Saturday, April 30, 2022

Art around the (icy) corner

Creatives were here
London, ON
March 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

If one example of urban street art is worth sharing, then a second such example is especially so.

I found this one in a downtown alley last winter. The ice on the ground was every bit as treacherous as it looks, but the scene begged for a closer look.

So I looked.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #downtown #urban #city #street #streetphotography #photography #graffiti #art #streetart #graffitiart #mural #urbanart #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Bambi has been found

Flight of the two-dimensional
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Art isn’t only found in museums.

Sometimes it’s hiding in plain sight, on crumbling concrete walls in the shadows of run-down buildings surrounded by gravel and asphalt that’s been baking in the relentless sun for too many decades.

This is the last place I expected to be wowed by the kind of artistic gift anyone would wish to have. Once upon a time, this wall was Ground Zero in a pitched battle between graffiti artists and the city. Over time, it would get covered by graffiti, then the city would painted it over in uniform grey. Every time I rode past on the adjacent bike path, it would be either one or the other, a never-ending cycle of lawlessness and redemption.

But a funny thing happens out on the street: those who spray paint graffiti generally won’t tag real art. It’s a respect thing, apparently, a rule of this clandestine community that most folks who turn their noses up at places like this would never understand or appreciate.

Eventually, real artists had their way with the rough-hewn surface, and the spray painters have stayed away ever since.

The work isn’t signed, and it isn’t listed on the city’s official Public Art Program website, but I imagine there are other hidden gems like this throughout the city, just waiting to be discovered and appreciated.

Human nature is a funny thing. We tend to discount the value of art in public spaces. Or dismiss it as inconsequential.

We might want to change our tune.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #urban #city #adelaide #street #tvp #streetphotography #photography #graffiti #art #streetart #graffitiart #mural #urbanart #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Art in the shadows, March 2021

Friday, April 29, 2022

The Malaise Era draws to a close

Classic indeed
London, ON
December 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram

It’s been a while since I shared an #OldParkedCar photo. Let’s change that.

Behold the Chevrolet Caprice Classic. In its day, this car was revolutionary, a bold effort to modernize the template for the full-sized American car. Compared to the half-baked efforts that typified the so-called Malaise Era, this was a welcome change.

The design, too, echoes a time before too much became the norm. Its lines are minimalistic, reflecting uncluttered Bauhaus design principles in an appliance destined for the masses. I remember when these things ruled the road, and kids would draw cars on the inside covers of their notebooks that reflected the stark design ethos of the day.

The world has moved on. The nameplate was retired decades ago, and GM no longer makes sedans of any kind because the world has moved on to SUVs and crossovers. Today’s vehicles are shaped by computers, automation, and the wind, and aren’t so much designed as built to a spec. I probably wouldn’t be drawing them in my notebook anymore.

I stopped in my tracks when I encountered this somewhat well preserved example in a local parking lot. As you can see, it’s far from perfect, and it wears its years with a certain humble honesty. It even feels way smaller than it did back in the day - probably because I’m now an adult (or pretending to be one), and vehicles have gotten a lot bigger over the decades.

Staring at this car makes me feel as if we’ve hit the rewind button back to 1977. I sure wouldn’t want to drive anything without modern safety features, but I sure do admire the person who’s decided to keep this one on the road. Mad respect.

Now please excuse me while I go looking for our next old or otherwise interesting car to feature here. I know there are plenty more out there.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #chevrolet #chevy #Caprice #Classic #american #car #carporn #automotive #opc #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Sunny ruinporn

Windows to the past
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I have a troubled relationship with ruinporn.

On the one hand, I’m fascinated by the sight of decaying architecture, the stories these once-vibrant places would tell, if only they could talk.

On the other hand, I have a strong aversion to breaking the law by trespassing. Also not my cup of tea: impaling myself on some rusty rebar. I’m also pretty sure getting arrested “for the photo” wouldn’t play out well at home.

So while I admire the skills and exploits of true urban explorers, I accept that I’ll never qualify for membership in their club.

Still, I found myself parking the bike during a recent ride through an industrial park so I could take a closer look at a place that once rented construction equipment. It just called to me, somehow.

Technically, I was a bad boy, as I’m guessing the property line started at the edge of the sidewalk. But I couldn’t not try to shoot something through those windows and wonder about what this place would have looked and felt like during its heyday.

Who am I kidding? They rented construction equipment, so I’m guessing it wasn’t terribly exciting. But people worked here. Customers relied on them for their own livelihoods. Countless stories played out on these now empty, dusty, sun-bleached floors.

The least I can do is look from the outside in and give it a moment of quiet reflection.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #ruinporn #urban #city #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

No car for you, August 2021
Retail ruinporn, January 2021

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Every day has to end sometime

Going grudgingly
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Every day has to end eventually.

There’s no rule that says it has to go willingly, though.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #sky #weather #wx #silhouette #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Overhead at the train station

London, ON
February 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I look up a lot. Probably more than is advisable or healthy.

Sometimes I like what I see. Like our local train station’s cantilevered ceiling.

I can’t explain any of this. But I’m rather certain if you’re reading this then you’re fine with that.

Not everything needs an explanation, after all.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #via #viarail #train #rail #urban #city #downtown #travel #travelphotography #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #design #lines #roof #ceiling #structure #monochrome #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Headed home by train, January 2019
A view from the train, November 2014
More than a mere train, December 2017

Monday, April 25, 2022

Vegetarian color

Nature's bounty
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Ah, Monday, the day everyone loves to hate. Or maybe we simply hate it.

However we feel about it, I think we can all agree it’s the kind of day that calls for color.

You’re more than welcome to share your own.


#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #green #yellow #red #sunripe #grocery #store #fruit #vegetables #pepper #peppers #fruitography #shopping #retail #random #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Peachy! August 2021
A little extra zing, November 2014
I yam what I yam, December 2013

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Return to Meadowlily Woods

Giant. Green. Historic. Awesome.
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The weatherpeople released some nasty-sounding predictions today, so it made sense to hit the road on my bike while I still could.

Disclosure: I’m a weather wimp, and I’d rather not be pedalling in a thunderstorm.

Today’s two-wheeled wanderings took me to Meadowlilly Woods, a lovingly protected oasis in the city’s southeast end. And when I got there, I just had to have some photo fun with the green pedestrian bridge in the middle of this remarkable place. Why? Because green, of course.

My current lack of endurance is an infinitely sized bummer. I just can’t cruise at speed for long periods of time, and I end up stopping every so often to rest, snack, and take in the sights.

It’s a different kind of cycling, one I’ll admit I’m not terribly used to or fond of. To be frank, it’s frustrating, because being on the bike reminds me of how much a toll COVID has taken and how hard it is to climb all the way back.

On the other hand, I got on the bike. Two days in a row, even. And I rode to the other side of the city and managed to make it back under my own power. I explored new neighborhoods and didn’t get arrested when I tried to shoot some ruinporn in an industrial park.

All in all, it’s a small victory, but a victory all the same. And if my temporary lack of fitness is as bad as it gets, then I’m pretty sure I have no reason to complain because - say it with me - so many have it so much worse.

I don’t know where the next adventure will take me, but I’m certain there will be a next adventure. That’s the only thing that matters: that every day, we take that step no matter how frustrated we may feel in the moment.

Because not taking that step just isn’t part of the equation.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tvp #meadowlily #thames #river #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #bike #cyclinglife #bikelife #instabike #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

The grocery signs that define us

Strange section
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I have this weird habit. Correction, I have MANY weird habits, but we’ll focus on this one for now.

For the past few months, I’ve been taking random photos of the signs that hang over different sections of the grocery store.

As with so many other of my, ah, peculiarities, I don’t quite know why. I think part of me thinks it’s a fun way to spark reactions from strangers, because the look on their faces as I compose shots like this is priceless.

More seriously, maybe it’s because I see these signs as placeholders, signposts of a reality most folks would normally just ignore. We’re so programmed to automatically move through the routines of day-to-day life that we don’t spend much energy really noticing what’s going on around us.

So we overlook countless little details, like the signs that point us toward the milk. And, in this case, the perogies.

Can’t miss out on the perogies, can we?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sobeys #grocery #store #signs #shopping #retail #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Down by the river

Spring runoff
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

As threatened, I rode the bike today.

No land speed records were set. I believe a turtle may have passed me.

But speed wasn’t the goal today. Getting out was. So was seeing what I was - and was not - capable of.

And through that lens, it was a good day.

It had been a while since I felt the wind in my face. Likewise I forgot what it felt like to fight my way up a hill, to cruise alongside a churning river, and to hear the sounds of the forest mixed in with the soft mechanical sounds of my bike.

In short, getting back to those seemingly simple pleasures was glorious.

And because random smartphone photography is always on the agenda when I ride, I brought this home, too.

Because we all need random moments of peace beside running water. Or wherever it is that feeds our soul.

I think tomorrow may just be another riding day. Where should I go next?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tvp #kilally #meadows #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Back in the saddle

When wheels turn
London, ON
March 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I took this pic just over a month ago, on a sunny Sunday afternoon that felt like perfection.

The weather was life-affirming. The paths teemed with countless like-minded folks. A dachshund named Bernadette stuck her nose in my lens as I composed this shot.

It was my first ride of the season, a hopeful kinda day where thoughts of betterlongerfaster rides danced through my head as I rolled along the riverside path. Every first ride should be so gratifying.

Little did any of us know we’d soon be wrestling with the virus we’d studiously avoided for two years. The bikes have sat silent as we’ve slowly recovered.

I’m nowhere near ready to ride either of my machines with any kind of speed or consistency, and I fully expect the experience to wipe me out. But I’ve still got to get back on, even if the gas tank is nowhere near full.

So that’s the plan for today. Low and slow. Feel the wind on my face. Relearn what it’s like to just be out there. Appreciate the moment.

Maybe Bernadette the Dachshund will show up.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #cycle #bicycle #pink #bike #cyclinglife #bikelife #firstride #instabike #random #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Friday, April 22, 2022

Guy Lafleur dies at 70

I'm incredibly saddened to hear we've lost Guy Lafleur. I feel like a part of my childhood has vanished.

He was so much more than one of the best to have ever played the game. He defined an era, and set the bar high both on and off the ice.


Grass, snow, and memory

London, ON
February 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The grass-choked pond you see here is usually hidden from the path by a thick line of trees.

Except in winter, when everything opens up and what was once hidden is suddenly Right There.

The grasses and bulrushes stretch clear across to the treeline, a riot of life and energy and stuff in a place most people don’t even know exists.

I took this in February, which may as well be a lifetime ago given how quickly time now seems to slip by. I’m sure if I went back today, it would look completely different. And soon enough, I’ll have to hike through dense forest to even see it.

I’ll have to bring my camera along. I’m sure Mother Nature’s done wonders with the place.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #westminster #ponds #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #bulrush #winter #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #picoftheday #pictureoftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Before the branches come to life

Wondering on the sidewalk
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

There’s a whole lot of life playing out here.

Energy from the setting sun.

A sky filled with clouds.

Bare branches just about ready to blow up with buds and leaves.

It isn’t always obvious at first glance.

So we stand around for a bit and mull it over.

The potential is always there.

We just have to give it a second glance.

Second glance. Second chance. Same deal.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #sky #weather #wx #silhouette #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The holiday that almost wasn't

It's all about texture
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Passover has been an uncharacteristically subdued affair this year here at Levyland.

Thanks to our COVID adventure, all our original plans to celebrate with friends and try to be somewhat festive were scuttled. Instead, we’ve been enjoying quiet nights as we try to balance health and life. There’s always next year. Or maybe the year after that. Hard to tell.

But subdued doesn’t mean completely off the radar. So while a long, ornately prepared seder table wasn’t in the cards this year, we did manage to do a Passover grocery order before all this happened.

And wouldn’t ya know: Debbie was able to make her famous (well, to us, anyway) matza rolls. The texture alone made a spontaneous kitchen photo shoot a foregone conclusion.

Whatever you’re celebrating, I hope you’re surrounded by the folks who matter most, and that you’re squeezing the most joy out of the time you’ve been gifted together.

Even if it’s worlds apart from your original plan.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #kitchen #spontaneous #passover #holiday #food #foodstagram #matza #matzah #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Forbidden pizza, October 2019
Rice, steamed, August 2015
Stacked, April 2006
Unreal color, April 2006
Let them eat cake, April 2006

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Winter's last gasp. Maybe.

London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

So it snowed yesterday.

A lot.

Heavy. Wet. Messy.

Social media, to no one’s surprise, was somewhat displeased.

Which made me laugh.

As if there are any “shoulds” when it comes to weather.

As if we have control over it.

As if the concept of fairness, or lack thereof, would ever apply.

So here’s the thing: this is the Great While North. It’s built into our name.

Weather’s going to happen whether we want it to or not.

And there’s plenty of other ridiculousness going on in the world that would rightly qualify as unfair.

So I hope you don’t mind that I wandered around as it snowed and tried to remember what it felt like.

Because even having the ability and the right to peacefully drink it all in is a privilege so many simply don’t have.

And wouldn’t they just love it if a crappy weather day was their biggest worry.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #winter #weather #wx #onstorm #random #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Monday, April 18, 2022

Two weeks later...

Finding the light again
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#CovidDiary, Day 14

Two weeks ago today, COVID came for me.

It’s been a miserable journey, but so many others have had it so much worse.

The experience has made me keenly aware of the fragility of breathing, and I’m hopeful to be completely back to full capacity before long.

With that in mind, I think now is the right time to close out the COVID diary and try to return to something approaching normal life.

Whatever normal is.

As the feed returns to its regular programming, please know how humbled I am by everyone’s kindness. I wish I had the right words to express how thankful we are to have been so surrounded, supported, and loved.

#ldnont #CarmisCovidChronicles #covid19 #pandemic #dayfourteen #sunset #nikon

Previous COVID Series Entries:
COVID comes for me, April 4, 2022
Rail cop run-in, April 12, 2022
Duck, duck... April 13, 2022
The B-52 history lesson, April 15, 2022

Electric sky, November 2020
Headed for the horizon, November 2014
Big sky country, July 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2022

A single tree touches the evening sky

Elements of nature
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#CovidDiary, Day 13

Hang around for a few minutes after sunset and, if you’re lucky, the sky will put on one last show before winking out for the night.
We can learn a few lessons from this:
  1. Patience is photographically virtuous.
  2. Those who hang in there are often rewarded.
  3. Those who leave early probably don’t appreciate what they’re missing.
  4. It’s always the right time to look up.
  5. What happens up there shapes everything that happens down here.
  6. We’ll never run out of colors.
  7. The sky will always find new ways to paint itself.
  8. The sky is a metaphor for life.
It feels good to get back to telling the sky’s story through glass as I gradually return to where I need to be. Looks like additional stare-way-up experiences are called for.

#ldnont #CarmisCovidChronicles #covid19 #pandemic #daythirteen #sunset #nikon

Previous COVID Series Entries:
COVID comes for me, April 4, 2022
Rail cop run-in, April 12, 2022
Duck, duck... April 13, 2022
The B-52 history lesson, April 15, 2022

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Negative is the new positive

Looking over my own shoulder
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#CovidDiary, Day 12

I’ve finally tested negative. Still dealing with some crazy symptoms, but this simple, binary milestone seems to bring with it a welcome sliver of light. Maybe this truly will be over soon.

Speaking of light, I finally got back to shooting photos the other night. Nothing major, just a slow stroll over to the nearby park with our daughter to capture the sunset.

But what I shot mattered far less than the fact that I got out at all. It had been so long since I hefted my camera over my shoulder that I had almost forgotten how good it made me feel to use it.


It’s a heavy thing. Not terribly convenient to shlep around. But that’s entirely the point: you’re supposed to pay attention to it, to be aware of its relative weight and bulk, to focus on the act of using it without being distracted by anything else.

Indeed, in an age where we play with our smartphones during dinner and stream Netflix while commenting on TikTok, there is no multitasking when we park the smartphone and use an actual camera to take pictures.

It forces us to be deliberate. To do only one thing. To be in the moment.

I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I picked the camera up again and played with it my hands, watched it come alive as I uncovered the lens and allowed light to flow through it. Toyed with the scene in my brain.

Being able to get out there, even for just a few minutes before the exhaustion caught up with me, was a welcome change from the past couple of weeks.

Maybe I’ll get out there again soon. I’m kind of counting on it.

More to come…

#ldnont #CarmisCovidChronicles #covid19 #pandemic #daytwelve #sunset #nikon

Previous COVID Series Entries:
COVID comes for me, April 4, 2022
Rail cop run-in, April 12, 2022
Duck, duck... April 13, 2022
The B-52 history lesson, April 15, 2022

Smoky sun redux, July 2021

Friday, April 15, 2022

The B-52 history lesson

Ahead by a century
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#CovidDiary, Day 11 - Part 2

I got some sleep last night, so I’ve got a bit more energy and thought I’d go for two posts in one day. Radical, no?

Anyway, the calendar tells me today is an important day in aviation history, as it was 70 years ago today, April 15, 1952, that the B-52 Stratofortress first took to the skies.

I find it astounding that something designed so long ago continues to guard our skies, and with additional investments will be in the air for another 20 to 30 years. A century of flight is an unbelievable achievement, especially considering it will outlast the two aircraft - the supersonic B-1B Lancer and the stealth B-2A Spirit - that were intended to replace the BUFF*.

What’s notable - and a little sad - about the B-52 is that it was created in an era when Boeing could do no wrong. This company was once the very engineering standard of the world, an icon of the nation that set the tone for some of the most notable advancements in aviation technology for much of the century.

The BUFF established the groundwork for the podded-engined jetliners - think 707 and beyond - that have dominated the skies ever since. It’s no surprise why it’s lasted so long, and through so many different missions and iterations: its basic design was created within an organizational culture that we may never see again.

Contrast that with the Boeing of today, a culture that spawned the ill-starred 737 MAX, KC-46 Pegasus, and Starliner, among others, and reinforced just how significantly this once- bright-light has been diminished.

We got to see this leviathan in flight a couple of years back, and the moment sticks with me to this day. It was special then, and it’ll be special decades from now when it lands for the last time.

To some these are just machines, but we do ourselves a disservice if we ignore the stories they can tell about what mattered most when they were first designed and built.

* Every military airplane eventually gets a nickname, and the B-52’s is BUFF. We’ll say it stands for Big Ugly Fat Fella, because we’re family-friendly here.

#ldnont #CarmisCovidChronicles #covid19 #pandemic #dayeleven #throwback #airshowlondon

Previous COVID Series Entries:
COVID comes for me, April 4, 2022
Rail cop run-in, April 12, 2022
Duck, duck... April 13, 2022

Follow the mama plane, September 2020
Warthog meets stuffie, September 2019
1 MiG, dead ahead, September 2017
Vapor trails, July 2009
Caption This 128, July 2009
Hornet's nest, July 2009

A reflective icon of the skyline

Light, in reverse
Toronto, ON
February 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#CovidDiary, Day 11

We’re always told to look forward, but sometimes we need to look back instead.
I’m glad I turned around on this Toronto street. I’m glad I looked in the opposite direction, otherwise I would have missed this weirdly reflective view of the iconic CN Tower.

As we continue to grapple with COVID, I continue to look back at images like this, moments that I captured long before the pandemic was even a thing. Standing on the sidewalk that morning, it never occurred to me or anyone else what loomed ahead.

Indeed, trying to predict what lies ahead is something of a fool’s game, anyway. We can plan all we want, but the universe will always have its own agenda. And the universe will always win.

So we may as well stand on sidewalks - or wherever else we happen to be - and look in whatever direction we wish. And sometimes we’ll see reflections that allow us to see the familiar in ways we could have never imagined. Sometimes those reflections will be murky and imperfect. So much the better.

None of this prepares us for what comes next, but that’s not the point of any of this, anyway. It simply needs to be enough to make us smile in the moment as we squeeze just a little more pleasure out of the ordinary.

#ldnont #CarmisCovidChronicles #covid19 #pandemic #dayeleven #throwback

Previous COVID Series Entries:
COVID comes for me, April 4, 2022
Rail cop run-in, April 12, 2022
Duck, duck... April 13, 2022

Let's play peekaboo, September 2013

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Climbing a long staircase

Step carefully
Chomedey, Laval, QC
August 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#CovidDiary, Day 10

The good news: I think I’ve managed to put the worst of the acute symptoms behind me.

The bad news: This thing lingers. The fatigue is unreal. I doubt I have the strength to get back on the bike - though I’ll have to eventually give it a go. My sense of taste and smell is gone, and the headaches are epic. While our youngest is feeling a bit better today, my wife is still working through the worst of it. It’s been a challenge, and we’re not quite done.

Still, my newfound somewhat-better status means I can do (some) stuff again. I’m down for a Costco run (we need tissues). And a pharmacy run (to resupply our rapid antigen test supply). And perhaps ice cream will be involved. And while I’m back to taking the pup out for short walks, maybe I’ll take her for a real one, to an actual destination, like I used to, when we’d walk for ages as I attempted to tire her out. Alas, Schnauzers don’t tire out.

I’m hoping that this will be a good thing for us, that on top of our two-shots-plus-booster, the fact that we were infected will give us some kind of improved immunity. There are no absolutes in any of this, of course, but I’m down with elevated levels of antibodies that hopefully cut down future risk and allow us all to regain something approaching a normal life.

Whatever happens, we’ve learned much along the way, and we’re viewing this ongoing global event through new and more refined lenses. We can’t change the fact that we got sick. We can certainly choose to focus on the positive.

About this photo: a steel fire escape bolted into a concrete wall normally wouldn’t be worthy of our attention. But when the light shines just so, and we look at it a certain way, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Now that I think about it a bit, this isn’t limited to staircases.

#ldnont #laval #quebec #throwback #CarmisCovidChronicles #covid19 #pandemic #dayten #monochrome

Watch your step, January 2022
Caption This 102, December 2008
Concrete stairs, January 2007

Previous COVID Series Entries:
COVID comes for me, April 4, 2022
Rail cop run-in, April 12, 2022
Duck, duck... April 13, 2022

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Duck, duck...

Considering her next move
London, ON
April 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#CovidDiary, Day 9

I can walk the dog again, which is a welcome return to something approaching routine. I’m moving more carefully than before - COVID kills lung capacity, and it looks like that’ll be hanging over me for a while - but I’m outside and vertical, which is more than enough for now.

Tiny steps, right?

Calli the Wonderschnauzer remains an energy-abundant handful, the kind of dog who needs two hands on the leash at all times. Recall she broke my finger during a walk a while back - it was my bad, as I wasn’t paying attention to the other dog who popped up around a blind corner. She of course didn’t mean to. But still. She’s got strength, this one.

On this particular walk, she wanted to play with a couple of ducks who were waddling across a nearby lawn. I wouldn’t let her because, you know, ducks. This led to another bark-filled circus-dog-like dance on her hind legs, probably another reason for the neighbors to hate me.

I was too busy to capture the moment in pixels, as photography and a non-calm pup don’t mix well. Something to do with keeping still while shooting.

But this archived pic of another duck who surprised me during a dogless walk in the swampy woods a few years back echoes the moment rather nicely. I wasn’t even looking for birds at the time, but suddenly there she was (he? Sorry, I’m no expert) and I shot through the imperfect branches to remember the scene.

It’s an interesting lesson in photography and life. You plan, plan, plan, and then a duck wanders in and rewrites the story.

#ldnont #CarmisCovidChronicles #covid19 #pandemic #daynine #throwback

A tale of two birds, January 2007

Previous COVID Series Entries:
COVID comes for me, April 4, 2022
Rail cop run-in, April 12, 2022

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Rail cop run-in

Pick a direction
London, ON
March 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#CovidDiary, Day 8

A little over five years ago, this photo got me into trouble with the train cops.

I was on my way to work on a super foggy morning. And as I had done so often before, I thought it would be fun to grab a few murky frames before the sun burned it off.

Of course I had my camera, and of course I happened to be passing by a rail yard. Time was of the essence, so I stood on the sidewalk beside the crossing and snagged a few. I uploaded one of the photos to my social feeds and then continued to the office.

I had largely forgotten about my adventure when the receptionist called me later that morning to let me know there was a call waiting for me. The rail folks have a police force (who knew?) and apparently they saw my post and, um, had concerns.

The officer rather belligerently asked why I had been trespassing earlier. He mentioned the photo I had posted, and lectured me about the dangers of entering railway property.

I explained how I had shot from the side of the road, and used my longish lens to make it look like I was closer than I actually was. I held off on explaining compression theory to him, as I figured he was already not my biggest fan.

In the end I don’t think he was convinced, but by the time we ended the call he was no longer threatening to have me charged. So we’ll call it a win.

Why am I sharing this story? Because every photo has one, and it’s good for the soul to revisit them every once in a while. Share them, even.

Because when pandemic reality prevents you from getting out there to make new memories, there’s ample opportunity to resurface old ones.

Which begs the question: what memories are waiting for you to rediscover?

#ldnont #CarmisCovidChronicles #covid19 #pandemic #dayeight #throwback

A view from the train, November 2014

Previous COVID Series Entries:
COVID comes for me, April 4, 2022

Monday, April 11, 2022

Looking into the lives of strangers

So much to see
London, ON
March 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#CovidDiary, Day 7

This isn’t a cold or the flu, and while I’m better than I was, I’m nowhere near where I’d like - or need - to be.

But Planet Earth spins regardless of how we’re feeling. So thanks to the wonders of virtual technology, we’ll sit in front of our webcams and pretend everything’s great.

I’m reminded that mid-pandemic life makes it difficult to truly connect. And that behind the rectangular Zoom or Microsoft Teams or Google Meet window, people struggle with a whole litany of issues that may include, but certainly aren’t limited to, COVID.

The mental health impact alone could easily be the story of our time given how significantly our lives are being jostled around. Even as we recover, we struggle to care for those around us. Ask around: it’s touching us all.

So if I can start the workweek with any one sentiment, it’s this: please be kind. Please look out for others. Reach out to them, too.

It matters.

About this photo: countless windows, each one representing a story, a life. We can stare all we want from far away, but we’ll never really know what’s going on on the other side of the glass.

#ldnont #CarmisCovidChronicles #covid19 #pandemic #dayseven #monochrome

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Frozen in time and space

Blink and it's gone forever
Chomedey, Laval, QC
June 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#CovidDiary, Day 6

It’s hard to photowalk when you’re having trouble staying vertical.

So you dig through the archives in search of photos and shoots and moments that made you feel something. It’s been an interesting few days rediscovering beloved old pics, a welcome diversion from a relentlessly lousy week.

This is the fountain outside my late father-in-law’s building, taken soon after we lost him three years ago this June. Amid the darkness of a chapter no one wants to write, I had taken my camera outside looking for comfort in some spontaneous shutter therapy.

I found it in the fast moving waters. And even if each shot barely lasted one four-thousandth of a second, it was cathartic to play with the dancing water through glass.

Soon enough I’ll get to play with the shutter again. Until then, I’ll do my best to resurface random snippets from long ago. I hope you enjoy them, too.

#ldnont #CarmisCovidChronicles #covid19 #pandemic #daysix #throwback #monochrome

Frozen water, part 1, January 2021
Frozen water, part 2, January 2021
Frozen water, part 3, January 2021
Hidden figure, January 2018
Statuesque, January 2009
Flashed fountain, December 2006