Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Emerging from the fog

He walks alone
London, ON
January 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram


A man with a cane slowly emerges from the early morning fog.

I've only ever observed him from afar, never exchanging more than a friendly nod or smile as he passes. But he's been a regular enough fixture of the neighborhood that I can tell it's him even from blocks away.

He'd be walking no matter the weather, every day at roughly the same time, always the same route, always with that deliberately steady gait. But on this morning, the weather makes me reach for my camera before he disappears back into the murk from which he came.

I quietly wish for continued safe journeys for him as I trip the shutter and put the camera away.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #weather #wx #fog #streetphotography #street #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Getting lost in farm country

Lots of parking
Deseronto, ON
January 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram

When you're driving solo in the middle of Ontario farm country and a badly signed detour off the highway sends you on an unplanned adventure, the universe compels you to stop at some point and remember the experience with a photo or seven.

So that's what I did. Though, if we're keeping count, I took far more than seven pictures over the six minutes I spent parked between an empty church and an abandoned farmhouse.

Six minutes was about all I could manage before my fingers froze, before it was time to once again find my way.

I was never really lost that day, more temporarily pointed in a direction I hadn't intended to go.

And as I eased off the gravel shoulder and found my way, I thought about how and why I ended up here in the first place. Indeed, we'd never discover anything at all if we always knew exactly where we were.

Perhaps a little uncertainty is actually something we should strive for.

#deseronto #ontario #onroute #throwback #random #country #farm #street #photography #shoot #shooting #trees #highway #weather #wx #road #trip #travel #car #auto #automotive #carporn #stella #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #canada #family #everything

Related:
Take me to church, January 2019

Monday, February 22, 2021

Eight years on...

When it's difficult to see ahead
Laval, QC
February 2013
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Eight years ago today, my wife lost her mom, our kids lost their bubby, and I lost my mother-in-law.

I remember looking out the window of her condo the morning of her funeral, and I remember what it felt like to take this photo. A relentlessly grey sky had descended over us, the sadness almost palpable. How many times had I stood here, taking pictures of the sky, sharing them with her so she could critique them before we continued on with dinner. There was no critique this morning, and it felt beyond off.

While eight years may seem like a stretch, the reality of loss is that it never really leaves you. Sure, you go back to some semblance of life, but you're never again whole.

Today I look around our house and I'm thankful, because everything we are and have traces in some way back to her. And while Debbie's dad is also no longer with us, we're still here to remember their fierce love of us and our kids, the fierce love that we all returned to them, and how lucky we were to have had them at all.

Eventually the sun did shine through the window you see here. The scene was forever changed, of course, but we still got to make a few more indelible memories in this place before yet again we were forced to say goodbye.

I'm absolutely certain she'd be comforted knowing we continued carrying forward all the tiny facets of family life that she held so dear. I just wish the universe played by different rules.

#laval #montreal #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
Even the skies know, February 2013

The blue mug of happiness

What warmth looks like
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The simplest things in life are often the most cherished.

Like a mug of whatever it is that warms your soul. There's something cathartic about wrapping your fingers around it, feeling the heat radiate into your hands as you slowly transition into the day that will be.

In a universe filled with uncertainty and angst, it's nice to know we can still hit pause at the table for a bit. The rest of the world can wait a few minutes while we finish what we started.

Where do you find your comfort?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #kitchen #table #spontaneous #coffee #mug #breakfast #champions #throwback #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, February 21, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On Aging

We tend to spill a lot of ink on aging, the aged, and the implications of a population whose demographics continue to skew older. This is, of course, relevant and necessary, because if we're lucky enough we'll get to live long enough, and the more insight we have to help us navigate the journey, the better.

But narratives on aging so often seem to be from the outside looking in, written from an observer's perspective, if you will.

Rarely do we see the aged person's point of view. Rarely are they the ones wielding the pen - at least not as often as they should. And as I started to read the piece I'm sharing here, I felt ashamed that this was the case. Why indeed aren't these voices more prominent?

Mr. Angell, a longtime sportswriter and contributor to The New Yorker, was 93 years-old when he first published this piece in 2014, and his writing stopped me in my tracks. Powerful prose, of course, isn't limited to anyone of any age, but it feels especially poignant to read the first-person perspectives of a man who's lived well, lived long, and endured losses few of us could ever appreciate.

