Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Beautiful building in a struggling neighborhood

Luxury (only) in the sky
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


London’s downtown skyline recently welcomed this wild-looking new addition.

Known as One Richmond Row, this high-rise apartment building features offset floor platforms that give the structure a rather striking presence in the sky.

It anchors Richmond Row, which is the city’s Ground Zero for bars, restaurants, and party-seekers from the nearby university looking for a night out in a trendy neighborhood.

The building is all very chic and sleek and tomorrow-looking. And for a sleepy mid-sized city like ours, it’s a bit of a departure.

So when I found myself in the neighborhood the other day, I couldn’t not point my lens skyward and have a little fun with geometry.

But here’s the thing: this is a deliberately composed scene that rather deliberately avoids the reality on the ground. Because not far from this high-end residential tower, a crowd of people experiencing homelessness waits patiently for the nearby mission to begin serving dinner.

They mill about on the street surrounding this oh-so-luxe building, some pushing shopping carts filled with garbage bags containing everything they own, others pacing back and forth trying to deal with their inner demons.

I can’t get myself to point my lens toward them.

I’m struck by the proximity of a beautifully built and marketed residential tower casting shadows on the lives of those who can only dream of living in this rarified structure. I’m struck by how much more visible London’s homelessness problem has become since the last time I was here. I’m struck by the disparity.

This is just a photo, and it won’t remotely solve anything, let alone a crisis that seems to have become part of this city’s post-pandemic DNA.

But I couldn’t not share it, either, even if I lacked the courage to share an actual picture far removed from the marketing perfection that first sold - and continues to sell - this palace in the sky.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #downtown #OneRichmondRow #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #city #sky #monochrome #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Publish Day - Ukraine war and cybersecurity

Nine months after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, a parallel digital war rages alongside the military one. My latest article for the STEP Software Inc. blog is now live, and it has some sobering perspectives on why the #cybersecurity risk is significantly more profound than we might have thought.


Global supply chain crunch. A visual.

Where the shelves are empty
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


One day far in the future, I want to imagine that we’ll look back at this chapter in history and wish we had done more to remember it.

I’m a big believer in visual histories, of using technology to capture imagery that tells the story of a given point in time. To me, photography is one of the most powerful ways of taking us back to a moment that mattered to us.

Now, an empty shelf in a non-descript grocery story may not represent anyone’s definition of powerful. But here’s the thing: for as long as I’ve been going to these places, I’ve never encountered emptiness to the degree that I’ve witnessed since the first lockdowns in 2020.

Indeed, the global supply chain crunch means every trip to the store is an adventure in navigating empty shelves and figuring what substitutions may or may not be feasible. Easy? Not anymore.

Which is why this scene speaks to me. It is of its time. This time. And it serves as a signature of a chapter in history we’re now living through.

And long after it’s over, I hope I’ll be able to look back at photos like this one and feel what all this was like. And maybe puts it all into perspective, because we’re lucky enough to live in a place and lead a life where this is often our biggest daily worry.

Which begs the next question: what other visual signatures of the pandemic should we be capturing? Please do tell…

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

Monday, November 28, 2022

Trudging through the fog

Shortcut
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We all take shortcuts to school, work, or wherever else we’ve got to go.

This person is no different, following a well-worn path through a weed-choked field to a nearby school - likely the same walk through the same path at the same time, day after day. There’s comfort in routine, after all.

This day has fog thrown into the mix, which makes it a little more dramatic, particularly because I’m shooting almost directly into the sun and the tone and cast - untouched off the camera - are more than a tad weird-looking.

I’m also shooting fast - getting off a couple of almost blindingly-composed frames before I lose the scene for good.

I could always stake out the same spot tomorrow, but it wouldn’t look or feel the same.

What I first thought was endlessly, identically repeatable turns out not to be. Every day tells a different story, even on what seems to be a forgettable walk through a forgettable field.

Perhaps nothing is forgettable.

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

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Continuing our walk through the fog

Triplets
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Wedged between four lanes of high-speed traffic and a massive overgrown soccer field that hasn’t hosted a game in what seems like forever, three trees stand firm in the thick early morning fog.

No one stops here. No one reflects. Or ponders.

Or appreciates. This place is less a destination than something that’s overlooked by countless people rushing from here to there.

And still, these three trees somehow managed to dig deep roots and thrive despite the choking exhaust and relentless neglect.

Call them defiant.

Even beautiful.

Because beauty exists even in the places where nobody bothers to look.

So let’s bother to look, then. We may be pleasantly surprised by what we see.

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

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Highbury Avenue in fog

Muted canopy
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


While the good citizens of #LdnONT slept on Wednesday night, the fog rolled in and reshaped the landscape.

Since life doesn’t stop just because the atmosphere decides to put on a show, our daughter and I found ourselves driving through the pea soup on the way to campus, another early morning moment of parenthood I wouldn’t trade for anything.

After I dropped her off and turned for home, a little voice in my head suggested a quick pre-workday photowalk - and who was I to disagree? You wouldn’t be surprised to hear I had already packed my camera because you just never know.

Which explains how I soon found myself wandering along Highbury Avenue as I alternately looked for foggy scenes of opportunity and watched the time to ensure I wasn’t late getting back. I shot photos through four lanes of high-speed traffic, the drivers largely ignorant of the show going on around them.

I wasn’t out long, as the sun soon started to burn off the murk. But as it turned out I didn’t need all that much time to capture in pixels what I had already imagined in my mind. Sometimes the plan just seems to fall into place.

I don’t know when the next foggy morning will present itself. But like any other sorta-random act of nature, I’ll keep my camera close by. Because good things never last, even if we wish they would.

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

Friday, November 25, 2022

Rose petals on cold concrete

What happened here?
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’s 9:50 p.m., and I’m on a late-night mission to pick stuff up at the pharmacy just before it closes.

As I emerge into the cold night, I notice the pools of light in front of the supermarket that anchors this tired old neighborhood mall. I wander over for a closer look.

As I approach, I notice these random rose petals, strewn haphazardly on the dirty concrete just beside the overflowing garbage can.

I don’t know the story behind how these brilliant red petals got here, but I think it’s safe to assume it isn’t a happy one.

The scene, of course, needs to be remembered. Because soon enough, the petals will shrivel and blow away, leaving behind two unknown souls with fading memories of something they, too, wish would disappear in the next wind.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sherwoodforest #random #night #street #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Thursday, November 24, 2022

After the last leaves have fallen

Finally, light
London, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


An interesting thing happens after the final leaves have fallen.

We can see the sky.

We can almost touch the intricate network of branches.

We can feel the light shine on us.

We can watch the clouds slowly float on past.

An entire layer of the ecosystem, normally hidden in the dense canopy, now presents itself.

We realize we didn’t lose something - leaves, summer, whatever - as much as we gained something else that’s just as worthy of holding onto. That perspective thing again.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #519ldn #519london #sun #sunset #sky #cloud #clouds #trees #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #silhouette #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Wedding night wine glass still-life

Transparently upside down
Ingersoll, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This isn’t the first time I’ve shot glass in still-life, and it probably won’t be the last.

We were at a wedding, and I’m reasonably sure the bartender thought I was insane as I took out my smartphone and quickly composed the shot.

I smiled that same smile I’ve used so often previously - where I try to telegraph in body language that I hope no one calls in the bouncers on me - and I’m pretty sure she smiled back. It was dark, so I couldn’t tell.

It only took a few seconds, and soon enough the phone was tucked back away as I rejoined my incredibly understanding wife.

Life moves fast, after all, and it’s entirely our call whether or not we choose to slow it down on occasion so we can capture the strange in-between experiences we’d otherwise miss.

My call will always be the same: do it. Those glasses won’t be there forever, after all.

Neither will we.

#ingersoll #ontario #canada #elmhurst #spontaneous #glass #stilllife #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotobiphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The official tech gift list for 2022

I often get asked to chat about nerdy things on TV and radio, and one of the most common asks around this time of year is tech gifts. Here's where my head is at:

 Two-and-a-half years into the pandemic, it’s clear this historic event has rewritten the rules for the entire tech industry - and gift-giving is no exception. If 2020 was all about the panic-move to working and studying from home, and 2021 was about taking the time to be more strategic about how we use technology remotely, then 2022 was the year when raging inflation, spiking interest rates, and concerns over our jobs forced us to finally get smart about buying tech gifts.

Against that backdrop, the 2022 gift-giving season is shaping up to be all about NOT spending the most, but spending wisely. The pandemic has taught us to be more flexible with our tech - and gift-giving is becoming more creative because of it. Here are some creative, cost-effective ideas:

1 - Boring utility stuff. Everyone NEEDS these things, even if they aren’t necessarily the sexiest tech out there. Things like backup batteries (to recharge your phone while you’re on the go), trackers (Apple AirTags and Tile trackers are dead-simple easy to use, cheap, and will save your life), cables (you can never have enough - just make sure you know what kind), car holders/chargers, memory cards (still a thing, especially for photographers and for anyone who uses a phone with a memory card slot), external drives, dongles, card readers, USB hubs, etc.

2 - Streaming devices. They’re cheap devices that hook up to your TV - usually through the HDMI port - and let you directly access streaming services by turning a “dumb” TV into a smart one. Popular options include Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku Streaming Stick and others. Some start at less than $50, so it’s a cheap way for giftees to cut the chord. The only caveat: While some content is free, most of the good stuff is subscription-based. So know your recipient before you buy - or have a conversation with them about their content plans for 2023 before you pull out your credit card. Either way, we’re spending a lot of time at home, so we may as well have lots of good stuff to watch on TV.

3 - Headphones. Apple’s AirPods, especially the pricier Pro model, are hot (just don’t lose them!), as are competing models from Beats, Sony, Jabra, Samsung, Sennheiser, JBL and others. The choices are endless - wireless or wired, noise cancelling, gaming, buds/on-ear-over-the-ear. So if you’re buying for someone else, do your homework on your giftee before you hit the checkout button, as some models work better with certain phones, operating systems, apps, and services.

4 - Smart speakers. Huge last year. Even bigger this year. You can still buy the ultra-cheap Amazon Echo Dot or Google Nest Mini (old: Google HOME Mini). Even better, get one with a screen (Amazon Echo Show, Nest Hub). Or buy two and build yourself - or your giftee - a hybrid stereo system. Avoid the Facebook Portal, as the company has a terrible privacy record and we’re heading it’ll soon be discontinued. Same deal with Apple’s HomePod mini: It’s more expensive than the alternatives, and increasingly being left behind by newer, better competitors. If you’re more of an audiophile, speaker companies like Bose and Sonos are including smart assistants in their latest connected speakers.

5 - Smart home devices. This category (namely smart hubs, smart plugs, smart light bulbs, security cameras, locks, etc.) is exploding in popularity as prices come down. But you’ll want to be careful here, as not every device plays nice with other equipment, and you’ll want to know what your recipient is using/prefers before plunking down your hard-earned cash on a gift. The just-approved Matter standard will help: make sure that whatever you buy is Matter-compatible. Either way, in a permanent work/study-from-home world, smarter homes are a major focus this year.

6 - Home office accessories. Now that we’re almost three years into this thing, it’s time to get serious about our home offices. Great gift ideas abound here, from better keyboards and mice to headphones (both the higher-end noise-cancelling ones as well as extra earbuds as stocking stuffers) and stands. Podcasters always need better tools, so microphones (BLUE’s Yeti or Snowball) (bonus points if they have stands or arms) and webcams (Logitech, Rode, Shure, Audio-Technica) that are inevitably better than the lousy ones typically built into laptops and monitors. Speaking of which, better/extra monitors are an easy gift choice, as are stands/arms to make your giftee’s desk insta-worthy. Ring lights are another hot gift idea given how much time we’re all spending in web meetings and virtual classes.

7 - Gaming. This category remains massively popular, and for good reason. While a full-on console like a PS5 or XBox Series X might be a bit much, games, controllers, and accessories like extra batteries and chargers are always welcome. Subscriptions to online services can be affordable gift options, especially given the exploding popularity of networked gaming. Do keep in mind, however, that the global semiconductor shortage has made leading devices like the PS5, XBox Series X, Nintendo Switch/OLED very difficult to find.

8 - Action cams. GoPro was the pioneer (and its latest camera, the HERO10, continues to set the bar for the industry), but this year we’re seeing competing action cams from DJI Sony, Akaso, Yi, and others that LOOK like GoPros - and in many cases are compatible with GoPro extras and accessories - but they might be less expensive, or they’ve got features like wireless connectivity and better apps.

9 - Retro audio. Turntables are huge this year, for some strange reason. It’s partly fuelled by a resurgence in interest in vinyl records (sales have doubled globally for each of the past 2 years) so folks are looking for newer hardware to play them on. Many new models pack techie tricks up their sleeves, like network capability, one-touch digital backups and better sound than you could ever get out of your old Radio Shack turntable. (AUDIO-TECHNICA, SONY) If you’ve got an iPhone and hanker for the old iPod days, you can even download an app that mimics the iPod Classic, complete with its iconic clickwheel.

10 - Security. Lots of interest in smart/connected security cameras that let you keep an eye on things even when you’re away from home. Ring doorbells let you “answer” the door even when you’re halfway around the world. Security alert, though: these devices open up huge privacy concerns around where all that video footage goes, and who can access it. Make sure your giftee is comfortable with these issues before going this route.

The roof that touched the sky

Reach higher
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Look to the sky and tell me what you see.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #blue #sky #weather #wx #cloud #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #city #dundas #street #walkabout #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Monday, November 21, 2022

Henrietta's day in the sun

Who's gonna drive you home?
London, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’ve decided we all need more color mixed into the day-to-day.

It need not be much: if it catches your eye and you’ve got a camera nearby, just grab it. Smartphones make this ridiculously convenient.

I’ll kick things off with my car, who we’ve named Henrietta 2.0. She doesn’t get out very much these days, but she still needs the wizards at the dealership to care for her every once in a while. Better them than me.

Which explains why on a brilliantly sunlit October afternoon, I found myself taking weird photos of Henrietta after they were done with her.

Another customer arriving in her SUV gave me a long look as I worked the angles. I smiled in her general direction and hoped the sight of a stranger engaged in a spontaneous parking lot photo shoot brought her a little joy.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #henrietta #honda #filthy #red #car #carporn #automotive #parking #lot #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Sunday, November 20, 2022

The forest's first snow

There will come soft snows
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Mother Nature visited the forest the other day and left her snowy mark for the first time this season.

It wasn’t much, and in a few hours it was gone. And given the apocalyptic storms battering nearby parts of Ontario and New York, it’s hard to glorify weather here that can be so deadly there.

But here’s the thing: we can’t change it. Weather’s going to happen whether we like it or not.

So please forgive me if I try to make the best of it. That life thing again.

#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

Saturday, November 19, 2022

#10YearsOn - I parked beside a forest

Framed
Delaware, ON
November 2012
This photo originally shared on Written Inc.

#10YearsOn
, I think back to the morning I sat beside the woods and pondered the speed of life.

Introducing my favorite parking spots

#ldnont #delaware #london #ontario #canada #throwback #tree #trees #forest #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Oil tanks in our midst

The wrong kind of energy
Port Stanley, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In my ideal world, the wild grassy dunes that grow near the oil tank farm next to this lovely lakeside port town will eventually swallow the tanks whole.

I realize we don’t live in an ideal world, though. It’s imperfect and even ugly in places.

But we all need ideals. And dreams. Even if they’re impossible to achieve anytime soon.

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

Friday, November 18, 2022

Picture window

Not remotely frosted (flakes)
London, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Let’s call this one Picture Window.

I found this scene in what used to be a cereal factory that’s in the middle of being rebuilt into a showpiece example of industrial reuse.

The place is now home to a growing list of innovative local businesses, and every time I return, I see something new.

Maybe this is just an unremarkable scene of an unremarkable window. But it reminds me that great things happen in communities when folks are willing to roll the dice.

Which makes it remarkable in its own right.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #100kellogg #100kellogglane #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #city #eoa #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Contrails at dusk

Reflections on the west side of town
London, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Hundreds of people are in this photo, yet not one of them has any idea it was ever taken.

Amazing how that works.

I hope that whoever they were and wherever they were headed, their journeys were easy and they had folks who loved them waiting at their respective destinations.

After all, isn’t that what we all want?

#ldnont #hydepark #london #ontario #canada #519ldn #519london #sun #sunset #sky #contrails #landscape #landscapephotography #streetphotography #silhouette #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

#10YearsOn - downtown destruction

Overgrowth
March 2012
London, ON
This photo originally shared on Written Inc.


I've been sharing my words and images online for a while. Everything I post to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter ends up on my circa-2004 blog, Written Inc.

Yes, blogging is yesterday's news, but there's something, I don't know, comforting about having one spot where all your stuff goes. Like a digital journal of life. And I’d rather not leave my digital footprint solely in the hands of Elon and Mark. Playground. Ball. You know.

So every once in a while, usually when Planet Earth gets too rowdy, I wander through the archives. I'll be sharing them under the #10YearsOn hashtag because...well, not everything needs a reason.

This time out, I look back on a wander through the backlots of our city’s downtown core. It was downtrodden then, and I imagine it would be even worse now. Still, even the crumbling walls covered with dying ivy revealed the brilliantly colorful vision of a long-gone artist.

Window on a crumbling landscape

No one knows how many more treasures lie buried in the shadows of a rough-at-the-edges part of town. We just have to have enough curiosity to seek them out.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #buildingporn #architectureporn #ruinporn #urban #city #downtown #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Artemis I (finally) flies

She's not impressed
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Artemis I finally took to the skies on November 16, 2022, at 1:47 a.m. ET.

Like millions of space nerds around the world, I stayed up late to watch the historic flight. I’ll remember the date just as profoundly as I have so many other space and aviation milestones I’ve been privileged to witness live since I was a munchkin.

In contrast, Calli the Wonderschnauzer didn’t much care for the spectacle. She slept in a tight ball in her bed beside the TV, oblivious to the building drama taking place in Florida. As the main engines first lit up, she woke up, sat up, and did her best to not look at the screen.

Point taken: dogs aren’t big space fans.

But I’m a big fan of her. And once the ship was safely in orbit a few minutes later, we went outside into the fresh snow and left a few tracks around the perfectly silent neighborhood.

Life goes on even when history happens. Especially for a beloved dog who just wants to curl up in a ball with her favourite people nearby.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #artemis #sls #orion #nasa #spadeflight #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #actofdog #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #─▒nstagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

On bullies who target stroke victims

For those just joining us:

Lissa Albert is a Montrealer and a very active social media user. She lives in Montreal, and she chose to share in her feed something I felt was rather offensive to John Fetterman, Senator-elect from Pennsylvania, and a stroke survivor. As this wasn't the first time she's shared such offensive commentary, I chose to call her out - not because I have some unmet need to go down the social media rabbit hole, but because I know bullying when I see it, and I have no tolerance for it, particularly when it targets me, as well. Here's what I said:

Hey Lissa Albert, as a stroke survivor, I find it offensive that you, a supposed anti-bullying expert, would share this. Would you say these things directly to my or anyone else’s face? I suspect not. This saddens me tremendously. #DoBetter

Here was her response:

A self-described “wannabe-decent soul” doesn’t copy a post from someone HE blocked, using his wife’s account to circumvent access to their account, to try to twist something making fun of a clearly incapable political figure into a cyberattack on the person who posted it, and leaving it open for his friends to pile on with further cyberbullying.
A “wannabe-decent soul” wouldn’t do that, but would swiftly remove the entire post from their timeline to get closer to being a decent soul, instead of remaining a mere wannabe.

So I responded. Because someone seems to have missed my point. Because bullies always seem to think they're the victim. Or they're blind to their bullying. Or both. Because some folks will never get it.

And because it was too long for Facebookistan, so I moved the whole thing over here, to my blog. Let's have a look, shall we?

Ooh, touched a nerve, did we? I find it amusing that you’d assume I used my wife’s account to gain access to yours. How sweet that you think private means private in Facebookistan, or that it’s anything but trivial to pull a post off of anyone’s feed. Hold onto your naivete. For a “techno-geekette”, some might find it charming.

You deftly miss the point, as I expected you would. I called you out because of one post, among many, in which you wantonly chose to bully the now-duly elected Pennsylvania Senator because, as you say, he’s incompetent. (I’ve included another one, from your Twitter feed, over there on the right, lest our audience think this is an isolated thing. It isn’t.)

Let’s call a spade a spade, Lissa: he had a stroke. Yet for reasons clear only to you and your small band of largely anonymous digital randos, you derive glee in calling him out for…having had a stroke.

So here’s the deal. As you know, I, too, had a stroke. Like Mr. Fetterman, every day I wake up is a stark reminder that this happened to me. Every day is an opportunity to raise my middle finger to the universe and fight to do the things you and the tiny band of of-so-clever social media warriors you call your besties take for granted.

So if Mr. Fetterman chooses to wear a hoodie, why the hell would you care? If it matters, I wear hoodies because, like many stroke victims, elevated sensitivity to touch makes it hard to wear tighter clothing. I can only wear one specific, very soft winter hat because all the others are just too tight and give me headaches. I choose to wear more formal clothing when I do on-camera media work, then as soon as I’m clear, I’m back to hoodies and sweats. but that’s my choice. Maybe Mr. Fetterman really loves his Carhartts. He’s served his community well, so I imagine he deserves to wear whatever he wants without comments from the peanut gallery.

You mentioned that I blocked you. I’m glad you did, as you deserve to know why. One day a while back, one of your rage-posts-to-a-journalist popped into my feed. Funny thing is, I had worked with this journalist many times over the years. She’s a passionate, dedicated media professional who’s paid her dues and then some. Every conversation I’ve had with her, I’ve learned something new, and she has always inspired me to raise my own game. As I was pondering the smallness of a world in which someone I called a friend would now spew digital bile at a journalist I respected, another rage–post-to-a-journalist of yours found its way into my feed. To another journalist who I had worked with.

See where this is going? Apparently this is a thing with you.

It bummed me out that you, someone who f-ing WENT to j-school, would dare to speak to anyone, let alone a working, respected journalist, in anything but the tone you’d expect others to use toward you. I shook my head ruefully at the irony of your profile description - "Cyberbullying Awareness Educator" - and thought back to the philosophy that took root after my stroke: spend time wisely, around people of substance, who matter, who care about others, who repair the world, who leave things better than they were when they got there.

And I looked again at your feed, with the potshots at working journalists and the elementary-school-bully-targeting of those just trying to get through life despite all the universe has thrown at them, and I realized you’re not it. It bummed me out that this was routinely hitting my feed, hence the block.

Your profile starts off with the degrees you’ve earned - yet to the best of my knowledge you, unlike the hated targets of your social media activity, have never worked in a newsroom, developed a beat, carved out a career, fought to work to keep the lights on, or tried to turn the other cheek in the wake of the relentless torrent of the social media peanut gallery. Instead you choose to spend your time spewing invective at people you’ll never meet while failing to share the full context of your privilege with the randos you gleefully feed off of. You engage in the very behaviors you claim to be an expert in identifying and eradicating - yet you patently fail to recognize that behavior in yourself. That’s quite the ironic legacy you’re leaving.

Far be it for me to dictate how anyone else chooses to spend their life. I don’t know what you do for full-time work, and honestly, I don’t care. But when your abusive social media messaging stream crosses into mine, and casts shadows on a community I involuntarily joined but am now a passionate member of, I’ll politely inform you that you’ll get no breaks from me because you’ve been my wife’s friend since way back when.

Your behavior normalizes bullying toward an identifiable group, full stop. One that I’m now a part of. And every time I get up in the middle of the night to write because my brain’s working overdrive, every time I pull together a story to pitch, every time I walk a colleague through a complex narrative and break it down in easy-to-digest bits, get on-camera, publish something under my name, or otherwise succeed at all those professional, keep-the-lights-on, battle-the-universe kinda work things that you’ll simply never appreciate, I imagine I feel a similar kind of accomplishment that Mr. Fetterman now feels. He beat the universe at its own game, peanut gallery commentary notwithstanding. You’d do well to learn from us both.

I’d invite you to call me so we can discuss this directly. My number’s easy to find, and you, like anyone else with an interest in engaging in fair and open discussion, will always be welcome to use it. I doubt you’d ever have the courage to do so, however, as you’ve made it clear, in deeds and words, that that’s not how you operate. Whatever. Don’t waste my time responding if you’re going to pretend to play the victim when you seem to ignore the fact that your chosen activities victimize others. Including me. And you’re kinda naive if you think I’ll stand idly by and allow it to happen. No matter who you happen to be.

As I said before, #DoBetter. Maybe even look in a mirror and think about hypocrisy and kindness - and our need to engage in less of the former and cultivate more of the latter. Then we’ll talk.

Best to Perry and the kids.
I'll let you know if this continues. If you're looking for the TL:DR version, it's this: bullies love to sit in their positions of privilege and use digital tools to remotely target their victims. We can either choose to do nothing, or we can weigh in and call them on it. I choose the latter, because maybe this time they aren't coming for you, specifically. But we all know how easily that can change with the stroke of a pen. Or the swipe of a mouse.

Simple lines far above my head

Geometric
London, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Brutalism under an azure sky.

Because simple sometimes grabs the eye more strongly than anything else.

Because we should never stop looking up in wonder.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #100kellogg #100kellogglane #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #city #eoa #blue #sky #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Monday, November 14, 2022

Back to the snow-kissed woods

Water in many forms
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It had been a while since I had gotten out of the house.

Whatever it is that has flattened me for over a week - not COVID, but still - has kept me within a close radius. Short walks with the dog, sure. Anything longer would have to wait till those rather important things like breathing and strength and balance returned.

So when I had more sleep Saturday night than I had in all the previous week’s nights combined, it was time for a Sunday morning wander.

Mother Nature even cooperated with a lovely blanket of squall-fed snow, the first of the season. So after Calli the Wonderachnauzer was done happily bouncing through the heavy wet stuff, I tucked her back in and headed back out for some solitary time in the forest.

I wasn’t in there long - as I half-stepped, half-slid down into the snow-covered valley, it became apparent that I’m still flying well below 100% - but it was more than enough to feel the cold air in my wheezy lungs and the snowflakes on my face.

I stood beside the gently flowing water and allowed the sights and sounds of this rapturous place to wrap themselves round me.

I needed this.

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

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Losing lives and history

To the skies...
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Awful news yesterday out of Dallas, where a mid-air collision between a Bell P-63 Kingcobra and a B-17G Flying Fortress resulted in the loss of both aircraft and all crew.

I can’t even begin to imagine.

“Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?"
Amelia Earhart

#ldnont #b17 #flight #aviation #throwback #photography

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Are you going to eat that?

Under her watchful eye
London, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Dogs make everything - and everyone around them - better. But she still isn’t getting one of these cupcakes.

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

Friday, November 11, 2022

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On Twitter & disabilities

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - Amid the intensifying firestorm that is Elon Musk’s Twitter, it’s easy to forget the frightening impact this is having on people with disabilities. This piece breaks my heart.

By Megan McCluskey
Time
November 11, 2022

Flying Fortress. Flying History.

Planform
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress is one of the last examples still in the sky.

12,731 of them were built. 4,735 never came home.

What we owe to the kids who willfully took off in them, not knowing if they’d ever come home, is incalculable.

What we owe everyone who fought the forces of tyranny and darkness - in the air, on the ground, at sea, anywhere - is similarly not quantifiable.

If only we honored their memory by respecting their service more than we do. If only we appreciated just how much they sacrificed so that we wouldn’t have to.

#ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #remembranceday #lestweforget #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #boeing #usaf #b17 #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Thanking the fading day

Reflections above my head
London, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Don’t lament that the day is over. Rejoice that we had the day at all.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #519ldn #519london #sun #sunset #sky #cloud #clouds #trees #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #silhouette #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Bare branches on a moonlit night

Season's end
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Every once in a while, loveliness just…presents itself to us. Often when we least expect it.

Like this one, snagged just after 10 p.m. Monday on a sidewalk near home. The picture is admittedly lousy and I was feeling even worse as I took it. But the moment made me smile - and the photo merely continues the joy every time I look at it.

If this is how we get through difficult days, then count me in.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #night #moonlight #sky #street #streetphotography #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Monday, November 07, 2022

The Raptor returns

On the edge
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I do this thing when I’m under the weather: I wander through my photo archives and linger over images that bring me joy.

As luck would have it, I’ve got lots of pics that fit the bill. Like this F-22A Raptor generating a hint of vapor during Airshow London a couple of months back.

It isn’t much, just a tiny moment in time.

But that’s kind of what this life thing is made of: countless tiny moments in time, some of which hold the potential to bring us joy.

And all we need to do is go for the occasional wander through the archives. Easy, really.

@airshowlondon @f22demoteam #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #lockheedmartin #usaf #f22 #raptor #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography

Related:
And now the bottom half, September 2020

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Hyde Park shack

Timeworn
London, ON
July 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Apparently you can still get sick with nasties other than COVID during a pandemic. Who knew?

And on a weekend, yet. Le sigh.

So while I make my family miserable with my man-child behavior, please enjoy this weird old building that reflects how I currently feel. #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #city #hydepark #streetphotography #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Saturday, November 05, 2022

Abstract light on a kitchen wall

When photons land
London, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’s been a while since we delved into the abstract, so let’s address that oversight now.

The recipe for this particular scene is deceptively simple: throw a barrier in front of light just before it completes its epic 148 million kilometre, 8 minute, 15 second journey from the Sun to the surface of the Earth.

I’ve used our window shades and kitchen wall here, but the only rule here is that there are no rules. Use whatever works for you.

Playing with light. Sounds like a fun way to spend some free time.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #abstract #light #pattern #texture #physics #kitchen #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Friday, November 04, 2022

When classrooms go silent

All in all, you're just another brick in the wall
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Today is a lousy day for parents of school-aged kids in Ontario.

The province’s largest education support workers union has begun a walkout after the provincial government refused to negotiate contracts that keep up with the rate of inflation.

The full nuance of this tragic impasse would easily breach my word limit here. The brute force version is simple: we are being led by a majority Conservative government. Its leader, Doug Ford, sold drugs out of the trunk of his car before he dropped out of college and daddy gave him a job at the family label company.

He and his silver spoon minions are, to put it bluntly, bullying the folks who keep schools running because they feel they don’t deserve a fair shake.

In the meantime, families scramble to keep the wheels on as classrooms once again go dark.

As a parent, a taxpayer, and a member of a community impacted by another boneheaded decision by leaders who can’t be bothered to care about the everyday folks who aren’t stuffing their political war chests, I feel powerless.

So please pardon my lame attempt to find comfort amid the chaos, with this abstract photo of the wall outside the neighborhood elementary school.

Life happens here. Futures are built here. Perhaps sanity will prevail and these walls will once again hum with the energy and potential of the kids who are supposed to be studying here.

Perhaps not. But it doesn’t cost anything to hope.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #cupe #urban #city #brown #brick #perspective #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Sleepy puppy stare

Yes?
London, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This is the look of a dog whose sleep has just been disturbed.

Sorry, schnu.

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

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Vacancy at the Kowality Motor Inn

Family-owned
Dryden, ON
July 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’m guessing not too many folks are taking pictures of mid-century motels in northern Ontario.

Which is exactly why I find myself standing on a deserted street doing just that.

As I size it up, I tell myself it isn’t a particularly spectacular or unique piece of architecture. It’s no Eiffel Tower.

Then I stop my musing, and remind myself that while that iconic tower is the subject of countless thousands of photos every day, the Kowality Motor Inn in Dryden is not. I look around the windblown streetscape and realize I’m the only one out here.

Which explains the appeal of scenes like this. Let everyone else have the Eiffel Tower. This one’s mine, and it’s spectacular in its own unique way.

#dryden #ontario #canada #throwback #perspective #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #city #walkabout #monochrome #streetphotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Broken window theory, October 2022
Knots in the wood, September 2022
Oh deer! July 2022
Bambi returns, July 2022
Deer cubed, July 2022

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Towers that once lit the way

Under tension
Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We lived here once, a quiet suburb in Montreal’s West Island.

As I was young and insane back then, I rode my bike to work in the shadows of these very towers. They were always in my peripheral vision, industrial-looking giants that defined the route and pointed me toward where I needed to go.

I returned to this place on a bitterly cold, windy day, and I had time to kill. So I wandered around the old ‘hood looking for touchstones that once meant something to me. No bike this time. Just a camera, a warm coat, and a bunch of fuzzy memories looking for a trigger or two, or a glimpse back into what seemed like another lifetime.

The towers never were, and still were not, remotely remarkable. Bare infrastructure that no one cares about until the lights go out.

But back when I trekked further on a bike than some folks did in a car, they were beacons of the neighborhood, waiting for me to return from afar, distant signs on the horizon that I was close to home, close to safety.

Today I’d just follow the guidance on my Garmin, or plot a better route in Google Maps. But back then, cycling wasn’t so much an exercise in connected technology as it was a singular trek into and through the unknown. Every ride was its own little adventure, and if I was feeling particularly adventurous I’d shake up the routing and bit and try not to get lost.

It was these towers that kept me on track, ever-present beacons that seemed to be visible no matter how many wrong turns I took. One well-timed peek and I knew precisely where I needed to go.

Ultimately, we all need some form of direction. Where we get it from is entirely up to us, but we’ve got to open our eyes first.

#ddo #dollard #montreal #quebec #canada #tower #hydro #electric #power #perspective #design #lines #engineering #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded