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:


Tiny blue flowers

Up close and personal
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


From afar, it looks like a blue carpet. But the scene changes somewhat radically when you get up close and personal with it.

Wonders wherever we look. And free lessons in perspective from the pretty blue flowers that fairly soon will be little more than a soft memory.

Feels like the right way to shift into Monday, doesn't it?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tvp #thames #river #green #grass #blue #flowers #bokeh #walkabout #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Barking in the abstract

A face in the trunk
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I see a sleeping puppy. You?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tvp #thames #river #forest #wart #tree #trees #gibbons #park #walkabout #abstract #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

White tree. Blue sky.

Before the leaves return
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Some trees seem to whisper a little louder for our attention.

Ironically, I had never before noticed this one, likely because I had spent years cycling past it, so focused on getting to or from work that I hadn’t ever bothered to look up.

My loss, as this is quite the tree, and it took a long overdue walk along the riverside path to finally realize just how special it is.

I think that means more slow strolls - here and elsewhere - in my future. So many once-hidden trees just waiting for their moment.

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

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Hitting the road, again and again

Rest stop before the final push home
Middlesex County, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Today the wonderbike took me to Ilderton. Even better, she got me back home safely.

Each ride pushes a little further than the one before. This one was just over 42km through the agricultural hinterlands northwest of the city, probably a little further than I should have gone at this stage, but I'm glad I resisted the early voices in my head that might have ended the ride far sooner.

The outward leg was fast and smooth, thanks largely to fair winds and great road conditions. Even the drivers were universally kind, leaving tons of room and waving as they passed.

The winds shifted and intensified on the way back, though, so I may have looked grumpy as I fought to keep pace.

Clearly it'll be a while before I'm back in bike shape, but just getting out and feeling the road through my fingertips is already doing wonders for my soul.

I wonder where we'll end up tomorrow. Suggestions welcome.

#ldnont #london #ilderton #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #life #cyclinglife #bikelife #sport #instabike #bikeporn #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Pink bike. Red protector.

2 wheels > 4
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


My bike doesn't have a nickname, though I think after almost 28 years, I should probably give it one.

It’s a Specialized Stumpjumper Comp, and unlike Henrietta the Honda, I never came up with an alliterative name that stuck.

That number, though. 28. Old. No, vintage. Crazy how that works, because it still feels like I first saw it in a long-since-closed bike shop in Montreal.

It replaced a yellow Bianchi that some idiot had plowed into in the shadows of the Olympic Stadium. I walked away somehow - and to this day don't understand how - but soon enough I was using a really sweet insurance check to get myself back on the road.

All these years later, I still cherish it. Not because it's some droolworthy machine - it isn't, and I don't ride because I care what anyone thinks of my bike. The value in this collection of bright pink chromoly tubing and now-ancient-but-dead-reliable componentry lies in where it can take me, and how it makes me feel along the way.

If you look closely at the bag on the rear rack, you might notice the red piece of fabric tied to the zipper. We call it a bendehleh, and my late mother-in-law always said it would bring good luck. So we attached it to each of our children's cribs. And car seats. And anything else. Because we all cherish the protection of those who watched over us.

I start every ride comforted that this simple piece of red fabric continues to keep me safe, and that my history stays with me no matter where I may end up.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #life #cyclinglife #bikelife #sport #instabike #bikeporn #tvp #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Friday, April 09, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On first responders

We've had a year to absorb the near- and long-term impacts of pandemic life on all of us. And it's clear that some groups are affected differently than others.

This article should be essential reading to better understand the impact on first responders. It's a hard, but necessary, read.

What lasting impact will the pandemic have on America’s first responders?
By Ava Kofman
ProPublica
April 7, 2021

Chasing the sun before it disappears

Say goodnight
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The mission was a simple one: get on the bike and chase the sun.

Not far from home, city gave way to country, and I found myself rolling along under a suddenly big sky.

So I pulled over to take in the view before the light show ended for another day.

Nice excuse for a ride. I’ll have to chase the sun again soon.

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

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Two squawking geese

Feeding time at the zoo
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


What you can see: two Canada Geese feeding nonchalantly in the grasses beside the Thames River.

What you can't see: our very unhappy dog expressing her displeasure at their presence.

I can't blame the pup. To shake things up a bit and give ourselves - and her - and bit of a break, we took a walk through the riverside parks that wind their way through London's downtown core. To call this network of green a jewel would be inadequate, and we're lucky to have it so close by.

Alas, it isn't perfect. Geese being geese, they've become fixtures here, so much so that when pre-pandemic me commuted through here by bike, their presence was likely the most dangerous part of the trip. Seriously, they're nasty, angry, frightening birds. Stay away.

Calli, however, feels differently. She was quite literally built to hunt these beings, and no amount of treats will sway her stubborn Schnauzer self away from them.

It made for an entertaining walk, as a wound-up Schnu is an adventure that words simply can't describe. We'll try some video in future so you can get in on the fun.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tvp #thames #river #bird #birds #angrybirds #goose #geese #walkabout #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

On darkness and light

"What makes night within us may leave stars."

A gathering of fish

Casting shadows
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Just below a bridge in the woods beside the river, the fish gather to do whatever it is that fish do.

It's a pretty magical sight to stumble across, a reminder from the universe that wonder plays out in many forms, often just under our noses.

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

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Baking in the Dundas Street sun

Someday soon...
London, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


A mournful old building sits quietly in the blinding summer sun, overlooking a similarly mournful stretch of post-industrial road that's been waiting for renewal for as long as we've lived here.

The stories embedded in these faded walls could fill books. So could the stories yet to be told.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #random #urban #architecture #architecturephotography #building #buildingporn #brick #manufacturing #dundas #street #streetphotography #monochrome #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, April 05, 2021

When the fence was new and shiny

Borders close to home
London, ON
November 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We’re surrounded by things we never have the patience to observe more closely.

Like the simple chain link fence beside our house. The old one had gotten, shall we say, rusty. Wires stuck out of it at odd angles, and I worried about the dog catching an edge on something nasty. So along came the friendly fence people to install a shiny new one.

As evidence of how trivial our pandemic existence has become, this became a bit of a thing for me. I marked the day on my calendar, and when all the work was done, I bounced outside like a kid on Christmas (oops, Chanukah) to take in their handiwork.

I've written before about my need to take pictures of things when they're brand spanking new. I'm not sure how this scene would have changed after another day or two, but in my mind it needed to be recorded the day it was installed.

So there I stood with my DSLR in the fading evening light, taking artsy photos of a chain link fence to the amusement of neighbors and passers-by alike.

This may only be a fence, a trivial part of the landscape, an easily ignored fixture that ultimately means little to most. But it means something to me, a marker, of sorts, that spends most of its existence well below most people's radar. Yet when we think about radar, it's entirely our call re. how high or low that threshold gets set.

So mine's a little different than the norm. Not the first time I've been unconventional. Probably not the last, either.

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

Sunday, April 04, 2021

And we ride...

The pink wondermachine, ready to go
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It was a good day for this.

Come to think of it, every day is a good day for cycling, to point yourself in a randomly chosen direction, get a little lost, and hopefully spread a little kindness along the way.

Because cycling is tightly linked to kindness, and it has this magical ability to create it, restore it, share it, amplify it.

By the numbers, today's ride was abysmal. I was slower than I remembered. The hills felt steeper. I breathed harder.

But early-season rides aren't about numbers, anyway. They're about reaffirming you can still power yourself to wherever you wish. All with little more than a spin of your feet. Amazing, isn't it?

They're about proving you can still keep yourself in balance. Still feel the wind in your face. Still smell the river as you cruise beside it. Still smile while you pedal.

So I spun my legs, ended up in an under-construction subdivision, and got myself rather lost.

But not having perfect geographic knowledge only adds to the charm. Sure, in regular times we commute, we pick up and drop off, we log kilometres and try to be healthier. But when the clock isn't dictating the agenda, we wander, and we enjoy the moment a little more. So much the better if we manage to mix in a bit of mystery.

So there I was, stuffing my face beside a storm pond, revelling in the blissful feeling of having zero clue where I was. I thought about checking Google Maps, but figured it would be more fun to simply follow the sun home.

So that's what I did. And not long after I set off in search of familiar territory, it started to make sense. I eventually made it back, albeit slightly later than planned.

It's why I ride. Because you never quite know how the journey will play out, but you know you'll always, somehow, learn something new along the way.

Even if it's a little unexpected.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #life #cyclinglife #bikelife #sport #instabike #bikeporn #tvp #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Shoe Marketing 101

Got sole?
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Marketing is a funny discipline. To grossly oversimplify matters, it's designed to get you to want to buy stuff.

As in, "Hey, dude, look over here. Have I got a deal for you?"

The "Compare At" pricing trick is as old as marketing itself. On one side, there's the original price. Or the suggested retail price. Or what others are selling it for.

And on the other side, there's OUR price. Normally, the good guys' price would be, you know, LESS. To illustrate that OUR deal is better than THEIR deal, and you should thus purchase it from us.

But whoever made this sign may been absent from class the day this lesson was taught. Hence the "our price" being identical to the "compare at" price - not just for THESE particular shoes, but for every product in the store.

Retail is a tough business on any given day, especially now. This just makes it tougher.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #factory #shoe #converse #allstar #kicks #store #shopping #retail #random #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, April 03, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On disability

#IfYouReadOneThingToday, I hope you’ll make it this searing piece about parenting a disabled child, and navigating the expectations of a broader world ill-equipped to accommodate either of them.

Heather Lanier explores the pressure to perform happiness.
By Heather Lanier
Longreads
March 2021

Shockingly carnivorous imagery

Appetizing?
London, ON
March 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I love a good steak, or a summer BBQ, or tossing a burger on a plate, dressing it up, and sitting down among my favorite people in the universe.

It's hard to imagine life without these experiences.

Some days, though, it gnaws at me. The health thing. The guilt thing. Or both. And I ponder what it might be like to not eat meat.

Then I take stupid pictures like this in grocery stores, and I wonder some more.

I hear falafel is a pretty good source of protein.

Either way, photography is supposed to make us feel and ponder. It may even prod us somewhat. I hope that’s the case here.

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

Friday, April 02, 2021

Sunlit tree on a quiet street

Guarding the neighborhood
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram

As photos go, this one isn’t particularly unique, nor is it especially memorable. It’s just a simple tree overlooking an ordinary street.

Yet as our dog led me through the neighborhood this morning, something about this tree made me stop and take it in.

It could have been the golden hour glow off the trunk, the damage to the bark, or the way the tree seemed to be protecting the street, as it always has. Or maybe all of the above. Or something else. Or none at all. Who, after all, can explain the creative process, and what sparks us?

Whatever the reason, it felt like the right thing to do to freeze the scene in a photo before we continued on our way. Calli the Wonderschnauzer, already so familiar with my weird spontaneous photo sessions during her walks, happily sniffed around the grass just below frame while I composed the shot.

The street was otherwise blessedly empty on this holiday morning, a silent witness to the kind of scene that plays out so often in the course of everyday life, but is rarely recorded because of its seemingly mundane nature.

Not this time, though. Because even simple trees on forgettable suburban streets deserve their occasional moment in the sun.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #street #streetphotography #tree #trees #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Waiting for the color to emerge

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


Before my wife turns paint into something decidedly artistic, it's just potential in a tube.

Or maybe there's more to it.

Be that as it may, don't you just love when the tools of an artist somehow become art themselves?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #paint #art #color #pattern #photography #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, April 01, 2021

When homemade, isn't

Signed insincerity
London, ON
January 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The irony of this "Happiness is Homemade" sign being sold in a store is not lost on me.

I was tempted to stick around and see if anyone bought it, but this being a pandemic and all, it'll have to wait for another time.

Still, am I the only one who finds this odd?

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