He is, thankfully, still with us, having just celebrated his 100th birthday.

I use the "must-read" adjective for articles all the time. But rarely is it as searingly applicable as it is here.
 
Life in the nineties.
By Roger Angell
The New Yorker
February 10, 2014

Watching ghosts in the forest

Life, somewhere
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


My boots are sinking into the deep snow at the top of the riverbank that curves through the valley.

I can hear water burbling softly under the ice and snow that mostly hide the river below me, but that's about the only thing to be heard in this otherwise silent, resonant place.

But that silence - or rather my perception of it - is strictly temporary. The longer I stand here, the more I can hear, as if I'm gradually tuning into the rhythms of the woods. Branches cracking in the cold. Squirrels scampering through snowdrifts. A gaggle of invisible singing birds who clearly missed their flight South.

A line of trees defines the facing bank, an ethereally bare sight that looks nothing like the lush forest I last visited here a few months back. Different time, different story.

At first I think their ghostlike branches are a metaphor for a cold lifeless winter, an ideal reflection of the emptiness that blankets the lives of so many during these challenging times.

But the longer I stand here and allow my eyes and ears to pick up the subtle cues, the more I realize how wrong I first was. These trees, the entire valley, the river that carved this space out and gave it life, all of them are limitlessly vibrant, even in the midst of a deep freeze that seems to have no end.

I crack a tiny smile as I think about seasons - on an annual calendar, or more broadly in an historical context - and how they shape us whether or not we take the time to listen in on all that goes on just beneath the surface.

Indeed, all seasons eventually evolve into whatever comes next. So, too, shall this one, even if we don't stand on the snowy riverbank to take it all in.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #winter #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
They play hockey here, February 2021
Half-frozen river, February 2021
One tree among many, February 2021
The giving tree, September 2020

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Cast a bright light

Feeling a bit reflective
London, ON
July 2012
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Be the light.

Or please make ample room for those who are trying to be.

Simple, really.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #road #trip #travel #vacation #car #auto #light #lights #reflective #abstract #kindness #automotive #carporn #chloe #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

The big box dog bed adventure

This one's just right
Boynton Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In the Before Times, when we shopped without masks and didn't fret over virus-laden strangers wearing masks below their noses getting too close to us, we had the luxury of comparison-shopping for as long as we wished.

I found this gentleman in the aisle of a warehouse-like big box store in Florida, a chance encounter far from home. His incredible attention to every last detail of this dog bed caught my attention, and before long I was standing there, transfixed from a distance at this little vignette playing out on the polished concrete floor.

It was quite clear he needed to feel every facet of this thing before he put it in his cart. (Spoiler alert: he did. And a certain dog got lucky that day.)

When we write the story of what this sliver of history felt like to those who experienced it, I hope we'll talk about lost moments like this. We hardly paid attention to them during the Before Times, but their absence in the here-and-now reminds us all why they matter as much as they do.

#boyntonbeach #florida #fla #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #throwback #spontaneous #retail #store #streetphotography #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, February 19, 2021

Did the dog shrink?

Sitting pretty
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The universe needs more happiness, and I'm just naive enough to believe that a random pic of Calli the Wonderschnauzer - or any dog, really - can make that happen.

Who's with me?

#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, February 18, 2021

On knowing your impact on others

"Learn to judge your moves by their long-term effects on people."
Robert Greene

Mars population increases by one

Red Rover, Red Rover, we call Perseverance to come over
Jezero Crater, Mars
February 18, 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#Perseverance has arrived. Safe touchdown on the surface of Mars. Remember where you were...

#CountdownToMars

Middle-of-the-night MRI run

Oasis of hope
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


You don't ever want to be here, especially in the middle of the night.

But you're glad all the same that it's here, like a beacon in the darkness. Because just like the sign says, the folks who make this place come alive are indeed heroes, and we'd all be lost without them.

Cherish what you have, folks. Nothing is ever guaranteed.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #university #hospital #apple #night #photography #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #life #health #everything

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On Perseverance

One way or another, history will be made tomorrow.

As I write this, NASA's Perseverance lander is speeding toward Mars, and tomorrow it will hit the atmosphere and attempt to pull off a complex, highly choreographed, completely autonomous landing that will hopefully end with it sitting upright and intact in the middle of Jezero Crater.

It'll take 7 minutes from the moment Perseverance hits the upper reaches of the thin Mars atmosphere to the time it touches ground, and that time is often referred to as the 7 Minutes of Terror. The Curiosity rover followed a similar trajectory when it landed over 8 years ago, and now it's Perseverance's turn.

If you can, watch. Because science can do wonderful things - the obvious ones like explore new worlds and push the boundaries of engineering, and the less obvious ones like connecting us all to a common good back here on Earth. Either way, it promises to be quite the show.

In the meantime, the good folks at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have put together another 7 Minutes of Terror video outlining the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) phase of the mission, and why we won't want to look away.

By Mike Wall
Space.com
February 16, 2021

Related:
Resources/Where to Watch, NASATechRepublic, CNET 

They play hockey here

Frozen history
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If I could summarize a Canadian winter in one scene, this would be it.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #hockey #shinny #game #games #winter #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Half-frozen river

Two different states
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Everything in this scene is temporary.

Come to think of it, everything in every scene is temporary.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #thames #river #water #ice #winter #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, February 15, 2021

Hanging on for dear life

Leaves that don't leave
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If tenacity could be described visually, I imagine it would look much like this.

Months after autumn supposedly stripped them of their life and their color, they cling stubbornly to this branch, whispering a constant song in the steady winds that sweep through the valley.

It's funny how some leaves stick around long after they should have fallen to the forest floor. As if they didn't get the memo.

Or perhaps they have a story of their own to tell, and they've scratched out a bit more time to tell it.

I'm no expert, but I think we owe it to ourselves to listen.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #winter #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #d750 #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Amid the windblown woods

Visible chaos
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I almost didn’t take this walk, or this photo.

Light snow was already falling from the slate grey skies when I first set out, and the forecast wasn’t promising. Sure enough, it didn’t take long for the snow to intensify and the winds to pick up, eventually to the point that even seeing nearby trees was a challenge.

I considered turning back. If I could see anything at all through the viewfinder, it looked relentlessly monochromatic, almost devoid of detail. The air was flecked with swarms of fast-moving flakes, and I kept having to brush the accumulating snow off the camera’s controls. Trees and branches swayed wildly in the wind as the late afternoon light continued to fade under thickening clouds and a setting sun. The photographic math wasn’t working in my favour.

Yet I still stayed out. I kept seeing scenes in my mind’s eye, even if I knew I stood little chance of actually capturing them in pixels. I was curious if I could bring something, anything home. And I rather enjoyed feeling the sting of a gloriously Canadian winter afternoon on my face. I felt alive.

This chaotic photo sums up what this day felt like. Crazy. Wind-whipped. Unpredictably glorious.

Technically, it’s a mess. But that’s kind of the point here. I was standing in the middle of a mess. This is what it looked, and felt, like. Chaos as catharsis. Works for me.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #winter #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #d750 #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, February 14, 2021

One tree among many

Reach out
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In a forest filled with countless trees, you always want to be the one that stands out.

Or at least the one where the Scooby Gang would gather at the end of the episode to unmask the old man who would have gotten away with it if not for those meddling kids.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #winter #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #d750 #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:

Lost Valentine

What could have been
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It looks like someone isn't getting a Valentine.

The Wonderschnauzer and I came across this sad scene on a walk the other morning. We paused over it while I wondered about the story that could have led to this particular card ending up in this particular spot in the middle of a dirty snow-covered street. It just personified sadness.

I couldn't stop my mind from churning as we continued on our way, and felt a tiny twinge of sadness that that story would forever remain untold. I quietly hoped it was just an innocent act of gravity, a simple case of the wrong thing falling out of the wrong pocket or bag at the wrong time, and not something worse.

Because we all deserve to both love and be loved. And not in the fake Hallmarkian context of a manufactured holiday, but in the way our souls feel happy and fulfilled when we think of the folks whose lives cross our own.

That feeling isn't just a February 14th thing, and it'll matter just as much tomorrow as it does today. Even if the card ends up under the dirty tire tracks on a cold winter's morning. Even if there never was a card at all.

Whatever your happy is today, I hope you'll seize it. I hope you'll think about those who matter most, then reach out to them to let them know. I hope it's the first of many days where we all take the time to appreciate all we have.

