Saturday, July 31, 2021

Mom looks back at 21 years


On knowing when to ask

"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."

The orange machine heads west

Ironically, there was no water to be had
Komoka, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


She got a little dirty today.

Which is as it should be.

#ldnont #london #komoka #middlesex #centre #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #bikelife #instabike #orange #devinci #hatchet #gravelbike #random #roadside #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Little Man is now legal. Everywhere.

Too fast
London, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It feels like he was born yesterday, but today our youngest, Noah, celebrates his 21st birthday.

Time flies for him because he packs so much into what he’s been given. Up early and out the door before the sun is up, he fills every day with hard work and stories of who he’s touched along the way.

The coming year will surely bring new opportunities and adventures, and all because he’s never been content to sit around and wait for the world to come to him.

Happy birthday to our no-longer-so-little man. We love you limitlessly and can’t wait to see what you do next.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #parenthood #birthday #boy #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, July 30, 2021

Date night with my favorite human

 


Same building, again, painted by the sun

That friendly glow
Stratford, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The setting sun reflects lovingly across the old white paint that barely covers this worn-out concrete-block building, its orange glow splaying out for a few fleeting seconds before fading out for good.

But you have to stand just so to see it. Otherwise, it’s just another relic nearly lost to time, another forgettable piece of barely qualified architecture, easily ignored by all who pass by.

There’s a lesson here. That how a thing - a building, an anything, an anyone - looks depends almost entirely on where we stand, on what lens we choose to look through, on how we feel at that particular moment.

There are no absolutes here. Two people can stand next to each other and absorb whatever is in front of them in radically different ways. Or the same person can come back another day, and tell an entirely different story. Or maybe just blink and feel the same scene in a new manner.

The universe paints us all in different ways - just as it paints this old structure in countless tones that can’t be predicted before we open our eyes to take in the show.

Which is why I resolve to return here another time. To tell another story, perhaps. Or to remind myself, again, that we owe it to ourselves - and to each other - to look at inanimate objects and people alike from more than one perspective.

#stratford #ontario #canada #landscape #concrete #glass #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #ruinporn #streetphotography #urban #street #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything


Same building, now in monochrome

Weathered corner
Stratford, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If you look at the same thing - like this building - from a slightly different angle or perspective, you may as well be looking at another building.

Funny how that works, no?

(Keep your eye on this feed. I've got more on the way.)

#stratford #ontario #canada #landscape #concrete #glass #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #ruinporn #streetphotography #urban #street #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:

Thursday, July 29, 2021

On a better definition of experience

"Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes."

Stratford test shot

Angles and reflections
Stratford, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This is a test shot.

Some background: whenever I take pictures with the camera-camera - aka the real camera, my Nikon, the one I shlep around in a giant bag over my shoulder that annoys the daylights out of strangers I bump into at the supermarket - I also tote along my smartphone.

Clarification: my smartphone goes everywhere with me regardless, but when I'm shooting for reals, I like to use its built-in camera as a bit of a backup.

Not that my tiny iPhone with the tiny lens and tiny sensor will outshoot the Nikon. But it's 2021, and any smartphone camera is now generally good enough to capture good enough results that hold their own in a feed.

Good enough. Let's remember those two words.

Having the phone in my pocket has changed my photography. It helps me think through a scene differently, as it lets me take a quick shot or three just to feel out the composition and get my head in the game before I pull out the bigger piece of glass.

I often scan the results to further refine how I'll shoot it with the bigger machine, maybe tweak the settings or otherwise try something different.

Shooting on the phone also gives me more options if I decide to share something directly to social media - because a bizarro roadside photo sesh needs to be shared.

Sometimes, a test shot jumps right out. And it pulls you even more profoundly into the moment where you want to use every photographic tool at your disposal - in your pocket, in your hand, over your shoulder, wherever - to paint the most thorough picture possible of what it feels like to be there.

Which brings me to this one, a hastily composed angled shot of that lovely old concrete building on the edge of Stratford. The one that helped me discover how this building needed to have its story told. At least this time.

Sometimes all it takes is having the right tool in your hand.

#stratford #ontario #canada #landscape #concrete #glass #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #ruinporn #streetphotography #urban #street #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On mothers and daughters

Sometimes you come across an article that is so fluidly written, so achingly real that it sticks with you long after your eyes have grazed over the final word.

This piece qualifies in spades. It initially presents itself as a single mother's ode to her daughter's graduation experience amid the pandemic, but it's so much more than just that.

Anyone who's parented a child will feel this piece. And even if you haven't, there should be more than enough here to move you.

By Jill Talbot
Longreads
June 2021

Numbers, farms, and perspectives

Now don't get lost...
Ilderton, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Look familiar?

I thought the farm with the pretty little red outbuilding deserved more than a single photo. So I wandered around the ditch and tried to shoot it from a few different perspectives.

These address numbers on the hydro pole beside the road intrigued me, for some reason. You don’t see them much within the city limits, but they seem to be everywhere in farm country.

They feel like a relic from another age, a signature of a time that no longer exists, but they offer up tantalizing glimpses here and there for anyone who bothers to take a closer look. They also make a perfect frame for this quietly reverent place in the shadows of the still-growing corn stalks.

I wonder what other fresh perspectives I’ll find on my next ride into the countryside.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #bikelife #instabike #middlesex #county #farm #red #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Related:

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

On brightening the room

"The person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed."

The things we see in farm country

Someone likes red
Ilderton, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram

You can see some lovely scenes out in farm country. This particular one spoke to me as I pedalled past on a humid afternoon, so I just had to pull over.

And while stopping here and there to take in places like this - and maybe snap a photo or eight - doesn't do much to boost the workout data, it sure does wonders for the soul.

Which is my way of saying I probably won't be bringing home any Strava, Garmin, or Apple Fitness virtual trophies anytime soon. Somehow, I'll deal.

Besides, some rewards may be less tangible than others, but are no less worthy. I'm not much for trophies, anyway.

So if you see some guy parking an orange machine in the grass so he can take strange photos along the way, that would be me.

Maybe I'll see you out there.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #bikelife #instabike #middlesex #county #farm #red #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Monday, July 26, 2021

They abandon horses here, too

Ride on forever
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


People leave strange things on the side of the road the night before garbage pickup.

Exhibit A: a wooden rocking horse that may or may not have taken its last ride. The dog and I recently came across this sad sight on our final walk of the night. Its positioning was odd: on a shadowy corner nowhere near anyone’s home, as if it was dropped off by someone who didn’t want anyone to know it was there.

There’s an entire sub-economy in London of folks who scour the streets before garbage/recycling day in search of anything remotely sellable. If you’re up late - or early - enough, you’ll hear their pickups, or bikes, or shopping carts, all rattling through the night.

I hope one of them picked up this forgotten piece of history. It wasn’t there the next morning, and I’d like to think it somehow escaped a one-way trip to the landfill.

Come to think of it, I seem to hope a lot of things as I wander through the night with my trusty little friend. Hope, for a beloved-but-forgotten old toy, or for anything else, really, seems like the right thing to hold onto these days.

Neigh. #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #walkabout #streetphotography #horse #stilllife #night #photography #apple #iPhone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Ominous sign at the garden centre

This way
London, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram

This may sound like a silly question, but should I be kneeling before this sign?

Sorry...couldn't help myself.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #random #urban #store #retail #building #lowes #sod #kneelbeforesod #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

On truly living

"I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees."

Once upon a time at Pearson

Parked on a rainy morning
Toronto, ON
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Once upon a time, we flew places.

Once upon a time, I’d leave extra time in airports so I could snag some photos along the way.

Once upon a time, the journey was almost as important as the destination. If not more so.

Once upon a time, flying somewhere felt more like an adventure than a chore.

Once upon a time, we relished togetherness, and didn’t fear it.

Once upon a time, planes like these spent their lives in the sky, not parked in deserts.

Once upon a time, words like COVID, delta variant, and positivity rate meant nothing to most of us.

Once upon a time, we had no idea what lay ahead.

Then again, do we ever really know what lies ahead?

#toronto #yyz #pearson #international #airport #ontario #canada #throwback #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #aircanada #flight #flying #aviation #reflection #avgeek #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Baywatch North

A great day for a swim
Grand Bend, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Someone to watch over me.

Make that two someones, trusted guardians of the beach whose sole responsibility is to keep us safe, often despite ourselves.

We owe them our gratitude. Or at least a wave, a nod, a smile as we walk past.

Because of them, today remains an uneventful day at the beach.

Because of them, today will turn into tomorrow.

#grand #bend #grandbend #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #throwback #lifeguards #summer #nature #waves #water #weather #wx #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Big old rail bridge over my head

Heavy metal and sky
London, ON
April 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We live in a city of railroads.

Some nights, you can hear the long freight trains rolling along the track way out in the countryside, the winds carrying the mournful sounds of steel rolling on steel further than you might imagine.

And while many Londoners may bristle at the occasional unscheduled traffic jam while a train makes its way through a level crossing, the rest of us are happy with the spontaneous break from reality, the opportunity to turn the car off for a bit and take in the spectacle.

Alternatively, the landscape is dotted with countless bridges and related rail infrastructure. And they all have a story to tell, if only we take the time to listen.

So on a brilliantly sunny afternoon, I took the time to listen. And to watch.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #oxford #street #rail #railroad #train #bridge #steel #engineering #history #tvp #thames #river #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Related:
Railroaded, December 2012

Friday, July 23, 2021

Bright lights among the stalks

Colors in the late afternoon sun
London, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Lights on for safety, even when the sun is up.

I’m under no illusions that bright flashing LED lights front and rear will magically protect me from cars passing so closely at triple-digit speeds that I can feel the air pressure as they approach.

But in a world where even little things could make just enough of a difference between a near-miss and a really bad day, I figure it’s worth a shot.

So whenever I hit the road, I’m lit up like a Christmas tree, I use a mirror, I dingle my bell, and I wear a helmet and bright-coloured clothes.

Again, no guarantee, but it makes me feel better. Which is why I pedal to places like this in the first place.

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

One last flash of light

Reaching across the waves
Grand Bend, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The sun reaches out one last time before disappearing for good below the waves.

But not to worry, as she'll return tomorrow to cast her light upon the waters - and on us.

#grand #bend #grandbend #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #sun #sunset #summer #nature #waves #water #landscape #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, July 22, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - OnThatEricAlper

Continuing our ongoing theme of finding reads with a happier tone, I offer this gem, a profile piece on Eric Alper - aka That Eric Alper. Point of pride: he's Canadian, and his love of all things music and of the music industry in general has allowed him to build a significant global brand.

He's figured out the Twitter thing, using the platform to create engagement around his beloved industry and the artists who create the magic both in and between our ears.

I was tickled when I saw this piece in Billboard, and I suspect you will be, as well, when you read it.

Enjoy.

By Zach Schonfeld
Billboard
June 28, 2021

Smoky sun redux

Smudged
London, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The smoke from the wildfires on the other side of the province no longer hangs over #ldnont.

But that's only because a cold front moved through the region. The fires themselves still burn far away. The planet isn't any better off than it was the moment I took this photo.

For the record, London's city council declared a climate emergency 23 months ago. As far as I can tell, plans to widen one of the city's main north-south arterial corridors - Wonderland Road - from four lanes to six remain on the books. It will likely be the most expensive roadworks project in the city's history. Some emergency.

Anyway, I offloaded the photos off my Nikon, and this is what the sun looked like before thunderstorms cleared the air. So the sun no longer looks like this. From here, anyway. It's a different story elsewhere.

But the traffic engineers say we'll be able to get home 90 seconds faster once the road is widened.

In our cars.

Some emergency.

I'll keep the camera close by, because I suspect smokey skies - and far worse - will be a normal thing going forward.

These are photos I wish I never had to take. Yet I feel I have to.

#london #ontario #canada #sunset #blood #red #sky #fire #clouds #light #pollution #climatechange #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

10 years after Shuttle

What once was
Merritt Island, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Space Shuttle Atlantis landed for the final time 10 years ago today.

Her flight marked the end of the 30-year shuttle program, and the beginning of a nine-year drought before American astronauts would once again reach orbit aboard an American vehicle.

We caught up with her 18 months ago at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and I came [this] close to never wanting to leave the place.

There were so many reasons why the shuttle program had to end - its glaring safety issues and enormous cost prime among them - but standing in the hushed hall where she now rests, it was easy to see why these vehicles were such wonders of their time, and why so many of the technologies we take for granted today can trace their roots to this miraculous-yet-star-crossed program.

We'll never again witness the sheer spectacle of a shuttle launch, or the bonkers experience of a dead stick return to the Shuttle Landing Facility.

But just a few miles away from where I took this shot, next-generation rockets now launch people to the heavens. And some of them return safely to landing pads nearby, putting on their own kind of bonkers display in the process. Eventually, new winged craft will glide to landings on the SLF. Meanwhile, entirely new megarockets like NASA's Space Launch System and SpaceX's Super Heavy/Starship take their first tentative steps toward destinations Atlantis could have only dreamed of.

I remember the words of launch commentator George Diller when Atlantis launched for the final time: "...on the shoulders of the space shuttle, America will continue the dream."

It's taken a few years of dreaming, but we now reap the rewards of everything the shuttles and the thousands of dedicated people who flew and cared for them planted all those years ago.

Because some dreams take longer to come true than others. But the wait is always worth it.

#kennedy #space #center #ksc #kennedyspacecenter #florida #fla #throwback #spaceshuttle #shuttle #atlantis #ov104 #sts135 #sts #rocket #science #aviation #avgeek #spaceflight #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #lifeinthemargins #family #everything 

Related:
Gear down and locked, March 26, 2021
Atlantis in the abstract, October 31, 2020
Crew-1 takes flight, November 15, 2020
Old orbiter. New code. February 16, 2020
Rocket science, up close, January 27, 2020
The Shuttle Era ends, July 21, 2011
Shuttle era + 25, April 2006

NASA Resources:



The final waves of the day

The softest water of all
Grand Bend, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Frothy.

I just like saying the word.

Say it with me: frothy.

And they say language isn't magical.

#grand #bend #grandbend #ldnont #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #sun #sunset #summer #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

On writer vs. writing

"Don’t be ‘a writer’.
Be writing."

 

Napping Schnu

And dream of sheep
London, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Just once, I wish I could see what's going on in her head, see what she's dreaming of.

I'd like to imagine it's a happy place, free of the kinds of everyday worries that seem to dog (sorry) the humans around her.

I'd like to imagine she dreams as happily about us as we dream about her.

Such is life when you're a sleeping dog in the middle of a family who loves you to the moon and back.

Such is the kind of life we wish everyone - animal, human, or other - could claim as their own.

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

Related:
Dogs > bean counters, February 2021
Dog under the radar, November 2020
The joy of sleep, July 2020
One tired puppy, March 2020

Monday, July 19, 2021

A picture of a picture of a smoky sun

Those aren't clouds
London, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This is what the sun looks like over #ldnont tonight - turned a deep orange by smoke from wildfires burning in northwest Ontario.

I'm so shaken by what I'm seeing - amid an Environment Canada special air quality statement that warns of dangerous levels of soot and gasses in the atmosphere - that I'm not even bothering to process my images off of my camera-camera before sharing it here, So you'll have to content yourself with a fast-grab of the photo on the Nikon's screen, taken from my smartphone.

I may as well be looking at Venus, which seems fitting given the otherworldliness of the spectacle that now hangs, literally, over our heads.

They say climate change is a myth. Whoever "they" are, they're wrong.

They should stand here in my backyard and watch our nearest star get blotted out by smoke from fires burning upward of 2,000 km away from here.

They should stand amid ruined villages in Europe, decimated by so-called hundred-year floods that now occur at far shorter intervals.

They should stand on a beach near Vancouver, B.C. and smell the shellfish spontaneously cooking on the burning sand.

Those who deny the science, who pretend it's all hype, who ignore the on-the-ground impact, deserve no audience.

The thing is, in denial or not, we all did this. And no one, planetary defender or climate change denier alike, can afford to stand idly by and allow it to continue to happen.

Which begs the question: at what point do we stand up and say, "Enough"?

#london #ontario #canada #sunset #blood #red #sky #fire #clouds #light #pollution #climatechange #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Playing in the fresh water surf

Reflecting the last of the day's sun
Grand Bend, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I spend entirely too much time playing in the water.

And by “playing in the water,” I mean standing in some lake or ocean or river, where the waves lap up against the shore, feeling the water wash over my ankles as I take random pictures of the action. The hope is at least one photo will be good enough to have made the entire silly exercise worthwhile.

As you might imagine, there isn’t a whole lot of planning. Which, I think, is why I enjoy it so much.

Because as the chaotic water world froths around me, I’m not thinking about anything else. It’s just me, water, wind, and a camera. I can feel the sand and stones on my feet, hear the screaming birds somewhere behind me, see the fleeting, shifting reflections of the sun off the roiled surface of the water.

It’s as close to a meditative state as a photographer can get.

Out here, I’m connected to nothing except my imagination. If anyone’s pinging me in email or SMS or Messenger or Teams, it’ll wait. Whatever thoughts and worries I may have carried into the water are long since forgotten as I focus in on the seemingly simple - but really not - world of collapsing waves and rogue reflections.

Because when you’re trying to paint pictures of forces that would rather remain intangible, there isn’t a whole lot of room for distraction.

On reflection, maybe my problem isn’t that I’m spending too much time playing in the water. Maybe I’m not spending enough.

I’ll have to work on that.

#grand #bend #grandbend #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #sun #sunset #summer #nature #waves #water #landscape #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Riding my bike to see the corn

Everything looks better through spokes
Middlesex Centre, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


On the corner of Wonderland Road North and Ilderton Road just north of #ldnont, they grow corn.

Come to think of it, they grow corn everywhere in the rich agricultural hinterlands that surround this town.

And watching the stalks grow from nothing to Field of Dreams-tall has become an almost subconscious pastime for us, a comforting reminder that real food comes from the ground, not the frozen foods aisle at the grocery store.

I often point the bike past the edge of the city because cycling through the countryside has become something of an escape from the real world, a temporary form of catharsis where it's just you, the bike, and the basic physics of riding the white painted line while cars whip past your left shoulder at triple-digit speeds.

It's less frightening than it sounds. And for a little while, anyway, the rest of the world can wait while you take in the spectacle of something being created from nothing.

In the end all I did on this glorious afternoon was park my bike so I could stare at corn for a few minutes. Yet something keeps telling me simple moments like this are a lot more important to our souls than we might have thought.

Which is my way of saying there’s more corn and bikes and weird roadside musings in my - and by extension your - future.

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

Still-life in a Montreal hotel room

Everything in its place
Montreal, QC
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you may be familiar with my tradition of shooting weirdly artsy compositions in hotel rooms.

It keeps me out of trouble when I’m away from home - at least that’s the excuse I like to use.

So here’s another one from a hotel that had opened a week before we got here, and was as pristine as it was ever going to be. We’re reasonably sure we were the first guests to have ever stayed in this particular room, so of course some still life photos were called for.

This particular photo may be a simple capture of an unremarkable bed in a generic hotel. But it’s part of a storyline that’s been playing out in my decidedly non-linear life for years.

And if I have anything to do with it, it’ll continue to unravel for years to come.

#montreal #quebec #canada #hilton #hotel #design #furniture #bed #stilllife #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Sailing to the horizon

Wind power
Grand Bend, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


That sailboat grazing the horizon may seem insignificant to someone peering out from shore, but it is the very world to whoever is on board.

Perspective is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Safe journey, whoever you may be, and wherever you may be headed.

#grand #bend #grandbend #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #sun #sunset #summer #nature #waves #water #sail #sailing #boat #sailboat #landscape #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Old building in the fading sun

Never lose the light
Stratford, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There's a building on a side road in Stratford that wears its years with, if not grace, then a certain sense of honest grit.

It's a single storey of concrete block, weather-worn white paint, cracked windows, splintered wood, and weeds growing out of the foundation. Most folks would ignore it as a decaying example of architecture that was never worth a second look in the first place.

But I'm not most folks, and I think it's beyond glorious.

We've driven by here any number of times over the years, and a little switch in the back of my mind trips itself every time we do. I've made countless mental notes to pull over and shoot some pics, but over the years I just haven't.

There's always a reason that seems valid in the moment: a car full of tired kids, weather, a ticking clock, or I'm just not feeling it.

Wednesday evening was different. I was alone. There was no deadline at the other end of the drive. And I had remembered to bring my camera-camera along for the ride. So I circled the block, parked the car, and wandered on over for a closer look.

The EXIF data says I was there for 9 minutes, and I fought the fading light for every one of them. But that old building seemed to make the most of that fading light - almost as if it was encouraging me to work fast to uncover its secrets.

In the end, I think I brought some workable images home. But most importantly, I had finally taken the time to take a closer look.

And as I got back on the road and headed into the countryside toward home, I wondered why I had waited so long to do so.

#stratford #ontario #canada #landscape #concrete #glass #building #architecture #architecturephotography #design #buildingporn #architectureporn #ruinporn #streetphotography #urban #street #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, July 16, 2021

Please don't drink this beer

Glass one-third full
Toronto, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We live in an age where no one in a restaurant or bar would ever consume an unattended drink because strangers are terrible people.

But there's always a flip side to the darkness, and at the back of a bustling all-you-can-play arcade long before anyone even knew what COVID was, this forlorn and fingerprint-covered glass of likely-warm beer offered up a quick photographic still-life session. Who was I to say no?

Unlike an actual photographic still-life session, however, there were no tripods, lighting tricks, or hours-long debates with myself over composition and tone. Just me, a smartphone, and a half-baked idea that this moment deserved to have its story told somehow.

They never taught me this kind of storytelling in photojournalism class at j-school. Maybe I was absent that day.

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

Thursday, July 15, 2021

On the origins of passion

"Passion is born deaf and dumb.

Unicorns are totally real

Signs in the waves
Grand Bend, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This is what happens when you forget to change your camera settings when shifting from one subject to the next, and you end up unwittingly trying to capture fast-tumbling waves with a slow shutter speed.

On the plus side, you prove once and for all that unicorns exist. Go ahead, take a closer look. There are also other fun little surprises in there, because every mistake should spawn a little bit of magic.

There is no down side. Any memory from the edge of the planet, where land gives way to water, is worth holding onto. Even if it’s a slightly blurry one.

#grand #bend #grandbend #ldnont #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #sun #sunset #summer #nature #bird #birds #gull #flight #landscape #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

An inaccessible alley

The chains that bind us
Toronto, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Locked, tagged, and textured.

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

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Waiting for the train to cross

Patience
London, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Waiting for the train: a London tradition since long before the car was a thing.

May it still be a thing long after cars cease to be a thing.

But not at this particular crossing*, because they're building an underpass here now.

Because cars gotta dominate.

* The project to eliminate the Adelaide and Central crossing by digging Adelaide under the tracks will cost $58.3 million. That would buy a lot of mental health services and protected bike paths, but I suspect no one in this burg wants to hear it.

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

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Monday, July 12, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On Sailing

I've decided the world is too rough-and-tumble for my taste, with too many people taking themselves so seriously that there doesn't seem to be room for any light to squeeze in and highlight how ridiculous they both seem and look.

So I've been deliberately seeking out long-reads that shine a decidedly different kind of light - namely on people who have decided to not take things as seriously as others.

Of course, when it involves personal safety in the middle of large bodies of water, perhaps a little more seriousness might be called for. But this is a great read, anyway, and I hope it makes you smile - and think - as it did me.

By Abe Streep
Outside
October 14, 2015

Of anniversaries, beaches, and memories

Where the waves never stop
Grand Bend, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Debbie and I have a strange little family tradition to mark our (July 5th) wedding anniversary: we go to the beach.

There's no rhyme or reason to it. The beach has always been a resonant place for us, what my wife likes to call her happy place, where we can sit with our feet in the sand and feel the winds blow in off the water.

This year's beach destination was Grand Bend, and our daughter joined us for the ride. Cameras were, of course, slung over shoulders, and Dahlia and I spent some quality time beside the water trying to make some memories in pixels as the sun slowly settled into the water.

For the record, she's a freakishly gifted photographer, and her pixels are way better than mine. Which delights me to no end.

As I watched her pick her compositions and work through the process, I thought about why we were here, how the day we got married we were still years away from becoming parents.

It struck me as neat that all these years later, we celebrated a day that happened years before our kids came along. Yet given how history works, it was another step toward our family (eventually) becoming whole.

The connection to that singular day was hard to ignore as the wind-whipped waves crashed over our ankles.

Eventually we finished shooting and tucked the cameras away, images of waves now lost to the depths of Lake Huron tucked safely on their memory cards.

If only life itself could be so neatly captured, stored, and remembered.

If only pixels were just a little more tangible.

If only we had more nights like this, with the people who appreciate it most, to make memories as vivid as the ones we now hold not only in our photo albums, but in our hearts and minds.

#grand #bend #grandbend #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #sun #sunset #summer #nature #waves #water #landscape #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

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Sunday, July 11, 2021

#Unity22 touches space

Homeward bound
Truth or Consequences, NM
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


History. Made.

I wonder how many dreams were planted in kids watching the #Unity22 mission today, how many future wonders got their first spark of inspiration from what Sir @richardbranson and his #VirginGalactic team pulled off in the skies over New Mexico.

Probably more than we can count.

Which is why this humanity thing, despite it all, remains such a remarkable ride.

Per aspera ad astra.

Grocery checkout still-life

Nothing to scan
London, ON
May 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In case you've ever wondered what an act of civil conveyance might look like, wonder no longer.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #loblaws #supermarket #grocery #store #checkout #aisle #conveyor #shopping #retail #random #stilllife #everyday #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Sailing boat. Sailing bird.

Modes of transportation
Grand Bend, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We each capture the wind in our own unique manner.

#grand #bend #grandbend #ldnont #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #sun #sunset #summer #nature #bird #birds #gull #flight #landscape #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Where clouds (hopefully) bring better days

Someone painted the sky
London, ON
July 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Many thanks to you all for your kind wishes. I'm still resting off the worst of my mRNA dose - it's working, yay! - and should be back to my regularly annoying self before long.

Nothing some rest, hydration, fam time, and dog time won't eventually resolve.

Until then, I'm thumbing through some of my fave photos, like this one where the sky magically painted itself just as we were out with the dog. Coincidence?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #sunset #blue #sky #clouds #light #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, July 09, 2021

Flattened by Moderna

Too tired to care
London, ON
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Moderna has kicked my ass.

But if I were given another go-around of this vaccine process, I'd step forward again in a heartbeat for both doses. It's what folks do to look out for others.

Since I'm not much up for anything - even, gasp, proper hashtags - you'll have to settle for this utterly boring photo of Calli doing what she does best.

Because dogs make everyone feel better, right?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #covid #covid19 #vaccine #doubledosed #calli #schnauzer #dog

On assuming...

"All generalizations are dangerous, even this one."

 

Zero bandwidth at the beach

As far as the eye can see
Grand Bend, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


When your neighborhood internet outage continues into its second day, you’re reduced to sharing pretty pictures from the Grand Bend beach.

Things could be worse, right?

#grand #bend #grandbend #ldnont #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #sun #sunset #summer #nature #bird #birds #gull #flight #landscape #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Perspective in a hockey still-life

Let's play
Toronto, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


[Note: The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens last night to end their miracle season and take a second consecutive Stanley Cup. It got me thinking...]

This may sound like heresy coming from someone born in Montreal, but I'm not much of a hockey fan. Come to think of it, most professional sports leave me somewhat cold.

Perhaps I should clarify: I grew up as a hard core Habs fan. I love the spectacle of the game. Any game, really. And I'll happily spend the day with my fam rooting for whatever team happens to be playing. Some of our best memories have played out in ballyards, stadiums, and arenas, and I can't wait to get back to the stands.

What I can't wrap myself around is the sports-as-religion mantra adopted by some. Life doesn't stop for me because my favorite team loses. I don't cry if we're eliminated. I don't believe any of this can be remotely tragic. The world has enough real tragedy as it is.

Likewise, winning is always awesome, but it doesn't define me. I don't feel validated when "my" team wins, nor do I feel betrayed when they don't. It's a game where success is determined by whoever gets the most round pieces of rubber in a net. With that simple construct in mind, the numbers at the end of it matter far less than some folks would like to believe.

Sport is a business, not an exercise in unfettered fan loyalty, and I cringe when some particularly bonkers fan comments show up in my feed.

Still, it's hellishly fun to watch. There's an artistry, a lore, a spirit, a community to the game of hockey, and to all games, that can only be appreciated by watching gifted players play.

And if you're not gifted enough to have made the big leagues, there's always a home-brewed game of tabletop hockey to scratch your itch.

As long as you lose the match against your best friend with a smile on your face.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #throwback #hhof #hockey #hockeyhalloffame #sports #stilllife #photography #history #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

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No fans here, January 2021
Hockey night in London, February 2020
The stupidity of sport, September 2004


Wednesday, July 07, 2021

On deserving respect

"Show respect even to people that don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.”

 

Just green leaves

The original sawtooth
London, ON
May 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


These are "just" leaves.

Green like everything else around them.

Boring in their commonness.

Not worth a second look.

But here's the thing: who gets to decide when something is "just" anything?

Who's to say a different angle or slightly more or less light or shadow wouldn't somehow render these "just" leaves somehow more worthy of our attention?

Why wouldn't we make the effort to find that different angle, or light, or shadow?

Maybe these aren't remotely "just" at all.

And maybe this isn't just about a bunch of leaves floating softly in the sun.

#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, July 06, 2021

Tiny plane in a big sky

The view above
London, ON
June 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The only thing better than a regular photobomb is an aviation-themed photobomb.

Somewhat uncharacteristically, I resisted the urge to open up the flight finder app on my smartphone to figure out where this (tiny) plane was headed.

Because while we may live in an information-drenched era, sometimes a little timeless mystery is called for.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #stjosephs #hospital #lhsc #architecture #design #architecturephotography #building #street #streetphotography #aviation #photobomb #photography #blue #sky #weather #wx #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

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