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