Wouldn't that be a holiday worth celebrating?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #valentine #valentinesday #holiday #live #laugh #love #levy #random #suburban #walkabout #remember #fallen #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Standing under the cathedral

Cover me
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Today was a good day to take a walk in the woods. So I did.

It was snowing lightly when I started out, but conditions gradually worsened until I could barely see through the driving snow.

Needless to say, the photography was a bit of a washout, but none of that mattered, anyway. Just getting out and feeling the wind in my face for a bit was enough. The best pleasures, after all, are the simplest.

The woods will still be there tomorrow, which not so coincidentally will be another good day to walk through them.

Maybe I'll see you there.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #winter #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

On Elon Musk's happiness

"I’m just trying to think about the future and not be sad."

 

Price tags go high-tech

Scanarama
London, ON
December 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This photo is the exact opposite of fine art.

If we're being blunt, it's a crappy smartphone snapshot of a crappy scene in a crappy grocery store where the employees have apparently forgotten to smile. Not gonna lie: I hate shopping here.

Yet here I am sharing this pic as if it's somehow worthy. Strangely, it is. Allow me to explain.

See, photography is many things, often at the same time. It could be fine art. Or it could be something less esoteric, like a simple view of the everyday.

And that's what this one is, a below-the-personal-radar snippet of everyday life that caught my eye. I shot it because this is no ordinary store shelf label.

Look closely. It wasn't printed. It isn't a sticker.

Rather, it's an electronic RFID (radio frequency identification) device with a low-res e-ink screen that draws power only when it changes state. Employees can easily change the display wirelessly and/or remotely, depending on the specific devices being used.

It's pretty awesome, an example of in-store retail trying to up its game a little.

I hadn't been to this store in a while, and when I first returned I noticed they had installed these funky new devices. So of course I had to remember that aha moment.

So, no, not even remotely fine art. But important all the same. Because it catalogs a moment in time, where the ordinary shifted a little, where we transitioned from something old to something a little newer, where the visuals that surround us got just a little more modern.

Normally we miss this stuff. Thankfully there's mundane photography to ensure we remember moments and places and visuals like these.

In other words, simple, everyday storytelling. And the world needs more of it.

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

Friday, February 12, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On smartphones

I grew with a very cinematic view of spies, and for the longest time believed the caricatures portrayed in James Bond movies were, in fact, real. They used exotic tools and techniques to threaten our freedoms, and by the time the credits rolled, I counted myself thankful that the good guys always seemed to have better tools and techniques than the villains. 

These days, spies are far less exotic. In fact, they aren't human at all, and we've been blindly carrying them around in our pockets for the better part of the last decade.

The typical smartphone is packed with sensors that record our every move and interaction, even if we aren't even deliberately using the device. And the data trail that results can easily become an infinitely worse nightmare than anything Dr. No could have ever dished out to 007.

A team of New York Times journalists has published one of the more eye-opening pieces on just how far we've gone - and what those electronic spies in our pockets are capable of.

Remember: this isn't a political statement. Followers of all parties carry the same devices - and are just as vulnerable to the kind of deep-dive analytics on display here. I won't tell you to enjoy the read, because there's nothing fun about any of this. It's time we opened our eyes, and journalism like this can help.

By Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson
The New York Times
February 5, 2021

Still standing on the bridge

Curvy waters
London, ON
December 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Planet Earth is particularly turbulent for so many these days, including me, so thank you for indulging me another scene from a place that seems to calm the waters somewhat.

Good things come in twos, after all. Or maybe it's threes. Who's counting?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #water #reflective #thames #river #walkabout #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #d750 #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
#FindTheLight, Part 2, October 2020
Medway Valley, muted, January 2018

Thursday, February 11, 2021

A river runs through it

Just listen
London, ON
December 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There’s a forest nearby with a river running through it.

Sometimes I’ll go for a walk along the path and stand in the middle of one of the bridges. There’s something cathartic about staring out and letting the sounds of this place sink in for a while.

Between the sounds of the water tumbling over the rocks far below, the wind whispering through the trees, or the birds singing somewhere in the distance, it doesn’t take long for this perfect example of nature to soothe my soul and bring me back to where I need to be.

I think I’m just about due for a return visit. I’ll bring the camera again.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #water #reflective #thames #river #walkabout #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #d750 #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything