Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The things leaves can teach us

The world at our feet
Komoka, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The leaves are already piling up on the forest floor. And if we listen closely enough, they hold a number of lessons for us:
  1. Some leaves are brightly colored. Others less so. They’re all beautiful. Whatever their color, they all play a role in the lifecycle of the forest.
  2. Not so long ago, they hung on the branches overhead. Now they await their fate underfoot. Time moves in one direction, and no one is immune.
  3. There isn’t a lot of light down there in the dirt, so you have to linger a little to take it all in. It’s always worth taking the time to see the entire picture.
  4. This may look and feel like an ending, but everything here eventually decays and fuels whatever else will grow here in future. Beginnings and endings are fuzzy that way.
  5. We were raised to not get dirty. Our parents were wrong. Never miss a chance to get down in the dirt and feel it between your fingers.
  6. If you close your eyes just so and wait patiently for a few minutes, you’ll hear the heartbeat of this place. Forests are noisier than we think. Gloriously so. Drink it in.
I could go on. Looks like another wander through the woods is called for.

#ldnont #london #komoka #provincialpark #ontario #canada #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #leaf #leaves #texture #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Streetheart, August 2022
One tough leaf, February 2022
When leaves end, October 2021
Starting to see red, September 2021
Leaves at our feet, September 2021
Red leaf down, October 2020
When life ends, September 2020
Temporary red blanket, October 2019
Grounded, October 2017

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Look into the fading sky

Multiple shades of salmon
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Don’t regret the storm.

Be thankful for the painted sky it left behind.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #sky #weather #wx #onstorm #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #water #cloud #clouds #jayceepark #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:

Monday, August 29, 2022

(Almost) back to the moon

Windows on history
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


As a kid, I woke up early and stayed up late to watch shuttle launches. I read every book and article I could about NASA and space travel.

My fire for technology was sparked by a boyhood obsession with things that not only flew, but flew so fast that they achieved orbit. My rock stars were astronauts and engineers and ground crew who made these miracles happen.

As an adult, I mourned the losses of Challenger and Columbia and their respective crew members, and the weaknesses in human behaviors that fuelled these avoidable tragedies.

I watched superpowers evolve from enemies on the ground and adversaries in space into true partners who built a beacon in the sky that inspires kids like me every time it flies overhead. Then I watched those same superpowers begin to dismantle that same partnership.

Somehow all these lessons of space flight helped shape my storyteller’s brain. Because the stories of rockets really are the stories of us.

All of which explains how I find myself early this morning, surrounded by screens as I watch NASA attempt to launch Artemis 1 on a crucial test flight. Half a century after the Apollo program wound down, we’re about to take the first steps toward returning to the moon.

It’s one of those inflection points in history, which largely explains why I find myself wearing my NASA meatball logo t-shirt over my space-themed jammies while the rest of the fam sleeps.

NASA teams are currently troubleshooting some chilldown issues with engine 3 on the core stage, itself carried forward from a storied career powering shuttles to orbit. So it’s anyone’s guess whether they’ll hit their launch window, let alone the original T-0 at 8:33 a.m. ET.

Whatever happens next is anyone’s guess. [UPDATE 8:35 a.m. ET: the launch director has called a scrub for the day.] But I can’t imagine missing out on a story that, unlike so many that dominate the news cycle today and every day, represents the very best of who we are.

Moments like this were humbling and memorable when I was a child, and they’re precisely so today, as well.

Godspeed, Artemis 1. May the dreams of the countless heroes who created you continue to soar not only into the heavens, but well beyond.

#Artemis #Artemis1 #GoArtemis #NASA #SLS #Orion #spaceflight #space #moon #dream

Related:
Old orbiter. New code. February 2020

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Staring into the reflective waves

The things that happen when we change our perspective
Thornhill, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


As photographic subjects go, water is a particularly fascinating one.

On its own, it’s perfectly clear - and absolutely useless at telling its own story.

But shift your perspective a little and suddenly everything changes.

Like here, where a low-angle stare into the waves lets us see an ever-evolving, mirror-like surface. A quick tour through my photo archives highlights countless images of water, all incredibly diverse, all just scratching the surface of water’s visual potential.

Rather impressive for something that’s completely transparent.

It’s a timely reminder that first impressions are rarely the last word, and we owe it to ourselves to try, try again when we’re not content with that first glimpse.

Because the waters we peer into have so many more stories to tell.

Come to think of it, maybe this applies to much more than water.

#toronto #thornhill #ontario #canada #water #waves #reflective #reflection #mirror #texture #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Saturday, August 27, 2022

It's new keyboard day

Touch this
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


My name is Carmi, destroyer of keyboards.

I wore out another one yesterday, so off I went to the big box electronics store.

I thought I’d grab some pixels of the new one before it, too, meets a similar fate.

I feel I need to apologize to it.

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

Related:
QWERTY madness, August 2018
(Key)boarded, January 2015
Thumbellina, September 2020

Friday, August 26, 2022

Echoes in green jello

From generation to generation
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Decades ago, my late mother-in-law started making green jello whenever we brought our then-toddler son, Zach, to visit.

Why green? It was his favorite color.

Fast forward to today, and Zach is now married, and he and his wife, Michaela, are the proud and incredible parents of Lilly.

So when they got to town for the little one’s first ever visit here, my lovely wife Debbie, aka Bubby, had green jello ready.

Lilly is, of course, too young to eat it. But practicality means less than the simple significance of how a simple treat came to be because of a simple connection between a little boy and his grandmother.

And as this seemingly simple family tradition continues into the next generation, I can’t help but think about all the other small things family members do for each other. And how lucky I am to have married into this particular family, where the tiniest of gestures seem to have the most profound impacts over us all.

Indeed, Zach became the person he is because of tiny gestures like a green bowl of jiggly jello.

Soon enough, their daughter will learn - and carry on - that identical lesson.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #green #jello #glass #food #foodporn #random #kitchen #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #family #everything

Related:
Two months on... April 2013
Slice of life, November 2006

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Filet-O-Fish Conundrum

Marketing > Fish
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Am I the only one who thinks McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish buns are made from a substance that doesn’t originate on Planet Earth?

Perhaps I’m making too big a deal out of something so trivial, but the texture isn’t remotely close to an actual bread-like creation.

And yet this has been my bizarre fast food go-to since I was old enough to choose for myself.

Not everything needs an explanation, after all. Not everything needs to be haute cuisine, either.

As long as it brings us comfort whether we’re sitting in our own kitchen or find ourselves far from home, that’s pretty much all that matters.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #mcdonalds #filetofish #fish #fastfood #food #foodporn #texture #random #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Where the sky tells stories forever

Journeys to faraway lands
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Will the sky ever run out of stories to tell?

Eventually, yes.

But not today. Not tomorrow. Not within our lifetime.

So I guess I’ll see you out there sometime. I’ll be the guy staring up into the not-so-random randomness, thankful to have the chance to do so at all.

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The two sides of any fence

Lean in
Arva, ON
July 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Fences can divide us.

Or they can bring us together.

Our choice, really.

#ldnont #london #arva #ontario #canada #walkabout #fence #texture #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Monday, August 22, 2022

Dog bathed in light

Did someone say treat?
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Shafts of brilliant sunlight pierced the forest canopy and settled diagonally on the grass below, cutting perfectly defined angles through the humid morning air.

I’ve seen these before - often far off in the sky as storms roll in or out - but never had the phenomenon played out so close in that I felt I could reach out and touch the light.

Of course, Calli the Wonderschnauzer didn’t seem to feel the same way, and instead chose to focus her attention on the squirrels tormenting her from the trees towering over her rather small-ish form.

Never mind, though, as she eventually allowed a quick pose in the valley before we headed back to reality.

Looking at this photo, it occurs to me that all it is is light. Ephemeral, easy-to-miss optics. Mere echoes that slip past us without much thought or impact.

But it also occurs to me that the stories behind how that light comes to be, and how it makes us feel, are more profound to our existence than a simple snapshot might suggest.

Thankfully I have a furry partner in crime to remind me of that each and every day. We’ll be ready the next time the morning light decides to come out and play.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #medway #valley #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #─▒nstagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Trees under a farm country sunset

Life in silhouette
Elginfield, ON
July 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Either the trees are saying goodnight to the sun, or the sun is saying goodnight to the trees.

Maybe the answer doesn’t matter as much as the fact that we’re there at all to witness the moment.

#elginfield #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #sky #weather #wx #country #farm #rural #roadside #tree #trees #silhouette #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Our daughter's sweatshirt

Screen printed wisdom
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Words to live by, courtesy of Dahlia.

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

Friday, August 19, 2022

Cloudy with a chance of flare

Life near and afar
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’s easy to dismiss water vapor floating through the air as not worthy of our time or attention.

Until said water shapes itself into clouds high above the planet.

Until those clouds are caught by the setting sun just so.

Until they reflect the light in a way that’s never happened before, and won’t happen again. At least not in this particular manner.

Wonder happens all the time. And it’s hardly realistic to spend all our waking moments looking for it. The day-to-day of modern life means most of us can’t fill our days staring up at clouds.

But every once in a while, it can’t hurt to disconnect from that day-to-day so we can take in the brilliance of reflective water vapor before the sun disappears for the night.

Because an occasional sense of wonder is good for the soul. I’ll watch for it more often if you will, too.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #sky #weather #wx #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #water #cloud #clouds #jaycee #park #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Thirsty trees crying tears of joy

The source of all life
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I learn something new every time I shoot photos alongside our daughter.

This time out, the trees at the edge of the baseball field caught her eye, and soon enough she was artfully shooting through them toward the setting sun. Her framing-with-leaves technique is seriously unreal.

Every parent wishes their kid will exceed them, and it brings me immense joy to see all of our children do things I can only dream of. In Dahlia’s case, her ideation through the lens is next level.

I needed something to do while she worked her magic, so I found another tree nearby and tried my best. Needless to say, hers are way better. Which is as it should be.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #sky #weather #wx #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #water #droplets #jaycee #park #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The things storms leave behind

At the tail end
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Mother Nature redrew the sky last night, with thunderstorms that left a mess of iridescent clouds and ethereal golden hour light in their wake.

It felt right to head over to a nearby park for a spontaneous photo shoot.

Just because.

Because no matter how many times we stand in the same place and look at the same sky, the story playing out both above our heads and within them will be unique.

So will the memories that we’re left with.

And we never know how many opportunities we’ll be given. All we know is that number is finite.

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


Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Monsters in the flames

Predator and prey
Thornhill, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


At one time or another, we all have nightmares involving some kind of monster chasing us through the darkness.

Something in this photo makes me think of those frightening moments. Yet at the same time this particular scene brings me comfort, as we were surrounded by the warmth and kindness of friends the moment it was captured.

As is so often the case when I shoot abstract scenes, I can’t explain any of this.

But I certainly feel privileged to get to stick my lens close to the flame and wait for something magical to happen.

#toronto #ontario #canada #fire #flame #family #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Monday, August 15, 2022

Beach bird brain

Goal-focused...
Grand Bend, ON
July 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Deep bird thoughts: “If I fly just a little bit faster, maybe I’ll be able to touch the left side of the frame with my beak.”

#grandbend #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #bird #birds #gull #seagull #flight #sky #summer #wildlifephotography #animal #nature #naturephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #photooftheday #picoftheday #pictureoftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The trees that protect us

Peace in nature
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Our daughter and I took a walk through the woods yesterday.

We left the puppy at home and took our cameras, as it’s much easier to compose without a spring-loaded Schnauzer pulling on the leash.

Yet it’s this picture, a fast snapshot captured on my phone, that sticks with me.

As we stood in the cool forest, feeling incredibly small amid the endless carpet of green overhead, she took out her phone and snagged a quick image. She called it a moment shot.

Something snapped in my brain as she said it, because in one word - okay, two - she managed to capture the very essence of why we were out here in the first place.

It wasn’t remotely about dialing in the perfect shot on our super-specialized Nikons. We weren’t focused (sorry) on which lens we coulda/shoulda brought, or whether it made sense to push the ISO in the shady green murk of the deep woods.

That single word, moment, made it clear that what we brought back mattered less than the fact that we ventured out at all.

We ended up having some pretty memorable moments - including almost getting lost when we detoured up an uncharted hill, and when we followed a monarch butterfly for what seemed like an age. And whatever pixels we collected along the way will ensure these - and all the other - moments stick with us.

Whether they’re technically good or great is beside the point.

That life thing, again. Where we’re gifted time, which we’ll hopefully convert into moments worth remembering, with a little help from the folks who matter most.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #green #cathedral #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:


Saturday, August 13, 2022

Where grass meets concrete

Cast a giant shadow
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The sunlight you see here has already had an interesting morning.

After travelling 151 million kilometres through the inner solar system, it ends up at my feet where it nourishes the grass and casts artful shadows on the concrete sidewalk.

It is the very catalyst of all the life you see here - and ours - and it seems like an odd thing to stand in the middle of empty suburbia and ponder the physics of it all, as well as its meaning.

But odd is kinda my thing. And the dog doesn’t seem to mind as she grazes quietly just out of frame, waiting patiently until we stumble into the next unexpected discovery along our grand adventure.

Random life moments. I hope we never run out of them.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #stilllife #green #grass #shadow #texture #random #sidewalk #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:

Friday, August 12, 2022

Mushy berries and a patient kid

Remember the fallen
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


You come across a lot of weird stuff over the course of an average day.

Like a sidewalk covered with berries in various states of mushiness.

I can’t explain why I ended up sitting on the concrete to get the shot while our oh so patient daughter entertained the dog - I’m thinking it’s because scenes like this disappear into the past if you don’t capture then now, Now, NOW. But I’m not entirely sure.

Whatever the motivation may be, I can’t promise I won’t do it again the next time we come across a similar scene.

The planet is random, after all. So are we.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #red #berry #berries #texture #random #sidewalk #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Streetheart, August 2022

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Beside the rushing waters

Splash
Ingall Falls, near Dryden Ontario
July 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


A lot can happen in 1/4,000 of a second.

Let’s use our time wisely, then.

However much we’re given.

#dryden #ingallfalls #ontario #canada #forest #river #water #rocks #texture #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Swimmer in the sky

Staring up from the sidewalk
London, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’s 9:18 p.m., long after the sun has slipped below the horizon.

But out of sight doesn’t mean irrelevant, as our closest star still manages to light up the twilight sky with shades and tones I couldn’t describe if I tried.

The dog patiently waits for me as I find the perfect spot on a nearby sidewalk and take the camera out of my backpack. I had a hunch tonight’s sky would be an entertaining one, so I grabbed the bag on our way out the door.

Calli the Wonderschnauzer waits patiently on her leash as I size up the sky and read the ever changing color palette way over our heads.

It’s an exercise in futility, as no camera can ever hope to capture the full fidelity of a magical sky. At best, it’ll capture enough of an echo to share with the folks back home. I’m strangely okay with that.

As the sky eventually fades and I give our pup a thank-you ear rub for being such a good girl, I remind myself that moments like this aren’t as frequent as we’d like. And lugging a backpack around the neighborhood is a small price to pay if it means I get to enjoy tiny vignettes like this with my dog.

The cynics among us might think I’m being unnecessarily silly. But who says the cynics get to have any say in how I choose to chase fleeting moments?

As Calli nudges the back of my leg with her wet nose and we continue on our way, I get my answer.

No one.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #sky #weather #wx #silhouette #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #cloud #clouds #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Under an angry sky, August 2021
Painted cloudy sky, August 2021

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Concrete stairs after the storm

Watch your step
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


After the storm is over, the dog leads us on a walk into the woods.

Everywhere we look, we notice subtle hints of the storm’s impact, tiny signs here and there that the stories around us are being constantly rewritten, and we aren’t necessarily the ones holding the pen.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #walkabout #forest #concrete #stairs #gameoftones #texture #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Watch your step, January 2022
Shadows of lives lived, December 2012
Concrete stairs, January 2007

Monday, August 08, 2022

Streetheart

Message at our feet
London, ON
July 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’m just naive enough to believe that a single heart-shaped leaf, found in a dusty street gutter during a recent walk, carries a critical message for the rest of us.

Be kind.

Simple, isn’t it?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #road #street #stilllife #photography #heart #leaf #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Kiss my asphalt, November 2019
Blood on the street, December 2011

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Shelf cloud, incoming

Something wicked this way comes
London, ON
August 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’m no expert, but this doesn’t look remotely good.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sky #cloud #clouds #storm #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Return to Kensington Market

Tightly wound
Toronto, ON
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We’re all connected in some way.

So it’s up to us to figure out what those connections are, and how we can work together to strengthen them.

Life, really.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #throwback #urban #street #streetphotography #photography #kensington #market #alwaxman #kingofkensington #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Saturday, August 06, 2022

A quiet night on Clarence Street

9:41 p.m.
London, ON
March 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Red light district.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #urban #city #downtown #night #clarence #street #streetphotography #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Friday, August 05, 2022

Nine years on...

Heroes indeed
London, ON
February 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Something you may or may not know about me: 9 years ago today, I suffered a stroke.

It was a freak accident - I cranked my head to the left as I made a u-turn on my bike, and tore my carotid artery in the process. A few hours later, after I had luckily - somehow - made it home, the injury threw clots into my brain and I collapsed. I was paralyzed down my right side, and could barely speak.

Even after all this time, the memory chills me. Yet thanks to immediate, world-beating medical care, I dug my way out of the terrifying rabbit hole and managed to recover. Today, I live with a lousy sense of balance and a massive appreciation for our health care heroes - and for this country’s priorities. But I’m still me, the same sarcastic, sardonic doofus I’ve always been.

Basically, I dodged a freaking bullet. But I couldn’t just leave it at that.

Because beyond my Canadian sense of gratitude I also feel a responsibility to tell my story. Not because I particularly enjoy the experience of doing so, mind you. Quite the contrary: it stresses me to talk about it. Even writing about it, my smartwatch says my heart rate is up.

But in the immediate days and weeks after it happened, I remember talking to friends, family members, and even strangers, and many of them had stories of their own. Too many of those stories were disturbing: victims shrugged off the symptoms, dismissed the concerns of others, didn’t seek immediate care. Some died as a result. Others lived, but with crippilng disabilities. Lives ended or ruined. Families altered forever.

Which bothered me. Immensely.

Stroke may seem like an uncontrollable event, but we can all control the outcome to a certain extent if we recognize the signs and move fast.

My wife did, and she saved my life.

Stroke math is actually pretty simple: the longer it takes to get to primary medical care, the more brain cells die. That curve is frightening, but the fix is easy:

Move. Now. At best, you get the care you need, and you get to go back to your previous life. Or you live with far less disability than would have otherwise been the case. At worst, you waste a few hours in the ER and come home with a crazy story to tell.

So despite my fears of becoming identified solely by my stroke experience - and becoming “that guy” in the process - I dive in head-first every time I’m asked to talk about it. I’ve done interviews across the media spectrum, and will never say no for as long as I am able. I’ve even been chatted up in the frozen foods section, on a bike path, and in a coffee shop. And I've written about it here (check the links out below.)

Because I want everyone to hear my story.

Because as it turns out, I'm ok being "that guy".

Because my experience could be anyone’s experience - even yours. And hearing from one person who caught an interview or read a blog post or saw my story on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter is all the validation I need. If I reach one person, it’s worth it. But you know me: more = better.

I can’t change what happened to me. But I’ll do everything I can to change the outcome for others.

Maybe it’s my way of trying to make sense of something that seemingly makes no sense at all. Or to find the light amid the darkness. Whatever. Life is finite and fragile. I learned that lesson the hard way. I’m one of the lucky ones.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #stroke #awareness #lhsc #universityhospital #uh #healthcare #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #health #everything

Related:
So, about that stroke - August 2014
More stroke stuff... - August 2014
Stroke survivor shares his story, London Free Press, Aug 14, 2014
Coming up on Canada AM - Lookahead to February 2015 interview
Winding down the day that was - February 2015 - incl link to Canada AM/Heart/Stroke Month segment
Two years on... - August 2015
Three bonus years - August 2016
Four years later - August 2017
Five years on - August 2018
Seven years on, August 2020
Eight years on, August 2021


Thursday, August 04, 2022

The last before

Curves and tangents
London, ON
August 4, 2013
This photo originally shared on Written Inc. and on Instagram


I tend to think of things in terms of befores and afters - especially when it comes to pictures.

Facebook Memories decided to serve up a whopper of a "before" today, taken on a perfectly ordinary summer's afternoon in the middle of an otherwise ordinary bike ride.

It was Sunday, August 4th, 2013. I was cruising the bike path beside the river when I decided to stop beside the fountain and watch the waters dance.

Before long, out came the BlackBerry (!) and some early-smartphone-photography happened. And as I got back on the bike for the ride home, I was blissfully unaware that this would be my last ride and photo for a while.

Life is filled with tangents, apparently.

More tomorrow...

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #beatstroke #tvp #thames #river #fountain #water #throwback #cycling #photography #blackberry #shotonblackberry #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Down the long, scary corridor

Authorized personnel only
London, ON
July 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Behind every gleaming facade, there’s a gloomy corridor.

Mere mortals never get to see it, but the gleaming facade wouldn’t be gleaming if not for this unsung part of the architecture.

Now, let’s look beyond the building, shall we? Turns out everything - and everyone - has a gloomy corridor of its own.

Which begs the question: are we doing enough to catch a glimpse?

And another: what might we learn if we take the time?

I’m guessing lots.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #masonville #random #retail #street #streetphotography #geometry #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Everything eventually returns to Earth

Laser focus
Grand Bend, ON
July 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Dirtied up on final approach.

#grand #bend #grand #ontario #canada #beach #great #lake #huron #bird #birds #gull #seagull #flight #sky #summer #wildlifephotography #animal #nature #naturephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #photooftheday #picoftheday #pictureoftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Where I touch airplane skin

Pause before flight
Hamilton, ON
July 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I have a strange personal ritual whenever I fly: as I board the plane, I place my right hand on the outside of the fuselage just to the right of the doorway.

I’ll leave it there for a quick second, just long enough to feel the coolness of the alloy skin. Then, before the folks behind me start to sharpen their pitchforks, I’ll step inside and say hi to the heroes responsible for getting us to our destination safely.

I can’t explain why I do any of this. I think I started it as a way of grounding myself, of connecting with the aircraft in some strange way, and of giving myself a quiet moment of reflection before a long journey.

It isn’t just limited to planes. I’ve been touching things before departure - cars, bikes, boats, whatever machine I’m about to board - for as long as I can remember. It makes me feel better. In control, even.

That word, though: feel.

Travel isn’t just something we do to get from here to there. At every stage of the journey, I’d like to think that we’re feeling something special or different. That we’re deliberately trying to savor the experience in some way, to remember how a given trip changes us.

It’s why we travel at all, and I’m guessing a palmprint on aluminum and a quickly stolen photo makes a normally forgettable moment in transit something to be held onto long after we’ve arrived at our destination.

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

Related:
One blue plane, December 2019
Pretty plane, January 2007
Silhouette, August 2005

Monday, August 01, 2022

Playing with lines at the mall

Step carefully
London, ON
July 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The pandemic has rewritten the rules in virtually every nook and cranny of everyday life, and retail is no different.

When lockdowns were first implemented, a simple trip to the mall was suddenly no longer a thing. With the help of tools and technologies that barely existed a decade ago, we found ourselves ordering everything online, then waiting for it to magically show up at our front door. E-commerce for the win.

28 months on, we live in a different world as masks disappear and life seems, on some levels, headed back toward something approaching normal. Whatever normal is, of course.

Online retail is now a permanent part of our personal toolkit, and for good reason. Yet humans were built to connect, and it’s only a matter of time before we need to ditch the virtual and get out into the real world.

And as I stood at the edge of a second-storey railing in a nearby mall and wrestled with the angles playing out far below me, I mused about how an experience like this might be replicated in an app.

And I concluded it simply couldn’t be. Because sometimes there’s just no replacement for being there.

No app could ever hope to deliver a scene like this. Or the feeling one gets by experiencing it not through a screen or a Zoom window, but with our own eyes.

This may look like a stupid picture of a forgettable sliver of public infrastructure. And for the most part, that’s precisely what it is.

But I hadn’t realized until this very moment how much I had missed it.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #masonville #random #retail #street #streetphotography #geometry #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Just a faucet? November 2005