Monday, June 14, 2021

This old house (for now)

Timeless
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


You probably don’t have to go far to come across delightfully old buildings hiding in plain sight.

Time may have been kinder to some of them than others, but they’re all worthy of a little extra attention.

Because eventually time runs out for most of them, especially when heritage runs hard up against the cold economic realities of a fast growing city and intensifying development pressure along a high-volume corridor.

So we take pictures like this one because nothing lasts forever, even if we wish it would.

#ldnont #london #hyde #park #ontario #canada #throwback #architecture #design #architecturephotography #century #old #building #brick #window #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Today was a day...

Pick a direction
London, ON
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Today was a day to wander.

Today was a day to point the bike into the wind and see where curiosity might take us.

Today was a day to get some dirt in the tread.

Today was a day to go somewhere new.

Today was a day to stretch the envelope a little further from home than we went last time.

Today was a day to stand on an old bridge and watch the water flow past.

Today was a day to smile at complete strangers. Just because.

Today was a day to be thankful.

In other words, a day like any other.

But only if we made it so.

So we did.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #bikelife #instabike #bikeporn #orange #devinci #hatchet #gravelbike #meadowlily #bridge #green #thames #valley #parkway #tvp #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Along came a spider...

Charlotte would be proud
London, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In the middle of a pedestrian bridge over the river that defines our town, a spiderweb stands up to a relentless afternoon wind.

Its thin strips of silk look so fragile, but looks are clearly deceiving in this case. And when I return to this same spot a couple of days later, not only is the web still there, but it’s even larger and more elaborate than it was before.

The spider’s defiance feels somewhat inspiring as I get back on the pedals and continue on my way.

Because if a tiny insect can so successfully face and overcome such overwhelming odds, then so can we. #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #thames #valley #parkway #tvp #river #springbank #park #bridge #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #stilllife #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Raptor. Burner. Vapor.

Let's make holes in the atmosphere, shall we?
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I have many strange habits, and one of them involves taking photos of flying machines.

They don’t have to all be apex predators like the F-22A Raptor I captured during last year’s #ldnont air show, but a little bit of afterburner never hurts, either.

The vapor trails off the wingtips are an added bonus. Yay physics!

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

On forgiving your enemies

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."

Golden hour by the side of the road

Today we race the rising sun
Middlesex Centre, ON
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Wonderland Road North, 6:03 a.m.

I love my sleep just as much as everyone else, but the instant I pull out of the subdivision, point the bike toward farmland and accelerate up to speed, I realize just how much I need to be here, how much I crave this, how much I need to feel the wind in my ears, the power of my legs cranking on the pedals, the tiny ripples in the road working their way through the bike and into my fingertips.

Cycling may very well be an exercise in physics, a balancing act, a power-to-weight ratio, a coefficient of friction, a spreadsheet of meticulously gathered data, or any combination thereof. But once you get past all those numbers and formulae, it’s ultimately about how it makes you feel.

And to put it bluntly, it makes me feel alive. Engaged. Happy.

Which probably explains why I tend to smile while I ride. And why the endless road seems to always beckon me forward. And why I’m only too happy to follow its lead.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #bikelife #instabike #bikeporn #orange #devinci #hatchet #gravelbike #wonderland #road #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Friday, June 11, 2021

Deadwood

Life goes on
London, ON
March 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Echoes of a primordial being...

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #bark #walkabout #abstract #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

When puppies sleep...

Dreams from above
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


She can fall sleep anywhere, but still she has her favorite spots throughout the house, including the middle of the living room couch, where our daughter's big fluffy blanket can often be found.

I wonder what she dreams of. I wonder if she knows how grateful we are that she's become one of us.

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

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Hanging out with the cows

Pasture party!
Middlesex Centre, ON
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I made some new friends on this morning’s bike ride.

I came across these lovelies as I rode just north of #ldnont, and they were probably more curious about me than I was about them. They walked over to me at the the fence line, and I spent a rather magical few minutes talking gently to them before it was time to let them get back to their grazing.

I can’t explain what makes me stop what I’m doing so I can talk to, wave at, or otherwise hang out with cows. We obviously don’t speak the same language, but the simple act of looking at each other somehow brought me comfort.

I hope they felt the same way. #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #cow #cows #moo #farming #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #bikelife #instabike #wonderland #twelvemile #road #roadside #morning #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Empty school at night

Kids learned here once
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There's an elementary school in the neighborhood that, like so many others in so many other neighborhoods in the province, across the country, and around the world, has been empty for what seems like an eternity.

I share this not to reopen the debate over whether governments here and elsewhere should or should not be mandating a return to the classroom before the school year ends.

Lord knows our own provincial government has dropped the ball so many times since this all started that the ball is likely no longer sphere-shaped. It's fact: we have terrible leadership.

Rather, I share this photo simply because I want to remember what it was like when centres of the community spent over a year largely devoid of life.

Whether we like it or not, we're witnessing history here, so we may as well record bits and pieces of it along the way.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #school #building #architecture #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #night #nightphotography #nightmode #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Canada Post delivers...design

Not a play button
London, ON
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Never let it be said that Canada Post doesn’t grace our neighborhoods with some beautifully designed mailboxes.

I share this particular photo here, and now, because it represents a particular form of photographic escapism that’s especially needed at this point in time.

Because life can be unfair and the world can be cruel. So I hope you wont’t mind if I spend a few minutes every day or so composing, shooting, and sharing the most trivial of images.

And if you want to join in on my burgeoning movement, you are, of course, absolutely welcome to do so.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #canadapost #mail #postal #signs #messages #random #urban #richmond #street #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

On dreams and dreamers

"Dreams have only one owner at a time.
That’s why dreamers are lonely."

 

Early morning rides through the countryside

Resting by the side of the road
Middlesex Centre, ON
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The world remains an ugly place, and I’m under no illusions that it’ll get fixed anytime soon, if at all. So I'm trying a new thing: regularly taking the bike out in the morning, before the rest of the world wakes up.

Way back BK (before kids) when we lived in Montreal, I would roll my two-wheeler out at dawn, climb Mount Royal, circle the paths to the summit a few times along with the other morning runners and riders, then ride back home and prepare for the workday.

There is no mountain where we live now, and there's a lot more responsibility these days. But still, I had forgotten how cathartic these early morning experiences were, and kicked myself that I had allowed myself to fall out of the habit.

I realize figuring out a new-to-me set of wheels is going to take some time. I'm undoing nearly three decades of muscle memory, and adapting to the kinds of cycling technologies that didn't exist when my vintage machine first hit the road.

Still, amid a global pandemic and close-to-home carnage on the same roads I ride daily (please see my previous entry if you're just joining us) being able to get out of the house and just spin my legs through rolling country roads is enough to soothe my soul for a bit.

In fact, I was having such a good time on yesterday morning's spin that my planned 10 km shakedown ride quickly turned into 26. Oops.

It simply wouldn't do to forget what it looked like along the way, hence the photo.

Wherever your journeys take you, I hope you record them, too. Because we all need to get away, especially when the rest of the world is doing its best to keep us from doing so.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #bikelife #instabike #bikeporn #orange #devinci #hatchet #gravelbike #medway #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Related:

Monday, June 07, 2021

Mass murder in my neighborhood

Hyde Park and South Carriage, 10:14 a.m.
I'm angry today, and you should be, too.

At around 8:40 last night, at a #ldnont intersection not five minutes from our home, 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman plowed his pickup truck into a family of five people, killing three adults and one teenager, and seriously injuring the sole surviving member of this family, a nine-year-old boy.

Veltman drove off, and was arrested in a strip mall parking lot about 4 km away.

This was no accident. Police say they’ve collected evidence the driver deliberately targeted this family because of their Muslim faith. A hate crime. Here. The worst mass murder in this city’s history.

Veltman has been charged with 4 counts of murder and one of attempted murder. I’m not going to use words like “alleged”. There was no justice for this family taking a walk in a supposedly safe neighborhood, and I won’t give this cretin the benefit of assuming innocence until proven guilty.

Hatred led to this, and it came from somewhere. As we process our individual and collective shock, I hope we ask ourselves what we plan to do next.

What are we prepared to do to ensure anyone, of any background, can stroll the streets near home without fear of being targeted simply because of what they believe, or who they are?

What will we do to stop the cycle of intolerance that drives Islamophobia and other forms of racism and xenophobia? When will we say enough?

Members of minorities understand what it’s like to be singled out. Whatever our background, whether we’re visible minorities or not, sooner or later it happens to us all, simply because a stranger decided we didn’t deserve to feel safe.

Or to live.

So I’ll say it here: enough.

#london #ontario #canada #hydepark #southcarriage #cherryhill #callitwhatitis #murder #enough

Related Coverage:

Return to St. Joe's

Geometry against a perfect sky
London, ON
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Last October, I broke my pinkie in what can only be described as a freak dog-walking accident.

We encountered another dog around a blind corner, and I wasn’t prepared for 15 pounds of Schnauzer to suddenly leap into action.

The leash had been wrapped around my hand, and the immediate and significant tension was apparently incompatible with maintaining bone consistency.

Thankfully we have phenomenal health care here, so when the docs and nurses finished fixing my boo-boo, I did what any immediately discharged patient would do: I stood outside the hospital and took placemarker pics of the building with my smartphone.

The other day I had some extra time in between nearby appointments, so I returned to the neighborhood to take some more pictures of a place that’s been more than good to our family. Our two youngest were also born here, so I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for it.

It was a much nicer day than it had been last October. I had my camera-camera with me this time, and all of my fingers were working as designed.

I even had an audience, a couple of friendly nurses on break who wanted to know what I was up to and happily chatted with me while I sized things up.

The experience reminded me once more why I so often return to places I’ve already been. Because as familiar as they may be, there’s always another chapter to add to their story.

Makes me wonder what I’ll find the next time I return.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #stjosephs #hospital #lhsc #architecture #design #architecturephotography #building #street #streetphotography #photography #blue #sky #weather #wx #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Related:

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Sour cream down!

Cleanup, aisle 9
London, ON
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We know we’re not supposed to cry over spilled milk.

Does this apply to sour cream, as well?

Asking for a friend.

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

Waiting for the game to begin

Alone time
Tillsonburg, ON
May 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


A stranger checks his phone in the bleachers beside an otherwise empty baseball field.

I hope his story is a happy one.

#tillsonburg #ontario #canada #road #trip #travel #street #streetphotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Tres saucy

Marketing 101
London, ON
May 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I would buy this pasta sauce just for the label.

Would you?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sobeys #supermarket #grocery #store #pasta #aisle #sauce #shopping #retail #random #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

On finding enough will

"People do not lack strength; they lack will."

Cycling from pink to orange

Bringing it home
London, ON
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I've had my pink bicycle for 28 years. Longer than I've been a parent. Almost as long as I've been married. Long enough that it's become an integral part of my identity.

It replaced a banana yellow Bianchi, so clearly I have a thing for brightly colored machines.

Specialized built its Stumpjumper Comp mountain bikes out of some pretty durable stuff, because she has ably carried me for countless thousands of kilometres, and consistently fuelled my passion for a sport that somehow convinces us to roll out of bed before dawn and not stop pedalling until we run out of road.

But everything has its time, and as much as I've loved and bastardized this machine with racks, paniers, and slicks to fit my urban commuting lifestyle, it was time for me to find something else. Something a little faster on long road pulls. Something a little more modern. Something safer, with way better brakes. Something a little more aligned with the kinds of exploring I've been dreaming about for a while.

So the pink machine has now been supplanted by an orange one.

The story of how we came to bring her home is worthy of future Instagram posts, but suffice to say finding any bike amid exploding pandemic-driven interest in cycling has been a monumental challenge. (Huge shoutout to Dan and his @dreamcyclery family for making #newbikeday a day we will never forget, and to my wife for always being game to go on new adventures.)

Adventures take many forms, and as much as we think they require the right machine or equipment, the reality is they require the right people around us. Because even when you're on a solitary ride mashing the pedals past a quietly grazing family of horses, no journey happens without family back home.

And whatever color my bike may be, I wouldn't be able to ride it without them.

I'd write more, but it'll have to wait. Time to take this thing out and see what it'll do.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #bikelife #instabike #bikeporn #orange #devinci #hatchet #gravelbike #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Related:
Green lane of death, November 2020
Seven years on, August 2020

Friday, June 04, 2021

Taking another look at an Chevy's retro-wagon

Hey dude
London, ON
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Today in our ongoing #OldParkedCars series, we sample some retro-style domestic, courtesy of designer Bryan Nesbitt, who interestingly also designed the PT Cruiser.

Years ago, I drove a car much like this one, a black Chevrolet HHR that we affectionately named Henrietta*.

By the time we said goodbye, she sounded like an artillery brigade and she leaked enough fuel onto our driveway to alarm the neighbors. It was clearly her time to go, but over the years I spent driving her on some insane mega-commutes with the sunroof open and the typically excellent GM head unit cranking out some bizarro driving playlists, she never once let me down, and always brought me safely home.

The car's personality was such that whenever we saw another HHR on the road, we'd quietly mutter "Hey dude" under our breath as we passed by. I'm pretty sure no one else cared, but it was like our modern, violence-free version of the Volkswagen Beetle punch buggy game, and it reminded us that cars can be more than mere transportation appliances - but only if we allow them to be.

These nostalgic machines are becoming increasingly rare finds, so I cracked a smile when I saw this beautifully preserved example during a recent morning walk with the dog. It's the SS model, and its turbocharged 2.0 litre engine is rightly seen as a bright spot during an otherwise dreary era for GM. The blue is rather fetching, too, so I had little choice but to take a photo.

I didn't get to hear it when its owner returned and fired her up, but I'm reasonably sure this one didn't spill anything in the gutter before it went on its way.

* Henrietta may sound familiar, because in a fit of barely-adequate imagination, I named the car that replaced her - a red Honda Civic - Henrietta, as well. To differentiate the two, the Civic is Henrietta 2.0. I think I may need a new hobby, because naming cars clearly isn't my strong suit.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #chevrolet #chevy #HHR #american #car #carporn #automotive #oldparkedcar #opc #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
No more cookies for you, September 2012
Snow's coming, October 2010
Henrietta at rest, February 2010

Thursday, June 03, 2021

A particularly memorable beach sunrise

When light reaches out
Deerfield Beach, FL
December 2008
This photo has also been shared on Instagram


Call this one a throwback. I wrote the following passage on an early January morning in 2009 to accompany a vacation photo I had taken a few days earlier, just after the sun rose over a Florida beach.

Reading my words back today, I'm struck by how timely they still are. So here goes...and thanks in advance for indulging my little raiding-the-archives party:

Every year we've gone to Florida, I've talked about heading to the beach and catching a sunrise. And every year, it's remained just that: talk. I guess when you're on vacation, the last thing you want to do is drag yourself out of bed at 6 a.m. and head out in the dark.

This year, my wife insisted that I follow through. She also volunteered to join me, and wouldn't take no for an answer. Bless her.

So there we were, heading out in the pre-dawn murk, parking on a deserted beachfront street and planting lawn chairs into the cold sand. On the way there, I told her how little I cared about capturing the quintessential sunrise picture. Maybe I'm changing as I get older, but I no longer feel compelled to return home with a specific picture of anything. I get what I get, and whatever it is, it is. Just being beside her was enough for me.

So as you can see from the photo above, I didn't shoot a conventional view. I liked how the sun reached across the water. Wherever we sat, that reflection pointed at us. Never mind that shooting directly into the sun was photographically futile. It also didn't reflect how I felt that morning.

You feel small when you're on a quiet beach with someone who matters more to you than you've ever been able to express. You start thinking about what it all means, about why you're lucky to be in that place at that moment.

You know there's a real world behind the beach that's just filled with all kinds of sadness and strain. You know you'll have to get off the beach at some point and deal with it all.

But for now, it's enough to appreciate the moment for what it is: perfect.

#deerfield #beach #deerfieldbeach #throwback #florida #fla #atlantic #ocean #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #sunrise #waves #water #landscape #landscapephotography #naturephotography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

The perfect lunch

This didn't last long
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Every once in a while, a little voice inside our heads tells us to take a quick photo of our lunch. Or our breakfast. Or any other meal, for that matter.

What, you don't hear that little voice?

Whatever you're hearing, I hope you're listening. Because while photos of hastily devoured sandwiches - or whatever else makes it to your plate - may not reflect the ultimate photographic vision, they do tell the story of us. What it looked like, what it felt like, who we experienced it with.

So, yes, an ordinary scene. But an important one all the same, and I hope you're capturing yours, too.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #kitchen #table #spontaneous #stillllife #lunch #sandwich #tomatoes #food #foodporn #foodphotography #instafood #foodstagram #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

#OldParkedCars, diesel edition

Definitely not a Granada
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Today's #OldParkedCars entry heads (virtually) to Germany and looks back in time.

If you dig deeply enough into 1970s and 1980s automotive history, there's probably a W123-generation Mercedes lurking somewhere in the background.

To call these cars classic is a bit of an understatement, because to many these represent the high point of Mercedes-Benz design and influence, where legendary engineering far surpassed virtually anything else on the road at the time.

I found this 240D sitting pretty on a nearby street. It's clearly been well-loved, and my how I wish it hadn't been 7:32 a.m. when I came across it, as it would have been fun to cross paths with the person or people responsible for keeping this remarkable vehicle in such remarkable shape.

Maybe someday. For now, I've just started this streetside automotive photographic thing, and it's probably best to shoot quickly and be gone before someone calls the cops on me.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #mercedes #benz #240D #w123 #german #car #carporn #automotive #oldparkedcar #opc #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything