Monday, September 30, 2019

New year. Old stories.

Wrap yourself up
London, ON
February 2012
This photo originally shared on this blog, and on Instagram
It's the Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah, today. And I'll apologize now for not joining every other Jew in sending out mass Happy New Year messages via all of my social media channels.

I just don't feel like it.

Don't get me wrong: I want everyone to have a wonderful year. Whatever you are, wherever you come from, and whatever you celebrate, we all deserve happy, full, meaningful productive, healthy, and long lives. And as one of the High Holy Days - aka reeeeally important - on the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah is an awesome opportunity to reflect on the year that's been, and roadmap the year to come. We ask ourselves where we could have done better, and commit ourselves to being better people, to repairing the world. This is all both good and necessary, and it doesn't stop with my people: We should all strive for more.

But here's the thing: I hate all holidays. I can't stand the sanctimony and shallowness of them. Nor do I subscribe to the belief that sending a generic, one-size-fits-all message to your entire contact list somehow ticks the "I was a good person" box in the Great Spreadsheet of Life. We can show up on the correct dates, say the right prayers, adhere to the right rules, click the right boxes, and still fall short. We can still succeed by the letter, but miss the mark when it comes to spirit, soul, meaning.

And will we feel the same tomorrow? Or the next day? Will we fundamentally change ourselves throughout the remaining 364 days of the year? Or will we arrive at the next set of holidays only to send out the same generic messages via social media? Or will the same people still whisper behind everyone else's back when services are done?

Will we all have truly changed for the better? Or will we have simply gone through the motions...again?

Because if that's all there is, then our entire approach to holidays might need a bit of a rethink.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #roshhashana #roshhashanah #judaica #jewishnewyear #judaism #jewish #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Why I stare at changing leaves

Gone soon
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Because we all need a bit of color every once in a while.

Because color is, in many ways, life.

Because you see some pretty neat stuff when you look up and around.

Because you see things differently when you allow yourself the luxury of time, of slowing down long enough to appreciate all that surrounds us.

Because things change quickly, and every moment, every glance offers up a new opportunity to discover.

Because not every wonder needs to be iconic or headline-grabbing. Small and seemingly inconsequential can have its own grace, too.

Because nothing is every truly inconsequential. Even the ignored will matter to someone.

Because there's merit to following your own path, and pursuing your own vision.

Because everything eventually ends. But even after it's over, there's usually another chapter waiting on the horizon.

You just need a little patience.

And hope.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #urban #street #photography #red #green #yellow #orange #leaves #nature #naturephotography #fall #autumn #autumnleaves #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Dog meets rainbow. Indifference ensues.

So when do I get my treat?
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
A rainbow smiled on #LdnONT this morning, and Calli and I were lucky enough to be there when it did.

There are lots of trees in our neighborhood, so I didn't notice it at first. Only after we walked around the first corner and headed west toward the open sky did it become apparent to me the morning was especially special.

The air was uncharacteristically still, and the low-angled sun bathed the trees in soft, yellow light. The ground was wet with the remnants of a pre-dawn shower, making it one of those perfect mornings you wish you could freeze in time and use sometime later on when the world wouldn't seem as pretty as it was then. If only the universe worked that way.

I'm not sure she appreciated it as much as I did, as she whined the entire time I tried to compose this shot. But soon enough I had my pixels, and once we got back to walking she returned to her usual bouncy self.

Maybe these seemingly small moments with a small animal on a quiet morning aren't so small after all. Maybe we don't need rainbows for moments like these to feel, and be, special. Maybe we just have to open our eyes a bit wider.

#london #ontario #canada #photography #Calli #CalliTheSchnauzer #dog #puppy #schnauzermini #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #pets #rainbow #weather #wx #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Where I almost get banned from the local pharmacy

Baa cubed
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
You may have heard of fruitography*, my long-running obsession with shooting pics of fruits and/or vegetables in grocery stores. Well, today we expand the genre somewhat.

Welcome to three sheep on a pharmacy floor. What shall we call it? Sheepography? Stuffieography? Idiocy?

Why do I shoot toward the strange end of the spectrum? Um, I can't really answer that. It's fun? I enjoy making strangers smile and think? It's an innocuous sliver of whimsical subversiveness that hurts no one? All of the above? None of the above, for there can be no logic to any of this?

I'd like to think that carefully arranging stuffed animals in the middle of the greeting card aisle, then shooting them from a fully prone position on the brilliantly polished floor, returns a little light into a world that often seems bathed in more darkness than it can bear.

I'd like to think that, during a week where I couldn't shake the heavy clouds that followed me wherever I went, it made sense to do something so completely frivolous that the mere memory of it later on would make me - and hopefully you - smile.

That's it. I don't need life to be any more complex and twisted than it already is. So three stuffed sheep on the Shoppers Drug Mart floor (say that 10 times fast) will have to be my weapon of choice in the never-ending battle to simplify, and, let's face it, survive.

Humor, after all, is life. The sheep would no doubt agree.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #abstract #photography #still #life #sheep #spontaneous #photo #shoot #fruitography #pharmacy #store #retail #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

* Earlier Fruitograhy examples:

Friday, September 27, 2019

Photographic mystery time!

Near-monochrome blobs of something
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
3 questions:

1 - What the heck is this?
2 - Where did I shoot this?
3 - Why on Earth did I take this picture?


#ldnont #ontario #canada #519ldn #519london #random #abstract #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything


When the light goes out for good
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Remember: Some stranger is always having a worse day than you are.

#ldnont #ontario #canada #519ldn #519london #random #urban #suburban #street #photography #wonderland #road #cycling #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Staring at trees beside the Walmart parking lot

Nature all around us
Dryden, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
You find memorable moments in places, and at times, where and when you least expect them.

Like here, at the edge of a Walmart parking lot. It’s 10:23 a.m. and I’m watching the clock closely as I work through my list of To Dos.

The day's schedule is packed. But something about the stand of trees beyond the pavement makes me stop and stare for a bit. Before long, I’m pulling my camera out of its bag and walking over.

Employees in the smoking area stare at me as if I’ve grown horns on my head, because I’m guessing they rarely see weirdos in cargo shorts and sandals wandering toward the forest to take a picture. I’m used to it.

I scan the area to ensure I don’t become someone’s hood ornament, then carefully compose a few frames before heading back to the car. The smokers are still out there. Still staring.

This is an admittedly derivative photo, like so many others I’ve shot over the years. But its worth extends beyond mere pixels, because it lets me remember a particular point in time, in a particular place, that otherwise would have been lost for good.

See, our son and his then-fiancee-now-wife were getting married later that day, and we were all running errands, each of us a part of a much larger puzzle. It’s a family thing, and I’m always trying to freeze moments like this.

So I’ve evolved something of a habit where I shoot pictures so I can look at them in future and be reminded what it felt like. The picture may be meh. The memory is anything but.

#LiveLaughLevy #dryden #ontario #canada #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #dslr #monochrome #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Warthog meets stuffie

Even warfighters must smile
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We all have our favorites. Foods. People. TV shows. Movies. Songs. Hats. Secret hideaways. And planes.

This is mine. The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, more commonly, and lovingly, known as the Warthog.

This tankbusting, tough-as-nails, built-to-a-purpose airframe has famously protected troops in harm's way for over 40 years. And a re-winging program assures it of years of service ahead - because nothing else fulfills its mission remotely as well.

The A-10 Demo Team graced us with its presence at this year's Airshow London, and as ever these insanely brave souls were a treat to watch. The plane they fly isn't some needle-nosed fighter jet. By some standards, it's as ugly-as-sin. It gets dirty. It gets chewed up. It brings its pilots home no matter what they run into in battle. And it gets patched up before being sent out again. Wait: That's not ugly at all. That's the very definition of beauty.

At low level, it's surprisingly maneuverable. It was originally designed to take out Soviet tanks on the European battlefield. The Soviets called it the Devil's Cross. And for good reason, because you wouldn't want one of these things firing 30mm depleted uranium rounds toward you in anger.

Yet the thing I fixated on as its pilot pushed the envelope was what was stuck in the window at the front of the canopy. A large-ish stuffed animal. Which, on zooming in, became a number of stuffed animals. All either tightly jammed in, glued on, or both. Such coolness.

A warrior with a sense of humor. A warrior who understands the careful balance between displaying a machine capable of such utter destruction, and inspiring those who watch with the message of why these machines, and the militaries that fly them, are so necessary for our freedom to begin with.

The lesson? You never really know what you'll see when you look just a little closer. So look closer.

#ldnont #AirShow2019 #a10 #thunderbolt #warthog #USAF #airforce #aircraft #airplanes #aviation #avgeek #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #high #speed #photography #dslr #london #ontario #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Swooping in from a grey sky

Fat Albert can fly!
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'd like to introduce you to C-GDMP, a Boeing 737-800 operated by the new low-cost carrier, Swoop, captured seconds before landing at the London International Airport in the middle of the annual airshow.

I find it amusing that, on a day when some of the highest-tech military aircraft are in town for their yearly demogasm, it's a relatively humble workhorse of the sky that attracts my attention and somehow becomes one of my favorite images of the day.

Even more amusing is how this image comes to be in the first place: I'm not even ready to shoot when it cruises toward the runway threshold. I'm in the lineup for lunch in the @NikonCanada tent, and in the middle of chatting with friends about the relative merits of hot dogs and brisket. For the record, both are awesome.

Mid-sentence, I pull my DSLR up from where it hangs from my shoulder and track the plane from deep within the tent. I get some stares, but I figure it's an airshow, so this shouldn't be too weird-looking to everyone around me.

I think about the passengers onboard, and how cool it would be to drop out of the sky into the middle of an airshow.

It's a simple moment, really, but life is made up of lots of simple moments like this one. The least I can do is to stop stuffing my face for a bit so I can remember what it feels like to experience it.

#ldnont #AirShow2019 @flyswoop #aircraft #airplanes #aviation #avgeek #sky #weather #wx #boeing #boeing737 #fatalbert #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #high #speed #photography #dslr #london #ontario #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, September 23, 2019

10 years on...

When he walked with his Zaydie
Laval, QC

Photo originally shared March 2007
My father died 10 years ago today.

I still remember what it felt like when the phone first rang at 2:23 a.m., my mother's voice sounding so endlessly hollow and sad. It was surreal then, and it still is today.

I’ve had a decade to think about it. To ponder what loss means, and how we move on from it in a way that allows us to continue to lead meaningful, productive, happy lives.

I miss him every day, but I won’t let the shadow darken my life. Because when you step back for a moment, you realize this entire life thing is fraught with tough realities: No one gets out alive. We all die at different times, which means we will all suffer - and be forced to live with - loss.

And when the inevitable occurs, you have choices. Either allow it to define who you are, use it as an indefinite excuse, brand yourself with it. Or wrap yourself around it, let the pain change who you are, and maybe grow your soul a little in the process.

I was lucky enough to have a father in the first place. He wasn’t remotely perfect, but he gave me enough advantage and taught me enough so that I could grow into a father, as well, and raise our kids at least as well as he raised me. It wasn’t pre-ordained that we’d have him forever, and Lord knows he didn’t do himself any favors in the way he cared for himself.

But counting days, or feeling ripped off for not getting more of them, is senseless. It’s done, and nothing we do now can change that. Instead, we must ask if we made the most out of the days we were given. If we were left with memories that, today, help us in our quest to be better people. That’s all that matters.

Losing him taught me how to navigate chaos and loss - lessons that helped me over the last year as we lost my brother, then my father-in-law.

My father will never know any of this, of course. But life isn’t about living forever. It’s about planting seeds, teaching lessons, leaving legacies so that others may reap the rewards in future.

I did. And I am. As are our kids, including the now-much-larger-Noah who got a chance to hold his Zaydie Arthur’s hand one summer’s day. And for that, I’m thankful.

#ldnont #laval #montreal #lifeinthemargins #family #everything


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Blue glass block on a busy beachside street

The shapes and colors of summer
Grand Bend, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Disclosure: I find glass block intriguing. It makes any architecture better by turning what would otherwise be a dark wall or corner into a source of wonderfully soft light. Make it blue and I'll be your friend forever.

I spotted this particular example from far across Grand Bend's busy Main Street. It was a typically hot, humid southwestern Ontario summer's day, and not even the breezes coming off of the lake were enough to take the edge off.

The street bustled with non-stop activity. Kitschy stores selling beach umbrellas, rainbow-colored t-shirts covered with cheeky, cheesy graphics, and other throwaway nonsense strewn over racks haphazardly pushed well into the sidewalk. Stroller-pushing parents desperately trying to keep their kids happy. Knots of teenaged girls seeking the perfect summer selfie. Groups of shirtless teenaged boys talking just a bit too loudly, trying - and failing - to get the girls' attention.

And far, far away, I spot a patch of perfectly geometric blue. The teeming masses don't give it a second look, let alone a first one, as they stream on past.

But I can easily understand why they ignore it. In the rush to squeeze out as much joy from this all-too-brief season, there never seems to be enough time - or maybe it's interest - to appreciate what makes this town unique. The small details that anchor the place, that serve as gauzy summertime memories we'll need to make it through the coming winter months.

Frenetic seems to define this place. Too much to do, and not enough time to get it all done before the weather turns and the stores close for good.

Maybe if the fast-moving crowds on the baking-hot sidewalks slowed down just long enough to take in the faded signs, the bleached boardwalk, the hundred-year-old trees casting much-needed shade, and even the patch of blue-tinted glass block on the second-storey patio over there, summer might last a little longer.

If only.

#grand #bend #grandbend #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #blue #glass #block #architecture #summer #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #photography #life #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, September 20, 2019

Dogs who love cars

Ready for her road trip
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm not ashamed to admit that some days I struggle to find the good in the world.

Whether it's the political fecal matter show to the south, or the racism- and hatred-smeared election campaign to the north, or simply the doofus driver who drifted into my bike lane yesterday and almost broadsided me as he played with his smartphone, some days it seems easy to let the darkness win.

But then I spend some quality time with this little one and somehow none of that matters. Because as she wags her tail into a blur at the front door, it occurs to me that she's figured out the key to a happy life by keeping it simple.

Frightening headlines mean nothing to her. She doesn't worry about deadlines. Doesn't much care about haters, either. She loves everyone, and is just as happy sticking her nose into your pants pocket in her never-ending quest for treats.

She also loves a good road trip. Because being with her peeps is the only thing that matters to her.

From the outside looking in, it seems like a charmed life. And as she gleefully jumps into the car, licks my hand as I buckle her in, and curls up in a ball as we roll out of the driveway, I realize just how glad I am that we brought her home.

Because the world won't be cleaning up its act anytime soon. But as long as I hang out with a tiny being who's figured out an ideal way to navigate it, I'll have nothing to worry about.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #photography #Calli #CalliTheSchnauzer #dog #puppy #schnauzerlife #schnauzermini #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #pets #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Under a brilliant blue sky

One London Place: #1 to me
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This building is a familiar sight to anyone who lives in London, and to anyone who follows my feed*. Which begs the inevitable question: Why do I keep returning to the same subjects?

The answer is simple: I know what I like. While multiple pics of the same building may seem repetitive to some, I see it differently.

Just because the subject is the same doesn't mean the experience is, as well. In fact, how I take in this scene changes every time I walk by. Or ride by. Or drive by and decide to park the car because I saw it in a certain way.

I like how it feels to stand on the ground just below it - or in a 5th floor government office a few blocks away, or wherever - and size it up in my mind. I like how the ever changing landscape around it can shift the tone, often within seconds, but only if someone stops to notice it. The very process of looking for the new within the familiar is, in many ways, both comforting and eye-opening.

Maybe it's boring to some, but not to me. And I'll keep coming back here, looking for different ways to tell the story of what, to those who see life differently, might seem to offer up only more of the same.

Thankfully, we know differently.

#ldnont #ontario #canada #onelondonplace #519ldn #519london #downtown #office #building #architecture #reflective #mirror #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #photography #blue #sky #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything


Monday, September 16, 2019

When Snowbirds fly

Magic in the air
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
At first glance, this looks like a straightforward pic of an oh-so-Canadian scene: 9 jets from Canada’s aerobatic flight demonstration team, The Snowbirds, flying a tight formation high above London. This scene plays out in dozens of burgs across the country every year, and it never gets old.

The Snowbirds - @cfsnowbirds - are often compared to the US Air Force Thunderbirds, or the US Navy Blue Angels. While those latter two teams are incredible, it does a disservice to the Canadian team to do a one-to-one comparison.

First, the planes. The Thunderbirds fly F-16s, while the Blue Angels fly legacy F/A-18 Hornets and will soon transition to the Super Hornet. The Snowbirds fly the CT-114 Tutor, a jet-powered trainer that first flew in 1960. Apples, meet oranges.

Front-line fighters with digital flight controls and better-than-1-to-1 power-to-weight ratios allow the kind of displays that lesser aircraft can only dream of. Which makes a Snowbirds demo seem even more miraculous, because they have to manage energy far more carefully than the average spectator might realize.

Second, old planes, with completely analog systems, add another layer of challenge. Because the only computer keeping everything together is the squishy, red-suited one with two hands on the stick.

We’re justifiably proud of them, and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched them do their thing. But for all their aerial wizardry, it’s what this team represents that makes them extra-special, that unique mixture of Canadian brilliance, humility, creativity, and grit for making do with what we’ve been given.

As I stand on the ground and watch them, awestruck, I ponder the meaning of this nationally treasured resource, and realize it has more to do with people than planes. Inspiration takes many forms, after all, and after the last plane has landed and shut down, I think about how I, too, can go further with what I’ve been given.

#ldnont #AirShow2019 #aircraft #airplanes #aviation #avgeek #sky #weather #wx #snowbirds #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #high #speed #photography #dslr #london #ontario #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Watching airplanes in the sky

Two tickets to avgeek paradise
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Had an interesting day today, as I got to attend #AirShowLondon as an invited guest. The good folks at #NikonCanada graciously sent me a couple of VIP passes because they heard I shoot Nikon, know I live in the area, and thought I'd like to attend.

Now, I've never before remotely qualified as a remotely important anything, let alone a person, but I was touched by the gesture all the same. Because #Nikon has always been my photographic weapon of choice, the tool I'm most comfortable with when I want to tell stories with light and pixels.

And it was nice to connect with the folks responsible for equipping not just me, but others like me, with the tools we all rely on to make photographic memories of the events and moments that matter the most to us. Because in the end, a camera's significance to the photographer is much greater than its basic hardware specs might suggest.

Getting to be a part of this specific day because the PR team at a company I've admired since I was a teenager wanted to be kind? Total bonus.

It was an epic day by the flight line, the kind of day I look forward to all year, and the kind of day that's become an annual tradition for me and a particularly good friend. Because whether we like planes or trains or automobiles or whatever, we all deserve to have special days like this in our lives.

More to come as I process the gigabytes of photos now overstuffing my memory card. For now, please consider me immensely thankful, and a little sunburned :)

#ldnont #AirShow2019 #aircraft #airplanes #aviation #avgeek #sky #weather #wx #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #high #speed #photography #dslr #london #ontario #lifeinthemargins #family #everythıng

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Scene from a (wet) parking lot

Where I dance (and shoot) in the rain
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It rained yesterday, that apocalyptic kind of rain that makes you want to batten down the hatches and pull on your best pair of rubber boots just in case the roof springs a leak.

But meteorology doesn't change the realities of life on the ground. Work still needs to get done, kids need to be taken care of, and groceries need to be picked up.

Cue this scene from the Loblaws parking lot, after I noticed the water droplets on Henrietta's roof and decided a spontaneous macro shoot in the rain was a good idea.

News flash: It wasn't. But that doesn't mean it wasn't worthwhile, because it was beyond amusing to see, out of the corner of my eye, the looks I got from cart-pushing shoppers rushing to avoid getting soaked.

I'm sure they thought I was insane for leaning over my car's roof while the crying skies soaked me to my skin. And I'm not going to disagree.

But I think the shot was worth it. And sittiing in a miserable puddle all the way home served as a great reminder of why we sometimes do things that make no sense.

If they somehow feed our soul, they in fact make all the sense in the world.

#ldnont #richmond #fanshawe #loblaws #london #ontario #canada #rain #water #weather #wx #honda #civic #civicnation #car #carporn #cargram #automotive #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, September 13, 2019

Another year. Another reason to celebrate.

Picture perfect
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Shhhh, someone else in our family is having a birthday today. She is hands-down my favorite person in the universe, and my primary job is to make her either smile, laugh, or ideally both. So thanks for humoring me.

She’s the one who taught me that birthdays matter, that they’re special, and that everyone deserves to be smothered with goodness when the calendar says so. She’s also the one who taught me that celebrations need to happen in between birthdays, as well, that small moments can be big moments if we allow them.

Like holding hands in the grocery store, or catching up on the day around the kitchen table, or simply sitting quietly at opposite ends of the couch, reading, while the dog tucks herself into the crook behind my wife’s knee and whines for a treat.

I’m lucky in a lot of ways, most of which stem from the moment our paths first crossed.

This past year may have, in many ways, been the most challenging one we’ve ever had to face. But like I’ve told her so many times before, usually as we sped down an icy highway in the middle of the night, I can’t imagine being on this journey with anyone else. Navigating the darkness by her side reminded me that life somehow remains sweet, rich, and worth it, despite it all.

I hope this day is as happy for her as she makes every other day for me, our kids, and everyone blessed enough to be her friend. I hope we get a lot more official birthdays together, and even more non-official everydays that are just as worthy of celebration.

#LiveLaughLevy #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #happy #birthday #happybirthday #birthdaygirl #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, September 12, 2019

22 trips around the sun

All grown up
Dryden, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I often look at our kids and marvel at how lucky we are that they turned out as smart, driven, funny, kind, and empathetic as they have. They're infinitely fun to hang around with, and every conversation with them reminds me why this life thing is the greatest trip imaginable.

It’s Dahlia’s 22nd birthday today, and as I do every time she completes an orbit of the sun, I think back to that singular moment when I first held her. She was tinier than I expected, and she squirmed in my arms as my eyes took in her face for the first time.

She’ll be the first to tell you how physically small she still is, but I’ll be the first to disagree with her. She may not be the tallest person in the room, but she’s a giant all the same.

Whatever life chooses to throw at her - and she’s been on the receiving end of plenty, both over the past year and through various chapters of her young life - not once has she decided to fold her tent and go home. Quit isn’t part of her vocabulary. Instead, she doubles down, bears down, grits her way through to the other side.

She never stops working - I stopped counting how many part-time jobs she juggles as she pursues her university degree full-time - and she doggedly picks her coursework apart until she’s figured it out. No wonder she made honor roll. We weren’t surprised, but we were, and are, incredibly proud all the same.

She’s a gifted photographer and artist who never seems to tire of telling new stories through whatever tool - lens, pencil, pen, brush - she’s got in her hand. She’s inherited the best of her mom and has managed to become her own unforgettable self in the process. I can’t help but think the universe smiled on us when it first granted us this incredible gift, and it’s been smiling on us ever since as she’s grown into an accomplished young woman blessed with limitless potential.

Happiest of birthdays, Peanut Girl. Whatever your size, you cast a huge shadow, and we’re ridiculously lucky to live within it.

#LiveLaughLevy #dryden #ontario #canada #happy #birthday #happybirthday #birthdaygirl #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Suitcase on church steps

London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: An impossibly beautiful old church on London's Talbot Street, a once-stately downtown thoroughfare that now serves as a shortcut for speeding commuters heading to and from work. The wonder from this street's glory years - including gorgeous mansions, lush lawns, ancient trees - remains visible, but the tattered edges are impossible to ignore.

The neighborhood is quiet as I wander through on a lunchtime walk, but the sight of an open suitcase on the front steps stops me in my tracks. What's the story here? Whose is it? Are they okay?

It's no secret that London has been ravaged more than most by the combined scourges of mental health challenges, addiction, and homelessness. Every downtown corner, alley, main artery, and side street now carries evidence of this growing, worsening story. Tent cities spread out beside the bike path beside the river. Discarded syringes and worse now litter shadowy alleys. And areas of the city once thought too far away from the downtown to be touched by this are adjusting to our new, tragic normal.

All of which leads me to believe this suitcase didn't just randomly find its way here.

I'll probably never know the full story, but I'm sure it isn't a happy one. I'm also sure I'll be seeing more just like it - and sure enough, two minutes after I continue my walk back to the office, I come across another pile of random effects strewn haphazardly across the steps of a local law office.

One wonders if we'll ever truly have the will or the ability to fix this. One wonders if this is even fixable at all.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #urban #downtown #talbot #street #photography #church #homelessness #addiction #poverty #community #crisis #hope #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

9/11 + 5 + 13

Light the darkness
New York, NY
September 2006
Photo originallyposted Sep 06, 2006
Thirteen years ago, as the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approached, I wrote a thing as part of The 2,996 Project. Each participant was assigned the name of a victim, and our task was to write about that person's life.

Wait, task isn't the right word. Privilege. Better.

I wrote about Suzanne Calley, a Cisco employee who perished aboard American Airlines Flight 77 when it was flown into the Pentagon. I paired it with an admittedly lousy photo of the Tribute in Light at the WTC site that I captured from too far away as I attended a riverside event for a large tech company. Sometimes photos just don't do justice to the stories we're trying to tell. Sometimes we need words.

My words can be found on my blog here, and as we reflect today on the unmitigated hatred that ended the lives of so many who simply wanted to get to work, get across the country, or help others, I can't help but think that the lives lost deserve to be remembered for far more than the way they were brutally cut short.

Where were you on that day? What have we learned in the 18 years since?

#newyork #newyorkcity #nyc #September11 #NeverForget911 #911Anniversary #september #neverforget #memorial #wtc #twintowers #manhattan #worldtradecenter #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The mesmerizing blue pattern

Street level wonder
Toronto, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It only looks like a cartoon.

But look more closely. Hover over it. Zoom in a bit. Let your eyes linger.

Maybe you'll see something more. Maybe you won't. Again, like the photo of docked boats that I shared yesterday, it doesn't matter. There are no rights or wrongs here. No winners or losers, either.

What does matter is that something, an architectural flourish over a university building entryway - that would normally be ignored by the thousands of people who walk through or past it on any given day - can rise above the mundane and somehow grab our attention. That it can make us pause for a bit, maybe even think some, or even wonder.

That we have wonder at all.

Which is why I post this today of all days. Today is #WorldSuicidePreventionDay. And it seems like as appropriate a time as any to think about wonder, and why we need to fight like hell to ensure our lives - and those of folks around us - are filled with it.

So I hope you use this photo as a springboard to find the wonder - whatever it might look like to you - and share it.

Feel free to tag me - @carmilevy in Insta & Twitter - if you wish. Share this with people you know. Or complete strangers. Because even complete strangers need more wonder in their lives.

Let's start something, shall we?

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #urban #yonge #street #ryerson #university #streetphotography #photography #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #design #lines #colors #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, September 09, 2019

Ghost boats

Dockside, from above
Toronto, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
There's a mystery here that I can't explain. Either my camera is seeing ghosts beneath the water, or this particular marina on the downtown Toronto waterfront has a rather pronounced issue with less-than-optimally-buoyant watercraft.

Whatever the root cause is - and let's be clear that part of me would be perfectly content to allow this question to remain unanswered - as I stand high above and look down, I'm reminded that sometimes we need to change our perspective a bit.

Because we can only see so much when we're standing right next to something. We may not see every detail. Or maybe we do, but we miss the broader context within which the details came to be. Standing back a little, or a lot, can be a handy thing.

It's like watching a video and thinking we now know the entire story. Not necessarily. And if we want to learn more, it's on us to do a little more digging. Or a lot. Or none. It's entirely up to us whether the mysteries we come across remain unanswered.

I'm claiming nothing here. Just wondering about how this particular scene, in this particular moment, came to be. And then leaving it at that.

Indeed, clinging to a little wonder and mystery in a world that too often has none might be something we all may want to try a bit more often.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #photography #city #hall #blue #green #water #boats #boating #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Where I paws in a hotel room

Happy feet
Dryden, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This seemed like the right sock choice for a wedding.

Anything for a smile, after all. Anything.

#LiveLaughLevy #dryden #ontario #family #everything

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Getting ready for a wedding

Dry run
Dryden, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Seems like a perfect day for our eldest son to marry his best friend, doesn't it?

#moretocome #LiveLaughLevy #family #everything

Monday, September 02, 2019

Remember the colorful (fallen) leaf

Temporary brilliance
London, ON
September 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Because we had so much fun with a fallen leaf earlier today, I thought I'd follow it up with...another fallen leaf pic.

What's different this time? First, there's a bit of color, a taste of what's to come over the next month or so if you live above the sub-tropical parts of the Northern Hemisphere. We can all use some color in our lives, right?

Second, my wife found this one while we were out for a walk with the wonderdog. So I share the photo here because it's a great example of how every photo - or video, or piece of writing, or any form of creative output, really - comes with its own backstory that explains the W5+How of how it came to be.

Indeed, everything - and everyone - comes with a backstory. Are we making enough of an effort to learn what that story is?

Probably not. So maybe tomorrow would be a reasonable time for us to start asking more questions. Because anything that makes life richer, more colorful, more human, well worth exploring. And as we head back to school, back to work, back into a world covered in brilliant color before it quickly reverts to grey, it feels right to be doing so with a different perspective.

Remember, it started with a couple of leaves, one if which was discovered by my lovely wife, who thought there was just enough color in it to merit sharing here. Where it ends up is entirely up to you.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #life #defiant #leaf #fall #autumn #color #colors #season #nature #naturephotography #random #suburban #photography #photo #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Remember the fallen (leaf)

Maple leaf down
London, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We can choose to look at a fallen leaf from two very different perspectives:

1) The sad one, where summer gives way to autumn, and we fret over dropping temperatures, the return to school and work and life, and the end of the innocence of a season most of us wish would last a little longer; or

2) The happy one, where summer gives way to autumn, and we welcome the fact that we were given another season at all, and we're thankful to be around for whatever it is that the universe throws at us next.

I suspect you already know which door I prefer, and why. As much as I appreciate the stress of shifting gears back into a grind that sometimes feels more cold and grey than we'd like it to be, I don't much see the value in spending our limited time moping around about the change in season.

The calendar is going to move forward - in the same, unrelenting direction and at the same unrelenting speed - whether we like it or not. We can't change any of it. Only our response to it lies within our control. I can hate the season to the depths of my soul, but that won't delay or cushion its arrival.

So today I woke up, hooked the dog up to her leash and headed out into a chillier, darker world. But I headed out. I got the day.

Whining about the leaf in our path wasn't on the agenda today. If I'm lucky enough to get another tomorrow, it won't be, then, either.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #life #defiant #leaf #fall #autumn #season #nature #naturephotography #random #suburban #photography #photo #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, September 01, 2019

The ignored giants in our midst

Touch the sky
London, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
On the eastern edge of London's downtown core, twin 70s-era high-rise rental buildings cast giant shadows over the dusty neighborhood below. They normally don't merit much attention because, let's be honest, they're architectural yawners. The half-dozen ornately designed churches within a 10-minute walk of here would be more deserving of a photowalk.

But wait. Do we ignore them because they don't adhere to a certain level of architectural style? Who decided rectilinear concrete ranked below ornate stone gargoyles and stained glass on the design-worthiness scale? Who are these people, anyway, and how were they chosen to decide what is or is not worthy?

On this brilliantly sunny day, I decided to take a closer look at something I'd been ignoring for years. I'm rarely in this area - or, more precisely, as I ride or drive through here on the way to somewhere else, I almost never pause here. It isn't an area where people tend to congregate. And on this day, I'm all alone.

The south tower looms over the empty corner, drawing perfectly straight lines against the perfectly blue sky. It isn't a church. And as I hold onto the iron grate for balance and take it in above me, it occurs to me that that's entirely the way it should be.

We spend so much time comparing things when the better alternative might be to take things in strictly as they are. Indeed, maybe this doesn't just apply to buildings and other inanimate objects. Maybe I need to spend more time in empty, overlooked places like this.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #urban #downtown #york #colborne #street #photography #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #blue #sky #lines #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything