Monday, December 31, 2018

Please wash your hands after peeing. Thank you.

Finding beauty in an unexpected place
Woodstock, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Notes from the road: It's a dark, cold night, and my wife and I are in the last highway rest stop before home. We've been driving all day, so we're tired, and I'll admit I'm probably slightly cranky.

As I walk into the washroom, I notice an unshaven man in a dirty ball cap trying - and largely failing - to do up his threadbare jeans as he walks away from a urinal. As he approaches me, I notice he's headed straight for the exit, and not the bank of sinks.

My eyes lock on his as I silently try to will him to shift his direction and, you know, wash his damn hands after handling his unmentionables. He just as quickly looks away and continues out the doorway. Mission not accomplished.

I'm not one to judge, and I'm not a venom-spewing germophobe, either. But when science explains how simple hamdwashing saves lives, and failure to do so risks them, I get my back up. Be as ignorant as you wish if only you must face the consequences. But when you threaten innocent strangers with your stupidity, we've got a problem.

Fast-forward 5 minutes. After washing my hands for an extra-long time, I emerge only to see my new dirty buddy purchasing dinner from the Wendy's. I realize this just as he hands the cashier his money, and she gives him his meal. I resist the urge to scream.

The photo? I snagged it in an OnRoute bathroom, because I was intrigued to find such a perfect little bouquet in such an imperfect place. Troglodytes aside, you can find beauty anywhere if you take the time to look. Maybe in the coming year we can all try a little harder..

#woodstock #ingersoll #onroute #random #urban #street #photography #public #shoot #shooting #washroom #highway #road #trip #travel #car #auto #automotive #carporn #google #pixel2 #teampixel #stilllife #ontario #canada #family #is #everything

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Returning to where it all began

Not-so-mystic pizza
Montreal, QC
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This may look like an ordinary personal-size cheese-and-green-olive pizza, and under normal circumstances you would be correct. But I've never been remotely normal, and we live in extraordinary circumstances these days. So as you've likely guessed, this is a special pie.

We came here after a challenging day at the hospital. Beyond Deb's dad's up-and-mostly-down challenges with his health, we grapple with the harder questions of what lies further down the road. She's carrying a lot of weight on her shoulders, and I'm not sure I know how to ease it.

I thought pizza might help. But not just any pizza. Tasty Food pizza, the place where we had our first date. I was 17, she was 16, and I was terrified of making the wrong first impression. Pizza seemed like the safest first-date choice.

In the ensuing 34 years, it's moved across the street, and the photos on the wall have faded a bit, but it still felt familiar as we walked in from the icy cold.

Older, wiser me no longer needed to search for the right word, or worry about a stray olive skittering across the table. I clearly won her heart on that first date, and she clearly won mine. But I still felt reflective, apprehensive even, as we munched and broke down the day that was.

I found myself wishing we could return to that sweet, gauzy time when everything was potential and mortality was a mere word in a dictionary. But we all know life doesn't work that way. Still, even a brief return to where it all began was all we needed in the midst of this particular chapter.

Like I said, more than just a pizza.

#montreal #quebec #canada #yul #google #pixel2 #teampixel #tasty #food #pizza #restaurant #age #aging #health #cherishit #everyday #urban #photography #life #universe #family #is #everything

Saturday, December 29, 2018


London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Home. Safely. Thankfully.

Wish we could tell you what comes next, but the universe probably has plans of its own.


Staring at trees across the highway

Stand tall
Woodstock, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We've been spending entirely too much time driving the length of Ontario's Highway 401 lately. I guess I'd be OK with it if the reasons were happy, but they haven't been. When the destination at the other end of the highway is a cemetery, a hospital, a place you'd do anything to avoid, the normal appeals of a road trip with your favorite people seem to lose their lustre.

On this cold pre-Christmas morning, I found myself, again, using photography to find the light in a linear space that otherwise has none. This seemingly ordinary line of trees stood across six lanes of highway at the Woodstock OnRoute service station. The weather, as usual, wasn't cooperating, casting a grey pall over the proceedings and, worse, a slick sheet of dirty ice over the roadway. Thanks to Mother Nature's silliness, it had already been a tense drive, and we had put barely 60 km in our rearview.

I stood beside the car and zoomed the camera across the highway, looking for something that would help me remember this particular moment of this particular drive. The wind cut into me from the left, and it was at that moment that I noticed the trees themselves had a bit of a lean, most likely because of the prevailing winds that blow in from frame-left. Even here, in this desolately grey landscape ruined by a superhighway, Mother Nature was painting the landscape, making it clear, despite the concrete and dirt and noise and human-powered mayhem all around us, that she was still in charge.

This photo is merely one of countless shots I stole quickly as we moved from there to here. If any single photo has the power to separate this particular trip from the others, I'm hoping this is the one. This, apparently, is how I tell our family's story now.

#woodstock #ontario #onroute #random #urban #street #photography #shoot #shooting #tree #trees #highway #weather #wx #road #trip #travel #car #auto #automotive #carporn #stella #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #ontario #canada #family #is #everything

Friday, December 28, 2018

Found: An American road warrior in the shadows

Drive, she said
Montreal, QC
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
In a shadowy corner of the deepest level of the underground parking lot below a massive hospital, a relic of a bygone automotive era sits quietly. The patina of dust on its aircraft carrier-sized hood suggests it's been here a while. Someone loved this car once. By virtue of the fact that it's tucked away here, I'm guessing they still do.

They don't make them like this anymore. Full-sized, body-on-frame, V8-powered wagons were the people movers of an earlier generation, a role since taken over by minivans, then SUVs and crossovers. Woody wagons are even more rare, as if anyone today could believe that a vinyl applique inside plastic frames glued haphazardly to the sheetmetal was once a sign of automotive opulence.

It wasn't and it isn't, yet in the waning days of 2018, in this sad spot under a sad complex of buildings where people like us come for almost exclusively sad reasons, it somehow works.

As soon as I see it, I'm reminded of the woody wagons of my own childhood - including the ones my dad drove. My wife graciously allows me to shoot the wheeled whale while she walks ahead. We're here for her father-in-law, not for spontaneous parking garage shoots, but she more than anyone knows why I need to do this. Because despite the reason for us being here - or perhaps because of it - we need to look harder into the nooks and crannies for moments of joy, for the little things that will replace, if only for a blink, the overwhelming darkness that's settled over us this year.

On this morning, in this dimly lit, grey-tinged place, we found that elusive moment of joy. I hope whoever owns this rolling piece of American history appreciates its ability to make complete strangers smile, remember, and think. Because connectedness takes on many forms, no matter where you may be, or what you may drive.

#montreal #yul #quebec #canada #random #parking #lot #urban #street #photography #shoot #shooting #car #auto #automotive #carporn #buick #roadmaster #wagon #jgh #jewish #general #hospital #google #pixel2 #teampixel #family #is #everything

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Waiting, uncomfortably

Have a seat. Or two.
Montreal, QC
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
If the waiting is indeed the hardest part, I'd like to politely suggest it's because the seats profoundly suck. In fairness, you wouldn't expect hospital waiting room chairs to be as comfortable as a La-Z-Boy recliner. The people who chose and purchased these particular chairs when Richard Nixon was in office likely did so as an afterthought, a last-on-the-to-do-list item before they moved on to their next institutional project.

I appreciate the budgetary constraints all hospitals face, especially ones, like this one, that are founded by the Salvation Army and funded by the provincial government. Those kettles should - and do - fund things we need rather than want, and governments have no business buying La-Z-Boy recliners for hospital waiting rooms. But, still, what I wouldn't give for a reasonably comfy place to park myself while we wait for the next nurse visit, doc consult, milestone in the dreary life of a patient who's stuck here for an indefinite period of time.

Sitting in these chairs as a visitor makes me appreciate the other places I usually sit - office chair, bike seat, car, wherever - so much more. I'm lucky to still have that ability, to not be on the wrong side of the health care curve. There are no guarantees, ever, in life. Some random disease might strike me tomorrow, and I might find myself right back in this place, except this time I won't be a visitor.

But to the extent that any of us can control our fate, can lead the kind of life that gives us the best possible chance of staying healthier, longer, these chairs remind me why that matters as much as it does. When I push my bike off from my driveway, whining the entire time about how early it is and how I'd much rather be lying in bed on an early-morning Netflix binge, I'll think of these chairs, and what I wouldn't do to ensure I never have to sit in them again.

#montreal #quebec #canada #yul #google #pixel2 #teampixel #catherine #booth #hospital #age #aging #health #cherishit #everyday #urban #photography #life #universe #fortytwo #family #is #everything

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Crash aftermath

Montreal, QC
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
First, thankfully this isn't my car. I came across this scene while wandering through Montreal's NDG neighborhood yesterday, so fresh that one of the drivers jumped out from her vehicle as I walked past and admitted to anyone with whom she could make eye contact that it was entirely her fault.

It was bitterly cold and windy late in the afternoon of Christmas Day. My first thought was to scan the scene and make sure everyone had gotten out of both vehicles, and that they were more or less OK (they had and they were.) I also asked if 911 had been called (check), then stepped back as initial shock gave way to understandable anger. As they argued over the details that led to them occupying the same spot at precisely the same time, I carefully crossed the street and began my return trip, hesitant to intrude on their trauma.

I wondered if their insurance companies worked on Christmas Day, if they'd be able to get a rental car, if they'd be able to salvage the rest of what should have been a special day, if they had somehow scarred all future Christmases with a memory they'd rather forget. By the time I had backed away far enough for their voices to have fallen silent, the own voices racing through my head had calmed down, too. No one was hurt, and that was all that mattered. I hope they all soon came to appreciate that simple fact, that gifts of life and health weren't simply limited to this particular day. I hoped they were still able to count their immeasurable blessings.

I slowly walked back to the hospital where my father-in-law has been for months, and likely will remain for, well, we just don't know. My hands ached from the cold, and not even stuffing them deep in my pockets helped. I reminded myself none of this life stuff has a script, none of us knows what comes next, and the best we can do is ride the waves as they roll on past. I quietly wished the two families a few blocks behind me knew that.

#montreal #yul #quebec #canada #random #urban #street #photography #sherbrooke #cavendish #christmas #day #shoot #shooting #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #car #auto #accident #automotive #carporn #nissan #versa #hospital #family #is #everything

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A new world takes shape

So much potential
Laval, QC
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
About a mile west of my mother's high-rise condo, as the crow flies, a new building slowly rises into the sky. My note yesterday about staring through distant windows and judging the folks on the other side got me thinking about the stories yet to be told in these boxes in the sky. So when I saw this skeleton of a building bathed in the late-afternoon setting sun, I felt a photo was called for.

Those of us lucky enough to grow up in a caring neighborhood appreciate what that must feel like, with neighbors who are so much more than neighbors, who know you, care about you, and are always there no matter what's going on in your own life. You feel indescribably comforted, protected, surrounded, and I was privileged to have lived in just such an area, a short walk to the right of the frame you see here. Canterbury Street was an idyllic oasis of calm, much like every other street, square, and crescent that surrounded it in this equally wistful, leafy suburb known as Chomedey.

For each of us, the world started and ended here, and all it took was a trip into the big city to the south, with its crowded streets, lack of green, and overwhelming noise, to appreciate returning home at the end of the day, knowing your peeps were ready and waiting to play another game of hide-and-seek beside the streetlight near your maple tree.

After this new building in a new neighborhood comes to life, it will doubtless become similarly idyllic for countless families over countless years, with countless stories yet to unfold. Decades from now, I hope they, too, can look back at their time here with similar wistfulness, thankful in the knowledge that their parents chose well, and in doing so influenced the trajectory of their lives in ways mere words can never explain.

For now, it's a construction site. But soon, it will become so much more.

#laval #montreal #yul #building #architecture #architecturephotography #facade #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #road #trip #travel #wanderlust #explore #travelphotography #travelgram #photography #sunset #orange #weather #wx #light #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #life #family #is #everything

Monday, December 24, 2018

Passing judgment through glass from afar

Windows over the strip
Las Vegas, NV
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I promise I'm not a voyeur, but I will admit to standing on sidewalks every once in a while and looking up at the buildings around me. I don't stare inside, of course, but I do wonder about the people who live, largely unseen, on the other side of the glass.

The math is easy to understand: Every window here - in this case, a Las Vegas highrise - contains a life, a story, or multiples of same. To each person who lives in each of these boxes in the sky, their story is their world, their everything. Nothing matters more to them, even if it matters not at all to the strangers outside.

We tend to think our own lives are all-defining, and they certainly are. But only to us. Even if this is an accepted fact of modern human existence, I find that differential, the all-or-nothing-ness of it all, somewhat jarring. Relatively speaking, we are a selfish species.

It's an especially meaningful observation in this social media-driven age, where we see so many examples of people judging others, making snap conclusions about what complete strangers should or should not have done, then sharing their views with the rest of the planet.

I guess it's easy to stand on figurative sidewalks and stand in judgment of complete strangers from hundreds of metres away. Or thumb-type wisdom into a Facebook comment thread without ever having met the individuals in question.

But even if fate gave you the ability to visit every unit in this photo and have tea with every person there, you still wouldn't know what really makes them tick, and still wouldn't have the right to judge. We may never know what goes on behind thick panes of glass, but we should always have the foresight to recognize reality is very different than what it might look like from way over here.

#las #vegas #lasvegas #nevada #hotel #building #architecture #architecturephotography #facade #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #road #trip #travel #wanderlust #explore #travelphotography #travelgram #streetphotography #photography #light #darkness #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #life #family #is #everything

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sentinel over a busy intersection

Life grows here
Toronto, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
In a window overlooking the busy corner of Yonge and Davenport, someone I don't know takes care of the plant you see here. It's been a busy day here at the Toronto office. I come here weekly to work on an ongoing project with some very brilliant people, so my days here are action-packed, stuffed with learning, and immensely fun.

I move fast from place to place when I'm here, rarely stopping to appreciate the environment I'm in. That needs to change, because this building is historic in its own right, an architectural marvel that's played host to some of the music and media industry's brightest stars. And now I get to work here. Neat.

For a place that was the favorite rehearsal space of a little band known as the Rolling Stones, you might wonder why it was a plant in a window - and not, say, the concert hall 25 steps that way - that caught my eye as I raced to my train home at the end of the day. I wonder, too, because what grabs my brain at any given moment is as much a mystery now as it first was when I was a kid, slowly realizing there was this creative thing burning inside me.

Whatever the origin, I zeroed in on the juxtaposition of this simple - or, perhaps, not-so-simple - and largely ignored plant standing sentinel in a window high above an impossibly busy urban intersection. It felt like a time-out, of sorts, a quiet reminder that despite the chaos all around us, there are tiny spaces all around us that offer refuge from it all. We just have to look for them.

And when we do, maybe we'll want to thank those unknown people who care for them, and ensure there's always a place for us to go when the planet feels like it's spinning too quickly.

#toronto #yyz #yonge #street #888yonge #downtown #urban #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #life #ontario #canada #google #pixel2 #teampixel #InfoTechRG #InfoTech #itrg #workhardplayhard #bestjobever #hiring #life #universe #family #is #everything

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Creating stories, one floorboard at a time

Unseen footsteps
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It's 7:22 a.m., and I've come into the office early because this is the best time of day to write, to think, to get stuff done before the rest of the world comes alive. But before I get down to the serious work of work, I allow myself a 5-minute detour to walk the halls and be inspired. Because every day should start by deliberately seeking out inspiration, and I'm pretty sure I'll find some here.

It doesn't take long. One flight of stairs up, I step onto this floor. As you can see, it's been expertly restored so that it can support the needs of a modern, tech-forward workforce. But it doesn't hide what it once was, either, and it wears its century-plus of existence with a memorable kind of grace. It serves as a reminder that we walk among history here, and what we do during the day adds to the stories of those who spent their days in this complex of buildings long before we were all born.

Wherever you step today, I hope you'll look down and think about those who came before, and the stories they would tell if you had the opportunity to meet them.

#ldnont #life #519ldn #kingandridout #345ridout #universe #downtown #urban #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #brick #lines #life #ontario #canada #google #pixel2 #teampixel #InfoTechRG #InfoTech #itrg @nicholsonsheffieldarchitects #workhardplayhard #bestjobever #hiring #family #is #everything

Friday, December 21, 2018

Learning the (woody) ropes

Historic strength
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Moving into a new building - a house, an office, wherever - is a lot like forging a new relationship. Everything is pristine, wondrous, with new discoveries around every corner. Your first steps are tentative, halting. You don't quite know where you are, where you're going, or how to find the things you both want and need. You're hyper-aware of everything around you, afraid to forget even the tiniest detail lest you need to refer back to it sometime in the future. You feel like what you do now will color what happens down the road.

I've definitely been in hyper-aware mode since we first moved over here. Four weeks in, the space is slowly becoming familiar, and the aimless wandering and looking for where key people sit has started to ease off. But like any relationship, there isn't some magical point in time and space where you're suddenly "there", where you've crossed some kind of imaginary line beyond which you've achieved everything you set out to accomplish.

I see that as an entirely good thing, mind you. Hitting a plateau - in an office, in a relationship, in life, wherever - would be kind of boring, and I can't imagine not feeling that pressure to go further, to open new doors, to learn. When those voices inside our respective heads go silent, the correct response isn't to simply accept the silence. The correct response is to push back, to kickstart the wheels that make those delightful noises in the first place. Hence this photo of what engineering looked like a century before most of us were born.

I'm learning much from this new place, and the people with whom I've been privileged to take this journey. I'm learning to keep looking, keep exploring, keep asking, to stay in hyper-aware mode for as long as I possibly can. Fascinating how a seemingly simple office move can become an analog for life in general.

#ldnont #life #519ldn #kingandridout #345ridout #universe #downtown #urban #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #brick #lines #life #ontario #canada #google #pixel2 #teampixel Info-Tech Research Group #itrg @nicholsonsheffieldarchitects #workhardplayhard #bestjobever #hiring #family #is #everything

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The fire just outside my front porch

A nice start to the day
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
No one ever has enough time in the morning. From the moment you wake up, shower, get dressed, walk the pup - not always in that order - grab breakfast and shoot yourself out the door, the clock is ticking, and you stop moving at your peril.

Yesterday morning was different, as the sky was putting on a bit of a show as I stepped onto the front porch and pulled the door closed behind me. It stopped me dead in my tracks, and I alternated between looking at my watch and the sky, calculating in my head how much time I had left, and how long it might take to run back inside, get my camera and grab a few fast frames.

The math didn't quite work out - any delay would mean more traffic, more rushing, less time to settle in at the office and methodically plan for the day - but I wasn't really focused on math at that point. Logically, I could have waited for another day. But it wouldn't have been this particular day, this particular moment. Keep pushing off opportunities like this one to another day and eventually you run out of days.

So inside I went to fetch the DLSR, because the smartphone just wasn't enough. I stood on our front porch and took 18 frames in just over 90 seconds, but it was the first one that ended up being the keeper. The ensuing morning was slightly more rushed because I ignored the adult voices in my head, but I ended up with a frozen-in-time moment that would have otherwise been lost.

Playing with my camera on my doorstep probably wasn't my smartest call yesterday, but when you think about the preciousness of a single day, the definition of "responsible" starts to shift. I guess it took a blazing sunrise to learn the difference.

#ldnont #landscape #sunrise #orange #red #light #day #night #sky #skies #fire #weather #wx #clouds #tree #trees #silhouette #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #instagood #photooftheday #family #is #everything #london #ontario #canada

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2 years...

Such a pretty boy
London, ON
August 2016
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Two years ago today, we said goodbye to this little fella. Frasier was our first dog, and we were pretty lucky his path crossed ours.

When we rescued him as a scraggly 8-month-old, we knew it was one of the most illogical decisions we had ever made, a leap into Miniature Schnauzer-hood, and all the insanity that comes with the breed. They're smart, stubborn, loud, and filled with enough energy to run a small city. If you want easy, Schnauzers aren't for you.

His background added even more challenge, as we knew he had been abused and neglected. He didn't speak English and we didn't understand dog, so we never told us in so many words, but the quirks that stuck with him for the rest of his life made it clear his first few months weren't good ones. I lost count of how many times I choked back tears when I imagined what he endured. Who does that to a dog? We'll never know, and it'll always bother me.

Still, he was a sweetheart who put up with the limitless love that three growing kids can give. He was enormously patient, and never tired of being picked up, dressed up, hugged, or fawned over. I'm sure he loved it.

His diabetes diagnosis at 4 was a turning point for our kids. They took charge of his insulin injections, and cared for him with a maturity that exceeded their years. They grew into better people because of him.

We brought home another Mini last year, and I suspect Calli would have had a good time with her big Schnu-brother. I suspect he would have loved her, too. We'll never know, but that's not the point. What matters is that we had him at all, and despite the fact we never have them for as long as we'd like, they still manage to permanently imprint themselves into the our family fabric. That alone makes the lost sleep, expense, and worry worth it.

We miss you, little buddy, but are immensely thankful we got to share your life for as long as we did.

#ldnont #Frasier #FrasierTheSchnauzer #Calli #CalliTheSchnauzer #LittleMissCalli #puppy #puppiesofinstagram #dog #actofdog #miniatureschnauzer #schnauzer #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzer_planet #petstagram #london #ontario #canada #life #universe #family #is #everything

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Venturing into a dark alley

Art Attack
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I needed some alone time in the middle of the day yesterday, so I put on my woolies and took a walk downtown. The steel-grey sky was streaked with fast-moving, low clouds, and the cold wind cut through my coat, the dampness reminding me that winter hasn't even officially begun here, and it only gets worse with each passing day.

I hadn't been here in a while. I've always been comfortable downtown, and I know the streets well. But in the few short years since I last worked in this part of town, much has changed. Construction has redrawn parts of the landscape, while the cruel realities of the economy have wiped away some familiar stores and people. I was due for a catch-up.

The core is crisscrossed by countless alleyways, and I'm of two minds when I pass by. On the one hand, they can be frightening spaces, with discarded needles never more than a footstep away. They're a stubborn example of the rotting underbelly of this city, the part many of us wish we could forget, but can't. You enter these spaces at your peril, and you keep your eyes and ears wide open when you do.

On the other hand, they're threatening to us only if we allow them to be. And artists have been increasingly reclaiming them, with extensive murals that tell stories that need to be told. If only we choose to venture down those dark laneways and take them in.

On this cold afternoon, I overcame my admittedly overblown fears and took that walk. I'm glad I did, because whether or not this aligns with our collective beliefs in what a city should look like, it's integrally connected to our life here. We ignore it our peril.

#ldnont #urban #wall #art #graffiti #streetart #graffitiart #mural #urbanart #drawing #artwork #graffitiporn #streetstyle #artist #design #random #street #photography #photooftheday #instagood #brick #alley #alleyway #downtown #google #pixel2 #teampixel #london #ontario #canada

Monday, December 17, 2018

Taking in the new office

Brick, mortar, and light
London, ON
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I work for a pretty inspiring company, surrounded by some pretty inspiring people. We moved into a pretty inspiring new building a few weeks ago, and I've been busy grabbing little photographic snippets here and there as we've all slowly been figuring our way around.

The word "new" is a bit misleading, as the building - or more precisely buildings - is over a century old. It sits on the western edge of London's downtown core, and it is deeply tied to the history of this city and its business community. After buying it, our firm spent a couple of years painstakingly stripping it down to its brick-and-rafters bones and reimagining it as a space worthy of a 21st century tech company. Three weeks after we first moved in, we're still having hallway conversations about how much we all love this place, about how it has changed the way we work for the better.

Architectural heritage is baked into Info-Tech's DNA. The building we just moved out of, known as Oakwood, was built by the one-time mayor of London between 1880 and 1882 before he left town under a cloud of suspicion. After buying it from a church, the company lovingly restored it into a revered example of preservation done right. Our Toronto offices, the former Masonic Temple, hosted concerts by Led Zeppelin and Frank Sinatra, and was the favorite rehearsal space for the Rolling Stones. It, too, has had its interior carefully repurposed while still retaining its architectural history.

We can't spend all of our time staring at the brickwork, of course: Work needs to get done. But that sense of place and sense of business purpose are closely, linked, making for a lovely place to spend the day pulling letters into words and words into works that inspire others to exceed their own potential. That sense of architecture-driven inspiration is a nice bonus.

More to come...

#ldnont #life #519ldn #kingandridout #345ridout #universe #downtown #urban #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #brick #lines #life #ontario #canada #google #pixel2 #teampixel Info-Tech Research Group #itrg @nicholsonsheffieldarchitects #workhardplayhard #bestjobever #hiring #family #is #everything

When the forest disappears from view

Cardiac imagery in the woods
London, ON
December 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Like many natural phenomena, there's a lesson inherent in the fog, and it's a simple one: Get yourself out there, now, because it'll be gone in a blink, and you never want to wonder what might have been.

Don't miss out on the wonder simply because you wouldn't take the time to stop what you were doing and move yourself a little.

On second thought, maybe this lesson isn't limited to an easily understood weather event. Maybe there's more. Maybe we should drop the maybe. Note to self: Explore further; self-limit less.

#ldnont #naturephoto #nature #naturephotography #landscape #photography #fog #foggy #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #medway #valley #forest #trees #nofilter #nofilterneeded #photooftheday #instagood #monochrome #grey #tone #toneitup #agameoftones #london #ontario #canada

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Fun in the fog with a dog

I am Groot
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We live in the so-called "other" London, the smaller one, on the wrong side of the ocean, without the cool accent or the royals or the giant ferris wheel.

But the Canadian London has a Thames River, streets named Oxford, Dundas, and Wellington, and it gets fog. Often. And when it rolls in, as lovely as it is to look at you'd be wise to stay inside for your own safety.

The pea soup embraced us last night, a gloriously thick, comforting blanket that seemed to swallow the sound as well as the light. And since puppies need to be walked, we didn't have much choice, so out we went.

We clearly differed in our perception. I slowly walked on the sidewalk, head on a swivel as I drank in the radically repainted landscape around us and my mind raced thinking of ways to somehow capture it.

Calli the Wonderdog was less than impressed, and whimpered non-stop the entire time we were out. I don't speak dog, so I'm not entirely sure what was bugging her, but I can surmise it had something to do with the blurry optics and insane reflections.

Still, she gave me enough slack on the leash to steal a few quick photos as we circled the neighborhood, the pink safety light on her leash pinging in the murk like an airport landing beacon.

I'm sure she won't appreciate the Scooby Doo-esque menace of this normally ordinary-looking maple tree, but I am grateful she gave me the incentive to get out there in the first place. Because we walk past this tree every day, and I'd never seen it in quite this way before. Little did our pup know that she was helping me stretch my view of the world around us.

#ldnont #Calli #CalliTheSchnauzer #LittleMissCalli #puppy #puppiesofinstagram #dog #actofdog #miniatureschnauzer #schnauzer #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzer_planet #petstagram #life #universe #google #pixel2 #teampixel #fog #weather #wx #monochrome #family #is #everything

Friday, December 14, 2018

Historic glass in a transient space

Not quite transparent
Toronto, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The architecture in Toronto's Union Station is impossibly ornate, offering up treats for the eye throughout the Great Hall's cavernous volume. By the numbers, an average airport terminal might be mathematically larger, but it'll never come close to the visceral combination of space, history, craftsmanship, and reverence that defines this crossroads of humanity.

I'm here every week, just one of countless thousands of people heading to something better, somewhere else. This, too, is overwhelming, a never-ending wave of bodies, heads looking down, hands buried in pockets, ears plugged with headphones, the sound of footsteps mostly covering up conversations, greetings, goodbyes. Then there's the odd - and very Canadian - "Sorry" as intersecting pedestrians try, and fail, to avoid each other.

Everybody here is keenly aware of time: When they need to be at their platform; whether they're running late for their first meeting of the day; why their colleague isn't here yet. Yet nobody seems to look up, or around, or at each other. For a place built to be a convergence point of humanity, there's very little actual convergence going on. Folks largely keep to themselves, focused on the singular mission of being elsewhere, quickly.

Massive iron-and-stone-framed translucent windows dominate either end of the hall, steampunk leftovers that paint its otherwise cold marble surfaces with warm light during the morning and afternoon rush periods. Yet these, too, go largely ignored by the teeming masses on the floors below.

It isn't my place to ask why, or to answer the riddle of this place. I simply stepped out of the never-ending crowds into a quiet spot in the corner and tried to tell one small piece of this very large building's story. On this day, elsewhere could wait an extra few minutes, even if my fellow travellers couldn't.

#toronto #yyz #downtown #union #station #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #glass #steampunk #travel #wanderlust #explore #travelphotography #streetphotography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #urban #street #photography #monochrome #lines #life #ontario #canada

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Water, light, and kindness

Crossed light
Las Vegas, NV
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This isn't the first time I've shot water fountains, and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last. I keep coming back to scenes like this because wherever they present themselves - malls, public squares, airports, etc. - they offer up a ready-made opportunity to turn the outside world off for a few minutes and have a little fun with water, light, and any strangers who happen to meander on past while I do what I do.

In this particular case, I was sitting on my hotel room balcony, looking way down, way across the street. So there were no strangers nearby for me to entertain, no far-from-home moments of connectedness with others who probably needed a snippet of kindness even more than I did.

But, still, I pulled the camera out and took the time to remember the moment before the fountain fell dark and silent. Because an opportunity is an opportunity, and there's always another way to ripple out some happiness into the broader universe. It can be a simple thank you to the person who held the elevator door just a little too long so you wouldn't miss the ride. Or it might just be a smile to a harried mom who felt the need to apologize because her kids were playing in the hotel corridor as I walked past. I told her this place needed more kids just like hers.

And as I worked the controls and tried to freeze a moment that would soon slip into my past, I thought of all the ways this simple collection of pixels, captured on a darkened high-rise balcony, could be used in a similar way. To quickly and easily plant a seed, start a ripple, lay the groundwork for someone else to smile, to be inspired, to feel connected.

In a way, it's just a picture. In another, it's much more.

#las #vegas #lasvegas #nevada #cosmopolitan #bellagio #hotel #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #abstract #photography #fountain #fountains #water #waters #light #darkness #silhouette #frozen #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #life #family #is #everything

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Seeing the road through my wife's eyes

A Hyundai climbs a hill
Photographer: Debbie Levy
Atlanta, GA
January 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This is one of the few photos in my feed that I did not take. My lovely wife, Debbie, did, on the I-75 northbound in the Atlanta core, a high-speed, no-nonsense stretch peppered with relentless curves, onramps and offramps. Lane discipline was, uh, invisible, and I was pretty stressed, so I cranked the GPS volume up and leaned heavily on my navigator - again, my lovely wife - to get us through the gauntlet as I counted down the kilometres until we were back to a normal three-lane highway.

That's how we roll in Levyland: As a team. On long trips, I'll do most of the driving, and she does everything else to keep us focused, like talking me through busy stretches and finding little ways to make the rest of the journey feel less draggy, more homey. She's a godsend, and it makes road trips, if not shorter, then way more fun and memorable.

One thing I realized as I scanned our photo logs from past trips was we didn't have much of a record of the drive itself. I was so busy at the wheel that pictures of the stuff we saw along the way didn't get taken. So she started shooting with her smartphone, always seeming to guess exactly what I might have zeroed in on had I been the one at the shutter. She's a pretty good mind-reader, too.

This is a textbook composition, the road climbing as it curved between old Olympic sites and construction sites. The Hyundai SUV seemed to mirror ours, an average vehicle filled with average folks just trying to get home safely. Meanwhile back in our lane, while my eyes were laser-focused on keeping us out of trouble, Debbie was busy telling the story of our trip home, another chapter in a life we wouldn't trade for anything.

This isn't some huge moment or huge story. But it's ours, and we've added it to the ever growing pile of small moments that make our family story worth recording. Because if we don't find some way to remember the journey, who will do it for us? Indeed, we all tell our own stories, and I've got a pretty amazing storyteller beside me.

#parenthood #life #celebrate #moments #atlanta #georgia #florida #road #trip #drive #car #carporn #i75 #highway #iphone #family #is #everything

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Why Costco rules, especially when Po is involved

Making lineups happier
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The scene: The Costco checkout line. I've come to this crowded, chaotic place to hunt and forage for my family. Okay, I stopped in on my way home from work to pick up a chicken for dinner, but the hunting-and-foraging theme sounds way more fun.

Whatever, I have a strange relationship with Costco. I generally hate shopping - the staring-into-their-phones-as-they-bash-your-cart crowds, the commercial-overkill, the overwhelming sense of being one sheep among many - but I make an exception here. I rather enjoy the working-warehouse vibe, the ridiculously oversized portions (seriously? You need HOW MUCH mustard?) and the sense of discovery because you never quite know what crap they've decided to dump off a pallet and stick a price tag on.

I'm also a fan of the way they treat their people in an un-Walmart-like way. Employees get realistic salaries, benefits, career paths, and respect. And let's not forget the snacks. I could eat a freaking meal from the samples alone.

So when I come here, even for a single item, I like to have some fun. I wander around looking for the dumbest products I can find, just because. I chat with the sample ladies to alleviate my guilt for not always buying what they're selling. I hang out in the electronics section because that's what geeks do. And when I get to the checkout area, I take a picture and, hopefully, make some folks smile in the process.

This trip's pic was an easy one. Po was in my bag - where she had been since I last photographically played with her in Vegas - so out she came. A quick pose on top of my backpack and we were done. I think the family in the lineup next to me thought I was about to be rounded up and taken back to my cell, but the kid on the other side kept calling out to Po, so we'll call it a win.

Life can be random like that, but only if we allow it to be. I hope that's what you're doing whenever you, too, find yourself hunting and foraging for your family. It may seem mundane and routine. I guarantee you it isn't.

#ldnont #costco #shopping #retail #urban #random #spontaneous #public #photography #moments #google #pixel2 #teampixel #po #red #teletubby #london #ontario #canada #life #family #is #everything

Monday, December 10, 2018

A line of Boeings

Vancouver, BC
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
During a long-ish layover at Vancouver International Airport - yes, the same one where Canadian officials this week arrested Huawei's CFO and touched off an escalating crisis with China - I found myself looking for inspiration despite the gloom outside.

I didn't have to look long to find it, a simple line of Air Canada aircraft, all Boeings, a 787-9 Dreamliner in front, with two 777-300ERs behind it. I attracted more than a few stares from confused passers-by as I wandered back and forth, looking for the best possible composition. There's something lovely about the way aircraft tails look when they're arranged just so. It speaks of motion, extreme engineering, and more than a dash of artistic expression.

I've probably taken tens of thousands of plane pics in my lifetime, but I doubt I'll ever reach a point where I'll feel like I've taken enough of them. That's the wonderful thing about creativity: The final artifact, as nice as it is to look at, need not always be the ultimate goal. Rather, it's the moment now lost to time, that that photo can instantly recall - in me and in others - that feels like more meaningful outcome, especially when you're far from home. And you can never have enough of those reconnected moments.

Somewhere out there, there are people who crossed my path on that day, who may remember that funny-looking/sounding guy who took weird plane pictures. I made them smile. And by sharing this here, I hope I've made you smile, too. Y'know, we all have that power within us to connect, as long as we choose to use it.

#vancouver #yvr #international #airport #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #aircanada Air Canada #flight #flying #aviation #avgeek #boeing #aircraft #airplanes #planes #planeporn #dreamliner #widebody #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #life #family #is #everything

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Be the light, please

Eighth night
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Quite a change from a week ago. So much more light, so much more warmth. So much more...reflection, both optical and the kind you feel more than see.

I can't help but think that this holiday is about more than a bunch of multicolored candles, potato pancakes that keep cardiologists in Bentleys, weirdly-shaped spinning tops called dreidels that introduce kids to gambling, and enough gifts to make Santa rethink Christmas.

And I can't help but think the lessons of Chanukah extend well beyond our tiny religion, that you don't have to be Jewish to appreciate what makes this holiday meaningful.

Because in my own admittedly strange world view, Chanukah has always been a metaphor for believing in miracles even when logic and facts suggest they are impossible. They aren't, and belief and drive can overcome much. It's also been about the power of the underdog, the refusal to give in to oppression and hatred and fear, the belief in where you come from, who you are, and the strength of community.

If all of these things matter to you, now you know why this holiday, my people, my community, our shared history, are so fundentally woven into who I am. And why those beliefs do - and must always - extend beyond my own world, my own community.

That light you see? It belongs to all of us, and we're all responsible for taking its lead and making it a part of who we are. Because if we don't, we all become victims, we are all at risk of suffering the unlearned lessons of history.

So are you in? More importantly, how will you start? (Hint: Share this. Like this. Comment. Weigh in. Start the movement.)

#ldnont #yxu #london #ontario #canada #chanukah #hannukah #candles #light #eight #eighth #night #holiday #miracle #tikkunolam #repair #the #world #neveragain #jewish #jew #judaism #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #life #family #is #everything

Never Again. This time with meaning.

I've known Gary Rush since we were kids growing up a couple of blocks apart in an idyllic suburb north of Montreal. He's a gifted photographer, life-long runner, and an inspirational contributor back to the communities he serves. You want to meet him.

He shared this photo on Facebook earlier this evening, and I felt compelled to carry his message forward. Here's what I wrote:

Indeed, light will always find a way to vanquish not only darkness itself, but the forces that cast its shadows over us.

That we live in an age where Never Again seems to have been forgotten, and Jew-hatred seems to be not only de-rigeur and de-cloaked again, but outright encouraged by the so-called leader of the free world, who dog-whistles white supremacy to his racist base, should chill us all.

The 8th night of Chanukah, where the light shines most brightly, is an ideal time to raise the volume on this message. But make no mistake, this is a battle that will not end with the dimming of the Chanukah lights. We're just getting started, and we delude ourselves by assuming this is a fight that involves only Jews. Remember who they also went after, and remember those who stepped in on their behalf.

Inspiration on my kitchen table

Grapes of the opposite-of-wrath
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Every once in a while, a bolt of inspiration materializes out of nowhere, usually while you're in the middle of doing something else.

To wit, these grapes on our kitchen table. As far as I can remember, they were sitting there yesterday, but they didn't jump out at me until just now this morning, as I came back in from walking the dog and was slowly putting my winter woolies away. A narrow shaft of soft sunlight spilled through the gap in the window shades where Calli usually barks at the squirrels and rabbits who dare to play on our lawn.

And suddenly, thanks to a bouncy puppy and some slightly displaced blinds, a non-descript bunch of grapes that had been sitting there quietly, possibly for days, became the most interesting thing in the room - aside from my wife, of course.

You never know how an apparently random set of circumstances will turn your perspective around by 180 degrees. You never know whether those circumstances are indeed random at all.

That's just another inexplicable facet of this universe - at least until the kids wake up, join us for breakfast, and polish off the entire bowl of grapes. We can all write another chapter tomorrow, and until then I'll keep my eyes peeled for whatever else the sun chooses to paint.

#ldnont #kitchen #table #still #life #grapes #fruit #fruits #morning #sun #sunlight #goldenhour #spontaneous #macro #photo #shoot #backlit #google #pixel2 #teampixel #family #is #everything #london #ontario #canada

Saturday, December 08, 2018

There's a hole in my roof!

Let the sun shine in
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I was leaving a funeral last Sunday. Our community lost an inspirational leader, and his family lost a dad, a husband, a grandfather, a man who exemplified the ideals we all strive for within our own homes and families.

As I slowly walked, deliberately alone, back to my car, I found myself wondering about the ingredients of a life well-lived, and what it would take to ensure we plant the right seeds to benefit others long after we're gone.

My coat was open on this unusually warm and sunny early December day. I could hear chatter behind me about the lovely weather, and how appropriate it was that the sun came out as he was being buried.

I got to my car, saw the sunroof and decided it needed to be opened. As it slid open above my head and exposed the brilliant blue sky, I further decided the moment needed to be remembered. Because small, simple moments of happiness hold immense power to heal.

Sure enough, as I sprawled over the a-pillar to get the shot, friends of ours walked up to their car, parked right next to mine. They know my photographic deal, and were delighted to see me having a bit of fun at a time that ordinarily made little room for it.

Soon enough, I had my photo, and it was time to go. Creativity had won out on an otherwise dark day, and the lessons I learned from the man we mourned were applied to a frozen moment of a hole in the roof of my car. Maybe I planted some seeds of my own on this sunny, sad afternoon.

#ldnont #honda #civic #civicnation #red #sun #sunroof #blue #sky #weather #wx #funeral #death #life #spontaneous #parking #lot #shoot #car #carporn #cargram #auto #vehicle #automotive #google #pixel2 #teampixel #london #ontario #canada

Friday, December 07, 2018

Up here vs. down there

Light is never too far away
Somewhere over Michigan
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I rarely write about the weather. I suspect it's largely due to my reluctance to follow the crowd: Everybody whines about the weather, so I hardly feel like I'm contributing to the advancement of humanity by joining in.

But I'm going to make an exception today, because a (figurative) lightning bolt hit me while I was out walking the puppy this morning.

Here's the deal: It snowed last night. A lot. We get squalls off of Lake Huron, and the result is usually a ton of snow within a fairly narrow geographic band. We're lucky enough to live right in the middle of the so-called Snow Belt.

So the morning was spent hauling my sick, congested self out of bed so I could clear the snow, walk the dog and help get everyone out of the house before tucking my sorry self back into bed with a box of Kleenex, (tm) and a comforting mug of tea.

Every neighbor I saw this morning cursed the snow, often using words not appropriate for my innocent ears. The skies weren't helping - a cold, windy steel-grey that added to the foul mood below.

Yet after I took the dog out and watched her happily nose her way through the fresh powder, I thought about this pic, which I shot on my way south last month. Had I been on the ground that day, it would have been grey and miserable. Yet from 39,000 feet, it was brilliantly sunny for as far as the eye could see.

The lesson: How you choose to feel often depends on where you happen to be. And if you're stuck on the ground on a grey day, just imagine the view a few thousand feet up. It doesn't take much to change your perspective, now, does it?

#las #vegas #lasvegas #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #aircanada Air Canada #flight #flying #aviation #avgeek #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #cloud #clouds #cloudstagram #cloudchaser #cloudyday #instaclouds #skywatcher #weather #wx #life #family #is #everything

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Dog at rest, for now

Yes, I'm a pretty girl
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
At 19 months-old, I can't say with any confidence that we've figured her out. Bedtime is still a riot of bouncing around and exploring every corner of the room her super-nose can sniff out before she eventually settles into a cozy ball, often on top of my wish-I-could-be-sleeping head. Mornings are spent with her standing over us in bed, crying in our ear asking to go outside, only to run away from us and hide under the dining room table when we head downstairs and fetch her leash. She's odd like that, and in so many other ways, and not a moment goes by that you're not wondering what comes next.

I say this not to complain, because I'm smiling as I write it. Sure, I shake my head often when we're together, but also, always, with a smile. Somewhat perversely, I enjoy the nuttiness that is Calli, and often think the universe dictated we'd have a dog as wacky as we are. She's a Levy - what can be wrong with that?

Today was an especially good day for her. I woke up with decidedly more cold virus in my system than I apparently had last night. So a day home from the office was called for - complete with giant hoodie, soft jammies, endless tea and a whole lot of whining (mine, not hers.)

She followed me around for the entire day, plopping her 14-pound self down beside me whenever she thought I needed a cuddle. She's usually a cuddlebug, but only on her terms. Today, she seemed to shift a gear as she realized not all was normal in our usually predictable world. I could almost see the thoughts form in her head: "Daddy didn't leave the house at the same time as Mommy did today, so maybe I should turn on the canine-empathy machine."

Who am I kidding? I'll never read her mind. But that's not what matters. Today, I got to hang out with a particularly good puppy. On balance, that makes the day a good one.

#ldnont #Calli #CalliTheSchnauzer #LittleMissCalli #puppy #puppiesofinstagram #dog #actofdog #miniatureschnauzer #schnauzer #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzer_planet #petstagram #life #universe #fortytwo #family #is #everything

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Construction time again

Oasis of light
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I've been walking a lot lately, The dog, lunchtime strolls through the new-to-me neighborhood downtown, and, as you can see here, walks to the car in the darkness.

It's been good for me to get out, turn the rest of the planet off, and just spend some quiet time alone with my thoughts. Correction: It's anything but quiet, as my brain seems to spin into overtime whenever I'm out. And even though the thoughts that creep into my head aren't always happy ones, I'm still glad to have the opportunity to shift gears a bit and connect with the world around me.

I had parked a couple of blocks away from the new office. To get there, I had to walk through a well-worn edge of the downtown core, hard by the rail line and businesses that have been around for longer than I've been alive. It was 6:14 p.m. Most of the downtown had cleared out. The streets were empty, save for a hardware store whose warehouse was inexplicably opened to the street, spilling light, oasis-like, onto the darkened asphalt just outside. No one was around, and I felt somewhat guilty for even standing there, worried an employee would spot me and think I was casing the joint.

Well, I sort of WAS casing the place, but only for a picture. My fingers hurt as I set up for the shot in the damp cold, wondering why I had never before seen this particular door open, wondering when the next opportunity to peek inside would present itself.

When I was happy with what I had captured, I put the smartphone away and continued on my way. It was a simple moment, in a simple place, but given the chaos of the past few months, it felt comforting to be able to put the blinkers on, if only for a couple of minutes, and focus on something not overwhelmingly dark. Going for a walk and slowing myself down allowed me the opportunity to cross paths with this pool of unexpected light in a place that often has none. I see more walks in my near future.

#ldnont #downtown #building #architecture #architecturephotography #facade #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #copps #hardware #store #explore #streetphotography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #urban #street #night #photography #life #london #ontario #canada #family #is #everything

Monday, December 03, 2018

Walking home downtown at night

Building, interrupted
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: York Street, just outside London's Via Rail train station. It's 6:46 p.m., and I've just returned from a day at the Toronto office. Much good work was done there, and as I crank up Hooverphonic on Spotify, tuck my earbuds into my oddly-shaped ears, and pull my soft black hat over my head to ward off the damp chill, I catch sight of the building across the street. I've been here countless times, but for some odd reason this is the first time I've really noticed the stately late-19th-century facade at the corner of Clarence Street.

The sky long ago faded to night, and I really should start the walk back to my car so I can go home to my family. It's been a long day. I'm tired. Happy-tired, but still: It's time.

But as so often happens in the strange space between my ears, a gnawing little voice won't let go. It's not enough to tuck the inspiration away and come back another time. My brain is spinning now. Sure, the building will be there, but perhaps the light, the tone, the feeling of being right here, right now, won't be. Or maybe I'll forget in the chaos of everyday life.

So I stop and pull my smartphone out. The fast-dispersing crowd around me barely notices in the rush for taxis and lifts. I tell myself they're welcome to take their own pictures, then feel a pang of sadness when it dawns on me that no one else ever seems to.

This may be an in-between moment for me at the end of a long, not-particularly-unique day. It may be of a building I've passed hundreds of times before, yet strangely never thought to shoot until this very night. But it's special and worthy all the same, especially when I get photobombed by a Batmobile-wannabe. Okay, it's probably not the Batmobile. More likely a train-warrior much like me, driving home to their family, too.

Either way, I'm glad I stopped. 14 frames. 2 minutes. It was worth the slight detour and delay, wasn't it?

#ldnont #downtown #building #architecture #architecturephotography #facade #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #travel #wanderlust #explore #travelphotography #streetphotography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #urban #street #night #photography #life #london #ontario #canada #family #is #everything

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Holidays suck. Sort of.

You be the light
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
There are a lot of things I don't do on social media:
  1. I don't post cut-and-paste entries about cancer, mental health, or any other illness or issue - if I want to share something, I'll write it myself.
  2. I don't put frames around my profile pic whenever there's a terrorist attack or natural disaster - I don't believe in bandwagons or greenwashing or pinkwashing or anything else that purports to convince us we'll ever solve an issue by posting pretty pictures and colors.
  3. I don't post two-word, "Happy Birthday!" messages because Facebook tells me to do so - I don't believe in shallow wishes that reinforce the fundamental disconnectedness of this allegedly social platform. You'll know when I'm moved enough to write something worthy of our relationship.
  4. Similarly, I don't post generic "Happy [fill in your holiday here]" messages. See previous for why.
The common thread among all of these is easy to spot: We've made it so easy to share throwaway thoughts that barely demand any thought at all that what we're left with has little to no meaning.

So while Chanukah starts today - first light was tonight - I'm avoiding the happy-happy memes that have doubtless been clogging your feed. Yup, I'm a curmudgeon.

But there's method to my madness. Instead of a massively overshared meme, here's a pic I took earlier tonight, just after we lit the first candle. Notice the light. There's lots of it, and it'll only get brighter over the next 7 nights.

Whatever you do or do not believe, please focus on that light, its warmth, the way it banishes the darkness, the way it makes you feel. Think of ways, over the next week and well beyond, how you plan to spread it to places it currently isn't. How will you be kinder? How will you move beyond cut-and-paste slacktivism?

Maybe you're Jewish and maybe you aren't. Makes no difference to me, as we're all human, and we're all responsible for each other. Maybe we can all indeed make that difference that memes can't. Now that would be a miracle.

#ldnont #yxu #london #ontario #canada #chanukah #hannukah #candles #light #holiday #miracle #jewish #jew #judaism #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #life #family #is #everything

Where water dances in the dark

Las Vegas, NV
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: My hotel room balcony, 18 floors above the Las Vegas strip, and right across the road from the Bellagio fountain.

I don't have much free time this week, as conferences are always so jam-packed with work-related stuff that there's seemingly never enough time to truly break away. Beyond the hours spent covering everything we originally came here to accomplish, there are late nights and early mornings spent writing, rewriting, cramming over a glowing laptop, prepping for whatever comes next and trying to stay ahead of the endless wave of accountability.

That's what makes so-called in-between moments like this as precious as they are. You don't expect them. Rather, you grab them as they present themselves. You steal these snippets wherever you can, to carve out a special memory before setting off to the Next Big Thing.

In a place where everyone cares about your deliverables, the big things you pull off in meetings, on podiums, under spotlights in front of lots of people, this is the one thing that matters to you alone.

So I worked quickly to capture these world-famous dancing waters as best I could. The light was awful. I had the wrong camera with me. I was too tired to see or think straight. Someone upstairs was smoking a lot of weed. But for a few glorious minutes, I got to play with light and water, and in doing so managed to make myself smile for the first time since leaving the house days earlier.

Temporary escapism via viewfinder. I'll take that.

#las #vegas #lasvegas #nevada #cosmopolitan #bellagio #hotel #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #abstract #photography #fountain #fountains #water #waters #light #darkness #silhouette #frozen #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #life #family #is #everything

Saturday, December 01, 2018

The rituals that ground us before long journeys

Journeys, theirs and mine
Laval, QC
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It's 6:46 a.m., and I've decided to take a walk alone through the quiet neighborhood outside my father-in-law's place before my wife and I finish packing the car and set off for home.

It's something of a tradition now, this pensive stroll before a long drive. I always bring my camera along because you never know when you'll want to record what you were feeling at that moment. But it really isn't about the photography. It's about closing one chapter before setting off on the next part of the journey.

Every journey is different, of course, and this particular journey has been a rough one. So today there won't be any easy and clean chapter-endings. We leave here with more questions than answers about my FIL's future, with uncertainty both ahead of and behind us as we begin to make our way home. We're already planning our next trip here, but even then we know the dark clouds will continue to hang over us all.

But life has never been predictable, anyway. And the fact that I CAN do any of this at all - afford to take the time to be here, have kids who can keep their own lives on track despite the roller coaster we've been on of late, have the support of friends who will do anything for us, any time, any place - is something I will never take for granted. The game may not be playing out as we had envisioned. But the fact that we are able to play the game at all is the only thing that should matter.

As that last thought flashes into my mind, I notice a family of ducks quietly making its way across the river channel that carves its way through these small, impossibly lovely islands. I wonder about their journey, as well, and silently wish them safe passage as I tuck the camera into my pocket and head back to my wife.

Because in the end, we're all on some kind of journey, we never quite know what lies ahead, and no one is ever truly alone.

#laval #chomedey #montreal #yul #quebec #canada #google #pixel2 #teampixel #winter #river #weather #wx #season #nature #photography #naturephotography #life #universe #fortytwo #family #is #everything

Friday, November 30, 2018

Architecture from afar

Structural Appreciation 101
Las Vegas, NV
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
There's virtue in simplicity, and sometimes all you need to do is look to the sky to find it.

You're looking at some kind of structural flourish at the top of a building adjacent to my hotel in Las Vegas. I'm not an architect or an engineer, so I can't share any more detail: I just knew that I liked how it looked. From where I stood, it didn't seem to serve any particular purpose beyond turning an otherwise ordinary-looking building into something unique. I guess that's what every architect is trying to do in this attention-mad city: Keep ladling on the architectural doodads like pats of butter on a Sunday-brunch crescent roll. Eventually, despite their intentions to the contrary, all these creations start to look, and taste, the same.

In the context of this over-the-top skyline, the seemingly functionless addition did its job: I looked. And I looked again. Eventually, I came back to the window beside the 41st floor elevator bank with my real camera in tow. I zoomed in, and in doing so put the blinders on as I ignored everything else competing for attention in the early evening sky. Suddenly, the lines, shapes, lights, textures and tones all snapped into place, and I knew I had gotten what I wanted.

I stood there, eye glued to my viewfinder, for no more than 5 minutes before I snapped this particular frame. In those 5 minutes, nothing else mattered as I pondered the possibilities and worked the camera until what I saw made me smile. In the middle of a week of non-stop action far from home, I managed to stop time and find a spot that was uniquely mine. I can't help but think this photo is less notable to me than the minutes that preceded its capture. Photography-as-Zen-experience: I could go for more of that. And perhaps soon, I shall.

#las #vegas #lasvegas #nevada #cosmopolitan #hotel #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #abstract #photography #building #architecture #architecturephotography #facade #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #steel #lines #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #life #family #is #everything