Sunday, February 28, 2021

Nose down

Perfectly in her element
London, ON
January 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In this moment, nothing else matters to her beyond following her nose.

We'd do well to follow her example. Maybe not literally, though, as that would be weird.

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

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Frozen miracles at our feet

Blink or you'll miss it
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Calli the Wonderschnauzer discovered another icy miracle under her nose during yesterday’s first walk around the neighborhood.

She’s become rather adept at finding lovely things to shoot, though I suspect she’s less interested in the photography than she is in the possibility that one of her puppy-frenemies had marked that very spot on an earlier walk. Dogs are weird in so many ways.

Still, I would have missed the moment if not for her. Because by evening, a warming sun had melted this frozen masterpiece into a mere memory, the only remaining clue a shrivelling damp spot on the gritty concrete.

The days are indeed getting warmer, and I wonder if we’ve seen the last of these ice portraits for now. I admit I’ll miss them, not so much because they’re lovely to look at - they are - but because they offered up moments of wonder when I needed them most.

Looks like Calli will simply have to use her nose to find new ground-level miracles in the months to come. Such a good girl.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #water #ice #frozen #winter #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #stilllife #photography #apple #iPhone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, February 26, 2021

On becoming..

"Whatever you feel, you become.
It is your responsibility."

 

The clarity of fog

Emerging or disappearing? Your call.
London, ON
January 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram


They say great clarity often occurs during moments of profound darkness.

I'm not sure who these folks called "they" really are, or who anointed them the keepers of modern wisdom, but I nevertheless find myself hoping they're right.

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

Thursday, February 25, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - Cozy Coupe

I'm a bit of an automotive junkie. I think it has some correlation to my barely controlled addiction to technology and design. Cars have always artfully combined the two, so that likely explains my interest. Planes, too, apparently. Who knew?

So I follow a number of the mainstream car magazines and outlets, including Jalopnik. And sometimes they go to a place that makes you realize inspiration can come from some pretty interesting places.

Or maybe I'm simply getting back in touch with my childhood. I didn't have my own Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, but there always seemed to be one somewhere.

Well, it's apparently gotten another periodic update. And in a world where nasty headlines dominate our day-to-day lives, it's rather comforting to put all that aside for a bit so we can ponder the possibilities of a plastic classic. Enjoy...

Ain't that America?

Scene from a parking lot
Caryville, TN
January 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This somewhat dreary throwback view out a hotel room window in the middle of a long road trip home doesn't elicit the kind of "wow" moment I envisioned when I first got into photography.

But it tells a story all the same. And the more time I spend behind the lens, the more I come to appreciate the power of photography to tell the story of the everyday, or otherwise echo life that we wouldn't normally bother to record.

This scene feels like middle-of-the-road America to me, where regular folks driving regular vehicles - including old Dodge pickups and Oldsmobiles, as well as the occasional semi - drive past pawn shops and fireworks stores on their way to wherever it is that they're headed. It won't grab headlines and it won't look particularly pretty, but that's not why we choose to remember the ordinary.

Because when all the hype is stripped away, what's left often looks a lot like this. And it's just as worthy of having its moment in the spotlight as any other scene, from any other place.

I hope you'll linger over this scene as I did. Eventually, I'm reasonably sure you'll come to appreciate it, too.

#caryville #tennessee #tn #throwback #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #ain't #that #america #vacation #explore #i75 #hotel #parking #lot #stilllife #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Emerging from the fog

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


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Getting lost in farm country

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related:
Take me to church, January 2019

Monday, February 22, 2021

Eight years on...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#laval #montreal #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
Even the skies know, February 2013

The blue mug of happiness

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


The simplest things in life are often the most cherished.

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

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

Where do you find your comfort?

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

Sunday, February 21, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On Aging

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watching ghosts in the forest

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Cast a bright light

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


Be the light.

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

Simple, really.

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

The big box dog bed adventure

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


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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 19, 2021

Did the dog shrink?

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


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

Who's with me?

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

Thursday, February 18, 2021

On knowing your impact on others

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

Mars population increases by one

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

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

#CountdownToMars

Middle-of-the-night MRI run

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


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On Perseverance

One way or another, history will be made tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

By Mike Wall
Space.com
February 16, 2021

Related:
Resources/Where to Watch, NASATechRepublic, CNET 

They play hockey here

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


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

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Half-frozen river

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


Everything in this scene is temporary.

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

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

Monday, February 15, 2021

Hanging on for dear life

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Amid the windblown woods

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 14, 2021

One tree among many

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


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

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

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

Related:

Lost Valentine

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


It looks like someone isn't getting a Valentine.

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

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

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

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

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

Wouldn't that be a holiday worth celebrating?

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

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Standing under the cathedral

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


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

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

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

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

Maybe I'll see you there.

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

On Elon Musk's happiness

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

 

Price tags go high-tech

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


This photo is the exact opposite of fine art.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 12, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On smartphones

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still standing on the bridge

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


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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 11, 2021

A river runs through it

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


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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Same pool. Another perspective.

Carving the sky
London, ON
November 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Today's photographic lesson: keep returning to the places that bring you joy, because there's always a new way to view an old favorite.

Something tells me this applies to more than photography, but we'll leave it at that for now.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #random #urban #street #monochrome #streetphotography #photography #building #architecture #cgac #aquatics #swimming #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
Layered mystery, October 2006

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Aquatics, life, and that friendly glow

Welcoming to all
London, ON
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We live within easy walking distance of a showpiece example of public architecture.

The futuristic, metal-and-glass-clad Canada Games Aquatic Centre looms above the neighborhood, casting a glow over all manner of kids - from the ones who simply want to learn to swim, all the way to those who train to become Olympians - who trek through darkened winter mornings to get there.

I snagged this image at 6:34 a.m. on a snowy Sunday last January, from a parking lot bustling with parents shuttling their kids to early-morning practice. It reminded me of my own childhood, trekking out to another pool, figuring my own way through the darkness.

Swimming was good to me, offering up a rewarding part-time job as a lifeguard through high school and university, and a foundation that set me up nicely for all that came afterward.

It's comforting to live in a community that recognizes how important facilities like this can be to the futures of those who use them.

The CGAC is now closed for obvious reasons, but those lights still shine like a beacon, ready for the day when those who rely on this place - to keep their heads above water, to work through school, to chase a dream - can return once more.

Because we all need beacons. We all need places like this.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #random #urban #street #monochrome #streetphotography #photography #building #architecture #cgac #aquatics #swimming #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, February 08, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On Cycling

Cycling is far more involved than simply getting on a bike and spinning your legs, and the writer in me has long had a soft spot for the stories other cyclists tell of their journeys, as well as the connections they make along the way.

As you can imagine, many of these connections involve family, and this one, of a son riding mountain passes he had once ridden with his dad, is particularly memorable.

I hope you enjoy the read.

Chasing My Father’s Ghost Through the Swiss Alps
By James Jung
Bicycling
October 2020

Peering into office windows

Geometrically opaque
London, ON
July 2012
This photo originally shared on Instagram


What you see here isn't necessarily what you get, as each one of the seemingly identical windows has a unique story.

Individual lives play out behind largely opaque glass. And while sometimes - like at night - the lights come on and we can see through, it's just as likely that we never really see the entire picture.

Perhaps this is something we'll want to keep in mind as we leave another weekend beyond and dive into the week that will be.

Because even if we can indeed see through the glass for a few fleeting moments before we move on, we'll never really know everything that takes place on the other side.

Let's try to use less judgment and more empathy, then. Or spend less time standing on sidewalks trying to tell our own stories around what we think is going on in places we can barely see.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #architecture #architecturephotography #design #texture #downtown #building #buildingporn #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Returning to the icy scene of the crime

Mother Nature shows off, again
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Last week I stood on my porch and took a picture of a melting icicle.

A couple of days later, a well-meaning landscaper knocked it down because of gravity and liability and stuff. I appreciated the gesture, but missed having a tiny example of nature's artistry on display just outside the door.

Leave it to Mother Nature, though, to fill the void. She threw tons of snow at us, frosted our nights with dangerous cold, then mixed in some sun-powered melt-off during the day. Presto: more icicles.

It seems trivial to repeatedly balance myself on a tiny step while trying to avoid a) destroying my camera and b) destroying myself, all to snag yet another picture of a common icicle. More broadly, it seems trivial that I'd regularly shoot the exciting lives of weeds, jams, waves, supermarket fruit displays, graffiti-covered alleyways, light bulbs, clouds, and any other mundane object that catches my eye.

But on reflection, I've come to realize each photo is simply a consequence of a process that matters far more - to me, anyway - than the outcome. Because a photo is more than just a collection of pixels. It's the spark that took root in my convoluted brain, the conversation I had with my wife or my kids or whoever I happened to be with at that moment. Or if I was alone, with myself. It's the moment that surrounded the composition, what we were doing at the time, where we may have been headed, where we may have just left, or how we felt.

I call it the meta, the context within which it was shot, and with every photo, I hope someday when I look back at it that I can remember the meta, the story, too.

So this may look a lot like the one I shot last week. But it has a very different story. One I told mere days before it finally dawned on me that I've been defining "trivial" incorrectly all along.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #winter #weather #wx #water #ice #icicle #frozen #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #streetphotography #stilllife #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
Icicles writ large, December 2017
Icy spine, February 2007




No stopping here

Finished
Montreal, QC
March 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There are so many ways to take in this scene of a toppled street sign lying in the gutter of a dirty, pockmarked road in the middle of a dirty, tired city.

All of them are sad.

#montreal #yul #quebec #canada #throwback #road #urban #ruinporn #street #streetphotography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Found in a back alley

Look way up
London, ON
March 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


You find some rather strange architectural flourishes when you wander around downtown back alleys at lunchtime.

Like random wires blowing in the wind, a strangely appropriate signature for a neighborhood whose edges always seem more than a little frayed.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #downtown #urban #city #random #architecture #architecturephotography #building #buildingporn #dundas #street #photography #streetphotography #alley #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

On the power of music

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent."

 

Graffiti? Art? Both? None?

In the eye of the beholder
London, ON
March 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Is this graffiti?

Or is it art?

Is there even one right answer?

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

Friday, February 05, 2021

Worker dog

Always watching
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


#LockdownLife: It's delivery pickup day at the home office, so I've hauled the laptops upstairs so I can stay productive while watching for the FedEx truck.

As you can see, I have help. Sadly she can't type.

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

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Bananas in the round

Fruity anomaly
London, ON
January 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Planet Earth may have gone a little bananas over the past year or so, but that shouldn't compromise the innate goodness of this cherished member of the fruit family.

We can save the nutritional awesomeness of bananas for another time. Maybe this spring, when I once again load up my bike bag with them and see how far I can pedal. Suffice to say I've eaten bananas in some fascinating locations far from home.

But for now, let's focus on the photography angle. They shoot well, and it's very difficult to take a bad banana pic.

Go ahead and try. I'll wait.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #loblaws #grocery #store #fruit #banana #bananas #bananarama #bananagram #fruitography #shopping #retail #random #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Did you pack a lunch?

Take a bite out of this
London, ON
December 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Full disclosure: sometimes I skip lunch.

And when I say sometimes, I mean more often than I should.

I think we all experience it. Days get busy. Deadlines loom. The clock ticks more loudly than it usually does. We feel a little bit of guilt for taking time out to chow down when we should be working. The work-at-home thing only makes it worse.

Of course, it’s a false saving, because soon enough we’re ravenously raiding the snack cupboard and making lousy food choices in the process. Because productivity isn’t so much a function of quantity of time, but quality.

And sometimes some disconnected, unstructured time to munch a sandwich and play with the puppy are just the ticket for cranking out the good stuff in the afternoon.

I’m slowly learning this. And if I shoot some artsy burger pictures along the way, I’m pretty sure my colleagues know I’m doing it in the name of productivity.

So we’ve got two simple takeaways here:
  1. Please take the time for a good lunch today.
  2. If you’re photographically inclined, feel free to shoot and share. We can never get enough food photography.
#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #burger #abstract #texture #food #foodie #foodporn #instafood #foodphotography #foodstagram #random #stilllife #sun #light #shadow #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Dogs > bean counters

At least someone's having sweet dreams
London, ON
January 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It's been an awful couple of days, with Bell Media swinging the axe and decimating both the CJAD Montreal and NewsTalk 1010 Toronto newsrooms. Lots of good friends and brilliant colleagues lost their jobs through no fault of their own beyond being in the wrong spreadsheet cell at the wrong moment.

It hurts, again, to watch Canadian journalism be summarily dismantled by those who wouldn't understand the difference between a lede and a lead, or appreciate the crucial impact of journalism on the communities it serves.

So here's my sleeping dog, Calli.She plays hard, and she sleeps even harder. And we need happies like this, now more than ever.

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

On facing our fears

"The fears we don’t face become our limits."

Monday, February 01, 2021

Little potatoes; great people

Little in name only
London, ON
January 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Every once in a while, you come across a brand name that makes you go, "Whoa!"

Like The Little Potato Company.

Two questions come to mind:
1 - Are they a regular-sized company that happens to sell little potatoes?
2 - Or are they a little company that sells regular-sized potatoes?

Word nerds want to know. So I visited their website while waiting in line at the checkout. I THINK their creamer potatoes are small, but I didn't get any company size data, so let's call this research incomplete for now. Regardless, the experience still made me smile.

Because they're really good potatoes. And a quick tour of their social media properties suggests they're kinda fun humans, too. So maybe I should stop myself from getting hung up on the "little" thing. Sometimes, size really need not matter.

I think I need a new hobby. I'm keeping the potatoes, though. Because they're yummy, and it seems right to buy yummy potatoes from good folks.

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

Remembering Columbia - 18 years later

OV-104
Merritt Island, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Space Shuttle Columbia broke up in the skies over Texas 18 years ago today. Just over a year ago, I stood beside her sister ship, Atlantis, and focused on the leading edge of the port-side wing.

The accident was caused by superheated gases leaking into the wing through a hole in the leading edge that had been opened up soon after launch, 16 days earlier, when foam insulation from the external tank detached and was accelerated by the slipstream into the reinforced carbon carbon (RCC) panel - specifically RCC panel #8, the one just aft of the kink on the black underbody tiles.

As Columbia slammed back into the atmosphere on re-entry, those gases entered the wing and summarily destroyed it from the inside. The telemetry later showed how Columbia's automated systems fought the progressing damage in a desperate bid to maintain control. But the mortally wounded ship ultimately disintegrated amid forces well in excess of her design limits.

I stared for a while at this spot on Atlantis, musing about the power of a relatively small-ish chunk of material little removed from the cooler you took on your last picnic, and how under the right conditions it was able to create a fatal hole in a particularly vulnerable spot. A sophisticated flying machine done in by an embarrassingly simple sequence of events.

We all have our Achilles heels, after all. And all engineering is a compromise, built on top of mathematically modeled risk profiles that quite literally govern who lives and who dies.

I suppose we could have forced the risk to zero by not allowing Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour to ever leave planet Earth. But like a vessel destined to sail the oceans, that's not what these ships were built for.

Safe harbor doesn't move us forward, and those who flew these great ships took on these risks so the rest of us would benefit.

Thank you seems more than a little inadequate.

#kennedy #space #center #ksc #kennedyspacecenter #florida #fla #throwback #spaceshuttle #shuttle #atlantis #ov104 #columbia #ov101 #sts107 #rocket #science #aviation #avgeek #spaceflight #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel

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Sunday, January 31, 2021

As the snow begins to fall

Scene from a car window
London, ON
January 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There's a moment, soon after the snow begins to fall, that it accumulates just enough to show details and patterns, but not enough to blanket everything in sight.

Which is fascinating, because we've become conditioned to snow being this monolithically white entity that erases detail on a mass scale.

A closer look tells a different story, though. There's so much going on in the tiny spaces where we rarely bother to look. And we risk missing out if we continue blithely on our way.

I'm pretty sure this spontaneous life lesson, number 83,261 in our ongoing series, applies to more than mere snow. But whatever the medium, I plan to slow down just enough to capture the hidden details. And the stories hidden within them.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #snow #frozen #winter #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #henrietta #monochrome #stilllife #photography #apple #iPhone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything