calli patiently sat on the sidewalk while I sized it up.

I probably could have spent a little more time cleaning the area around the berry to reduce the clutter a bit. But the journalist in me didn’t want to over-orchestrate things. In its original form, it was one of those scenes that called for a photo, because it would otherwise be gone in a blink.

I find it interesting how something most of us might categorize as a limitation has, in my world, become something of an advantage. Lucky me, then. Maybe we’d all notice the berries more often if we slowed down a bit.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #red #berry #autumn #fall #color #colors #stilllife #random #street #photography #streetphotography #stroke #survivor #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Forbidden pizza

Looking through glass
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
As you may have guessed from my feed, I've got a whole lot of weird habits. At some point they might merit diagnosis by a professional, but for now let's just call them delightful personality quirks. Yes, that sounds about right.

One of these habits, er, quirks, often happens seconds after I walk into restaurants or stores with glass display cases in front. I'll usually wait till the folks who work there look elsewhere, then quickly compose and shoot whatever's there. More often than not, I'll press the camera right up to the glass to avoid spurious reflections. It isn't elegant or thoughtful. It's quick, somewhat panicked, and way outside the bounds of normal customer behavior.

Which brings us to the Pizza Pizza outlet in our neighborhood. My wife and I were hunting and foraging for pizza, as suburbanites do, on Thanksgiving Monday evening. Our kids were waiting at home, and we were reflecting on the memorably awesome weekend that was drawing to a close. As my wife dealt with the employee at the cash, I waited for my moment and grabbed a fast shot of a pepperoni slice.

I didn't have enough time to think about the why, or the how. I don't even eat pepperoni pizza. But it looked like a fun theme with cool texture, so I cobbled it together in a blink before someone got wise to my idiocy and booted me from the store.

I got away with it. This time. Rest assured there will indeed be a next time. Because life challenges us to find enjoyment in the strangest places. Bonus points if glass, food, and family are involved.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #street #suburban #sherwood #forest #mall #retail #pizza #restaurant #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, October 14, 2019

Where the dog chooses a different direction

Old growth
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The dog and I took the road less travelled this morning.

We turned right instead of left as soon as we exited our subdivision, and ended up on a path through the woods.

Normally, Calli the wonderpuppy isn't a fan of detouring off the familiar path. She's a creature of habit, and will whine incessantly at the slightest nudge away from her usual route. She'll stand her ground, pulling back on the leash until we return from whence we came.

This morning was oddly different. Maybe it was the quiet - it's Canadian Thanksgiving today, so the streets were absolutely still. Maybe it was the time, as for the first morning in months, she slept in. Bless her little heart.

Whatever the reason, she happily bounded down the steps down into the ravine, and eagerly explored the path as we meandered alongside the winding creekbed. She even behaved herself as we encountered other dogs along the way. Well, "behaved" is relative: She didn't freak out as she usually does. That's good enough for me.

And she sat quietly as I took the occasional photo to remember an all-too-fleeting morning.

Because soon enough, we'll all be back to our usual rushed routines. The traffic will return. She'll once again be up before the sun. The colors will fade.

And we'll wonder if we've been doing enough to hold onto moments like this one. That slip into history more quickly, and quietly, than we'd like.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #actofdog #dog #puppy #schnauzerlife #dogsofinstagram #forest #trees #canadian #autumn #fall #color #colors #stilllife #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Humping dolphins out in public

Strange things atop the mailbox
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm thankful for a lot of things.

My wife, who puts up with my oafish ridiculousness and makes me a better human being.

Our kids, who make us incredibly proud with their brilliance, kindness, drive, humour, and spirit.

Friends who have become family.

My still-functioning brain that still allows me to create stuff - words, images, whatever - from nothing. And hopefully make people around me think a little. And smile a lot.

Work that challenges me, inspires me, and surrounds me with insanely smart people who teach me new things virtually every day.

A planet that offers up a never-ending stream of silliness like you see here. Because it isn't every day that a bizarro-looking sculpture of seemingly humping dolphins appears randomly on top of a Canada Post super mailbox.

I know the calendar says today's some kind of holiday. But in my world, we celebrate every day. Because every day is special, with or without humping dolphins in random places.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #thanksgiving #holiday #dolphin #random #sculpture #post #photography #parenthood #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

A spontaneous slash of red

Where it fell
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
"Never stop looking for color.
In everything.
In every place.
In everyone."

C. Levy

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #quote #quotation #qotd #forest #trees #red #canadian #maple #leaf #autumn #fall #color #colors #stilllife #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Finding color under your feet

Singular beauty
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I had been wandering around for days looking for fall colors, but due to some inexplicable mystery of nature, I hadn't found them yet.

Sure, here and there I'd see a flourish of red or orange or yellow. But nothing that would take my breath away.

Looking at everyone else's Instagram and Facebook feeds filled with ever brighter explosions of riotous color, I thought perhaps I'd been looking in all the wrong places. Wouldn't be the first time.

So as I set out on a quick walk through North London this morning, my hopes weren't high. And sure enough, as I looked around and decided which way to go, all I saw was green with a few reedy patches of yellow mixed in for good measure.

Then, as I picked a direction and followed a path into the nearby forest, I looked down and saw one leaf on the boundary between sunlight and shade. It wasn't day-glow orange, but it was bright enough to stop me. I stood over it for a moment, wondering how to capture it.

In the end, I went with simple because, well, I prefer simple. And as I packed up the camera and continued my journey, I thought about the singular leaf at my feet that proved there was indeed color, after all.

I just had to know where to look. Literally right at my feet. Funny that.

A gnawing voice deep inside me says the universe is trying to teach me about more than mere colors. I'm inclined to think the universe is correct.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #huron #street #park #thames #river #forest #trees #leaf #autumn #fall #color #colors #stilllife #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Scene from a dying mall

Retail vanishing point
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Stare down a long, non-descript service corridor in a worn-at-the-edges, small-ish local mall and what do you see?

I'm being serious. What DO you see?

Because I'm not sure I like what I'm seeing, and I hope you've got something a little brighter.

Aaaaand go...

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #urban #suburban #sherwood #forest #mall #retail #apocalypse #monochrome #leading #lines #concrete #architecture #photography #building #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, October 11, 2019

A small piece of a larger puzzle

Forgotten in the sun
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm pretty sure no one else has ever taken a photo of this particular piece of siding tucked inside a downtown #LdnONT alleyway. Not deliberately, or consciously, anyway.

Why would they? What's the point of shooting a bashed-in piece of metal that, to be frank, wasn't much to look at before it was bashed in. It's not terribly unique. Or pretty. Never was. Never will be, in any context.

And yet, here I find myself on a sunny lunchtime walk, standing in the alleyway between a barber and a burger joint, staring at it as if it has an intrinsic value that no one else recognized. After sizing it up for a couple of minutes, I conclude it doesn't. It's as meh as it looks.

But it's still part of the fabric of this place. Still a small, all-too-easily-ignored piece of a larger, not-always-desirable - yet still intriguing and integral - puzzle that is my downtown neighborhood. So many of us live and/or work in this admittedly imperfect place, but I doubt many of us slow ourselves down long enough to soak in details like this one.

And if we're not seeing the little puzzle pieces, can we truly appreciate the overall puzzle? What are we missing if we don't peek into the forgotten corners of the places where we live?

Maybe we don't want to know. But I'm guessing we need to.

#london #ontario #canada #downtown #urban #city #dundas #street #monochrome #photography #streetphotography #alley #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

On the outside, looking in

What once was. What could still be.
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Remember when we were kids, and we'd stand on the outside looking in through a window? We'd cup our hands around our eyes to block the light and hopefully get a glimpse of what was going on inside.

It was a pretty innocent, pure thing to do, a simple manifestation of a child's boundless curiosity.

I've got news for you: It isn't so cute when you're still doing it as an adult. But most of you know I never grew up. And I'm still insanely curious. Especially when so many empty storefronts now line our city's streets.

Every one of them has a story, but it isn't always so easy to tease out. So we can either walk on past and ignore the obvious. Or we can look closer at the here and now and try to imagine what was, and what might be.

I found this one on York Street, near my office. It was in pretty good shape compared to others in the area, and if I squeezed my eyes just so, I could imagine it coming back to life, to something an owner might be proud of, or a member of the local community might look forward to visiting and supporting.

The world has changed, though, and tired old buildings are no longer the engines of local commerce that they once were. The pool of wannabe-retailers is shrinking by the day, as are the customers who might have come here in another era. We shop on our phones now. Our local landscape is drying up, and that's painfully obvious through this window. And others nearby.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope there's another act in store for this place. But a look around this bleak streetscape reinforces the sad reality that renewal may not come here anytime soon. What we all lose in the process is harder to appreciate.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #urban #downtown #york #street #monochrome #still #life #stilllife #photography #building #community #crisis #hope #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Stopping by the river to take in the view

Feeling reflective
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm lucky enough to live in a town - #LdnONT - that has a river running through it. I'm also lucky that some wise souls years ago decided to build a bike path alongside said river. Gee, sounds like the premise for a good movie, doesn't it?

Cinematic pipe dreams notwithstanding, I get really good views on my bike commute every morning and afternoon - and fall's arrival means they're getting better by the day.

I was kind of rushing the other night. The light was fading, and I had to get home at a reasonable hour. I had already left the office later than I wanted - a common thing with me, apparently - and I was mashing the pedals a little harder than usual to make up the time.

But to my right, the river kept peeking through the line of trees between the path and the water, and I couldn't stop staring. I know: Recipe for disaster.

Eventually, a super-fast photo shoot at a convenient pull-off point was called for. Not because I had the right camera - I didn't - or the light was particularly good - it wasn't. But because we already don't get enough opportunities to stop and smell the proverbial roses. Or, in this case, stop and take in the fast-changing leaves by the quietly flowing river.

Because before long, they, too, will be gone. And I'd at least like to be left with some kind of memory, even if it means getting home a couple of minutes later than planned.

#london #ontario #canada #springbank #park #thames #river #forest #trees #autumn #fall #color #colors #reflection #reflective #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything