Tuesday, July 14, 2020

They could have been wine

Scattered fruit
London, ON
May 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The grapes of wrath, inexplicably dumped on a quiet suburban street.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #suburban #street #photography #grape #grapes #fruit #missedthewinebottle #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Watching baseball with his son

Just the two of us
Toronto, ON
July 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Once upon a time, on an afternoon that now feels like it was part of another lifetime, my little family went to a ballgame.

Baseball being baseball, there were many stretches of time during which not a whole lot was going on on the field. So I did what I’ve been doing since childhood-me sat in Montreal’s old Jarry Park during Expos games: I took in the scenery.

The game wasn’t an important one: Just one of an endless homestand in the middle of another season without hope of making the playoffs. So the upper decks were largely empty.

Or were they? The introvert in me smiled when I noticed two people sitting all by themselves, almost as if they were deliberately trying to put as much distance between themselves and anyone else.

I couldn’t not reach my lens way across the field and capture the scene. I hope they enjoyed the game. I hope they did a better job taking in the action on the field than I did.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #throwback #bluejays #rogers #centre #stadium #baseball #sports #sportsing #urban #streetphotography #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, July 13, 2020

Dog 1, Monday 0

Sphinx-like
London, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Some days these days are harder than others, yet I challenge anyone to stare at a dog - like this one - and not find some glimmer of lightness from the experience.

Calli doesn't know it's a Monday. She doesn't know the world is creaking at the seams. She doesn't appreciate that powerful politicians are reigniting the sins of the past. Or simply behaving like entitled pigs at the public trough.

She doesn't understand economic instability, unemployment, failing local businesses, or why punks driving old German cars with giant Canadian Tire cheese-cutter wings on the trunk and no exhaust systems are tearing through her neighborhood with annoying regularity.

She's just happy to be with her humans. To snuggle right up to them when she thinks they - nay, we - need her most.

Which is often these days. Because dogs make everything better, even if everything else about them - from waking up to the sound of her puking to almost losing an arm every time she sees a squirrel - seems to suggest we were insane to have ever gotten her.

But it's a good kind of insane. And she's a good kind of dog. On a Monday, and on any other day, too.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

The urban jungle to the east

You are my density
Toronto, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Thought I’d start the workweek off with a crowded view of the urban jungle.

Seems like an appropriate way to transition into what I hope is a brighter week for us all.

Unless anyone has any other ideas...

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

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Watermelon down

Gravity is always the law
London, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There’s a certain sense of poignant, trivial tragedy within this scene of a smashed watermelon in a sun-baked supermarket parking lot.

The events that led to this moment will likely remain lost to time, but it’s obvious no one was injured. Or worse. For that I’m thankful.

The only damage was to someone’s sense of anticipation. Whoever had bought it left the store hoping to indulge in a little - ok, not so little - treat when they got home. But gravity had other plans.

I’ll reserve comment on why they just left it there. Cleaning up our own mess seems to be alien to too many these days. But at least it’ll all be gone after the circling seagulls have their way with it.

And the rest of us are left with a colorful vision of what might have been.

I’d call that a worthwhile compromise. And if I was feeling particularly wistful, I might also call it a lesson to take better care of the things that make us happy.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #grocery #store #shopping #retail #random #watermelon #street #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Stumbling across an old bookstore

Literature for sale
Montreal, QC
August 2008
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The scene: Dusty, dog-eared books on a sun-drenched ledge outside a bookstore window in Old Montreal. I took this years ago, on a leisurely trip back to our old hometown, and it warms my soul every time I come across it.

That's because whenever I look back at this particular photo, I'm reminded that some scenes never get old, even if technology supposedly comes up with something better.

For the record, e-books aren't better. You don't magically stumble across them while walking the cobbled streets on a hot summer morning. You don't feel the aged paper in your hands as you idly chat with complete strangers about why Aristotle still rocks your world. You don't hear the joy in a bookseller's voice.

Algorithms may deliver the goods more efficiently. But they lost the soul of it all somewhere along the way, and no tweaks to the code will ever allow an app store to replicate the kind of experiences reflected, timelessly, in this window.

Economic models being what they are, it's entirely likely bookstores as we know them will slowly fade into history. Even if we aren't downloading e-books, these dusty, dog-eared books will eventually all arrive at our homes in Amazon boxes.

Which saddens me. Because no package on a doorstep ever ignited someone's fire for literature, and few experiences spark memories better than a chance encounter with a delightful old bookstore in the city you once called home.

#montreal #quebec #canada #throwback #book #bookstores #bookstagram #reading #read #retail #random #city #urban #street #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, July 10, 2020

Green leaves on a sunny morning

Life goes on by the roadside
London, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Everything looks better in the early morning light.

But we'll never notice if we're so busy that we never look down. Or up. Or over.

It was my turn to notice the other day, an unassuming plant in a lovely little garden hard up against the curb. The dog and I take this route most mornings, long before the rest of the neighborhood wakes up. And most mornings, I'm too busy holding her leash tightly and scanning for squirrels, rabbits, and birds who constantly attract our schnu-girl's attention.

Schnauzers being schnauzers, you're either ready for the freak-out, or you risk dislocating your shoulder.

But this morning was different. The air was already got, humid, and perfectly still. It was even worse when shade gave way to the beating sun. She was uncharacteristically chill, so instead of fighting her, I held her leash lightly and she trotted calmly. Quite unlike her.

Which gave me just enough time to notice this plant. Which she graciously allowed me to shoot - no pulling! - before we continued on our way.

By the time we got back home, the sun was even higher in the sky, the gentle shadows and quiet streets now replaced by blinding light and near-normal traffic.

I made a note to myself to start taking these walks even earlier. Because I fear we've been missing too many moments like this.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #green #plant #plants #leaf #sun #shadow #lines #geometry #nature #texture #urban #suburban #landscape #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, July 09, 2020

After the last train...

A park in the sky
St. Thomas, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If you live in or near St. Thomas, Ontario, you're likely familiar with the giant rail trestle that dominates the intersection of Sunset Drive and Fingal Line.

This iconic structure was built in 1930, and when the railway disappeared, forward-thinking patrons of the community stepped in to turn it into one of the most innovative parks in the country.

We've been wanting to come to the St. Thomas Elevated Park for what seems like forever, and we finally shook off pandemic fear - it's a thing - and pointed the car south. We're glad we did.

There's something cathartic about standing on a bridge that's been lovingly converted into parkland, the landscape spreading out below you, offering up surprises every way you turn. It's a simple thing, really, this ability to be wowed by height.

But there's more to it. It's a resonant spot, a perfect place to plunk down on a bench and idly watch small clumps of intermittent visitors take it all in. I'm already planning to return here with a laptop, as it would be an awesome place to write from - and maybe even dial into a videoconference or two.

Pandemic life means we aren't exploring as much as we'd like to. We deliberately separate ourselves from others, and venture out only when we need to - as opposed to when we simply want to.

Time for that to change, even if it’s only tentative for now. I think we'll start with this place.

#stthomas #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #elevated #park #railway #train #bridge #landscape #green #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Goodbye, Aunt Jemima & Mrs. Butterworth

No longer sweet, or welcome
London, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Seismic change is coming to the land of pancake syrup thanks to recent decisions to kill off the #AuntJemima and #MrsButterworths brands. This is long overdue, and anyone who disagrees with me can pound sand.

The purist in me would say this wasn't real syrup to begin with. I grew up in Quebec, where pure maple syrup isn't so much a confection as it is a culinary religion.

But we know most grocery shoppers don't much care about religion. They want it fast and cheap. And these two brands have always filled the bill, overt racism notwithstanding.

Getting to lie down in the middle of an otherwise empty aisle for one last fast photographic kick at the racist can before these two disappear for good? Totally worth it.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #grocery #store #shopping #retail #loblaws #orange #syrup #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

When GPS loses its way

It only looks like I crossed the border
London, ON
July 2020
This image originally shared on Instagram


When technology fails, it often does so in a fascinating matter.

Exhibit A: This summary screen from my smartwatch following a quick wander around the block with the dog. The route is about 1 kilometre, and it normally takes 15-ish minutes because Calli the Wonderschnauzer can't tell time and she walks like she's drunk.

For reasons I can't quite explain, one km magically become 96, and instead of strolling an easy loop around the block, my watch says I blasted into the middle of Lake Huron in less time than it takes to make fresh pizza. 393 kilometres/hour? I'll take it.

It was probably a spurious data point or two, a glitch in the GPS network, or maybe it was a rift in the space-time continuum. But it made for a fun moment along a walk that might have otherwise felt like any other.

I wonder what uniqueness awaits us on our next neighborhood adventure. I wonder if I'll ever be clocked this fast again.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #screenshot #gps #samsung #galaxy #watch #not #so #smartwatch #technology #fail #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Speechless underneath a painted sky

Scene from a parking lot
London, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Never miss an opportunity to have your breath taken away, especially when the forces of the universe were kind enough to literally paint the sky above your head.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #weather #wx #cloud #clouds #sun #sky #nature #urban #suburban #landscape #photography #masonville #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, July 06, 2020

Why I keep returning to Boston

Windows to a not-quite-vanished past
Boston, MA
April 2006
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I've been slowly flipping through the archives lately, looking for photos that bring me comfort.

I do that often these days, a semi-automatic response to turbulence, a silent attempt to find beauty in memory when it may otherwise be difficult to find it in real-time.

Architecture often seems to offer up the right kind of comfort to me. I look at scenes like this and imagine the stories playing out behind each window.

I think about the timelessness of architecture, the ability of these very same structures to outlive those who built them, to stand witness not just to today, but to a whole lot of tomorrows, as well.

And I imagine slinging my camera over my shoulder and heading out for another grand optical adventure in search of monolithic scenes like this that make me feel grounded amid groundlessness.

Because we all need anchors to hold onto. Even when they're little more than snapshots of moments lived years ago in places far away, when everything seemed just a little simpler than they do today.

#boston #throwback #random #urban #street #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, July 05, 2020

28 years...

Beginnings
Laval, QC
July 1992
This photo originally shared on Instagram

28 years ago today, I married my best friend.

Siri tells me that was 10,227 days ago, but the passage of time can be a funny thing. It can feel like it happened yesterday. It can also feel like I’ve known her forever. Indeed, both are true.

What matters more than anything is how each moment feels. Or how much we pack into it. Or how tightly we try to hold onto it. Or wish for more just like it.

I do that a lot with her. In 28 years, we’ve crafted a family, with kind, smart, passionately driven kids who’ve grown into accomplished young adults. Our house is truly a home, a welcoming place amid a sometimes turbulent world.

Everything we have and are started with Debbie seeing teenaged-lifeguard me and deciding I was the one. Everything we have and are is far more than I ever deserved. But I’ll take it, and will continue to count my lucky stars with each day we’ve been given.

So as much as the calendar reminds me that today is a milestone, I’ve always promised her that the other days - the non-milestone ones, the everyday days - will be just as worthy of celebration, too. She makes them so.

Maybe that’s the answer to this life thing. But even if it isn’t, today I got another day with my best friend to try to figure it out. Getting a day with her is always reason enough to celebrate, and it’s a gift I promise I’ll never take for granted.

Happy anniversary, my infinitely patient love. You are my world.

#LiveLaughLevy #family #everything

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Where Bessie pees

It's my pasture and I'll peen if I want to
London, ON
July 2008
This photo originally shared on Instagram

On a blisteringly hot July day a bunch of years ago, I got on my bike and pointed it toward the agricultural hinterlands just to the north of our suburb. My mission: Find cows.

As you can see from the photo, I succeeded. Not too far up the road, I found a herd of particularly friendly Bessies* hanging out in a paint-by-numbers pasture.

What I hadn't planned on was one of them peeing in the middle of the shoot.

The lesson is, I think, a simple one, and it's stuck with me ever since I stood on the other side of the fence that day: Plan all you want, but the universe will always write its own story. It may not be the story you originally intended, but it's just as likely it'll be even more worth sharing when you get back. Just roll with it and revel in whatever happens to play out.

I'll never know why Bessie #8 peed as soon as I pointed my lens at her, and I'm reasonably certain she had no clue, either.

But I'm glad she did, because an otherwise pastoral scene became something else entirely. Something even more worthy of a smile every time I've thought about it since.

I think I need to point my bike north in search of cows again. Maybe Bessie #8 is still around. Maybe she has another surprise in store for me.

* Every time I encounter a cow, I call her, "Bessie". I don't know why I assign terms of endearment to farm animals, but it has always felt like a fun thing to do. Just add it to the what-makes-me-odd.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #random #pissed #cows #farm #grass #green #street #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, July 03, 2020

The joy of sleep

Her happy place
London, ON
June 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Dogs sure do sleep a lot, don't they?

Why is that?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Let your fingers do the walking

When paper ruled
London, ON
April 2008
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Once upon a time, this was our Google.

White pages for regular folks, yellow pages for businesses, blue pages for government. If you lived in a really fancy part of the world, they put them all in the same book and endless hours of fun awaited children on Sunday afternoons who had grown tired of the dog-eared encyclopedia volumes in the basement. Or so I've been told.

These days, I can't even imagine what it would be like to revert to paper when complex answers are now just a voice command away. But part of me still misses the gravity of a big old phone book. It brought me comfort knowing it sat in its designated spot in the corner of the kitchen, ready to answer whatever question you could throw at it. New phone book day was a strangely happy day in my world. Or so I've been told.

As I ponder a planet whose definition of work for many of us now revolves around assembling bits into various value-added forms from our physically distanced home offices, then sharing them with colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders in similarly physically distanced home offices, I ponder what we've lost in the shift from physical to virtual.

It was inevitable, of course, and no one can argue that it hasn't created opportunities phone-book-kid-me couldn't have dreamed of. But there was something visceral, powerful, real about letting your fingers do the walking, about feeling the flip of the super-thin pages across your fingertips, the tiny breeze they left in their wake.

It'll never hold a candle to the efficiency of today's tech-based tools. But efficiency doesn't necessarily leave you with memories like this.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #stilllife #throwback #phone #book #yellow #white #pages #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

When countries celebrate birthdays

Wave the flag
London, ON
October 2008
This photo originally shared on Instagram


You're not just seeing things: Your feed is a lot more red-and-white than usual today. It's Canada Day here in the Great White North, an opportunity to celebrate our country's 153rd birthday and reflect a little in the process.

But I'm not going to cut-and-paste an ode to the nation today. Maybe it’s pandemic life weighing on me, or the unmitigated fecal matter show playing out to the south. Whatever the reason, now is not the time for soft-edged platitudes explaining why Canada rocks.

We know it does. Let’s move on.

More significant in my mind is the pickle that now defines life on Planet Earth, where we as a nation fall short, and what we, both collectively and individually, must do to close the obvious and not-so-obvious gaps.

Part of that exercise involves recognizing what we’ve been blessed with, and not sitting back and assuming that’s enough. Canada’s an awesome country, full stop, which means we owe it to those less blessed to do more.

Sounds like a very Canadian way to celebrate a birthday.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #canadaday #ohcanada #madeincanada #iamcanadian #fĂȘteducanada #holiday #mapleleaf #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - Trump & Russia

Every once in a while, I come across an article that moves me. Or scares me.

This searingly honest perspective in the New York Times from former U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice managed to do a little bit of both, and I recommend you read it, as well.

Then again, if you want to sleep tonight, maybe you won’t want to.

By Susan E. Rice
Published June 30, 2020
The New York Times


Scanning a Boston neighborhood

The things we do and don't see
Boston, MA
April 2006
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Do you ever stare at an urban scene like this and wonder about all the lives and stories playing out within it?

I do that often, and almost always end my musings with a stark realization: There's no way to really know what's going on in any of them.

Something to keep in mind, I think, the next time any of us decides to fire up a social media app and weigh in on something or other.

We simply never know what life is like for others.

Words to live by.

#boston #throwback #random #urban #street #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, June 29, 2020

Sharing a shake and a moment

Sweet scene
St. Thomas, ON
June 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Another scene from our ice cream adventure. Another moment in our little family’s life that I hope feels just as real in our minds years from now as it does now.

None of this is earth-shaking. It doesn't generate headlines. Or merit the attention of strangers. Whether we do or do not consume an ice cream on a hot summer afternoon won't change the course of anyone else's lives.

Or, to be honest, ours.

But here's the thing: Small things add up. And when you're looking at a life and wondering why it matters as much as it does, it's the combined total of tiny moments just like this one that give it just that much more color and flavor.

As I was shooting this seemingly weird pic, my wife took a photo of me cross-legged in the grass, doing what I do. And she posted it to Facebook. Again, nothing earth-shattering to anyone who doesn't know us. But very much a reflection of who we are and what makes us tick.

I can't imagine living any other way, with anyone else aside from my remarkable little family that understands why ice cream runs and impromptu photo shoots in the grass and games of catch with the dog matter as much as they do.

That's what sweetness feels like.

#stthomas #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #shaws #icecream #milkshake #food #foodie #foodporn #random #sun #grass #texture #green #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Ice Cream Sunday

Shadows on a blue wall
St. Thomas, ON
June 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We drove 45 minutes out of town today so we could get ice cream.

Why the heck would we do that?

Pandemic life means finding tiny opportunities for normalcy wherever and whenever possible, and ice cream with some of my fave peeps seemed eminently reasonable.

Clearly I'm less than reasonable, because not only did I not get an ice cream - the existential cherry milkshake beckoned - but I trained my lens on the pastel-blue-painted concrete-block wall just to the right of the hastily built ordering window.

Because nothing says ice cream like blue-painted concrete.

For the record, the shake was epic; the folks I shared it with even more so.

May whatever you choose to do - or eat, or spend time doing - be just as sweet.

#stthomas #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #shaws #icecream #random #sun #shadow #lines #geometry #texture #blue #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Light from far away

No ruler needed
London, ON
June 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The light from the sun travelled 93 million miles so it could end up magically squeezed through our fence and painted on our grass.

But no one would have known had we not tip-toed through the patio door in our bare feet and played with the lines and angles until we were pleased with the result.

Which reinforces a couple of truths that seem especially worth remembering today:

- Things that happen far, far away can absolutely touch us in a profound manner mere steps from home.

- We'll never discover the magic playing out mere steps away from where we sit unless we throw caution to the wind and get out there.

So if anyone needs me, I'll be out there, in my bare feet, waiting for the sun to reach out and paint my world some new shade of wonder.

As ever, there's plenty of room on the lawn, literal and figurative, for anyone who wants to join in.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #green #grass #sun #shadow #lines #geometry #nature #texture #plants #urban #suburban #landscape #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, June 27, 2020

#Pride matters, now more than ever


I wish I could meet the folks who originally gave the #Pride movement its name and share a long-overdue thanks.

Because anyone who’s ever been singled out by those who see uniqueness as a weakness knows full well what it feels like to have to keep yourself below the radar.

You find yourself wanting to hide who you are. You avoid sharing details about yourself for fear it’ll invite more scrutiny. You keep your head down and cringe when you hear people begin to single you out because of who you are. Or more precisely, who they think you are, misguided as they may be.

You fear what makes you you. Rather, you fear people finding out. It’s the opposite of pride, because the last thing you’d ever want to do is call yourself out, or draw attention to yourself. Because you never know.

But that’s the beauty of the Pride movement. It reinforces the need to never live in fear because of who we are. It reminds us that we’re all part of the solution no matter what labels we may or may not carry. It reaffirms why we can never be silent when our fellow humans are being singled out. It ensures we all have the right to love and be loved, and no one else has the right to stand in our way.

It’s especially important now, at this moment in history. But let’s not kid ourselves: This has always mattered, and it always will. And we make this planet a better place by opening our eyes, by using our voices, by acting.

I count myself lucky to work side-by-side with colleagues at @infotechRG who have always made this a priority.

Because we’re all better people by not only having pride in ourselves, but in also embracing it in those whose lives touch ours.

Because we’re either human. Or we aren’t. And silence has no place here.

#pridemonth2020 #prideatwork #lgbtq #diversitymatters #PrideToronto #PrideLdn2020 #itrg

Scene from a glass storefront

Le chic
London, ON
December 2016
This photo originally shared on Instagram
So my wife and I are walking through the mall a few years back. As I often do, my eyes are wandering around the environment, scouring for anything that's changed, that grabs my attention, that's worthy of a moment. Debbie's used to my creative weirdness. Part of me thinks it's one of the reasons why she married me.

We come across a store with a delightfully stark display, and I can't stop staring. Not because I'm a potential customer, mind you - my fashion sensibilities run more toward hoodies and cargo shorts - but because the aesthetic is impossible to ignore.

I think it would be a fun scene to shoot, but I'm in the middle of a crowded mall. After a few seconds churning it in my mind, I decide it's too much fun to pass up.

So I give my wife the look I've given her so many times since we first met, and detour toward the front window. Glass being glass, I have to press my smartphone right up against the surface to avoid icky reflections. I can feel the stares as I compose the shot amid the knots of shoppers walking, school-of-fish-like along the tiled corridor. I'm used to it, though, and I get why. It's abnormal behavior, and it attracts attention.

I'm done in seconds, and skip off to rejoin my wife, who has strategically walked a little ways on (smart woman!) It's just another weird little moment in the midst of my weird, little - and happy - life.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #shopping #mall #masonville #public #photography #retail #retailtherapy #retaildesign #retaillife #stilllife #glass #display #design #mannequin #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, June 26, 2020

Many layers of pants

Stacked
London, ON
December 2016
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I find myself missing scenes that were once commonplace.

Like this stack of neatly folded jeans. Relatively neatly folded. Relative to my admittedly limited folding skills, that is.

I took this a few years back in a hopefully-still-in-business store in a mall that's spent most of the pandemic gathering dust. It recently reopened as part of the province's gradual/staged/phased approach to restarting the broader economy. And at some point in the near future, when I need something I can't get any other way, I'll don my face mask and venture in.

But I won't wander to the back of the store for a spontaneous shoot under the display lights. I won't linger. I won't see it as an entertaining way to spend a bit of time away from the usual pressures of life. Because even the most basic act of local commercialism has been reduced to the cold calculus of managing risk:

- Get in
- Get your stuff
- Pay for it
- Get out
- Avoid others in the process
- Don't get sick

I cringe at the thought of mall and store employees, lucky to still have jobs, but still going into work terrified that the very thing that puts food on the table can also infect them and those closest to them.

And I miss the kind of carefree experiences that resulted in photos like this one, and hope the neatly folded jeans - and the healthy employees who folded them - are still there when I can actually take the time to take it all in through a lens.

If I knew then what I know now, perhaps I'd have lingered a little longer and appreciated the seemingly mundane moment just a little bit more.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #retail #store #shopping #stilllife #throwback #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Talking Contact Tracing This Monday

Canada’s COVID-19 contact tracing app goes live in Ontario next week - and you’ve probably got lots of unanswered questions.

I’m thrilled to be joining Naomi Parness Monday night (June 29, 8pm ET) to walk through every aspect of this critical new resource - and answer every question you’ve got.

Hope you can join us: Info & Registration

#VirtualJCC | VirtualJCC.com | Prosserman JCC | UJA Federation of Greater Toronto

Thursday, June 25, 2020

After the rain falls...

Soon it'll be gone
London, ON
July 2015
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Don't cry because it rained.

Rejoice in the fact that something breathtaking was left behind.

Then head outside and dance in the puddles if you're so inclined.

Hint: You should be so inclined.

I'll see you there. Shoes off.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #weather #wx #rain #water #stilllife #monochrome #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Driving around the Monopoly board

Open-top motoring at its finest
Delray Beach, FL
December 2007
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I played a lot of Monopoly as a kid, and for reasons that remain murky to this day, I always wanted to be the car.

Thimbles and wheelbarrows didn't turn my crank, and if I was going to meander around a multicolored board doing my best impression of a heartless king of capitalism, it made sense to do it in style.

At least that's what eight-year-old me once thought.

Who am I kidding? I was still calling dibs on the car well into adulthood.

Old habits die hard, after all.

#delray #beach #florida #throwback #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #monopoly #game #board #stilllife #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Sleeping like a puppy

She dreams of play
London, ON
June 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
She plays so hard that sometimes she falls asleep on her favorite ball.

I'm pretty sure there's a lesson in there for the rest of us.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, June 22, 2020

An old Ford shines brilliantly in the sun

Endings...
London, ON
June 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Sometimes you remember photos because of when they were taken.

I came across this mint condition classic car in a parking lot last June a few blocks away from my downtown #ldnont office. I had taken a lunchtime walk, and remember the sun was so brilliantly bright that I couldn’t compose on my smartphone’s screen.

But you don’t come across Ford Fairlanes all that often, so I squinted my way through a very fast shoot before I headed back to work.

A few minutes after I got back, my wife called. Her father had died.

Sometimes pictures become markers. Sometimes you take them without knowing that they’re destined to forever mark beginnings. Or endings.

Father’s Day without him isn’t really Father’s Day anymore. I have no words to share with my wife that would soften his absence. I can only remember moments, many of which I was lucky enough to both shoot and share with him in the years we had him.

Which largely explains why I waited until today to post it.

I can't help but think he would have liked this car. I can’t help but think we would have liked one last look back.

#dad #zaida #family #everything

Dogs, roadsides, and flowers

Her latest find
London, ON
June 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I’m learning to pay closer attention when I walk the dog.

Like yesterday morning, when she happened upon a small patch of pink wildflowers growing just beside the curb and decided to thoroughly investigate them with her super-schnauzer-nose.

Once upon a time, I would have idly let her do her thing. I might have checked the weather on my phone. Or my inbox. And then I would have gently tugged her leash so we could get back on our way.

Back then, I watched the clock more than I watched her. Walks competed for time on the same sliver of a clock face as everything else. And all those slivers added up. The upshot for a small pup who couldn’t tell time: We had to finish up and get home.

Then one day I gently tugged her leash during one of our many, many stops along the way. And she whimpered.

I'm not sure why she did, but I knew enough by her tone that she was not pleased. So I crouched down as she stared right back at me, and we lingered like that for a couple of minutes. We don't speak the same language, but I'm pretty sure she was telling me to stop rushing her.

I'm slowly getting better at letting go of the clock when we're out, which is challenging given her propensity to eat everything she finds. But along the way, I've learned to soak up the small moments we'd otherwise lose in the rush to finish up and get back home.

And as I watch her follow her nose through places I'd otherwise miss, I come across tiny little wonders. Like these pink flowers.

Turns out those slivers on the clock face are a little more forgiving than we once thought. Turns out it doesn't take all that much more out of the day to appreciate the journey a little more.

Sometimes it takes a puppy to show you the way.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #flower #rose #pink #nature #texture #plants #life #stilllife #urban #suburban #street #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, June 21, 2020

More than a Hallmark Day

Frasier and his buddies
London, ON
July 2008
This photo originally shared on Instagram
These three remarkable human beings made me a dad.

I wasn't always as adept within the role as I could have been, and more often than not stumbled my way through the process. I'm still not all that adept, and I still stumble. Often.

But my heart has always been in the right place, and at every turn I've had the best possible partner to learn from. I am the dad that I am because I was lucky enough to convince a remarkable woman to spend her life with me.

Never let it be said that doofuses like me can't somehow figure it all out.

Not a day goes by that I don't pinch myself at how lucky I've been to have been gifted these kids. And what a journey it's been because of my wife.

Not always linear. Or predictable. Or easy. But I wouldn't change a thing.

Why am I writing this today? The calendar says it's Father's Day. Anyone who knows me knows I'm no fan of Hallmark Holidays, or the strictly commercial sentiment behind them.

But today is a day in its own right. And anyone who knows me also knows I'm a fan of celebrating the everyday. Today is worthy, then, because it's another day. And we're all lucky enough to be here to soak it in.

What better way to do that than by staying close to those who matter most? We shouldn't need a calendar to remind us of this.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #live #laugh #love #levy #fathersday #parenthood #monochrome #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Cycling in Shanghai

Time out
Shanghai, China
May 2012
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Practicing street photography in a place where autocracy reigns may not be the wisest thing I've ever done. But sometimes you just have to get the shot, anyway.

I snagged this moment just over eight years ago, during a brief break from a tech conference half a world away from home.

And what I found there wasn't terribly different than what I'd witnessed anywhere else: Regular folks going through the paces of everyday life, just trying to make it through today, and hopefully tomorrow, as well.

I think we all need to wander a little more. And when we do, open eyes and minds probably wouldn't hurt, either.

What we learn along the way might come as a pleasant surprise.

#shanghai #china #throwback #may2012 #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #random #urban #street #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - Losing a mom

Today's #IfYouReadOneThingToday article is a heartbreaking vignette of loss and life. Admittedly, it's a hard read, but no one ever said important stories had to be easy ones.

Beneath the black rocks
By Danuta Hinc (@DanutaHinc)
Published June 8, 2020
Popula

We're gonna need a bigger boat

I just spent 3 months on a leaky boat
Shanghai, China
May 2012
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Two crew members stand at the bow of a rusty Russian freighter as it carefully picks its way through the crowded Huangpu River that snakes its way through Shanghai.

As I stand on the shore and train my long lens on the surreal sight, I wonder what they're thinking, if they're as amazed by this place as I am.

Or perhaps they've been through here before, and are simply taking a break from the monotony of on-board life.

Soon enough, the ship disappears around a bend. I'll never get an answer to the question, and that is as it should be. Because some things deserve to remain mysteries.

Sometimes it's enough to briefly cross paths with strangers, then wonder ever after where they ended up.

To this day, I hope their travels were safe and peaceful. They'll never know I was there, of course, but it still feels right to cast that wish out there. Because you never know.

This life thing is quite the trip, no?

#shanghai #china #river #throwback #may8 #2012 #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, June 19, 2020

Freezing breakfast in time

Fluffy and very, very temporary
London, ON
March 2009
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm an adult, so I no longer play with my food. Much. But I have been known to shoot it with a camera.

To wit, these pancakes. Artfully created out of nothing more than batter and love by my ever-awesome wife. Who waited patiently while I positioned the plate just so in front of the kitchen window and composed this moment. Who puts up with my often-spontaneous outbursts of bizarro creativity, even though she didn't sign up for any of this all those years ago.

So to the uninitiated, these are simple pancakes. But in reality they reflect the story of us, the story we tell every time we gather around the kitchen table and share some time together.

Which hopefully explains why I want to have something to remember - even a silly picture of pancakes - after everything's been put away.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #pancakes #food #foodie #family #life #remember #stilllife #photography #throwback #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #dslr #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Beechcraft's finest creation

Timeless in flight
St. Thomas, ON
June 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I remember the first time I saw it, a stainless steel vision from long ago, swooping over the hangars before circling back for a perfect landing on its tail-dragger landing gear, its nose pointed diagonally back to the sky where it had just been.

Any machine that can haul itself off the surface of the planet is special, but some aircraft are more special than others. The Beechcraft Model 18 first took flight in 1937, and Beech kept making them until 1970. The timeless ones are almost guaranteed that "special" label, and it's hard to argue this design doesn't deserve it.

The apron was littered with all sorts of crazily historic planes that windy late afternoon, all in town for the kind of airshow that I hope we get to enjoy again someday. But all I wanted to do was walk a wide circle around this flying piece of art and take it in.

Maybe soon I'll get to do this again.

#ldnont #stthomas #municipal #airport #ontario #canada #beech #beechcraft #throwback #aviation #flight #aircraft #airplanes #history #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #dslr #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Tired old wheels

The places we will (hopefully) go
Deerfield Beach, FL
December 2011
This photo originally shared on Instagram
At first glance, these are just a couple of old bikes locked up under a subtropical sun, barely worth a first look, let alone a second.

But I’m drawn to the scene as powerfully today as I was the day I shot it so many years ago.

Because any bike, even an old one that probably wasn’t all that valuable or drool-worthy when it was new, retains that near-magical ability to transport nearly anyone nearly anywhere, regardless of their station in life. It’s a transformative, life-changing technology that doesn’t get anywhere near the respect it deserves.

Which is a bit of a shame, because everyone deserves to have their life brightened by possessing the ability to crank a pedal and go somewhere else, or new, or special, or necessary, or all of the above.

And it all starts with humble machines like these, standing ignored in the beating sun, waiting for their next chance to change someone’s life.

#deerfield #beach #florida #throwback #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #bikes #cyclist #cycling #is #life #geometry #street #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Sleeping with her eyes open

This spot is just right
London, ON
June 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Some days I have a hard time figuring out where I'm at or what I should do next, and lately that seems to be happening more frequently than it usually does.

I find spending time with this little being to be helpful in navigating the rougher patches of pandemic life.

Because she seems to have figured it all out. And while I can't curl up in a ball quite as effectively as she can, I somehow feel better when I see her do the same.

Be more like dogs, then. I think I can handle that.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, June 15, 2020

Empty bus shelter

A light in the darkness
London, ON
June 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It’s four minutes to midnight on Trafalgar Street on the east side of London.

It’s dark, deserted, and so silent the only thing I can hear is my heart beating in my head as I pull the car over and step outside into the cool, still air.

The bus shelters, one virtually every block, had caught my attention, oasis-like pools of light in the inky black shadows where no one dares to go.

The occasional bus passes by, but no one gets on or off. And if they ever did, I can’t imagine they’d ever want to stand inside one of these. Another pandemic reality.

Yet they still stand, ignored sentinels on a dark stretch devoid of life.

And so it felt right to capture the moment.

Because even after everyone’s moved on, there’s still a story waiting to be told. And sometimes you just have to stop the car late at night so you can be the one to bring it to life.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #urban #suburban #street #night #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, June 14, 2020

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - Louis Caldera Defines Leadership

Louis Caldera served as Secretary of the Army during the Clinton Administration, and his open letter to West Point Academy graduates defines, in no uncertain terms, what leadership must be, both in this age of uncertainty, and beyond.

In the wake of Donald Trump's address to the graduating class - which, to no one's surprise, was a cynical joke from the get-go - this is necessary reading.

Here's the link: An Open Letter on Leadership to Graduating West Point Cadets


A year...

Like father, like daughter
Laval, QC
August 2016
This photo originally shared on Instagram
A year ago today, my wife lost her dad, our kids lost their Zaida Irving.

It hardly seems like a year, but time has a funny way of moving faster than we’d like, of slipping away from our grasp no matter how tightly we try to hold on.

We thankfully carry a lifetime of indelible memories both of and with him, and I’m comforted by the fact that our kids knew from an early age just how special he was, and how much he adored them. They continue to share stories, experiences, moments, and they always smile, from the inside, as they tell them.

I’m also comforted by the memories my wife carries, that she had the kind of father-daughter relationship with him that any child could ever hope for.

This life thing is hard. It isn’t forever for any of us. We will all lose those closest to us, and we will all eventually be lost, as well. Which is why our sole priority should ideally be making the most of the fleeting time we’ve been given.

Looking back at the overlap between our lives and his, I smile at the fact that we all did indeed make the most out of the time we had with him, and we’re better people now because of it. He lived life well, and we were lucky to have had him. Anyone would have been.

Still, I wish the universe played by different rules.

#dad #zaida #family #everything

Related:


Saturday, June 13, 2020

The way it used to be...

Measure twice, cut once
London, ON
December 2011
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The relentless march of technology has pushed so many once-familiar staples into the dusty corners of history.

I remember cutting boards well from my first experiences laying newspapers out with light tables, rulers, and exacto knives.

Eventually software replaced these tools, then the newspapers themselves began their own gradual devolution. And staples like these disappeared.

I found this one a few years ago lingering in a shadowy storage room at the back of a local art studio, and it made me think about what we lose along the journey from real to virtual.

Because technology may make the process more efficient, but I doubt it'll be worth a gauzy photo vignette years from now.

Which begs the question: Are we doing enough to remember the journey?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #geometry #linear #lines #stilllife #photography #throwback #monochrome #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #dslr #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, June 12, 2020

Poetry in a clear blue sky

Got an extra hot dog?
Delray Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It's rhyming bird haiku time, for no other reason than I'm in a bird-ish mood, and we need more reasons to smile, even if they seem bizarro on the surface. Let's go...

Big bird, sky so blue
Beady eyes, looking at you
Then away she flew

#delray #beach #florida #throwback #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #bird #birds #gull #seagull #flight #blue #sky #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Here's looking at you, kid

Lasers for eyes
West Palm Beach, FL
December 2007
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I swear I could feel this stunning bird peering through my very soul.

I know it's not practical to have one as a pet - check the handler's glove - but oh my god did this moment make me feel something special.

I'm weird that way.

#west #palm #beach #florida #throwback #zoo #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #bird #birds #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Monumental memories

Gone, but not forgotten
Montreal, QC
July 2009
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I shot this on a rainy day in Montreal almost 11 years ago, as my father and I walked through the De la Savane cemetery in search of our extended family members' graves.

He died barely six weeks after this photo was taken, and the photos from that day have become something of a touchstone for me, a dividing line between the chapter where we had him and the chapter where we no longer did.

I don't hold much stock in cemeteries as places where you visit your family members. They're dead. Their bodies may be buried here, but their souls remain alive in all of us - in our memories, and behaviors and traits that we learned from them.

So it doesn't take a trip to a rectangle of prettified earth to connect with them: You can do that anytime. And we honor them by being the best people we can be - which, again, is an anytime, anywhere kind of deal.

And yet cemeteries are resonant places. They make you think. Reflect. Disconnect from the real world so you can hang out in the not-so-real one for a few precious moments. I derive a strange sense of comfort whenever I walk through one.

I'm not sure why I've chosen to share this photo, after over a decade, now. Perhaps it's because today is also rainy. Or maybe amid the turbulence of a world seemingly gone mad I'm subconsciously looking for images, stories, experiences, or memories that anchor me.

Whatever the reason, I think I need to spend more time in places like this, thinking about those who once lived, and who continue to color the lives of those they touched. Because it's always a good time to cling a little more tightly to a memory.

#montreal #quebec #canada #delasavane #cemetery #life #remember #parents #parenthood #throwback #weather #wx #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related: