Saturday, December 31, 2022

Another orbit complete


#ldnont #light #hope #future

On brilliant jerks

"Do not tolerate brilliant jerks. The cost to teamwork is too high."

Watching the prayers fall silent

Timeless, if only
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The ironically named Chapel of Hope stands firm in the early morning fog, just as it has for 138 years.

The historic building has been hit by two suspicious fires since a year ago April - the latest one just a couple of weeks before I shot it on this murky late-November day.

In a city where the culture of demolition by neglect has been silently institutionalized for decades, this particular site may represent the most tragic loss of all if the city continues to drag its feet.

History seems to hold little sway in this town. Once the headlines fade and the windows are boarded up yet again, we go back to our lives, hulks like this living silently in the shadows - or fog.

Until the next so-called suspicious fire.

Except there’s no suspicion here at all. We all know the entire story. We just don’t seem to want to push our governments to do more about it.


#london #ontario #canada #fog #monochrome #highbury #avenue #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #streetphotography #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Friday, December 30, 2022

Long grasses blowing in the wind

Bend but do not break
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I have a thing for wind-blown grasses.

Who am I kidding? Many things tickle my curiosity. But for some weird reason, I keep coming back to grasses.

They’re incredibly common. Hard to capture, too, especially when they’re dancing in the wind. More often than not, I end up with a softly focused mess of…well, I’m not sure.

But here’s the thing: instead of being reasons to trash the shot, the chaos and the imperfection are why they’re so fascinating in the first place.

Which is a weird thing for my brain to appreciate, because photography was always supposed to be about predictable subjects that were captured with a certain order and logic and sharpness.

And what’s left when you take all that away?

This. And an appreciation for why “supposed to” should be banished from any artist’s vocabulary.

As I suggested in yesterday’s entry, the only thing that matters is whether or not any of this makes us smile or think or both.

This does. So I’ll be hanging out in parking lots looking for more wild grasses. Don’t be shy if you happen across me.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #urban #city #streetphotography #grass #stilllife #monochrome #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Southwest Airlines melts down. Here's why.

Why is Southwest imploding? It all comes down to software, infrastructure, and people - and recognition of how critical they are to maintaining competitiveness as the world evolves around you.

Southwest is using 1990s-era software.

In 2022.

I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner.

The piece I’ve shared is a must-read, and I suspect business schools will be dissecting this for years to come:

By Larry Lonero
December 28, 2022

What happened to Southwest Airlines?

I’ve been a pilot for Southwest Airlines for over 35 years. I’ve given my heart and soul to Southwest Airlines during those years. And quite honestly Southwest Airlines has given its heart and soul to me and my family.

Many of you have asked what caused this epic meltdown. Unfortunately, the frontline employees have been watching this meltdown coming like a slow motion train wreck for sometime. And we’ve been begging our leadership to make much needed changes in order to avoid it. What happened yesterday started two decades ago.

Herb Kelleher was the brilliant CEO of SWA until 2004. He was a very operationally oriented leader. Herb spent lots of time on the front line. He always had his pulse on the day to day operation and the people who ran it. That philosophy flowed down through the ranks of leadership to the front line managers. We were a tight operation from top to bottom. We had tools, leadership and employee buy in.

Everything that was needed to run a first class operation. When Herb retired in 2004 Gary Kelly became the new CEO.

Gary was an accountant by education and his style leading Southwest Airlines became more focused on finances and less on operations. He did not spend much time on the front lines. He didn’t engage front line employees much. When the CEO doesn’t get out in the trenches the neither do the lower levels of leadership.

Gary named another accountant to be Chief Operating Officer (the person responsible for day to day operations). The new COO had little or no operational background. This trickled down through the lower levels of leadership, as well.

They all disengaged the operation, disengaged the employees and focused more on Return on Investment, stock buybacks and Wall Street. This approach worked for Gary’s first 8 years because we were still riding the strong wave that Herb had built.

But as time went on the operation began to deteriorate. There was little investment in upgrading technology (after all, how do you measure the return on investing in infrastructure?) or the tools we needed to operate efficiently and consistently. As the frontline employees began to see the deterioration in our operation we began to warn our leadership. We educated them, we informed them and we made suggestions to them. But to no avail. The focus was on finances not operations. As we saw more and more deterioration in our operation our asks turned to pleas. Our pleas turned to dire warnings. But they went unheeded. After all, the stock price was up so what could be wrong?

We were a motivated, willing and proud employee group wanting to serve our customers and uphold the tradition of our beloved airline, the airline we built and the airline that the traveling public grew to cheer for and luv. But we were watching in frustration and disbelief as our once amazing airline was becoming a house of cards.

A half dozen small scale meltdowns occurred during the mid to late 2010’s. With each mini meltdown Leadership continued to ignore the pleas and warnings of the employees in the trenches. We were still operating with 1990’s technology. We didn’t have the tools we needed on the line to operate the sophisticated and large airline we had become. We could see that the wheels were about ready to fall off the bus. But no one in leadership would heed our pleas.

When COVID happened SWA scaled back considerably (as did all of the airlines) for about two years. This helped conceal the serious problems in technology, infrastructure and staffing that were occurring and being ignored. But as we ramped back up the lack of attention to the operation was waiting to show its ugly head.

Gary Kelly retired as CEO in early 2022. Bob Jordan was named CEO. He was a more operationally oriented leader. He replaced our Chief Operating Officer with a very smart man and they announced their priority would be to upgrade our airline’s technology and provide the frontline employees the operational tools we needed to care for our customers and employees. Finally, someone acknowledged the elephant in the room.

But two decades of neglect takes several years to overcome. And, unfortunately to our horror, our house of cards came tumbling down this week as a routine winter storm broke our 1990’s operating system.

The frontline employees were ready and on station. We were properly staffed. We were at the airports. Hell, we were ON the airplanes. But our antiquated software systems failed coupled with a decades old system of having to manage 20,000 frontline employees by phone calls. No automation had been developed to run this sophisticated machine.

We had a routine winter storm across the Midwest last Thursday. A larger than normal number flights were cancelled as a result. But what should have been one minor inconvenient day of travel turned into this nightmare. After all, American, United, Delta and the other airlines operated with only minor flight disruptions.

The two decades of neglect by SWA leadership caused the airline to lose track of all its crews. ALL of us. We were there. With our customers. At the jet. Ready to go. But there was no way to assign us. To confirm us. To release us to fly the flight. And we watched as our customers got stranded without their luggage missing their Christmas holiday.

I believe that our new CEO Bob Jordan inherited a MESS. This meltdown was not his failure but the failure of those before him. I believe he has the right priorities. But it will take time to right this ship. A few years at a minimum. Old leaders need to be replaced.

Operationally oriented managers need to be brought in. I hope and pray Bob can execute on his promises to fix our once proud airline. Time will tell.

It’s been a punch in the gut for us frontline employees. We care for the traveling public. We have spent our entire careers serving you. Safely. Efficiently. With luv and pride. We are horrified. We are sorry. We are sorry for the chaos, inconvenience and frustration our airline caused you. We are angry. We are embarrassed. We are sad. Like you, the traveling public, we have been let down by our own leaders.

Herb once said the the biggest threat to Southwest Airlines will come from within. Not from other airlines. What a visionary he was. I miss Herb now more than ever.


The things we find in parking lots

Look more closely
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Beauty exists in the nooks and crannies of the everyday, on the margins of life, in the places we’re usually too busy to notice.

Precisely what is or is not beautiful is open to interpretation. Or opinion. Or vigorous debate.

There is no singular definition.

That’s the point. It’s up to us. An individual decision. Whatever catches our eye. Whatever grabs our attention. Whatever makes us smile. Whatever makes us think. Whatever moves us. That’s the definition of beauty.

What we do with it when we find it is also fully our call. Stare at it. Paint it. Take a picture of it. Share it. Talk to it. Or them.

The only wrong answer is to ignore it.

So today’s beauty, according to me, is a tiny stretch of wild grass I found blowing in the late afternoon wind at the abandoned edge of a medical clinic parking lot.

I can’t explain the why. Then again, the why doesn’t matter. We need explain all this only to ourselves, and no one else.

Your turn. Go and find it. And enjoy the experience.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #urban #city #streetphotography #brick #grass #stilllife #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Breakfast of dessert-eating champions

You know you want it
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I got lots of questions about yesterday’s dessert-for-breakfast pic, so here’s another angle that hopefully explains what it is.

It’s some sort of layered chocolate/custard thing, topped with colourful sprinkles. It is neither nutritious nor sustainable, but goodness it was yummy.

This photo betrays my annoying habit of engaging in spontaneous still-life photo shoots before meals and snacks. If it jumps out at me as photo-worthy, everything stops as I play with light and angles.

Everyone else gets to hold their spoons in frustration until I’m happy I’ve gotten at least one workable image.

And yet my family puts up with me. Saints, all of them.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #breakfast #food #foodporn #random #kitchen #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Macaron madness, July 2022
Let them eat cake, January 2019

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Always eat dessert first

Breakfast of not-quite-champions
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Dessert for breakfast.

It’s a thing.

I looked it up.

Please don’t judge.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #breakfast #food #foodporn #random #kitchen #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Monday, December 26, 2022

Honda snow sculpture

Shaped by the wind
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Scene from a driveway:

Take one Honda.

Add falling snow.

Mix it up with sustained, howling winds.

Give it lots and lots of time.


Winter in the Great White North may be epically cold, uncomfortable, miserable, and even dangerous.

But it’s hard to ignore the random snow sculptures forming themselves literally steps away from the front door.

Maybe this winter thing has merit.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #snow #onstorm #frozen #winter #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #stilllife #monochrome #photography #apple #iPhone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Chanukah ends. The light shouldn't.

Don't let the light go out
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Chanukah 2022, eighth night.

There’s immense irony in the fact that tonight’s light is the brightest of all, yet it will soon fade to black.

That leaves it to us to find ways to keep the light lit long after the holiday is over.

Suggestions welcome.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #chanukah #hannukah #howeveritisspelled #jewish #holiday #christmas #kwanza #all #holidays #weareone #stilllife #photography #apple #phone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

[Insert not-so-generic holiday greeting here]

A spherical time of year
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

We all celebrate something.

Or at the very least we should be lucky enough to do so.

We all have traditions that matter to us - ones that are written down in books and common to many, as well as those evolved within our families and passed down from one generation to the next.

The traditions themselves may look or feel different, with wildly varying decorations and foods and languages and songs and whatever.

But they’re all something we cherish and anticipate. They all pull us closer to family - those we’re born into and those we choose. They make us feel warm, connected, appreciated, whole.

If we’re lucky.

And if we’re really lucky, we’ll see them as opportunities.

For diversity.

For community.

For healing.

Because in the end, our traditions may look radically different than the traditions of others. But the fuel that drives them is remarkably similar.

Merry Christmas. Chanukah sameach. Happy Kwanza. Whatever it is, wherever you’re from, and however you define yourself.

Because we all deserve to celebrate life. In any form.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #chanukah #hannukah #howeveritisspelled #jewish #holiday #christmas #kwanza #all #holidays #weareone #blue #ornament #stilllife #photography #apple #phone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Reg Cooper would likely approve

Shine the light on democracy
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Reg Cooper Square sits between #LdnONT’s city hall and a concert hall that nobody likes.

Nobody likes this windswept concrete jungle, either.

Originally built as something of a civic gathering place - ergo the picnic table to frame left - it’s devolved into little more than a shadowy, soulless spot where weeds grow up between the fractured paving stones.

Even the squirrels who overrun the showpiece Victoria Park across the street deftly avoid this sad example of 1970s-era placemaking. The only people who walk here are residents of the apartment building next door as they hunker down in their coats and take the shortcut home.

The late Queen Elizabeth paid a visit here once. She did not return.

Yet on this bitterly cold night on the verge of winter, the rear entrance to city hall casts an oasis-like pool of light onto the transient footsteps in the fresh snow below. I can’t stop looking, and for a brief moment I find myself smiling at this unexpected joy and comfort in this unexpected place.

It’s a reminder, perhaps, that there’s virtue in the imperfect, that even the forgotten deserve to have moments in the light, that beauty isn’t absolute, but how we choose to perceive.

I’ll come back here again looking for it all. Maybe I’ll bring some squirrels with me.

#london #ontario #canada #buildingporn #architectureporn #ruinporn #urban #city #cityhall #centennialhall #downtown #random #monochrome #street #streetphotography #photography #apppe #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Friday, December 23, 2022

Eggs and toast for breakfast

Plating above all
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Remember not so long ago when social media was dominated by folks taking artsy photos of what they had for breakfast?

I strangely miss that.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #breakfast #food #foodporn #random #restaurant #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Lightning finally strikes

Yes, you can see me now
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Canada bought a bunch of these this week.

They’ll eventually replace our geriatric fleet of CF-18 Hornets, which are twice as old as most of the folks who fly and maintain them. That’s the good news.

The not-so-good news is that taxpayers will not have the opportunity to take these new stealthy bad boys out for a spin.

Probably just as well.

@airshowlondon @f35demoteam #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #throwback #aviation #lockheedmartin #usaf #f35a #lightning #stealth #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

When seasons collide

Water in different forms
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, winter arrives today.

But while seasons may cleanly end and begin when we’re following them in a calendar, it’s an entirely different reality out in the real world.

Here in the woods not far from home, we’re reminded that previous seasons tend to hang on, often tenaciously, long after the calendar might suggest they were officially finished.

So if you’re having difficulty finding me, I’ll be out among the trees taking in nature’s ability to manage change far more elegantly than we ever could.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #winter #snow #onstorm #medway #valley #heritage #forest #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Frozen worlds at our feet

It'll all be gone soon
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Calli the Wonderschnauzer has a number of annoying habits, most of them involving her hugely sensitive nose. She’ll often bury it in the grass as she stubbornly resists any and all attempts to get her moving again.

As frustrating as it can be to have to beg your dog to walk in a reasonably straight line, it has its benefits, too. Because we end up seeing things we would have otherwise missed along the way.

While waiting for the nose to do its thing, I often find myself staring at the tiny details of urban and suburban life, like cracks in the sidewalk and puddles in the gutter. None of this is remotely fancy or earth-shattering. But I’ve never subscribed to the notion that every moment has to qualify as such. I’ve never been much of a fancy person, anyway.

And over the years, Calli’s frequent pauses have given me ample opportunity to stare at cracks and puddles. And as winter approaches and those puddles freeze up, I’ve often found myself pulling out the smartphone for some impromptu still-life photography while the pup grazes at the other end of her leash.

This is an early-season example. It wasn’t terribly cold out, and the sun was already melting off some of the first frozen crusts of the season. But here in the shadows, one puddle clung stubbornly to its frozen state, a signal, perhaps, of what lay ahead on future walks with the hard-headed schnu.

Soon enough, Calli lifted her head and decided it was time to continue our journey. The sun continued to brighten the early morning sky, and this tiny frozen world no longer existed by the time we turned for home. But I’m reasonably sure we’ll have more frustratingly impatient moments together in the months to come. And more frozen worlds to explore.

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

Monday, December 19, 2022

Red velvet dreams

The height of (supposed) luxury
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Button tufted for the win!

Seriously, why isn’t everything upholstered like this?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #100kellogg #100kellogglane #red #velvet #velour #couch #upholstery #furnitureporn #random #abstract #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Light always wins over darkness

Meta candles
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

It’s always about the light.

Chanukah, or Hanukkah, or however it’s spelled in English*, is the Jewish Festival of Light. Now, I’m not a terribly good Jew in the know-all-the-rules, go-to-synagogue-often kind of way. I don’t believe memorizing and repeating specific prayers makes me a good Jew.

But still, so many facets of our traditions resonate with me on a profound level, and Chanukah’s whole light thing has always rocked my world.

Here’s how I see it: the world can be a dark place, and 2022 has been especially dark. It’s been a year of skyrocketing inflation, spiking interest rates putting housing beyond reach, accelerating layoffs, and growing fears of recession. And in case that hasn’t been enough. It’s also been a year of off-the-charts anti-Semitism.

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, replete with propaganda plays lifted from the 1930s Nazi playbook, are certainly part of it.

Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and the train wreck that’s ensued since is another factor fuelling this new wave of misdirected xenophobia.

But in fairness to the monster dictator and the tempestuous billionaire, the torrent of hate was trending upward long before either of these chapters dawned.

Still, they have brought Jew-hatred to a level I frankly haven’t seen. Ever. My feeds are now filled with it, and I wrestle with what to say, how to say it, and whether saying it at all will turn me and my family into a target.

So much for “Never again”.

Which is why this year, the whole Chanuka-and-light thing matters perhaps more than it has in recent memory. And I’m just naive enough to believe that something as simple as a single light could be the turning point we need to squelch the hate.

So here’s what I’m thinking: tonight is the first night, the first of eight where each successive night will add another light. Until all eight are lit, an analog to the miracle of Jewish survival that underpins not just this one holiday, but our entire existence, frankly.

Maybe that light will inspire each of us, whatever we celebrate, to find new ways to beat back the darkness that threatens to swallow us.

Maybe as the light grows, from one night to the next, we’ll gain new courage to fight the forces of hate, to speak up when we see it, to not stand idly by and just let it happen.


* In Hebrew, it’s always spelled the same: חֲנֻכָּה. It’s when it gets transliterated into English that sometimes “ch” becomes “h” and one k becomes two (or whatever). Languages are hard. And so awesome. All at the same time.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #chanukah #hannukah #howeveritisspelled #jewish #holiday #all #holidays #weareone #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

My first Christmas market experience

Always look to the light
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Go to a Christmas market.

Find the brightly lit selfie stations in every corner.

Take abstract photos of them.

Because the world needs as much light as we can muster.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #100kellogg #100kellogglane #random #abstract #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Canadian Tire Canadiana

More than just tires
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

It’s hard to explain Canadian Tire to non-Canadians.

On the surface, it’s a chain of hardware stores.

But this is the Great White North, which means nothing is quite so simple. In fact, Canadian Tire isn’t just a hardware store in the same way that Tim Horton’s isn’t just a coffee shop.

(Or wasn’t. We’ll leave the decline of Tim’s for another day.)

Whatever. We still take our retail-cultural icons seriously, apparently.

So this particular Canadian Tire is in London, but all across this vast land, other stores just like it serve as ersatz community centres, beacons of activity in this vast, sparsely populated land. Whatever your lifestyle looks like, chances are you’ll find yourself here eventually.

So when I pull up to the ginormous store on the edge of town that bleeds light like an oasis into the massive parking lot around it, I slow myself down a bit to take it in. I may even take a strangely composed picture because I have a constant need to benignly entertain myself while running similarly benign errands.

Weird, I know. But I’ve convinced myself it’s infinitely better to see the seemingly mundane as special than it is to see it the other way around.

It’s how I roll.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #hydepark #canadiantire #random #retail #store #retailapocalypse #street #streetphotography #geometry #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Friday, December 16, 2022

After the crowds have gone

Standing silent sentinel
Port Stanley, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Beaches don’t go anywhere after the summer ends.

The crowds head home, the temperatures dive, the winds intensify, and the ice fencing goes up.

But the waves still pound the shore. The birds continue to fly wild circles, angrily, overhead. The sand still stings when the winds pick up.

And the lifeguard tower stands silent sentinel over all that’s left, its safety equipment left out just in case.

It’s comforting to know the folks responsible for this place care about complete strangers as much as they do.

It’s comforting to stand here and feel the echoes of a place where crowds once were, and eventually will be again.

#port #stanley #portstanley #beach #ldnont #ontario #canada #great #lake #erie #autumn #weather #wx #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Baywatch North, July 2021
Impolite pool, May 2009
Guard duty, February 2008

Thursday, December 15, 2022

A monster flies overhead

Not a chemtrail
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

It only looks simple.

A straight, white line across a plain blue sky isn’t anyone’s idea of a photographic slam dunk.

Then we look more closely.

The plane is a British Airways Airbus A380. This engineering marvel has over 400 people aboard as it slices through the sky 40,000 feet over my head.

The sky is impossibly, addictively blue, covered with a remarkably intricate carpet of light cloud. The contrails from the 4 massive Rolls Royce Trent 900 turbofan engines bisect the scene and cast an ever so subtle shadow on the cloud cover. The turbofan powerplants growl gently as they turn fossilized dinosaur juice into impossibly fast forward motion.

There is so much going on, assuming we look up long enough to notice.

Standing in awe on the ground while my dog grazes happily in the grass, I’m reminded of that memory thing again. Because even lines in the sky are worth remembering.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #blue #sky #weather #wx #cloud #clouds #cloudspotting #contrail #aviation #flight #flying #aviation #avgeek #plane #planes #airbus #a380 #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Head in the clouds, October 2022
Shadows in the sky, December 2012
Destination unknown, December 2011
Caption This 78, July2008
Contrails, March 2007

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Color is always out there

Almost-winter wonderland
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

They say winter is a season of no color.

I disagree.

First, I’ve asked before, and I’ll ask again: who are these “they” people, and why do we think their opinions matter?

Second, color is everywhere. But it isn’t always obvious, and perhaps we just have to look for it a little harder.

How we accomplish this is shockingly simple: Get outside and pay attention.

Thank you for attending today’s TED Talk.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #winter #snow #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #random #sidewalk #streetphotography #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Snow kidding, February 2022
When winter returns, December 2020
Winter's return, November 2020
The silence of snow, November 2019

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Looking up or looking down. Or both.

Life upside-down
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I never quite know where to look when I’m deep in the woods.

Up at the canopy?

Down toward the ground or the gently burbling river?

Or maybe both?

If you’re feeling upside-down, know you’re not alone.

Hmm, perhaps this is something to keep in mind outside the forest, as well.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #winter #snow #onstorm #medway #valley #heritage #forest #thames #river #water #reflective #forest #tree #trees #cathedral #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Monday, December 12, 2022

A quiet walk through the snowy woods

London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

A Saturday night dusting of snow turned Sunday morning into an invitation to explore.

My original plan was to take a quick walk to the edge of the woods, shoot a placeholder pic to remember the snow before it melted, then head home, grab some breakfast and settle in for Orion’s splashdown. It’s a space nerd thing.

My brain had other plans, though, because the moment the forest came into view, one photo became many, and before I knew it I was climbing down the path into the valley.

I slowly picked my way along the white trail, listening to the near-silence of the flowing creek by my feet and the whispering winds in the bare trees high overhead.

I didn’t have much of a plan beyond composing images here and there as the ideas popped into my head. But I soon found myself enjoying the empty moments in between photo opps, and I was here less to capture moments than reflect on them.

It had been a while before I turned it all off and just soaked in the place around me, and I realized this kind of thing is infinitely good for my soul.

I won’t wait for a snowy morning before my next aimless wander. Because what it looks like matters far less than the mere fact that I get out here at all.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #winter #snow #onstorm #medway #valley #heritage #forest #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Half frozen river, March 2022
One tough leaf, February 2022
Back to the creek, November 2020
Medway Valley, muted, January 2018

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Standing under a giant tower

How many triangles?
Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

A while back, I walked under an electrical transmission tower and pointed my camera skyward.

I can’t explain why: these things just kinda pop into my head - I jokingly call them “visions” - and from that moment on, I’m rather committed to trying to get the shot.

So I posted the resulting photo to my feed. Among the respondents was some rando who took me to task for recklessly exposing myself to massive amounts of electricity.

Never mind that the spot was in the middle of a parking lot and completely open to the public. Climb UP a tower? Yes, that’s bad. But stand BENEATH it and look waaaaay up? All good. Even creatively encouraged.

My new social media friend failed to appreciate my perspective, and continued to berate me. Nastily.

So I blocked him.

There are many lessons here:
  1. Internet trolls are everywhere.
  2. They’re not worth our time, and are best ignored.
  3. It’s ok to have a bit of innocuous, weird fun to get the shot.
  4. Particularly if it amuses strangers.
  5. It’s not ok to put life and limb - yours or others - at risk to do so.
  6. It’s perfectly ok if it only LOOKS like you put life and limb at risk.
  7. Every photo offers up its own learning opportunity.
  8. So we can’t ever stop taking photos if we hope to keep learning.
  9. Hydro transmission towers offer up ample opportunities to have some photo learning fun.
  10. So do other overlooked examples of urban infrastructure.
Which is my way of saying where I’ll be headed later on today. I’ll be the odd-looking guy looking to the sky in wonder, most likely with a camera covering my face.

You’re welcome to join me - assuming you’re not some rando internet troll.

#ddo #dollard #montreal #quebec #canada #throwback #tower #hydro #electric #power #perspective #design #lines #engineering #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Dash 8 photobomb, October 2022
Electric sky, November 2020
No juice, no go, March 2014
Bird on a wire, October 2011
Transmission ends, November 2010
Life in a northern town, September 2007
Mixed signals, March 2007

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Plastic chair in an old mall

No one sits here
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The scene: a small-ish mall not far from home.

I’ve come here to get my hair cut. It has a nasty habit of growing into an uncontrollable thicket that’s part Gumby and part Krusty the Clown, so the lovely folks at the hair place will take care of me as they have for years.

Truth be told, I’d hang out here all day, every day, if I could. Stephan and Peggy can cut and style hair with the best of them, but it’s their kindness that makes this place special. Whenever I drop in, it’s like I’m returning home, and it feels like friends bantering around the kitchen table, catching up on all they’ve missed.

Today Peggy is wielding the scissors, and the conversation turns to photography, specifically mine. Soon enough I’m talking about some of the weird everyday-type pics I’ve taken. I pull up examples from my Instagram feed for them as the stories flow.

Eventually I notice the construction equipment tucked away across the hall just outside the salon. Peggy suggests it might make a fun photo subject.

So after she’s done making me prettier than I have any right to be, I saunter across the way and rearrange the chair for a spontaneous still-life shoot against an indifferently painted wall in a quiet retail outlet. She smiles as she watches me work, suggesting various approaches and admiring the results on my phone when I’m done.

Thankfully the mall cops are nowhere to be found, and I get the shot without being arrested.

I don’t often have an audience when I take strange photos. Or any photos, for that matter. It’s kind of nice, then, this photography-as-human-connector thing. Because the end-result photo isn’t quite as meaningful as the friendship that made it possible in the first place.

I hope I’ve made Peggy’s day. She’s certainly made mine.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sherwoodforest #mall #random #retail #monochrome #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Retail ruinporn, January 2021

Friday, December 09, 2022

Pink panda waits patiently

Someone has a thing for winglets
Hamilton, ON
July 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Scene from an airport.

Pink panda sits on the apron before her next journey and poses for her moment.

I get stares from strangers as I pull out the camera and wander from one nearby spot to the next, composing and shooting as I go. I’m sure it seems weird to them, this strange guy standing out from the crowd.

I smile as I catch them out of the corner of my eye, and I hope somehow they find a smile in there, too.

Because if stepping out from the crowd can bring a little light to complete strangers, then maybe I should be taking out my camera more often when convention wouldn’t otherwise call for it.

The weird-looking pic of a natty pink 737-800 Next Generation is an added bonus. I often tell myself that the photo is the reward, but the journey - and its impact on others - seems to be the thing that matters even more.

#hamilton #international #airport #ontario #canada #yhm #throwback #road #trip #roadtrip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #swoop #flight #flying #aviation #boeing #boeing737 #avgeek #plane #planes #nikon #nikon_photography #nikonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Thursday, December 08, 2022

A Hornet leaps into the sky

Inches to spare
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Mash the throttles.

Trust in the laws of physics.

Leap into the sky.

Make enough noise to draw everyone’s attention.

Never look back.

Sounds like a great recipe for flight.

And the day.

@airshowlondon #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #boeing #mcdonnelldouglas #rcaf #cf18 #hornet #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Bird on brick

Beauty in the shadows
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I’m not much of a bird watcher. Or a bird photographer.

But I’ll never turn down an opportunity to wander into a downtown alley and stare in awe at a larger-than-life mural.

I’m afraid I haven’t done much of that lately. Working from home in the burbs doesn’t leave much opportunity to head downtown for a walkabout.

And this long-overdue return trip reminds me just how much I’ve missed this rough-edged place.

I suspect more walkabouts lie in my future. I look forward to discovering more artistic magic in the places most of us rarely venture.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #downtown #urban #city #dundas #street #walkabout #mural #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Polytechnique at 33

I wrote this - Polytechnique at 32 - last year, and a year later nothing has changed.

33 years now, and what should have been a wake up call in the fight to end violence against women has become, simply, a date on a calendar.

Humanity can do better. Indeed, it must.

Polytechnique at 32, December 2021
Polytechnique at 31, December 2020
Monsters among us, April 2007

Sue goes without her coffee

Overpriced swill
London, ON
December 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Scene from a grocery store.

I’m not sure what’s worse: that Sue left her Starbucks Grande Caramel Brûlée Latte with 2 pumps of caramel, lactaid milk, and no whipped cream on the shelf in the tea aisle, or that this photo was taken 21 hours after the drink was first made.

Whatever. It’s icky.

And while this is squarely a first world problem, it’s one of those small examples of human behavior that calls into question human behavior in general.

We’re a truly weird species. Self-centred, too.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #grocery #store #starbucks #litterbug #shopping #retail #random #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Monday, December 05, 2022

The spider who visited me

Little helper
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I noticed this uninvited visitor as I settled into my chair at 6:39 a.m. and powered the laptop up.

Spiders don’t freak me out as much as they probably should. I figure they do a good job keeping insects in check, so who am I to judge?

I didn’t want to test my Mac’s vaunted anti-spider keyboard technology, so I scooped the little fella up and walked him (her? I can never tell) outside.

Not the most conventional start to the workday. But I’ve never done conventional all that well, anyway. And sometimes you need a little help getting started.

Thanks, little one.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #spider #mac #keyboard #random #homeoffice #writerlife #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Battles in the fog and in life

Breaking through
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The sun eventually wins every battle against the early morning fog.

Inevitable, however, doesn’t mean hopeless.

And between now and the all-too-soon moment when our rising star burns the last remnants of murk out of the sky, there’s a sliver of time when everything still looks like this. Where we can rub our eyes all we want, but still feel like we’re looking through a gauzy filter.

Of course, the sun-vs-fog battle isn’t the only battle playing out this morning. The countless people rushing past this quiet grove of trees on this busy morning in the not-so-big city are all fighting battles of their own. Quietly.

Something to keep in mind as we cross their paths. Fog or not, we’d do well to appreciate the struggles of others before electing ourselves to judge.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #fog #weather #wx #highbury #avenue #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #streetphotography #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded