Friday, October 15, 2021

Spiders over Sault Ste. Marie

Way up
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I don't know why I feel the need to photograph random spiders who happen to spin webs in the wind and the rain just outside filthy third-floor hotel windows.

They may not represent conventional visual storytelling. But conventional isn't quite my thing. And since our daughter first noticed these busy insects on the other side of the glass, they had become part of the story of us in this place far from home.

It isn't remotely spectacular or normal to anyone else. But it strangely has meaning to us, a touchstone, if you will, of a couple of days in the history of our little family.

Which is more than enough to justify the picture.

As if pictures ever needed to be justified in the first place.

#saultstemarie #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #travelphotography #spider #insect #hotel #window #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Life outside a smalltown Tim Hortons

Local networking
Mount Forest, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The Parking Lot Coffee Club is now in session.

No word yet, though, on whether or not they're planning on applying for jobs inside.

#mountforest #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #random #timhortons #urban #street #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

A peek into the death of retail

No returns
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This is what I imagine it would look like when brick-and-mortar retail ends.

Except I don't have to imagine it, because the mall where I come across this scene is filled with empty storefronts just like this one.

It's easy to conclude that the pandemic has played at least some role in this - and to a certain that's true. But let's get real: this was an industry in decline long before anyone even knew what a coronavirus was. The pandemic simply accelerated the process.

I can write volumes about what it'll take for hybrid retailers to survive and thrive in this new landscape, and how intelligent applications of the disruptive technologies that helped empty out this space can help other businesses find a way forward.

But on this day, all I can do is take a picture of what it looks like when people cling to the old ways for longer than they should.

It just feels so sad. Hence the photo.

#saultstemarie #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #travelphotography #empty #mall #stationmall #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Distant bridge on a foggy day

What connects two nations
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


On a murky Saturday morning, I peer through the fog and see...a bridge.

The Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge connects two cities not-so-coincidentally named Sault Ste. Marie - in Michigan and Ontario.

We hadn't been this close to America in longer than we dared admit. And while we didn't cross over - still not a thing, apparently, because of a virus you might have heard of - it was nice to be able to peer over the fast-flowing St. Marys River and see the shadowy shoreline in the distance.

Sometimes, proximity - to the promised land as well as whatever else we happen to covet - is more than enough.

#saultstemarie #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #travelphotography #fog #weather #wx #bridge #monochrome #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Monday, October 11, 2021

Why I'm thankful...

Everything
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I am thankful for many things, but nothing - and no one - more than my family.

May we all have ample reasons to be thankful, today and every day.

#canadian #thanksgiving #love #mypeeps #family #everything

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Back to the woods

Covered. For now.
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I don't think I'll ever get tired of that feeling I get when I stare up at the forest canopy.

Small.

Humble.

At peace.

Whatever that feeling - or, more likely, mixture of feelings - ends up being, it's the kind of place that would do us all some good, if only we took the time to step into it every once in a while.

We're lucky to live so close to one of the richest ecosystems in the area, a stretch of green that's been lovingly protected from development even as the city casts an increasingly long shadow across its borders.

It's quite the change from my childhood, as I grew up in a town where places like this were bulldozed first, with few questions asked in advance. Or ever.

I remember having to ride my bike far from home before I came across anything more substantial than a tersely carved out suburban park, a grudging concession to those who would rather pull in tax revenue from more and bigger homes and businesses. Or who measured success by how many seconds they could shave off the commute by plowing another road through greenspace.

Some things are worth a longer commute. This is one of them.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #green #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Waiting for class to let out

Does my nose look too big?
London, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It's been a while since we shared a glimpse into the life of this little one, so let's correct that, shall we?

This is little more than a quick snap taken of her while she patiently waits for Dahlia to finish class.

This work/study-from-home thing comes with many challenges, but also many blessings. And being able to work and study together is definitely one of the blessings.

It's nice to know that Calli agrees, even if she'd rather be using that nose in the back yard to root out bunnies.

Patience, little girl.

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

Friday, October 08, 2021

The Hippo takes flight

Liftoff
London, ON
August 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Now I know why they nicknamed her the hippo.

And for the record, hippos are lovely. As is this aircraft, the latest J model of the venerable C-130 Hercules. When things need to be moved and lives need to be saved, this plane is the backbone of the mission, as it has been for 67 years.

I find it amazing how something that first flew in 1954 can be kept current and relevant well into the 21st century. And not just relevant, but so effective that no one has come up with anything better in the interim.

In aviation or any field, I find that kind of legacy rather inspiring.

#nikonskydrive @airshowlondon @nikoncanada #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #lockheedmartin #c130j #hercules #hippo #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
Follow the mama plane, September 2020
Caption This 27, July 2007

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Cloudy with a chance of Rhino

Blue vape
London, ON
August 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If there are no clouds in the sky, just make your own.

Blue Angel jet No. 5 takes this advice to heart with a bit of a vape show.

#nikonskydrive @airshowlondon @nikoncanada #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #boeing #mcdonnelldouglas #superhornet #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

On movement vs. action

"Never confuse movement with action."


Poseidon takes to the skies

Someone's always watching
London, ON
August 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I'm finding Planet Earth to be a challenging place these days, so thank you in advance for humoring me as I drop random plane pics into my feed.

Because everyone loves planes. Like this deceptively game-changing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

Not gonna lie: when I heard they were bringing one to this year's air show, I may have squealed with joy. It may nominally look like a 737-800 with the raked wingtips from a -900, but you're probably not getting in-flight drink service if you're ever lucky enough to find yourself aboard one.

More to come. I'll even take requests.

#nikonskydrive @airshowlondon @nikoncanada #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #boeing #p8a #poseidon #usnavy #flynavy #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Stories in textured brick

Visual history
London, ON
April 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Most of us would dismiss this sight as the sloppily painted brick wall that it so clearly is.

Maybe we shouldn’t.

Maybe there’s a story - or more likely many stories - hidden beneath the layers of paint and mortar.

Maybe we need to listen a little harder.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #downtown #urban #city #alley #street #building #architecture #brick #texture #monochrome #photography #streetphotography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Monday, October 04, 2021

Facebook goes down. I go bananas.

Happiness is a rogue nation
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It was a tumultuous day in TechLand, as the House that Mark Zuckerberg built suffered a 6-plus-hour outage that took down Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus VR services for users around the world.

As if Zuck and Co. weren’t already having a terrible day after ex-employee/whistleblower Frances Haugen’s explosive interview on CBS 60 Minutes. And she hasn’t even testified in front of Congress yet. Gotta leave some fun for tomorrow.

The lesson from today is a simple one: there’s life after Facebook. Or without it entirely. There’s no rule that says we need to spend every hour of every day with our noses buried in feeds and screens. Indeed, days like today remind us that there’s a glorious world out there that begs to be explored.

Like the Banana Kingdom, the stretch of the Thames Valley Parkway that’s been mysteriously branded for years by anonymous spray-paint-wielding pranksters.

I pedalled my bike there the other day, and the experience made me smile, like I was connected in some funny way to folks I had never met.

Screens down. Eyes wide. Cut the techie cord and get outside.

I get it now, even amid the irony of my sharing this on social media. Everything in moderation, I guess.

In the meantime, I’ll see you in the Banana Kingdom. The real one.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tvp #thames #valley #parkway #banana #kingdom #cycling #cyclist #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Where we stare up at a brick wall

Plain. Not so plain. You be the judge.
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Recipe for photographic entertainment:

Walk up to a building. Any building.

Like, really close to it.

Look up. Way up.

Console yourself when The Friendly Giant fails to appear.

Appreciate how the building reaches for the sky.

Drink in the design, the texture, the geometry.

Even if it’s an uninspired circa-1980s brick exterior mall.

Because someone still designed it.

And we need more moments of silent appreciation in our lives.

Take out your camera (or smartphone, whatever you’ve got. We’re not judgy here.)

Compose the shot.

Try to avoid losing your balance or getting dizzy - or both - in the process.

Play with the lines to ensure they all line up in one way or another.

Resist the urge to use cuss words when the lines don’t cooperate.

Remind yourself that auto-everything photography still can’t fix lousy composition.

Quietly thank your third grade math teacher for those geometry lessons.

Smile genially at the passers-by who think you’re insane.

Tuck your camera away when you’re satisfied you’ve got at least one workable pic.

Resolve to stick more of these spontaneous shoots into those in-between moments - while waiting for an appointment, when walking the dog, as you toss groceries into the cart, whenever - that would otherwise go to waste.

Not a bad recipe, no?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #masonville #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #design #lines #brick #urban #monochrome #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Sunday, October 03, 2021

A simple flash of pink

The things we see while walking the dog
London, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In the forest as in life, context is everything.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #snake #creek #tree #trees #autumn #color #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Find the color...or not

Look straight up
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Mother Nature decided to sneak into the forest while we slept and splatter some brighter colors around.

We’re still far from peak color, that singular moment treasured by photographers who always seem to shoot most…in autumn.

But here’s the thing: color is all around us every day of the year. Sure, it looks different depending on the day or the month or the season or even our mood. But even a mid-winter blizzard offers up its own palette of color. And it’s always worthy of its own story.

So while everyone’s arguing over the best days to get out there to shoot the autumn colors, I’d like to humbly suggest an alternative approach: pick a day, any day. There’s no “peak” anything, because every day on the calendar is worthy of some lens love.

Just go. Shoot whatever strikes your eye. I’m sure it’ll be lovely, no matter when you bring it home.

I don’t get why we work ourselves into a lather now, only to let the cameras gather dust after the leaves have shrivelled to brown husks blowing down windswept streets before the first snow.

Those brown husks are plenty compelling in their own right, and I can’t imagine missing out on them.

I’m weird that way.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #red #green #blue #sky #autumn #color #colors #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Oil tankers in our midst

Ignore at your peril
London, ON
July 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Everyone talks about climate change - as they should - but rarely do we ever stop and think about what the fossil fuel economy looks like, and how it shapes the places we call home.

Fossil fuel infrastructure is everywhere: gas stations on every major corner, pipelines running through residential neighborhoods, and miles-long trains of tanker cars like the ones you see here.

It takes a lot of heavy equipment to keep the fuel flowing, and I'm more than a little surprised at how effectively the industry has managed to camouflage it all in plain sight.

So as part of my personal mission to tell the stories of the everyday, I'll add this to the mix, as well.

Because maybe someday we won't need to have ticking time bombs like these rolling through our back yards. Maybe we'll find a better way to keep our lives moving forward.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #train #rail #throwback #york #richmond #street #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #lifeinthemargins

Not the weakest link

Collaborative strength
London, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


A rusty old chain swings gently in the late afternoon breeze.

There are no weak links here.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #chain #yellow #stilllife #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Friday, October 01, 2021

One tree trunk among many

The canopy above...
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Deep in the woods beside a bubbling creek, the trees reach for the sky and paint it in impossibly diverse shades of green.

If Mother Nature is an artist, I suspect Impressionism is her jam.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #snake #creek #tree #trees #green #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

On the art of the possible

"The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible."

 

Bokeh Beach, far away in time...

Endless summer
Grand Bend, ON
July 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Everyone who goes to the beach on a hot summer day does so for unique reasons.

Some folks just want to swim. Others prefer to sit there and listen to the waves. Or feel the wind. Or both.

I'm generally in the soak-it-in category: it's just a great place to sit quietly, a perfect spot to absorb as much or as little as you wish.

And take abstract photos, of course, so that long after you've returned home, one look is all it will take to be transported back to these magical places.

I took this one on a hot July afternoon just over 4 years ago, but looking at this photo today, it may as well have been yesterday.

Score another win for photography.

#grand #bend #grandbend #ontario #canada #beach #throwback #grass #water #sky #color #great #lake #Huron #nature #landscape #everyday #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nofilter #nofilterneeded #photooftheday #instagood #lifeinthemargins

Thursday, September 30, 2021

What's with all the orange shirts today?

Never forget
London, ON
September 30, 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If you have any Canadians in your feed, you’ve likely been seeing a lot of orange today.

It’s our country’s first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a statutory holiday where we remember the child victims of the residential school system. More broadly, it is a reckoning for our country around a history stained with sustained efforts to forcibly assimilate Indigenous peoples.

Also known as Orange Shirt Day, it is an important step toward, if not necessarily righting the wrongs of the past - because history cannot be rewritten - then understanding where we’ve come from so we can work toward building a better, common future that is fair for all.

Lofty goals indeed, and this is a critical step in that journey. But if I’m being brutally honest, it worries me.

Because it isn’t enough, yet there are many who will assume wearing an orange shirt, on this day, is sufficient. Or maybe posting an orange frame around their social media profile photo. Or retweeting the work of others. Or some other easily-accomplished digital activity that suggests solidarity.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with any of these activities. Awareness is, after all, a critical foundation to action. But that’s the problem: slacktivist-social-media responses to real-world issues are so often heavy on symbolism, not so much on action.

And this, on a supposed national holiday where only four provinces and one territory even bothered to legislate it as a day of observance.

Indeed, wherever we live, we will still be wrestling with the action part tomorrow, and every day thereafter. Too many Indigenous communities will lack drinkable water. Or resources to move forward.

What we all do to drive change matters far more to their - and our collective - future long after we’ve taken our orange shirts off and tossed them in the laundry.

#ldnont #EveryChildMatters #NDTR

The grocery store dating scene

Green with saucy envy
London, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Grocery shopping remains an exercise in frustration, surrounded as we are by people who haven’t adapted to the new norms of personal space in public places.

I loosely define those norms as follows: kindly stay as far away from me as is feasible.

Yet, strangely, I rather enjoy the in-store experience. Because foraging for food has become a pandemic-era excuse to go on dates with my wife.

We define dates differently in these bizarre times, because grocery stores are pretty much the only places we can reasonably go when we leave the house.

So while I’m busy deking in three directions at once to maintain my personal bubble, I’m also thanking the universe that I get to go on these not-so-grand adventures with someone who finds it funny when I deke at all. And smiles when I lag back because the tomato sauce jars with the bright green lids were talking to me.

We’re learning a lot of lessons during this historically significant moment in time, and the one that keeps coming back to me is the need to find joy in the margins.

Grocery date night - or afternoon, in this case - is just the right kind of margin, and I hope this silly photo from the back of our local Farm Boy store inspires you to look at your own margins.

I’m reasonably sure you’ll find joy in there, too.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #farmboy #supermarket #grocery #store #sauce #shopping #retail #random #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A green glow, deep in the woods

Here for now
London, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In the deepest corner of the darkest forest, a thin shaft of light pierces the otherwise impenetrable canopy and lights up a single string of leaves.

They glow a brilliant green for a few fleeting seconds before the sun moves on, leaving a gloomy darkness in its wake once more.

We never quite know when Planet Earth will put on a bit of a show, so we'd best get out there and be ready when it does.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #green #leaf #leaves #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #stilllife #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Desperation on Dundas Street

Life on the street
London, ON
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


A while back, a local business association launched a marketing campaign to boost engagement with retailers in and around the downtown core.

Big, bold, blue "London is on!" signs like this one started popping up everywhere.

I captured this poignant moment on a cold January afternoon on the main retail drag that forms downtown's spine. Dundas Street has seen more downs than ups since its largely-forgotten heyday, and this ironic scene practically screamed at me from across the newly renovated, fancily-bricked flex-street.

I've never been comfortable with this kind of hyperbolic messaging. It feels shouty, even a little desperate, like you're trying to convince people you're once again successful, when every reasonable metric suggests otherwise.

Cold realities have a way of telling stories more truthfully than polished catch-phrases. Indeed, downtown streets may be rougher than we wish, but they don't lie.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #random #urban #downtown #dundas #street #building #architecture #homelessness #streetphotography #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins

Monday, September 27, 2021

Murals? We've got murals.

Art, exposed
London, ON
December 2016
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Once upon a time, I took a drive on a bitterly cold Christmas Day to London's Old East Village. The goal: street photography. Because this, apparently, felt like an appropriate Christmas Day activity.

It's been a few years since I captured this scene, one of many murals that dot the urban landscape in a city otherwise averse to spontaneous expressions of creative brilliance. So I've had enough time to reflect on the strange stories that lead to some of the photos I take.

I'm good with it. Life's short. There is no "right" time for anything. And if we wait for that mythical "right time" - like maybe the day AFTER Christmas Day - we may not get the shot.

So no more waiting, k? Just grab your camera and go. Or do whatever it is that you've been wanting to do.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #downtown #urban #city #dundas #oev #oldeastvillage #street #photography #streetphotography #art #color #alley #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Leaves at our feet

And so it begins...
London, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Down. But nowhere near out.

Indeed, there’s wonder happening just underfoot.

But we’ve got to look down first.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #leaf #leaves #red #green #autumn #color #colors #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Behold the epically giant 787

Not to scale
London, ON
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Let’s zoom back to November 2018, shall we? To the Before Times. When we idly toyed with our smartphones while jetting from here to there and back, never once cowering within our masks, terrified that our fellow passengers could, you know, infect us.

It was amid one of those blissfully innocent moments that I grabbed this quick photo of the moving map from the seatback display of a 787 Dreamliner descending toward a landing in Toronto.

It was my first time on Boeing’s carbon fibre-bodied wonder, and I had spent most of the trip from Vancouver playing with the trick electronic window dimmers and enjoying the slick software Air Canada had built into its in-flight entertainment system. It’s totally a plane for nerds.

To this day, the sheer size of the virtual plane amazes me. If this were a true, to-scale representation, my hometown of London would have been darkened by our shadow, Independence Day-with-Will-Smith style, and the wings would have stretched hundreds of kilometres between Lake Erie and Lake Huron.

Part of me would like to imagine that this imagery was to scale. And I’d be the guy sitting by the window, waving frantically to my family as I flew overhead.

How hilarious would that be?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #road #trip #air #flight #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #photography #aircanada @aircanada #flying #aviation #avgeek #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Visiting the cathedral in the woods

And breathe...
London, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Today was a day to walk in the woods and drink in the green before it evolves into something decidedly different.

As is often the case when we come this way, it felt like a cathedral, of sorts, a quiet, resonant place that seems to compel us to slow ourselves down and turn the voices in our heads off.

The only noise we could hear was the river, still flowing high and fast after this week’s epic rains. Squirrels loading up for the winter and birds arguing over something we couldn’t quite figure out rounded out the soundscape.

Standing in this spot made us feel small in the most comforting manner. We’ll have to keep returning as nature repaints itself over the next few weeks and months.

Because the places that matter most are always evolving. And we’d hate to miss out on any opportunity to tell their story.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #green #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Hawkeye cubed

Corner velocity
London, ON
August 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Because we believe in fairness, and we've already shown both top- and side-views of this particularly fetching US Navy E-2C Hawkeye, I wanted to end off our little tour of this wicked aircraft with a bottom view.

I can't imagine when anyone would ever fly a plane like this so aggressively, but considering where it spends its life - way out over open ocean, vulnerable to enemy fighters and missiles because it carries no armament of its own - I'm strangely comforted to see it capable of such maneuvers.

Fly safe, friends. And thank you for protecting the rest of us.

#nikonskydrive @airshowlondon @nikoncanada @usnavy #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #northrop #grumman #hawkeye #hummer #awacs #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:

Friday, September 24, 2021

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor come home

Finally.



Hawkeye from the side

More antennas, please
London, ON
August 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If one photo of an E-2C Hawkeye is a recipe for avgeek happiness, then I can only imagine what two photos might be.

Come to think of it, no one can place any limits on how many photos we can share on social media, so there's no need to imagine.

Here you go. Side view.

I've got more if you want...

#nikonskydrive @airshowlondon @nikoncanada @usnavy #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #northrop #grumman #hawkeye #hummer #awacs #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tossing a Hawkeye around the sky

I've got my eye on you
London, ON
August 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Not every plane has a pointy nose.

Some look...funny. Even, dare we say it, homely.

Yet the laws of aerodynamics, aviation, and naval warfare take precedence over the final form of a thing. And considering how critical the airborne early warning (AEW) function is to those who fly into harm's way, this is one of the most beautiful machines to fly off of a carrier deck.

Seriously, that giant radar dish is a work of art.

To oversimplify the importance of the Northrop-Grumman E-2C Hawkeye, it is the eyes and ears of the fleet, a high-altitude air traffic controller with a God's-eye view of the battlespace. It's roughly the Navy's equivalent of the famous AWACS, a precious asset that literally controls everything it can see. Without it, those pointy jets fly blind.

And my goodness, can they be thrown around the sky. Which, on reflection, only enhances its worth.

Because pleasant surprises are always more beautiful than the obvious stuff - in aviation, and well beyond.

#nikonskydrive @airshowlondon @nikoncanada @usnavy #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #northrop #grumman #hawkeye #hummer #awacs #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, September 23, 2021

12 years without dad

A familiar face
London, ON
September 12, 2009
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I lost my dad 12 years ago today.

This is one of the last photos I took of him, just weeks before he died. Likely the last time I stuck my lens in his face.

Sometimes I’ll look in a mirror and see bits of him in me. Sometimes I’ll say something and realize I’m echoing either what he might have said, or how he might have said it.

Which is weird, because for much of my life before he died, I was the typical kid who bristled at comparisons, who turned left when mom and dad said right, who pursued a path - writing, creative, media, nerd - that was decidedly different than what most parents of that generation liked to brag about to their friends.

I was the square peg in my family’s round hole, and I’m not entirely sure I was ever able to bridge that divide.

Still, I turned out fairly ok. He did the best he could, with whatever he had. I could have done far worse in the growing-up-in-modern-times sweepstakes, and the past dozen years have given me ample opportunity to reflect on the foundation he both built for me, then helped me build still further, on my own.

It’s what parents do. And he, like his youngest son, was far from perfect. But he accomplished his mission. And then some. And for that and more, I’m thankful.

12 years can pass in a blink if you let it. Indeed, any length of time can feel impossibly short, especially when you spend it wondering about the why.

There is no answer to this why. Only a lifetime of memories I feel compelled to keep alive in spaces like this.

#ldnont #throwback #family #everything

Waiting for the leaves to fall

Nature's carpet
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Yesterday was a special day up here in the Northern Hemisphere, as summer quietly gave way to autumn.

You're forgiven if you missed out on it, as changes of season don't tend to announce themselves in any obvious manner. They just...happen.

But if you spend any time outside, you can feel it in the air. The temperatures are easing back from their summertime highs. The humidity is over. The jackets come out. The shorts get tucked away.

The Canadian in me knows what comes next: snow. But living in dreaded fear of weather isn’t my jam. Enjoying what we’ve been given today, on the other hand, is.

And the landscape is about to redraw itself, which means lots of quality time wandering the woods with a camera in my hand so I can snag more scenes like the one you see here, taken last autumn. I hope you end up doing the same.

[But wait…there’s more…]

I keep re-reading the intro to this entry, and before I sign this one off, I'd like to correct myself. Because while yesterday was a special day because of the change of season, pretty much every day is special if we choose to perceive it as such.

So let's enjoy it. Because soon enough, it’ll be gone.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #medway #valley #heritage #forest #leaf #leaves #nature #naturephotography #texture #gameoftones #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #everythingchristian #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Kindred spirit across the bridge

Got the shot
Laval, QC
June 22, 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


When the world around you feels irrevocably sad, a random encounter with another street photographer could be just the ticket.

I spotted this gentleman from the other side of the bridge as I wandered my old neighborhood looking for inspiration through glass. Nice to know I wasn’t the only one.

I hope he found as much satisfaction in his photos that day as I found in mine.

#laval #chomedey #montreal #yul #quebec #canada #throwback #promenadedesiles #roadtrip #road #trip #urban #street #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #lifeinthemargins

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The day-after-election hangover

Be heard
London, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Not much of a photo this time out.

Then again, I don’t have much of a story to tell today. Canadians went to the polls yesterday just over a month after the minority Liberal government called a snap federal election in the middle of the pandemic.

Never mind the fact the prime minister had earlier said no one wants to vote during a pandemic. He saw an opportunity to perhaps turn his party’s minority into a majority, so he pounced.

Canadians had other ideas, of course, and as the snowglobe of election night data settles out, we’re right back where we started: another Liberal minority, and if history is any guide, another trip to the polls within a couple of years.

I could whine, but I won’t. Many folks have called this a wasteful and cynical exercise, and perhaps they’re right.

But here’s the thing: democracy is, by definition, messy. It is imperfect, dirty, and illogical. But no one ever said distilling the will of millions of people would be anything but.

It’s the best system we’ve got, and looking around the planet at the alternatives, I’ll happily dive into whatever disgusting mess the often-opportunistic, power-hungry politicians who lead - or wish to - lead us have cooked up.

Because it’s beautiful in its own way. And while those who choose to participate in the process are human, and fallible, the thing that sticks with me is exactly that: they choose to participate in the process. They serve. I may not agree with their world view or their politics. But they’re still putting themselves out there.

And being a part of this far-from-perfect process by having my voice heard through the simple stroke of a pencil is a privilege I’ll never take for granted.

It’s the least we can all do, and I’ll happily do it again when the next election is called.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #election #elxn44 #cdnpoli #vote #itsourvote #democracy #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, September 20, 2021

On learning what you love

"Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible."

The view from my handlebars

Show me the way
Thames Centre, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Grab life by the handlebars.

Point them where you want to go.

Start pedalling.

Don’t stop till you get there.

Assuming you stop at all.

#thorndale #thames #centre #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #random #roadside #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Jet fighter photobomb

Now I know why they call it special
London, ON
August 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Don't you just hate when you're minding your own business on a taxiway and you get photobombed by a Hornet?

#littleplaneproblems

#nikonskydrive @airshowlondon @nikoncanada #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #pitts #S2BSpecial #boeing #mcdonnelldouglas #cf18 #hornet #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Protect the booze at all costs

Historic variety
Thorndale, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Can we ever get tired of scenes from quiet small towns nestled among endless farmland?

Didn’t think so.

Thank you, #Thorndale, for serving up a much-needed dose of peacefulness as I cruised the last few kilometres toward home.

#thames #centre #ldnont #london #thames #centre #ontario #canada #main #street #history #landscape #landscapephotography #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #random #roadside #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Dog in fog

Sniffing out her friends
London, ON
August 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


She doesn't much care that the fog hasn't yet burned off, or that it's early on a Sunday morning and we need to get back home before the rains return.

These are human worries, and none of them apply to her.

She's just happy that she's out and about, and that she gets to sniff out her neighborhood before we return home for treats and cuddles.

It feels like the right kind of mindset for managing the day-to-day, and she's very much mastered it in the few short years she's been on this planet.

We could learn from her.

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

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The corn grows tall here

Ready for harvest
Lobo Township, ON
September 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Today’s mission was a simple one: ride the bike out into farm country until I encountered corn.

There’s a lot of it growing in the agricultural hinterlands around #ldnont, and as you can see in the picture, some of it has gotten impressively tall.

As I continued the ride home, the roads were covered with windswept remnants of harvested corn, and I waved at a massive truck loaded with it - probably on its way to market.

As the driver waved back, the wind shifted and I got a whiff of the freshly cut corn, a reminder of how rich these lands are, and how much we owe those who bring them to life year after year.

Needless to say, I was fairly hungry by the time I got home. Anything corn-related will do.

#london #ontario #canada #farm #corn #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #bikelife #instabike #orange #devinci #hatchet #gravelbike #nairn #ilderton #road #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Ghostrider requests a fly-by

Controlled flight
London, ON
August 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


[Maverick]: Tower, this is Ghostrider, requesting a fly-by.

[Tower]: Negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full.

[Cue to Maverick doing a fly-by, anyway, and Air Boss Johnson spilling his coffee because he apparently thought an open-topped mug near sensitive electronic equipment was a good idea.]

I always felt Air Boss Johnson was a bit of a hard-head anyway. And I'm sure #CYXU ATC were far more polite to the @usnavyblueangels as they not-quite-buzzed the tower here in #ldnont.

#nikonskydrive @airshowlondon @nikoncanada #london #airport #ontario #canada #TopGun #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #boeing #mcdonnelldouglas #superhornet #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins

Blue Angels, white lines, blue sky

In alignment
London, ON
August 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Somewhere in my development as a human being, a creator, and a photographer, I must have decided that straight lines and patterns spoke to me.

I'll never be able to identify the where and the why, but I'm perfectly OK with some things remaining unexplained.

Whatever the reason, I'll happily take that moment of giddiness when I see a particularly striking example of clean geometry play out in the skies just above my head.

#nikonskydrive @airshowlondon @nikoncanada #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #boeing #mcdonnelldouglas #superhornet #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
Rhino takes to the skies, September 2021
Gas station in the sky, September 2021
Return of the Snowbirds, September 2021

Friday, September 17, 2021

Life is a highway

The endless road
Highway 401, Eastern Ontario
August 2013
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This photo tells a story of a very specific moment in the history of our family.

August 26, 2013. We were on our way home from Toronto. Just over six months after Debbie lost her mom, and three weeks since my stroke. It was my first significant trip away from home, so I was a little, um, nervous.

This isn't much of a photo, taken from an early-generation iPad because that's what was closest at the time. I was fidgety and needed something to focus on, hence the passenger-seat photo shoot. We were somewhere on the 401 westbound, but I can't be any more specific than that because, frankly, the entire highway looks just like this. Guessing by the timestamp, we were probably somewhere approaching Toronto.

My photo archives are filled with tiny photos like this one. Taken on a lousy camera, during those in-between moments that don't allow much time for finessing the composition or exposure. They'll never merit a frame on a wall, or considered discussion with friends. Or much consideration at all.

Yet they fill in those otherwise-empty spots in between the otherwise significant moments. They tell stories of the everyday, of the little things we do to fill the time between here and there. Of what it felt like to be in a space, at a moment, either alone or, as was the case here, surrounded by family, all enjoying the subdued adventure of a road trip.

We no longer have this car. So many of those we drove in to see are no longer with us. We live in a different world, of different languages and experiences. Yet going back to soak up memories like these feels like the right thing to do when the here-and-now feels a little unsettled.

Memories as buoys in a turbulent sea. Sounds like a plan to me.

#ontario #canada #throwback #onroute #highway #roadtrip #road #trip #travel #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #instagood #apple #ipad #photography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Shaping the alien landscape

A river runs through it
Near Las Vegas, NV
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In case there was ever any doubt, wind and water always win.

(Sorry, I'm in a stare-at-the-desert-from-way-up-high kind of mood.)

#las #vegas #lasvegas #throwback #road #trip #air #flight #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #nevada #desert #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #aircanada @aircanada #flying #aviation #avgeek #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
Vegas-bound, November 2018

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Building sand castles in the desert

Planetary sense of scale
Near Las Vegas. NV
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram


When we were young, we built castles in the sand.

Now, we peer longingly at the desert from miles above and dream of what once was.

Or what might be.

#las #vegas #lasvegas #throwback #road #trip #air #flight #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #nevada #desert #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #aircanada @aircanada #flying #aviation #avgeek #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Feeling small over the Nevada desert

Textured landscape
Approaching Las Vegas, NV
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram


On a flight to Las Vegas, in the Before Times, I peered out the window and realized just how small we really are.

Planet Earth can be a humbling place if we let it. Every once in a while, we should allow ourselves the opportunity to let that happen.

#las #vegas #lasvegas #throwback #road #trip #air #flight #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #nevada #desert #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #aircanada @aircanada #flying #aviation #avgeek #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Wet parked car window

Nature leaves her mark
London, ON
February 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The rain likely explains my current mood.

Yes, sometimes I perceive the world in tones of grey. And not everything in my world is always sunshine and rainbows. Shocker, I know.

But if anything can drag me back, it’s the realization that storms always leave something behind. Like little lenses through which we might be able to see hope.

Assuming we choose to look.

So let’s look.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #parked #car #carporn #automotive #rain #weather #wx #water #droplets #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #mental #health #ishealth

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

On deeds, not words

"A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed."

Signs by the side of the road

Fresh off the farm
St. Thomas, ON
August 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Roadside signs are big deals in farm country.

I'm particularly drawn to the various signs farmers use to sell produce. The older and grittier they are, the better.

Because no modern replacement will ever look - or feel - as glorious.

#stthomas #ontario #canada #shaws #roadside #signs #summer #roadtrip #travel #travelphotography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything