Thursday, May 13, 2021

On striving for more

"The harder you fall, the heavier your heart;
the heavier your heart, the stronger you climb;
the stronger you climb, the higher your pedestal."

 

The feathered admirers of Blackfriars

They appreciate history, too
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Apparently I'm not the only one who loves this bridge.

Nice to know its appeal isn't limited to humans.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #blackfriars #bridge #green #history #tvp #thames #river #bird #birds #duck #ducks #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The trees by the road

A study in contrasts
London, ON
May 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


What used to be a quiet pathway through a bucolic village to the west of town has been transformed into four lanes of high-speed, never-ending traffic.

The city has now swallowed the village, and you have to look hard for any evidence of what used to be here.

Not that anyone’s looking, hard or otherwise, as they zip through at near-highway speeds on their way to wherever it is that urban dwellers like to go. We’re all so busy, apparently.

So I stand on one side of the road and peer across to the woodlot on the other wide. Miraculously it hasn’t yet been turned into a subdivision, but there’s no guarantee it won’t eventually meet that fate. They call it progress, but I can think of a few other words to describe it.

I tighten my fingers around my camera and slowly walk from one end of the woodlot to the other, the dense growth almost reaching out to me. I try to shoot through gaps in traffic, but even then the cars are almost impossible to completely avoid. Good thing the trees stand patiently as they always have, prepared to take all the time in the world to pose for their moment.

This shot is my favourite of the series, a simple contrast between light and dark, a metaphor, perhaps, for the ongoing struggle to create better places to live.

Or to simply hold onto what we already have.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #hyde #park #forest #tree #trees #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
Bulrushes, Part 3, November 2020
Bulrushes, part 2, November 2020

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On nasal swabs

The pandemic has exposed countless gaps in the supply chains that keep society from collapsing. Before March 2020, no one could have imagined just how critical something as seemingly mundane as a nasal swab would be, but hindsight has proven to be a pretty effective teacher.

This is a fascinating piece that delves into the family nastiness behind one of the most essential tools in the fight against COVID-19, and the risks we run by ignoring the seemingly boring underpinnings of civil society. It's a terrific read.

The pandemic brought the business opportunity of a lifetime to Puritan Medical Products of Guilford, Maine. But even a $250 million infusion from the U.S. government has done little to quell an epic family feud.
By Olivia Carville
Bloomberg Businessweek
March 18, 2021

Hyde Park barn find

Historic leftover
London, ON
October 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Even after all these years, the angles still line up, and the sight is still enough to stop me as I walk by on the sidewalk.

It gives me a few moments to reflect on a timeless reminder of our neighborhood that defined life here long before development changed everything.

Barns rule. And I wish the universe worked differently, because the world hardly needs another strip mall.

That is all. For now, anyway.

#ldnont #london #hyde #park #ontario #canada #throwback #architecture #design #architecturephotography #century #old #building #barn #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Monday, May 10, 2021

Grate expectations

The cheesiest of patterns
London, ON
December 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Every once in a while, I get bored and start looking for visual inspiration in the ordinary objects that surround us at home.

Pandemic life means we’re generally stuck looking at the same things - rooms, people, stuff, whatever - day after day. But instead of seeing that as a negative, I’d rather find the opportunity in it.

Like the cheese grater you see here, which we decided to buy after I accidentally sliced my hand on a ratty old hand grater. This one’s a box grater, so in theory it’s much safer. It also looked neat, so out came the camera-camera.

The good news is I still have all my fingers, and our cheeses have never been tastier. Even better news is I’ve got countless drawers of kitchen utensils to explore through glass, and an empty memory card to fill.

Because the best stories are the ones we squeeze out of the everyday moments that lurk right in front of us.

The question for you, then, is what will your next story be?

It may be closer than you think.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #kitchen #table #spontaneous #cheese #grater #food #foodporn #foodphotography #stilllife #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Schnu to the power of 4

So where's the treat you promised me?
London, ON
May 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This little psycho celebrates her 4th birthday today.

That’s a slightly inaccurate statement, of course, because she has no clue how calendars work. So we’re the ones who celebrate while she wonders what all the fuss is about.

Which, on reflection, is a pretty good place for a dog to be, at the very centre of a family whose members adore her, where every day is worthy of some sort of celebration.

As much as it feels like we just brought her home, it’s equally true that we can’t imagine what life was ever like without her giant presence in it.

Time has a funny way of doing that, both moving fast and remaining frozen in place, depending on which lens we happen to be using to take it in. I’ll probably never figure out how that works, or why, but a little mystery isn’t necessarily a negative.

She randomly stars in my wife’s remote classes - Calli songs! - as well as the occasional live radio and TV interview. Squirrels, rabbits, birds and other wildlife happily torment her from the yard. I’m reasonably sure my hearing has been compromised along the way.

But I’d change nothing. I can’t quantify what she adds to the story of us, but I know it’s immense, and we are all different, better people because of her.

Every morning, she unrolls from her ball-like sleeping position, sits up, stares at me and whines until I relent. Soon enough, we’re walking the quiet streets of our neighborhood, her nose leading the way, the rest of her pulling every which way on the leash.

I’d rather be sleeping in, but I wouldn’t trade these walks for anything. Each one is an opportunity to see the morning before everyone else, to hang out with a being who doesn’t speak my language, but who understands me more intuitively than some people who do.

We’ve had four years of her. I’m selfish for never wanting it to end.

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

Related:
Calli at 3, May 2020
Calli turns 1, May 2018

In the ideal world...

A vision in blue
London, ON
June 13, 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In the ideal world, we’d celebrate moms every day.

In the ideal world, we wouldn’t need a singularly Hallmarkian day filled with store-bought analogs of appreciation.

In the ideal world, everyone would still have a mom.

In the ideal world, every family would know what it’s like to have a mom like ours does.

Because while there may not be such a thing as an ideal world, ours is as close as you can get thanks to Debbie.

And this will be just as true tomorrow as it is today.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #mothersday #mom #moms #live #laugh #love #levy #parenthood #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagoof #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Another orbital completion, unlocked

The colors of happiness
London, ON
January 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It's my birthday today. Or more precisely, the calendar tells me that I’ve completed another orbit around our nearest star.

Not that I had much to do with it. I just showed up at 8:08 a.m. in a Montreal hospital, cried a little bit (okay, a lot), probably randomly peed on someone, and then settled in for the journey of a lifetime.

And what a journey it’s been. I was blessed with the ability to create somethings from nothings. Then I was blessed with a wife who makes every day, orbitally significant or not, worthy of celebration. And we’ve been blessed with smart, kind, driven kids who any parent would be proud of, but we are especially so.

Lots of blessings in this family, and we realize how lucky we are to have been granted them. Because Planet Earth doesn't always distribute them evenly. Or at all.

I’ll skip over the COVID birthday narrative, because I don’t regret celebrating a second birthday under lockdown. This past year-and-a-bit has reminded us how precious time can be, and how hard we must hold on to time with our closest family members and friends.

The pandemic may have thrown wrenches to time and togetherness into our path, but it’s also reinforced why these - and they - matter so much in the first place. If we took these gifts for granted before, I’m certain we no longer do.

So today I’m reminded of how much I have - and why every day, whatever the calendar says, deserves to be cherished.

It’s a happy day, period. The very fact that we all got one is in itself a gift.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #birthday #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, May 07, 2021

Look way up

Crossed paths
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Always reach for the sky.

You may never actually get there, but you’ll end up higher up than you would have otherwise been.

At least that’s the lesson I choose to take away from this single bloom on a single branch.

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

Thursday, May 06, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On phreaking

This story is an old one - first published way back in 1971 in Esquire - and it glimpses into a world that seemingly has no relevance to our current, digital age. 

It's about phone phreakers, and as quaint as that may sound, the folks who proudly identified as "phreaks" as they used their magic blue boxes to hijack global phone networks to their hearts' content are, in fact, fundamental to the evolution of modern hacker culture.

The tech world has traditionally done a fairly poor job of explaining its history, and of helping modern audiences understand the puzzle pieces that have led us to today. Consider this article on phreaking a rather important piece of a rather important puzzle.

Enjoy the read.

Secrets of the Little Blue Box
By Ron Rosenbaum
Esquire
October 1971

Tilly guards the expressway

Good dog in a dodgy place
Montreal, QC
June 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This isn't just any dog mural. It's Tilly, and it's located on Decarie Boulevard in Montreal, overlooking the sunken expressway that brutally bisects this neighborhood in a way only a relic of 1960s-era car-centric civic planning can.

We came here for an unhappy reason. June 2019 - my father-in-law had passed away, and I was running errands with the kids, ordering food for the shiva house, trying to keep everyone focused on anything beyond what they had lost, and maybe crack a smile every once in a while.

A family acquaintance who I won't identify for obvious reasons had gotten into the habit of calling our dog, "Tilly". For the record, her name is, "Calli", but he couldn't seem to master it. What was funny was the way he said it. Absent-mindedly, as if he couldn't be bothered.

The kids, understandably, thought it was hilarious. And when we happened to come across this wonderful piece of public art on a building across the street from the Snowdon Deli, it was a given that a photo had to be taken.

This scene almost feels like Montreal to me, a timeworn streetscape that almost feels like a signature of this beaten-down city. Rough-hewn concrete notwithstanding, it nevertheless feels like a brightly lit micro-moment in the midst of so many dark ones, when our kids were given a chance to smile.

After all, we have to find those opportunities wherever they present themselves. Tilly would no doubt agree.

#montreal #quebec #canada #yul #throwback #urban #street #streetphotography #photography #decarie #boulevard #snowdon #deli #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Bursting with color

The things we find in store window displays
Boca Raton, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In the Before Times, we occasionally went to shopping malls for the heck of it and deliberately sought out new experiences, like spontaneous conversations with the guy selling artsy retro pastel-painted bicycles from a kiosk, or gawk sessions over the stunning artworks at a newly opened gallery.

The goal wasn't so much to consume, but to get out there, to disconnect from the day-to-day, and just immerse ourselves in the delightful variability of collective urban human life. Retail space as community centre was apparently a thing.

In the After Times, of course, this notion is terrifying. The operative goal now is to put as much distance between ourselves and strangers, to hunker down, alone or surrounded by immediate family and no one else. Isolate instead of connect.

Which makes me appreciate scenes like this, furtively captured during a particularly memorable outing with the fam, that much more.

It also makes me appreciate the fact that new experiences and pandemic life aren't mutually exclusive.

We may have to be a bit more creative in teasing them out. But they're out there. It's up to us to look harder for them.

#bocaraton #boca #florida #fla #throwback #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #towncenter #mall #retail #shopping #store #random #abstract #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

We're all interconnected

Intricately grown
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Spend enough time looking down at your feet - as I tend to do - and you’re bound to see a lot of things most other folks would miss.

Like tree roots. I already shared a roots shot recently, but I figure you can never get enough views of the forest floor.

There’s a lot going down there, so much, in fact, that you’ll never really manage to cover it all.

But, still, it’s fun to try.

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

Related:
Branching out, May 2021
Game of tones, May 2021

Monday, May 03, 2021

Hillside collaboration

Holding it together
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


A cluster of trees rises from the steep hillside, its members working closely together to survive, thrive, and hold the slope together.

If they can figure out that collaboration lies at the root of their life here, then so can we.

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

Sunday, May 02, 2021

It all started with greyscale

There's color in there if you look hard enough
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’m on a bit of a monochrome kick this weekend, so thanks for humoring me.

I’m just old enough to remember shooting with film, where black and white photography involved loading up the right kind of film, then sticking it out till the roll was done.

These days, monochrome is just a couple of clicks away on one of my camera’s dials. Or I can even edit them back to monochrome after the fact. It’s easier, more convenient, less of an up-front commitment.

Which, if we’re being brutally honest, feels a little sad. I still remember the first time I checked out a 35mm pocket camera from the photo studio at summer camp, and was told I had two hours to finish the roll and return it.

As I walked alone on the dirt-and-gravel paths through the woods, my 12-year-old brain wrestled with the challenge of telling a story with a limited colour palette.

Fast forward to today, and I’m still figuring it out. Because trees need their story told more now than they ever have, and using various shades of grey is more often than not the ideal way to tell it.

At least that’s how it feels to me.

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

Related:
Branching out, May 2021
Game of tones, May 2021

Branching out

Textured
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This branch is old, ratty, and well past its prime. Come to think of it, so is the tree to which it's attached.

That's what makes it so much more interesting than anything else in the surrounding valley.

Because beauty is often aged and raw. And I'd rather look for it as it hides in the shadows than settle for the conventional stuff that usually sits in plain view.

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

Saturday, May 01, 2021

On being

Be – don’t try to become.

At the root(s) of it all

Well anchored
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We can learn a thing or two from tree roots.

About how they always find a way to hold on no matter what the world throws at them.

About how they can anchor impossibly tall trees.

About the way they do most of their work out of sight, silent heroes of the forest floor.

Maybe more than two things, then.

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

Game of tones

Patterns in nature
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I don't shoot monochrome often enough.

That needs to change, as your entire brain shifts a gear or two when you remove the full palette of color from the equation.

The first time I ever picked up a camera, I shot monochrome. It was magical enough to light a lifelong creative fire in me. Time to get back to where it all began.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the tree.

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

Friday, April 30, 2021

Another sunset, another choice

Thanks, Sun
Middlesex Centre, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The world can be ugly or the world can be beautiful.

So which one is it?

I think the answer depends on a few relatively simple factors:
  1. Who we choose to spend time with.
  2. Where we choose to hang out.
  3. How much time we devote to things and activities that soothe our souls.
  4. How often we stop and ask ourselves if we’re making the best possible decisions around factors 1 through 3, inclusive.
So I’ll be the guy taking in the sunset with the fam jam, which I believe crowds out all the other stuff.

There: beauty wins out over ugliness. Easy, isn’t it?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sunset #dusk #sky #clouds #light #tree #abstract #landscape #photography #wonderland #ninemile #road #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
Sunrise, sunset, November 2020
Big sky country, July 2011

Thursday, April 29, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On Walmart

Most of us know that the Walmart retail colossus is based in Bentonville, Arkansas, where Sam Walton first got his start.

But Bentonville isn't just home to the company's HQ, and the story of the family foundation's influence on this city is, in a word, eye-opening.

Bentonville, Arkansas, is home to Walmart’s headquarters. It’s also a town in which the Walton Family Foundation works like a parallel state, creating a kind of twenty-first-century company town.
By Stephanie Farmer
Jacobin
March 27, 2021


Please follow the arrows

This way...
London, ON
May 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Warning: rant ahead.

This is an arrow sticker. It sits on the floor of our local Loblaws grocery store, but there are countless other ones like it in essential publicly-accessible locations around the world. They're there as pandemic-era aids to direct traffic and minimize physical interaction.

If you see one, please follow it.

Because most people don't.

Because the universe seemingly compels them to walk the wrong way down an aisle so they can minimize their step count as they successfully forage for dill pickles.

Because they simply can't be bothered to slightly alter their routine for the safety of others.

Because they left their kindness at the door. Or somewhere else.

Because they're statistically more likely to be wearing their masks below their noses. or walk right through you as if you aren't even there.

Look, I get it. We're all freaking exhausted and irritable. But the only way we're getting out of this will be by looking out for others, and choosing the kinder route.

Ignoring the arrow reflects neither.

So please be both aware and kind. It's really not as difficult as it might seem.

And it might save someone's life.

[/rant]

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #loblaws #grocery #shopping #retail #store #arrow #orange #covid #pandemic #kindness #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Godspeed, Michael Collins

"Exploration is not a choice, really; it’s an imperative."

Mr. Collins was the Apollo 11 astronaut who, unlike Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, did not get to land on the moon. While his more famous colleagues descended to the moon in the Lunar Excursion Module and made history, Michael Collins orbited in the Command Module - known as Columbia, often referred to as the loneliest human in history.

He died today, from cancer, at the age of 90, and the world is that much dimmer with his loss.

Powered by the sun...

Emerging
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There's a giant tree at the bottom of the big concrete staircase beside the path that winds its way through the valley. It's been here forever, and like most of the trees that surround it in this densely packed riot of nature, its branches have been bare since last autumn.

It was during a sunny late afternoon walk with the dog that I noticed how quickly it had decided to come back to life, with a burst of green that I was certain hadn't been there when we walked past the previous day.

It didn't really come back to life, of course: it was always alive, really, just somewhat hidden beneath the surface.

Maybe this tree is more like us than we thought.

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

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

On having - and making - the time

"Time is a created thing. To say 'I don’t have time', is like saying, 'I don’t want to'."

Brookfield Place in the rearview

Cathedral of glass
Toronto, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I find myself remembering the cool places we used to get to see, like Toronto's iconic Brookfield Place.

We'll travel there again someday. And to other places, too.

Until then, though, we have pixels and memories to tide us over.

What place do YOU want to get back to?

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #throwback #Brookfield #Place #concrete #steel #glass #atrium #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #design #lines #urban #streetphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, April 26, 2021

Watching newspaper bundles disappear

She reads!
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We don't see bundled newspapers like this as often as we once did.

While my first real job was delivering Gazette newspapers early in the morning to customers in our neighborhood just north of Montreal, the world has changed quite a bit since then. So much so that these yellowing bundles blowing in the wind beside the sidewalk seemed like a window into a distant past.

And, of course, something for our wonderdog to explore.

It was such a visceral experience then, cutting open the bundles, loading up my canvas bags, carefully balancing everything on my wagon, and setting off in the cool darkness, the smell of the newsprint and the smudged stains of the ink clinging to my hands.

And while globally interconnected digital networks may be far faster and more efficient at delivering the news than any pre-teen kid could ever be, they can't replicate what it felt like to hold one of these in your hand, to feel its heft, to anticipate what lay ahead as you slowly unfolded it at the kitchen table and began to explore it, page by page.

We've lost something between then and now, and technology won't ever be able to replace that sense of deliberate consumption that once framed the way we started the day.

Pity that.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #spontaneous #street #streetphotography #newspaper #media #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Still waters run deep

Stare into the standing waves
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If still waters run deep, then what are we to make of those same waters when they become turbulent?

It almost doesn't matter.

Because whether it's still or bumpy, shallow or deep, we make our way through it the best we can, no matter what gets thrown in our way.

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

Red grocery carts in the abstract

Get a handle on this
London, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This photo was taken in July 2019. We've changed significantly since then, so much so that I wouldn't take a photo like this today.

Whereas back then we could once linger over the rows of neatly arranged red grocery carts and take our sweet time choosing one without a stuck front wheel - or, taking a stupid picture of them - we now grab what we need and get on with the full-combat-business of grocery shopping during a pandemic.

While I'm still shooting photos along the way, it's a much more rushed process, without the kind of go-lucky wandering that used to mark shopping trips of yore. The world's a different, angrier place now, and if street photography is to happen at all, it's best that it's quick and subtle.

Meanwhile I'm still perpetually stuck with the loser cart. Perhaps it's the price I pay for all those years of breaking the photographic rules in the banana section.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #loblaws #grocery #shopping #carts #red #design #pattern #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
Green buggies in a row, December 2020
Rust in peace, June 2020
Interlocked, February 2006

Saturday, April 24, 2021

(Not so) dead wood

Wearing her years
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


At first glance, this is a dead tree, slowly decaying in the dancing shadows of the forest.

At second glance, there’s a lot more life here than first meets the eye, a richly evolving ecosystem where new life takes root in the old, where the past willingly, deliberately hands itself off to the future.

Which is why we take second glances. To see what would otherwise be missed. To appreciate all that goes on in the otherwise hidden places where most never bother to look.

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

Making post-industrial tracks

Where past meets future
London, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There's something to be said for wandering around the remnants of London's industrial history as they slowly transform into businesses of the future.

Such a transformation is already underway here. That's 100 Kellogg Lane to the left of the tracks. Kellogg used to make breakfast cereal here, but its closure a few years ago - thanks to changing morning habits - set the stage for the hulking factory to be rebuilt into an entertainment hub.

It's a showpiece, really, with multiple innovative businesses coming together to create something truly special.

Needless to say, it's something I can't wait to get back to, and I know I'm not the only one.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #random #urban #downtown #dundas #street #industrial #old #kellogg #cereal #factory #rail #neighborhood #history #streetphotography #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:

Friday, April 23, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On lead poisoning

It's easy to look at footage of some beaten-down factory halfway around the world and assume that the kinds of conditions prevalent there could never happen here.

Then you read a story like this, from a lead battery smelter in Tampa, Florida, and you realize it happens closer to home than we might imagine. With less oversight than these poor employees and their families deserve.

It's a jarring read. But a necessary one.

Hundreds of workers at a Tampa lead smelter have been exposed to dangerous levels of the neurotoxin.
The consequences have been profound.
By Corey G. Johnson, Rebecca Woolington, Eli Murray
Tampa Bay Times
March 2021

Pinball wizards at work

Tilted history
Toronto, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’ll be a while before anyone gets back to an arcade.

Thankfully we have pixels to remind us why these places are special.

It’s funny how some things seem to become more precious with time. Childhood Carmi wasn’t much of a fan of arcades. I found them dirty and noisy, with nowhere to sit down.

Yet Adult Carmi (I’m collecting the whole set) seems to have mellowed a bit. And on this before-pandemic summer’s evening in Toronto, I found myself slowly walking through one of the few remaining examples with a wistful sense of nostalgia for what would be lost to time if not for a dwindling pool of passionate business owners.

Time changes us all, hopefully for the better. And somewhere along the way, maybe we’ll find the time to play a game or two.

#toronto #ontario #canada #throwback #pinball #game #gaming #arcade #stilllife #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Dundas Street West vignette

An ordinary time
Toronto, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Street photography from the before times.

For reasons I failed to understand at the time - and still fail to understand to this day - on a warm August evening in 2019 I took a random picture of a random stretch of Toronto's Dundas Street West.

It's remarkable for its unremarkableness, a very ordinary scene of ordinary people going through the ordinary paces of urban life.

Then again, they're probably extraordinary - who am I to attach labels to strangers? - and wherever they are today, I hope they're doing well.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #throwback #urban #street #streetphotography #photography #dundas #west #tiltarcade #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

How dogs view snow

    Where to stick my nose first...
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Our little corner of The Great White North got some snow overnight, and Social Media Nation woke up to a mass freakout over the white stuff.

Feeds overflowed with photos of snowy lawns, trees, houses, and cars. Captions ranged from mild bemusement to enraged-WTF-isms and everything in between.

Meanwhile a single dog ventured into the white wonderland and took it all in.

I'll never know exactly what was going through that delightfully bouncy Schnauzer brain of hers on the other end of her leash, but by virtue of her incessant nose-digging into the snow-covered grass, I'm reasonably certain she was a happy girl. So I simply followed along and watched her do her snowy thing.

I choose to view her experience as a subtle and timely reminder that we only THINK we're in control of all that goes on around us. And when the occasional - or perhaps even frequent - curveball gets thrown our way, raging at the weather Gods, or whoever else is deemed responsible, isn't going to change the outcome. Or make us feel any better in the process.

Which explains why letting a dog guide us may not be such a bad way to live.

Wherever you are, whether it's snowy or not, please stay safe out there. And always play with the dog when you're given the opportunity.

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

Related:
Dog snow day, January 2020
Snow dog, take 3, November 2019
When dogs fly, March 2019
Snowy face, April 2007

Standing on the corner

Oxford and Adelaide
London, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Lenses with long focal lengths can do fun things to a scene.

One of their most notable tricks is called the compression effect, and shooting down the length of a long road illustrates it rather nicely, where distant parts of the scene look larger than they otherwise would.

If you're a Londoner, this may look familiar. I was standing at the Adelaide/Oxford intersection looking west on Oxford toward Richmond, the old rail bridge, and way beyond, up the hill toward Cherryhill. And thanks to this optical effect, I had quite the photographic party on this otherwise drab stretch of sidewalk.

So much life is playing out in this scene. So many stories, all important to the individuals who lived them, all now tucked quietly into their respective histories.

I've got to do this again soon, as that was a rather enjoyable way to spend an hour or so on a sunny Saturday morning.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #walkabout #urban #oxford #adelaide #street #photography #road #traffic #zoom #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

When trees get protective

Nature's perspective
London, ON
February 2012
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Let's go for a walk in the park, where the trees bend down to show us the way home.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #kiwanis #park #forest #tree #trees #walkabout #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, April 19, 2021

Staring into the dark waters

Duality
Port Stanley, ON
March 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I keep having to remind myself that as turbulent as the water can get, it is still the basis of all life.

When the light around us seems irrevocably dim, it's a powerful message to hold onto.

So let's hold onto it, then.

#port #stanley #portstanley #beach #great #lake #erie #ldnont #wind #water #waves #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Not just any macaroons

Bet you can't eat just one
London, ON
March 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram

 
Debbie made us homemade macaroons a few weeks back.

I share them here because, somewhat strangely, I like to take pictures of important foods so they can take me back to the moment they were made or shared.

Because these aren't just little globs of shredded almond before the chocolate is drizzled on. They're an important part of who we are as a family, and what it feels like to be one of us.

Of course, for me, this time, it's macaroons. But it could be anything. Anytime. Made by anyone.

Because we all eat different things, surrounded by different people, immersed in different experiences. What matters is the ability to appreciate those experiences, share them, and return to them when we need to.

And make no mistake: we need this now more than ever.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #kitchen #table #spontaneous #stillllife #macaroon #coconut #dessert #homemade #food #foodporn #instafood #foodphotography #foodstagram #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Convenience store at night

Quiet and bright
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


After the last customer has left and the owner has locked up for the night, the neighborhood convenience store stands like an oasis of light amid the darkness of the neighborhood.

No one will remember this place for its architecture. But no one who lives nearby can forget it, either.

Because we've all been inside once. Or maybe more. We've all picked something up here when nothing else was open. Or too far away.

We were all children once, and the treats here were unforgettable. Indeed, our kids still carry the gauzy/happy memories of walks here for ice cream.

Sure, basic economics tells us these are expensive places to shop. We pay for convenience, after all.

But I'd hate to imagine a town without them at all. That's a price I'd rather not pay.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #urban #night #nightphotography #nightmode #grocery #store #retail #goodys #goody #market #shopping #business #building #architecture #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Check this map. Eventually.

Lost yet?
Toronto, ON
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Try as I may, I can't seem to figure out the point of this.

I hope no one got lost waiting for the map to be installed.

Kidding aside, even in the age of Google Maps, where location awareness is built into virtually every device we own, it feels quaintly comforting to have actual physical maps out on the street.

I'll give credit to the City of Toronto for making the effort - even if their timing is a little off.

Maybe analog isn't quite dead yet.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #throwback #travelphotography #streetphotography #map #comingsoon #urban #yonge #street #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Anchors aweigh

Hold on
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Remember that pedestrian bridge railing I shared last time out? Well, here's another look, this time at the detail on the eastern end of the span.

It's deceptively simple-looking, almost as if you could pick up some supplies at the Canadian Tire and make it yourself.

But sometimes the simplest of solutions are the most artful. And it's enough to stand here and appreciate the expertise of a stranger that now lives on in what presents as an inanimate object, but is very much alive.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tvp #thames #river #bridge #detail #heavy #metal #bokeh #walkabout #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, April 16, 2021

Special bridge in a special place

Safety first
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There's a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river beside Gibbons Park, with a neat cable-stayed railing system to keep folks from turning it into an impromptu diving board.

It's functional, but also really cool-looking.

I hope whoever designed and built this years ago knows that after all this time, countless people still take the time to appreciate the tiny designed-in details that continue to benefit us all to this day. It may seem like a small thing, but it really isn't.

Consider this my silent thanks.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tvp #thames #river #bridge #detail #heavy #metal #bokeh #walkabout #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, April 15, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On High-Fives

Everyone knows how to give - and receive - a high-five. It's as natural as a handshake.

But did you ever wonder where the high-five came from? Who invented it? What the story behind it was?

Turns out an ESPN Magazine reporter had that thought a decade ago, and published the following fascinating human-interest story.

The origin story of a now-ubiquitous celebration.
By Jon Mooallem
ESPN Magazine
August 8, 2011

Back to Blackfriars

Counting the footsteps
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The last time I shared a photo of London's beloved Blackfriars Bridge, she was about to be dismantled as part of a massive - and very much needed - restoration project.

At the time I was worried about what might come next, and couldn't imagine what London would be like without this iconic span.

Thankfully the project was hugely successful, and she stands proudly today, once again a central player in the lives of countless Londoners.

So during a recent walk along the path beside the river she spans, I couldn't resist dropping in on an old friend for a bit of a catch-up.

I'm glad she'll be sticking around for a while.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #blackfriars #bridge #green #history #tvp #thames #river #walkabout #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Looking into a mirrored sunset

Reflective by the roadside
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


When you’re somewhere far from home, pushing toward the horizon, it never hurts to look behind you every once in a while.

Sometimes the view will surprise you.

Sometimes it’ll take your breath away.

Never will you be disappointed.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sunset #dusk #sky #clouds #light #tree #abstract #hydepark #cycling #bicycle #mirror #reflection #landscape #photography #hydepark #road #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

On what it'll take to save the world

"Beauty will save the world."

Another look at the shiny new fence

Border security
London, ON
November 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I like to revisit things I've shared previously.

Because every time you look at something, even something as seemingly trivial as a fence, you're seeing it through a new lens.

Maybe the light has changed. Or it rained. Or you're feeling differently than you did last time.

In fact, I'd be surprised if we ever saw the same thing exactly the same way more than once. Let's pause on that thought for a moment.

There, and we're back...

So here's our shiny fence, this time in monochrome. From a different angle.

On second thought, maybe second glances don't need a reason.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #fence #fences #fencing #landscape #design #fencesofinstagram #fenceart #newfence #streetphotography #street #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:

Monday, April 12, 2021

Space Math: Gagarin+60+Columbia+40

Still sci-fi
Merritt Island, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


April 12th is a big day in space history, so thanks for indulging my little attempt to mark the date.

60 years ago today, Yuri Gagarin became the first-ever human in space when he rocketed into orbit aboard Vostok 1 and flew once around the planet.

40 years ago today, Space Shuttle Columbia kicked off a new era in space exploration as it carried John Young and Robert Crippen on the program's inaugural STS-1 mission.

While it may be difficult to imagine the kind of personality it takes to fly into the unknown, on an unproven vehicle, it's easy to see why the rest of us back here on Earth would be inspired by Gagarin, Young, Crippen, and everyone else who strapped themselves into one of these machines and blasted into the sky. (And since I used the word "into", that doesn't completely apply to Gagarin, as he deliberately bailed out of the capsule at 23,000 feet and parachuted the rest of the way down. Just amazing.)

However they got there, and back, I'd like to think we're all better people because of them.

Ad Astra. And thank you.

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

Related: