Monday, October 19, 2020

Fire on the water

All elements accounted for
Westminster Ponds, London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Earth, air, water.

And fire.

I'll miss these colors when they're gone. But the coming winter will offer up its own palette of colors, even if they won't look much like these.

I'll be out there then, too, and I hope I won't be the only one seeking joy from the light. Whatever form it may take.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #forest #fall #autumn #color #colors #red #orange #green #blue #water #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, October 18, 2020

When birds dance in the sky

Where do we go next?
St. Thomas, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


When birds decide to put on an impromptu dance in the sky, you shoot quickly and hope something comes out.

My wife saw them as we walked across the giant rail trestle/awesome linear park that dominates the landscape. I barely had time to react, my settings were way off, and I had a whale of a good time trying to lock in on these tiny, fast-movers in challenging light.

So, on balance, not my best work. But it's a moment I won't soon forget. With her. Which matters way more than some mere pixels.

#stthomas #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #elevated #park #railway #train #bridge #landscape #autumn #fall #color #colors #bird #birds #blur #flight #photography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

A single leaf of consequence

The surprising things that matter
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


A single leaf among billions, or trillions, or even more. Inconsequential to the rest of us.

It lives for but a few seasons, then disappears on the forest floor, never seen or known by the countless other leaves in the forest around it, let alone all the forests beyond.

It's easy to forget something you've never seen. Easy to dismiss as unimportant the one among many.

But zoom the lens in a little closer and things snap into focus. For inside this single leaf's world, there's an entire ecosystem - a community, if you will - that lives, vibrantly.

It may be gone in a blink. But within that blink, it matters.

Even beyond that blink. Because it contributes to the forest around it, even if there's no one there to appreciate it.

We all leave ripples in the universe. We all matter. We all deserve at least a little light.

Just like this leaf.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #leaf #leaves #forest #fall #tree #trees #autumn #color #colors #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #stilllife #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #findthelight #family #everything

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Road trip scene from a dashboard

Visions of grey
Troy, OH
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Do you divide your pictures into "befores" and "afters"? I'm starting to.

A before picture is anything taken before we all went into quarantine, before the pandemic rewrote the rules of day-to-day life, before we took the unlimited for granted.

An after picture is, as you can imagine, anything taken since.

I don't rank them against each other. I don't pine for the befores. They weren't categorically better than the afters. I simply perceive them differently now, as if my personal lens has shifted a little bit, and everything now takes on a slightly different tone.

Like this unassuming dashboard scene I captured in Troy, Ohio last January. We were on our way home, day 2 of a trip that took us from warm beaches to flannel and snow. At the time, it was simply a placeholder shot, one of countless scenes I snagged along the way in a clumsy attempt to tell the story of the road.

I never have time to think through these road trip pics, or to compose them with much care. Just grab them fast so we can get back to driving.

The flat grey tone reflected my mood that day, a little sad that our vacation was drawing to a close, but still happy to be together for a while in the car.

Looking back at it now, as a "before" shot, I appreciate moments like this even more, and look forward to making more of them as soon as we are able.

#troy #dayton #ohio #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #throwback #random #stranger #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, October 16, 2020

Twisting in the wind

The things we find in the woods
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The winds may blow them every which way. But they do not break.

Seems like a relevant lesson to hold onto, tightly, as we greet a new day, similarly buffeted by winds, both literal and figurative, that threaten to break us.

They can't. This fleeting scene on the edge of the woods proves it.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #forest #fall #tree #trees #autumn #color #colors #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #findthelight #family #everything

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Getting the stinkeye in an IHOP

Someone didn't enjoy her pancakes
Delray Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I'm pretty sure the woman on the left is on to me. On reflection, I'm glad all I got was an evil stare.

This isn't a good picture by any stretch of the imagination - just a fast-grab from my smartphone while we waited to be seated at an International House of Pancakes restaurant in south Florida on a bright Saturday morning last December.

Yet the more I take it in, the more I see. Because places like this don't just serve food. They're the backdrop of the tiny life stories we all too often fail to record or remember.

So while we waited in line and bantered with strangers - because that's what you do at IHOPs no matter where they're located - I thought a photo would be in order.

Just behind my glaring new friend on the left, an older gentleman in red flannel sits with his freshly-coiffed wife, the walker a reminder that she's overcome her own challenges just to be here. Behind them, a man in a black baseball cap eats alone as he reads the paper. I smile at the quaintness. In the adjacent booth, a friendly argument seems to rage, with three old friends speaking animatedly with their hands, their voices drifting all the way to the entrance. I'm sure they'll settle down once the pancake stacks arrive.

I could go on. I think about the countless stories unfolding in this one scene, and how fascinating it would be to know them all.

Before long, we get to the front of the line, and soon enough we're seated, our own story ready to be told, perhaps in full view of someone else at the front looking for ways to connect with strangers.

This lousy picture turns out to be one of the most important ones I take this day, a reminder to look for the stories around us, to hold onto those moments that, at first glance, don't seem to be worthy of memory.

In the end, though, every moment is worthy of memory, even if you have to tick off a woman waiting for her pancakes.

#delray #beach #delraybeach #florida #fla #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #ihop #restaurant #food #foodporn #throwback #random #stranger #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Dead trees against a blue sky

Still reaching
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We came to the woods in search of brilliant fall colors, but it was a barren stand of dead trees that caught my attention first.

Because grey is a color, too.

And beauty often comes from the things we cannot see.

Or the things we may remember from a distant past.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #forest #fall #tree #trees #autumn #color #colors #blue #sky #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Master the globe. Master the skies.

One bus, two bus...
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I like big planes and I cannot lie.

No, really. Size matters when you're delivering critical supplies to the edge of the planet, when peoples' survival depends on this plane getting where it needs to go. When everyone else is fleeing in the other direction, this is the plane that heads into harm's way, loaded to the gills.

Capability matters, too. And if you've never watched the whale-like C-17 Globemaster III get thrown around like a much smaller plane, or land on a ridiculous excuse for a runway, then back itself up and take off again, you're missing the aviation equivalent of a cargo dance party.

Thanks to COVID, we didn't get to meet the flight crew this time out. I hope they know how special they are.

#ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #McDonnellDouglas #Boeing #C17 #Globemaster #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Help others find their color

The rainbow connection
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Do you find it ironic that some leaves erupt in unimaginably bright color just before they shrivel up and fall to the forest floor? Does it strike you as poetic that a leaf's very last act is to literally go out in a blaze of glory?

More directly, as the new work week begins, perhaps we may want to take the humble leaf's lesson to heart.

No, I'm not saying we should all burn supernova-bright before disappearing for good. But I do think the world around us could use a little more color from us right about now.

Only unlike the leaves, we won't be forgotten on a forest floor. Rather, we'll help others around us find their color, too.

The question, then, is simple: What will YOU do to help those around you find their color?

In other words, #FindTheColor. Or #FindTheLight. Or, ideally, both.

Go.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #forest #fall #autumn #color #colors #red #orange #green #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, October 12, 2020

They put dolphins on Chevys

Through the magic of vinyl wrap...
London, ON
June 2012
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Coming soon to a dealership near you, the all-new Chevrolet Dolphin.

Seriously, I've seen some weird things in parking lots, and I'm sure you have, too. I'm always torn over whether or not I should chance the shot. Who realistically wants strangers taking spontaneous pictures of their vehicles, after all?

But who can say no to dolphins? On the trunk lid of a Malibu, no less.

I know. I need to find a new hobby.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #car #cars #carsofinstagram #carporn #chevrolet #malibu #dolphin #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Finding peace amid the yellow trees

Feel the light
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Took a walk in a new-to-us trail network today. The scenery was lovely. But to be frank, getting to wander through the woods with our daughter was a much greater reward.

Enjoy this #FindTheLight test shot from my phone. I'll share pics off the camera-camera as I offload them. 

And if you can get out there, wherever "there" may be, please do. Life is short.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #westminster #ponds #forest #fall #autumn #color #colors #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

#FindTheLight, Part 2

Colorful morning at Snake Creek
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Another day. Another early-morning walk through the neighborhood with the puppy. Another explosion of color around us. Another #FindTheLight* photo captured.

Your turn:

1 - Take photo that captures the light, makes you smile, makes others smile, reinforces the reality that small moments of beauty will always prevail over the headlines of ugliness.

2 - Share it on your favorite social media app/platform, using the #FindTheLight hashtag so anyone and everyone can find it.

Because life can be challenging, so let's #FindTheLight and rebalance the scales a bit.

Are you in?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #fall #autumn #color #colors #nature #naturephotography #andscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

*What's #FindTheLight? Click here and all will be explained.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

#FindTheLight, Part 1

It's time to start something worthwhile
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’s #WorldMentalHealthDay today. So I’m going to start sharing random shots of colour, light, texture, and anything else that makes folks smile.

We’ll call them #FindTheLight photos, and I’m launching this simply because too many among us - including me - are struggling to find safe haven amid the turbulence that now defines day-to-day life. And I’m just naive enough to believe that the process of seeking, shooting, and sharing scenes that bring us joy can help us find peace.

Because we help each other’s mental health via tangible action, with small acts that can potentially make a huge difference. And, in my world, I feel better when I’m being creative, and when I’m sharing it with my community.

Please consider this my invitation to you to do the same. Find joy. Post it using the #FindTheLight hashtag. Let’s start something good, shall we?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #forest #fall #autumn #color #colors #nature #naturephotography #andscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Once there was life here

Everything comes to an end
Williamsbug, KY
January 2009
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I'm sure this old gas station beside an even older cemetery would tell countless stories.

Alas, it's been years since I shot this forgotten relic deep in the rolling Kentucky hills, and it has since been demolished.

Someday, perhaps soon, we won't need gas pumps at all. Maybe when we're all plugging in at home or ordering automated ride shares from apps that hang in 3D augmented reality space just beyond our noses, the concept of filling the car with dinosaur juice at a rusty old place like this will seem awfully quaint.

And perhaps it's just as well that we put every facet of the fossil fuel economy behind us. Gauzy memories from the golden age of autos notwithstanding, the planet deserves better.

But all of that could wait on the cold, windy, grey day just over a decade ago when I walked through a forgotten piece of local history and tried to remember it in two dimensions for the last time.

The simple truth was stark: There was life here once. But no longer.

The cemetery beside it stood, and still stands, witness to once was, to lives that echoed through the nearby town and hills. To stories written and told. Some remembered in monuments. Some removed from our midst, never to be seen or spoken of again.

#williamsburg #kentucky #ky #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #cemetery #i75 #stilllife #throwback #landscape #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, October 09, 2020

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On Sandy Hook


#IfYouReadOneThingToday, make it this stunningly written, enormously sad-yet-hopeful Washington Post piece.

The Washington Post
October 7, 2020

#longreads



Don't stand so close to me

Red leaf in a strong wind
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


A single leaf stands vertically in the tall grass, defiant against the stiff evening wind trying to sweep it into oblivion. I kneel down beside it, hoping to somehow capture it in the last dying moments of sunlight.

As I set up the shot, a grey-haired man wearing purple sweatpants approaches me on the adjacent sidewalk. Pandemic culture being what it is, I stop what I’m doing to ensure he doesn’t get too close.

Sure enough, he makes a beeline for me. As he approaches, he cheerfully asks me what I’m doing. Normally I’m all too happy to share the moment, to spread the simple joy of telling stories through glass. But this isn’t a normal time, and I feel guilty that my first inclination is to will him away.

I tersely answer, "Taking some autumn pictures," as I give him a quick smile, then just as quickly pick the camera up and step back. He smiles and continues on his way.

I am at once relieved he got the message and didn't wander closer, and saddened that this is the way we live now. Because any other time, it probably would have led to a delightful chat about the random beauty of autumn leaves and the simple joy of taking pictures whenever creativity strikes.

But this isn't any other time. Either way, I hope he understands the why. That I wasn't being deliberately rude. Just careful.

Seconds later, the light fades for good and I'll have to settle for whatever imperfection I was able to capture before a stranger crossed my path.

But as I walk back to the house and wish for an end to the antisocial-first facade we must now present to strangers whenever we're among them, I realize every photo has a context, and it's up to us to remember the accompanying stories just as powerfully as the pixels that spawn them in the first place.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #red #leaf #leaves #green #grass #stilllife #nature #naturephotography #sun #light #texture #gameoftones #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Staring into the telescreen

Always watching...
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Someone is always watching us, but unlike George Orwell's literary masterpiece, 1984, that compelled its citizens to cower in fear of the telescreen, we have choices. And control.

That phone in your hand is orders of magnitude more intrusive than anything Orwell ever wrote about. But a little time and attention to your app and security settings can put a serious dent in Big Tech's ability to sell you novelty socks you don't need.

Which partly explains why I felt the need to shoot this dystopian-looking scene outside the hospital after the docs inside had finished fixing up my smashed finger. I was looking for a little photographic therapy to distract myself when I came across this scene. At first I wasn't going to shoot it, because I felt the security camera messed up what would have otherwise been a compelling slice of upward-facing architectural geometry.

But something kept me standing there for a beat longer, smartphone in hand. Maybe the security camera WAS the story. Maybe the very act of standing beneath it was part of the moment. Perhaps somewhere deep inside the building, a security guard was hunched over a console of screens, watching me stare into the all-seeing lens. Maybe said security officer wasn't alone. What were they thinking? Would they send someone out to ask why I was taking pictures of a security camera?

So I shot hastily and left before I got into any more trouble than I was already in.

Next time I break my finger, I'm wearing a hat. It's a control thing.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #hospital #health #life #architecture #design #architecturephotography #building #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Red leaf down

Remnants
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I stare at my feet a lot. For two reasons.

First, it's a partial nod to gravity, for I respect the basic laws of physics, and I really hate what happens when gravity messes with my upright-ness.

Second, a lot of really neat stuff happens down by our feet. Yes, much of it is dirty and messy, but it's also ever-changing and rather fun to stare at when nothing else will do. You can tell I took mass transit a lot as a kid. Waiting was my jam.

Today I guess I'd just rage-tweet on my iPhone while waiting for the good old #44 bus that smelled like stale cigarette smoke and sweat, but it was a different time pre-smartphone.

Which brings us to adult-Carmi, who would be only too happy to return to the city bus as a convenient means of commuting, but won't do so till there's a vaccine.

So instead, I stare down at my feet in other venues. Like the woods, where the ground is now covered with leaves. And since that old fear of gravity isn't disappearing anytime soon, I'm looking down to prevent the ground from accelerating toward my face. And while I do so, I figure I should point my lens there, as well. 

We still have a bunch of autumn-color-themed wanders ahead of us before the fiery reds and oranges fade to a winter-long grey. But for now, this is my new favorite photo of the season, the one that reminds me why I started staring at my feet all those years ago.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #forest #leaf #leaves #nature #naturephotography #sun #light #texture #gameoftones #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Bench by the water

No one to watch the waves
Port Burwell, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Come. Sit.

Because we all need to take a load off.

Because everyone deserves moments of quiet reflection.

Because large bodies of water are magnets for the soul.

Because not everything needs a deadline.

Because getting away is crucial to our mental health - now more than ever.

And if you decide to grab a photo while you're there, wherever "there" may be, then so much the better.

#port #burwell #ontario #canada #beach #wood #bench #pier #landscape #great #lake #erie #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #explore #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, October 05, 2020

Visiting the Wart Tree

Sculpture in bark
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Just off the path that traces a graceful line through the woods alongside the river, a single tree stands out from the rest.

We jokingly call it the Wart Tree, because its trunk isn’t just covered with countless protrusions and complex shapes. It is, quite literally, defined by them.

I don’t know enough about trees to understand how this particular one came to grow in this bizarre-looking manner. But it stops me dead in my tracks and invites me in for a closer look every time I come this way.

Because it is unique. Because it has a story. Or many stories. Because it offers up something new every time we see it.

On this day, I think I see something I’ve never seen before, and set out to capture it somehow. Whether I have succeeded, or not, is up to you. What do YOU see? And when should I return?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #thames #valley #parkway #tvp #river #springbank #park #tree #trees #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Where geometry meets decay

Don't get too close to this edge
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Rust in peace. Rust in power.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #bridge #forest #trees #tree #fall #autumn #color #colors #leaf #leaves #nature #naturephotography #andscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Seeking sanctuary in the woods

Drink it in
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I'm not generally one to pray, because dogmatic repetition of ancient verse has never really been my cup of tea.

But here's the thing: We all need a buffer, a break, a place where reflection is part of the landscape. We all need to get away, even if we live in a time where getting away isn't really an option.

So I took a walk with our daughter yesterday. My wonky finger meant the real camera stayed home, but I still had an iPhone in my pocket.

We explored a new-to-us part of the valley, and found this rather hushed spot in the woods overlooking a bubbling creek below. It struck us as just the kind of spot where we could get away no matter what the world decided to throw as us.

Because we all deserve to stumble upon resonant places like this, natural cathedrals, if you will, where everyone is welcome to pause and reflect. And I hope you find yours, as well.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #forest #trees #tree #green #fall #autumn #color #colors #leaf #leaves #nature #naturephotography #andscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, October 03, 2020

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - School Tech Fail

#IfYouReadOneThingToday, make it this piece by Slate’s director of technology on how parents can help their kids fight anxieties over remote learning tech.

TL:DR version: The technology is a failure, and teachers, parents and kids are paying the price.

By Greg Lavallee
Slate
October 01, 2020

Canine destroyer of worlds

More fiber
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This is what our pup does when she thinks no one's looking.

Unlike most other - read normal - dogs who simply leave a mess behind, she likes to finish off by eating it whole. Paper towel, toilet paper, even good old letter-sized sheets left too close to the edge of the desk are all fair game for her.

Yes, imagine the gift-wrapped fun we then have on our walks. Just awesome.

On top of this week's broken finger incident (I'll be fine - and I deeply appreciate everyone's kind wishes) it begs the question of why we have a dog in the first place when she gets herself, and us, into so much trouble.

I can't logically answer this question, because by the numbers, pets simply don't add up. Take a quiet home, subtract sleep, add expense, increase complexity around travel and day-to-day scheduling, expand the noise envelope, and slide in heartache when they leave us. It shouldn't be a thing.

Yet it very much is. Because she shadows you a little more closely when you're having a rough day. Because her wet-nose-nudges on the back of your lower legs remind you you're never alone. Because returning home is always an event for the ages. Because this is what unconditional love looks like. 

Besides, life itself isn't always logical. And not everything has to add up to make sense.

The equation, then, is a lot simpler than we might think: Life is better with them than without. Especially now.

#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

Friday, October 02, 2020

Busted finger. Same old perspective.

Helping those who need it
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


So the dog broke my finger.

It was an accident, and I'll leave the story of how a 15-pound Miniature Schnauzer can snap the right pinkie of a much larger human being for another day.

Suffice to say she didn't mean to hurt the guy who feeds and walks her before dawn and shoos those nasty rabbits and squirrels away from her favorite window. Suffice to say we love her more today than we did yesterday.

It meant a trip to the hospital, and another grand adventure for my old standby, Po the Teletubby. Taking her along was as deliberate this time out as it's been every time I've taken her anywhere over the past couple of decades. We were going to a place where smiles were needed, and a grown man toting a tiny stuffie couldn't help but make strangers smile. And it did.

I'll leave it at that for now, because when viewed through the lens of perspective, this is little more than a hiccup, and a minor inconvenience - a missed day of work, some lost sleep, slower typing speeds, and hilarious moments when I try to eat dinner.

And as I walked the pandemic-tension-filled halls of a place where health is never a guarantee, I was reminded, as I was when I spent large chunks of my childhood in another hospital that looked a lot like this one, that there was always someone else who was worse off than I was. That I should be thankful this was as bad as it got. That I had the privilege of laughing about my experience after the fact.

Because not everyone can say the same. Not everyone gets to post about it to Instagram or Twitter. Not everyone gets better.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #hospital #health #healthcare #po #teletubby #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, October 01, 2020

A Warthog leaves its mark

Let's play some Twister
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There are days when you feel twisted. Today would be one of those days.

Fortunately we live in a world where Thunderbolts occasionally visit our burg and paint vapor trails in the sky.

It doesn't fix the chaos elsewhere, or make stupid people smart, or unkind folks kind. But it does provide a neat, albeit temporary, distraction.

#ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #fairchild #republic #a10 #thunderbolt #warthog #brrrrrt #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The echoing trees

I'll be there for you
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


One look at this group of trees, standing quietly in a meadow a short walk from where we live, and it becomes obvious that they're special.

They may be separate from one another, each uniquely rooted in the ground. But they've clearly grown in a sort of lockstep, as if some kind of force wanted to ensure they echoed each other's lives. Not identical, but parallel. Connected, in some way.

I often stop to take them in when I pass by, partly because of the way they look, and mostly because I think they're trying to tell us something.

Because this isn't mere coexistence or tolerance. They're actively protecting those beside them, their growth providing cover against whatever threats the environment can throw at them. It's like a sign from Mother Nature, a message that if the trees manage to find a way to reflect each other's twists and turns, then perhaps the lesson need not end with the trees.

Even if this turns out to be little more than my wandering-suburbanite's attempt to seek resonance and refuge amid a world that seems to offer none, I'll take it.

Because even if we never notice the trees to begin with, a walk in the woods is a pretty good way to find that elusive break from the relentless strain that lurks just beyond this resonantly peaceful spot.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #walkabout #forest #trees #tree #leaf #leaves #nature #naturephotography #gameoftones #texture #monochrome #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Bridge over somewhat troubled water

A quiet spot on the way home
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Like many of you last night, I watched the presidential debate. And I was appalled.

I've worked in and around media long enough to know that politics is a tough, dirty game. But I never thought I'd see a sitting president refuse to denounce white supremacy, then literally call out to a specific group to "stand back and stand by."

I was pretty sure my brain would explode at that point, but I had another thought, as well. Hear me out.

This world, our world, is composed of elements far more diverse than a grifting, hate-filled narcissist who can't string a coherent sentence together. Someday, hopefully soon, American voters will finally get a clue and ask for leaders who focus on them instead of lining their own pockets.

But whatever happens November 3rd, we all have lives, at home and closer to home, that continue to unfold as they must despite what happens on an electoral stage or at the ballot box.

To wit, this bridge over the river beside the bike path that I often take on the way home from the office. I like to stop here on occasion, to reflect on the day that was and appreciate that I live in a city that routinely offers up places and moments like this. I'll stand in the middle of the span, almost feeling the energy of the water below and the light from above.

The pandemic has obviously put a stop to the daily bike commute, but I still like to return here now and again.

Because it helps me turn off the outside world and just be alone with my thoughts for a few minutes. Because we all have places that resonate with us. Because we all deserve moments like this.

Because not even a shameful display of anti-humanity can erase the blessings we all have right in front of us.

I hope you have similar places near you, and I hope you make the time to go to them. You deserve it. We all do.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #walkabout #thames #valley #parkway #tvp #river #springbank #park #bridge #debate2020 #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Saying goodbye to the day that was

Airglow
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There's a moment at the end of the day, just as the sun ducks out of sight, that the skies come alive.

The show often ends mere seconds after it begins. But if you're lucky enough to be there when it happens, it's just long enough to imprint on your memories forever.

Colors become shades. Shades become tones. Tones become textures. Textures become something you can practically feel from your little spot way down on the ground.

Tonight's walk with the dog coincided with this magic moment. So I looked up. The rest is history. Nothing else matters.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sky #sunset #dusk #blue #sky #clouds #light #tree #abstract #landscape #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Quasi-Charlotte's Web

The things we find when we look
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Spider. Not from Mars.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #spider #insect #bug #medway #valley #forest #nature #naturephotography #sun #light #texture #stilllife #macro #macrophotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #everythingchristian #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, September 28, 2020

Thunderbirds are go

Four-ship formation
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Before this year's airshow, I had never seen the @afthunderbirds fly. My, was I missing out.

The F-16 has a pretty expansive flight envelope, and it's pretty clear the show, as designed and performed, uses most of it. The energy and precision are off the charts, and I stopped counting how many times I was left without words as they tore up the skies above us.

It was a privilege to watch them. Alas, they flew away too quickly for us to give them a proper thank you.

Thanks team. Godspeed to you all.

#ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #lockheedmartin #f16 #fighting #falcon #viper #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, September 27, 2020

When life ends

No more to give
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The one constant in life is that it ends. For all of us.

We can argue until we’re blue in the face about what a “fair” amount of time might be, but it’ll never change that singular, stark reality.

So we make the most out of what we’ve been given.

No choice, really.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #forest #leaf #leaves #nature #naturephotography #sun #light #texture #gameoftones #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #everythingchristian #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Getting lost in the tall grass

The things that grow tall
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


"In the plains the grass grows tall, since there is no one to cut it. There is no one to water it either."
Vera Nazarian

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #walkabout #thames #valley #parkway #tvp #river #tall #grass #monochrome #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #qotd #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Look closely at the purple flower

Nature's little miracle
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Always look for the color. It is as true alongside a path through the forest as it is in everyday life.

And with that, I think I'm about due for another one of those walks through the forest. See you there. 

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #walkabout.#green #purple #flower #macro #bokeh #forest #nature #naturephotography #sun #light #gameoftones #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, September 25, 2020

Schnauzer in fog

The nose always leads
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We're trying to teach her to take in the beauty that surrounds her, but all she's really interested in is sticking her massively sensitive nose into the grass in an eternal search for bunny poo, or possibly the occasional dropped Goldfish (tm) cracker remnant.

So, no, she didn't much care for the fog. But she was still happy to be out, which is a win by any definition.

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

Bridging a longstanding gap

 Bridge to a sustainable future
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Mmm, it has that new bridge smell. Can’t wait to take my first ride on it.

It may seem strange that of all the things that tickle my soul, a bridge would rank near the top of the list. But this isn't a simple structure.

You're looking at the latest addition to the Thames Valley Parkway, the multiuse path network that's supposed to make it easy for cyclists, runners, pedestrians and other non-motorist folks to get around town without having to wrestle with traffic.

Nice in theory, but somewhat lacking in practice.

Because unlike other towns, our car-culture-led burg built a network with huge gaps in the middle. That doesn't serve entire swaths of the city. That stops mysteriously outside a given neighborhood. That often forces cyclists and others to cross high-speed roads, with nothing more than paint to protect us.

The bridge you see here is part of a pair - the other is around a kilometre to the left - designed to close a yawning gap in the path and open non-stop access to the city's northeast sector.

We'll take it, because any new piece of infrastructure that gets more people out under their own power is a blessing. And when they finally cut the ribbon on this new section, I'll be there on my own two-wheeled machine. To ride. And appreciate.

But it won't stop there. It can't. Because sustainability is never truly done.

And we're nowhere near the point where we - individuals, cities, society at-large - can, with a straight face, say we're doing everything we can to change the script.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #walkabout #thames #valley #parkway #tvp #river #cycling #cyclingislife #bridge #monochrome #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Praying in a forested cathedral

Humbled and hushed
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I've been doing this thing lately: I pick up my camera and go for a walk in the woods.

Part of it is exercise: Those step goals silently mock me from the smartwatch on my wrist, and I owe my family a healthy Carmi.

Another part is creative. Exploring the world through new glass is a privilege, and only by using the thing with my bare hands will I figure out how to unlock its - and I'm guessing my - visual storytelling potential. 

The final and likely most critical part is disconnection, because it's overwhelming to be alive these days. 

Don't get me wrong: It absolutely beats the alternative. But still, Planet Earth has become an insanely noisy place, and we all deserve some refuge. Disclosure: Some days I need it more than others. So here I am, in a valley carved over the millennia by the quiet brook just behind me.

A stand of towering trees covers the entire sky way above my head, casting a protective shadow over the slope you see here. I stop in the hushed silence to take the scene in, not so much look at it as feel it in my bones. You can smell the peacefulness of this place. I wish I could bottle it up and take it home.

"Cathedral" often floats through my head when I stand under tall trees. I'm not one to pray, and even if I were it wouldn't be in a cathedral. But it somehow feels right to appreciate this spot for what it is: A place to reflect, connect, and recharge.

The rest of the world can wait for a while.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #walkabout #forest #trees #tree #green #leaf #leaves #nature #naturephotography #sun #light #gameoftones #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Losing the leaves for good

Ephemeral
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Autumn’s colors are starting to show themselves here in the Great White North, so I’ve been looking for flashes of green wherever I can.

Because the planetary clock is ticking. And we miss the show if we don’t make the effort to get out there for a bit.

On the one hand, it won’t be completely game over once the leaves you see here turn some fiery shade of red or orange before falling to the ground. Next spring will bring new leaves, new life to this quiet path through a hushed valley.

But on the other hand, they won’t be these particular leaves. They won’t catch the light in this specific way, on this very afternoon. Different lives, different times, different experiences.

All the more reason to appreciate what we’ve got before it flutters to the shadowy earth below one last time, never to reflect the rays of the sun again.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #walkabout.#green #leaf #leaves #forest #trees #tree #nature #naturephotography #sun #light #gameoftones #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Follow the mama plane

Poseidon the protector
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


When I first showed this photo to our daughter, she said it reminded her of a mother bird shepherding her babies across the sky.

Indeed, we’d all do well to have some mother-like guidance during long, perilous journeys. Perhaps on shorter ones, as well.

#ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #airbus #cc150polaris #cf18 #hornet #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, September 21, 2020

Wheels up!

A Hornet leaves Earth
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It may not seem apparent, but this is the most dangerous moment of any flight.

You've just unstuck from the runway, your wings tasting lift for the first time, the engines clawing out as much speed and altitude as possible. If something happens here, there's little room below you to recover, little runway ahead to land once more. Your options are limited.

Of course, this is a supersonic, twin-engined fighter plane with seemingly limitless power. Why not simply point the needle nose up, mash the afterburners and put it all behind you?

If only it could be that simple. Sadly, the laws of flight can be cruel: We've lost 20 Hornets since they first joined Canada's fleet 38 years ago.

But if you're going to be part of the global community, this is part of the cost of membership. Some may decry the need for machines like this in the first place. They're expressly designed for war. The money spent on them could be better spent elsewhere.

Valid points all. But this is an imperfect world, and our neighbors don't always have our best interests at heart.

Ask anyone who lived in London during the Battle of Britain if they would rather the government had spent the money allocated to Spitfire production on something else. This is how you deter aggression - or resist it when it comes knocking on your door. This is how you maintain sovereignty. This is how you keep the forces of darkness at bay.

Fast-forward back to today, and I doubt the dictators in our modern neighborhood would waste much time shifting their military strategies if we decided to get out of the fighter plane business altogether.

So let's call the need to arm ourselves not optimal, but necessary. Which makes me thankful for folks like this pilot, willing to brave basic physics and risk leaving the planet behind so the rest of us can sleep soundly at night.

#ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #boeing #mcdonnelldouglas #cf18 #hornet #fighter #wheelsup #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Fenced in

Unequal geometry
Port Burwell, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


At first glance, it’s just a fence.

But like everything, everyone, and anyone, it has a story, a history, a context.

Someone decided there was a need. Someone picked up some tools and built it. Someone maintains it. A whole lot of someones benefit from its very existence, even if they never take the time to think about it. Or give it a second glance, let alone a first.

But here’s the thing: At first glance, there’s no such thing as “just” a fence. At first glance, there’s no such thing as “just” anything. At first glance, maybe just one glance just isn’t enough.

Not a bad lesson to hold onto as we reflect on the year just ended and ponder the one ahead.

#port #burwell #ontario #canada #beach #wood #fence #green #grass #landscape #great #lake #erie #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #explore #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Welcoming the New Year, Differently

Endless Reflection
Port Burwell, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Today is the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I am, of course, a bad Jew, because a good Jew wouldn't be posting photos online on one of the holiest days of the year. And on a Saturday, even. Oy. 

But here's the thing: It's never been about the dogma to me. As much as I love being part of thousands of years of culture, tradition, language, and community, I don't believe that knowing how to recite certain prayers in a certain order will make me a better person.

Because I've crossed paths with entirely too many folks who are expert in the mechanical delivery of religion, yet wouldn't hesitate to look down at the rest of us for failing to meet their lofty ideals. The hypocrisy hurts my soul, because last I checked, unkindness wasn't part of the Jew code. Or, frankly, any code.

So here we are, on the cusp of a new year, in the midst of a global event that keeps most of us home and apart. Which, the more I ponder the reality of a pandemic-colored holiday, the more I realize just how much of a blessing this can be if we choose to see it as such.

Because we aren't engaged in the usual dog and pony show of crossing paths with folks on the way into services, we have a bit more time to think about how we'd like to change the script over the next year. How will we do better? Act more kindly to others?

Because reading words in a book won't make me a better Jew or a better person. I realize the mere act of expressing this may make me seem like some sort of heathen, but I'll risk the judgment of others if it means I go into the new year feeling just a bit more comfortable in my own skin.

Whatever you celebrate, make it a good one.

#port #burwell #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #erie #waves #water #sand #rosh #hashanah #jewish #newyear #judaism #badjew #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, September 18, 2020

Green grass in a strong breeze

Everything is temporary
Port Burwell, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Take some long grass by the lake, mix in some stiff winds and sunlight muted through a hazy grey sky. This is what you get.

It'll all be gone in a couple of months, a mere echo of a uniquely memorable day our little family spent here.

I do that when we spend time together, take pictures of weird stuff like this because I want to remember how the experience felt just as much as I want to hold onto how it looked.

Feelings from two-dimensional images. I'll have to mull that one over for a bit, but it's clear I'll be toting my camera on a few more walkabouts before winter puts the grass to sleep. 

Because nothing lasts forever.

#port #burwell #ontario #canada #beach #green #grass #landscape #great #lake #erie #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #explore #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Dogs, mental health, and you

I get treat now, Daddy?
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Let's do a little experiment, shall we? Hypothesis: Seeing a photo of a dog makes our souls feel better. 

Yes? No? Maybe we should substitute a cat? Wherever you land, please weigh in with a comment.

I'll read 'em all to Calli, but make no guarantees that she'll share her own, as she lacks opposable thumbs. 

#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

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

And now the bottom half

Let's pull some Gs, shall we?
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I'm not suffering from the dreaded disease known as doubliosis. This is indeed the second Raptor photo I've shared today.

I thought if we started the day with a topside view of the world's most capable air dominance fighter, then we should end it with a view from underneath - even if there's a large-ish splotch of radar-absorbent coating missing underneath the port-side engine behind the gear doors. I hear Canadian Tire might have something in the paint department.

I'm weird in a whole lot of ways. Symmetry in my feed is one of them. Sorry.

#ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #lockheedmartin #f22a #raptor #stealth #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related: Stealth jet in a blue sky, Sep. 16, 2020

Stealth jet in a blue sky

Is this my best side?
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I could watch the Raptor punch holes in the sky all day. But I'll settle for a few magical moments on a sunny afternoon.

#ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #lockheedmartin #f22a #raptor #stealth #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything