Friday, May 27, 2022

A tomato by any other name

You say tomato...
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Technically, this tomato is a fruit.

Technically, I think we spend too much time thinking about labels.

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

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Same hospital, different lens

Conversation in the sky
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Hospital campuses are packed with giant buildings where scary stuff sometimes happens.

So I’ve evolved a bit of a habit when I visit them: I take pictures to make it all seem a little less scary. I’ll try to set aside a few minutes somewhere along the way to wander around and see what I see.

Because things look different - less frightening, even - when you look at them through a lens.

Because when you focus on composition and lighting and all the other tiny aspects of getting the right shot, what was once overwhelming can transform into something a little more within your control.

At least that’s how I choose to see it. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to be working for now.

And here you thought this was just a silly photo of a couple of buildings having a conversation.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #hospital #victoria #lhsc #photography #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Another day, another mass shooting

No words. Again.
London, ON
October 2013
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’s hard to imagine a world where someone can walk into a school and mow down every child in sight. And their teacher.

It’s even harder to imagine a world where this is considered normal, and nothing is done to stop the next one.

Yet we don’t have to imagine either scenario. Because this is the world we now live in.

#enough #uvalde #uvaldetx #texas

Related:

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Back to green

Fallen but still vital
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


And just like that, the valley turns itself green.

Just as it does every spring.

And even though this same thing happens every year, that doesn’t make it any less magical when it happens anew.

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

Monday, May 23, 2022

Waiting for her people

Oh so close
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Homecomings matter. Or at least they should.

Which is one of the many reasons why we have a dog. Because homecomings matter to her. Quite possibly more than anything else.

She’ll sit at rapt attention on the porch, often shaking with anticipation. Her tail will intermittently wag, sometimes so quickly that it becomes a blur. She’ll whine softly as the minutes drag on.

And when the car pulls in and her peeps get out, she loses her schnu mind.

Imagine being loved so much that your dog can’t contain her happiness when she first sees you.

Imagine unconditional love.

Or, in this case, don’t imagine it. Just watch it play out on the front steps.

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

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Aftermath of the storm

All that's left
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


So this tree fell in our forest.

And by virtue of the crowds of dog owners and fitness walkers who gathered on either side of the path it ended up blocking, many people heard it.

It was felled by a derecho, a fast-moving line of intense storms that covered a wide swath of Ontario and Quebec yesterday afternoon. At least five people were killed by the storms that spawned winds up to 120 km/h and left extensive damage in their wake.

It’s yet another example of how powerless we can feel amid forces that can change lives in an instant. And a reminder of how lucky we are to have escaped the worst, that we have the ability to clean up and move on.

Yet on this morning, I felt the need to somehow remember this craggy old tree I had walked past and admired so many times over the years.

As it lay in shattered ruins on the ground, shards of splintered wood scattered around it as if a bomb had gone off, I traced my hand along the knotty bark. This particular spot once towered at least 15 feet over my head, and I always thought it looked a bit like my dog’s head.

It’ll take generations to fill the now-open stretch of sky. The least I could do was try to remember what was once there, and soon will no longer be.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #storm #onstorm #medway #valley #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #texture #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
A face in the bark, January 2022

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Finding flowers and friendship in the valley

Yellow. Fleeting.
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The other day while walking the dog through the nearby valley, I came across a grey-haired woman with a friendly face.

She was crossing from one side of the path to the other, looking intently into the wild undergrowth by its edge.

I thought she was looking for a lost something-or-other, so I asked her if everything was ok. She laughed and said she was just admiring the wildflowers.

Relieved, I looked a little more closely and saw them for the first time. We bantered for a few minutes about the fleeting beauty just below our line of sight, and why we should always take the time to go looking for it.

She complimented Calli for being on her best behavior, and was rewarded with a gentle nose bump on the back of her hand. Our dog knows how to turn on the charm.

Before our new flower-admiring friend went on her way, I promised her I’d come back and take a picture. I don’t think she’s big on social media, but I hope she sees this someday and appreciates the simple joy of a random moment with a stranger.

We could all use more of those.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #yellow #flower #flowers #stilllife #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
After the rain, May 2018
Caption This 117, April 2009

Friday, May 20, 2022

The moon is made of cheese

Hungry?
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Finally, we have irrefutable proof that the moon is made of cheese. And in three glorious flavors!

Wallace and Gromit would be so proud.

Alas, they were asking $6.49 for a 57g packet. I love designer cheese as much as anyone else, but this just didn’t feel right. If I’m going to virtue-signal in a lame consumerist attempt to convince total strangers that I’m somehow worthy of their attention because I buy the right stuff, it won’t be with uber-fancy dairy products.

I’ll stick with the laughing cows and wax-wrapped mini-Pac-people for now.

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

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Long after the sun sets

Do not go gentle into that good night
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


40 minutes after the sun slips beneath the horizon, we come across a single tree at the edge of a massive park.

It frames a sky that’s still alive, still filled with color and texture, still has a story to tell.

I’m reminded that the dividing line between day and night - or any other polar-opposite state of being we can think of - isn’t as clear-cut as we think it is. That there are huge swaths of shades in between the blacks and whites that typically define how we view the world.

Tonight the shades are tinted in vibrant colors that will soon fade from view. But even as darkness takes over, I imagine the sky will continue to resonate with tone and texture. Will still be alive. And have a story to tell.

We just have to look for it.

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

Related:

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Where the sidewalk ends

Shades of Shel Silverstein
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I call these turnaround photos, and I’ll often take them halfway through an out-and-back bike ride.

I’ll stop to rest up, down a snack, and let my wife know I’m headed back.

Most of the time the photos are meh, boring placeholders of some random street corner or pathway or parking lot far from home.

But sometimes the scene offers up a little more fun before I pack everything back up and set off once more.

This time, the geometry on this dead-end road at the end of a still-new subdivision spoke to me. I couldn’t resist a little playtime.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. Where should I go next?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #yellow #street #sign #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
Caption This 82, August 2008

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The mystery of Building 15

Shhh, not so loud!
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’ve always wondered what goes on in Building 15.

I’m sure I could easily figure it out with a quick Google search. Or Siri query. Or Wikipedia lookup. Or maybe even a Hail Mary question on Reddit or Twitter or Facebook.

Because we live in an age where answers are always close at hand.

But just because every question potentially has a corresponding answer doesn’t necessarily mean that we should always seek it out.

Mystery, like this delightfully curved-roofed relic of London’s largely forgotten past, still has its place in the so-called Information Age.

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

Related:
Suitcase on church steps, September 2019

Monday, May 16, 2022

Blink before the pink disappears

Scattered
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


When the glorious pink blooms begin to fall off the tree that protects the sidewalk near our home, we have two choices:
  1. be sad
  2. capture them in some way before they’re gone for good
I vote for what’s behind door #2, because while beauty like this may indeed be fleeting, the feeling we get from having experienced it lasts a lot longer.

Maybe even forever if we play our cards right.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #pink #flowers #texture #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Our historic architectural jumble

Tightly connected
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This jumble of buildings in London’s downtown core spans well over a century of design, architecture, engineering, and life.

In many ways, it’s the story of too many generations to count, of the people who built this city and made it come alive. Who lived and worked behind these windows and walls.

It’s also a story that continues to play out, with the jumble continuing to evolve as the city reshapes itself yet again. With new stories being told in the shadows of the old.

It reminds me to look up every once in a while. Because there’s history happening just above our heads.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #history #urban #walkabout #downtown #street #streetphotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Finding beauty in an ugly world

In the western sky
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Chase the sun, even if you’re stuck in a suburban mall parking lot.

Because in a world where innocent Ukrainians are slaughtered for being Ukrainian, and innocent Buffalo residents are gunned down because they dared shop for groceries, we need random acts of storytelling beauty more than we ever have.

Please go find them. And share them.

#london #ontario #canada @cfmasonville #cfmasonville #sun #sunset #sky #mall #silhouette #landscape #landscapephotography #random #street #photography #streetphotography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Steps to another world

Tread carefully
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This staircase is both special and not.

It’s one of many in the area, and it connects the suburban streets above with the valley below, an easy way to escape the thrum of the city in a few easy steps.

Okay, maybe more than a few. It’s a steep valley, and there are lots of stairs.

The dog and I are here all the time, as it’s a regular part of our wanders through the neighborhood. Yet I’m usually so focused on not tripping on the crumbling concrete that I miss out on how it looks and feels.

So I decide to take a rare solo walk, one without a bouncy dog pulling the other end of the leash and ruining the shot. I even bring the camera-camera this time.

The well-worn steps haven’t only been badly maintained: they haven’t been maintained at all, the concrete slowly deteriorating in the deep shadows that settle over this quiet place.

Which I’m guessing is an accident waiting to happen. So I walk slowly, deliberately. All the better to notice the little things I’d otherwise miss, the textures, the soft, gloomy light, the sound of the whispering trees overhead.

While these steps may not be special enough to merit proper attention from the folks who run this town, they’re special enough to me for the quiet way they underpin the simple rituals of day-to-day life in an otherwise forgettable corner of the city.

As I tuck the camera away and begin the long climb to the house, I quietly resolve to shoot more scenes like this. They may be invisible to most, forgotten even. But they still deserve to have their stories told.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #walkabout #forest #concrete #stairs #gameoftones #texture #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Friday, May 13, 2022

Chewing on the flowers

She doesn't think they're weeds, either
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’ll take Dogs Who Lick Dandelions for $200, Alex.

Seriously, we discover something new and weird about this little lady pretty much every day.

Which, on reflection, is exactly as it should be.

Enjoy the fields of yellow, sweet Calli. We’ll always be there to clean off your beard when you’re done.

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

Peppers in all colors

Pick a side
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


They say there are two sides to every story.

Whoever “they” are, I’ll choose to believe them.

This time.

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

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Chaos in the woods

Unfettered growth
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This scene reminds me of life itself.

Where we stare into a messy landscape and try to make sense out of the chaos, to find the one thing that stands out, that’s worth focusing on.

It isn’t always easy.

But still, we try. To make sense of that which seemingly makes no sense.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #texture #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
Stripped branches, November 2021
Clinging to life, December 2013

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Uprooted

Anchored
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


On the footpath that twists and turns beside the meandering brook that shaped this valley, an impossible knot of roots dominates a particularly steep slope.

If you step carefully, they’re like stairs. But they can just as easily trip you up if you aren’t paying attention.

Nature can be harsh, after all.

And strong.

These roots have been anchors for longer than we’ve been around, and will probably still be here long after we’re gone.

I can’t help but think there’s a story in them, somehow, a lesson in tenacity and teamwork we’d all do well to heed.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #roots #texture #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
The root of the matter, December 2020

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Emptiness at the edge of suburbia

Patience is everything
London, ON
December 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Flashback to one of the last days of the year, to a tired old storefront waiting for a new chapter to begin.

It’s often said that everyone has a place, and maybe this place is simply waiting for its everyone - or anyone - to discover it and make it come alive once again.

As I take the picture of this dimly lit strip mall in the middle of a dark, wintry landscape on the border between suburbia and farmland, I wonder who that anyone might be, and what this place could look like the next time I find myself here.

From the outside looking in, it may look ordinary, even a little run-down. Okay, a lot run-down. But it’s still worthy of having its story told. Every place is. So is every person.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #hyde #park #gainsborough #empty #store #retail #retailapocalypse #walkabout #winter #weather #wx #random #streetphotography #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:

Monday, May 09, 2022

Calli at 5

Tired birthday girl
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This little one turns 5 today.

It feels weird to even write the number, because in the same breath it feels both as if she’s been a part of us forever, and that it was yesterday when we first met her.

That’s the duality of having a dog in the family. They expand to fill every fibre of our being, yet they’re never around long enough. That time thing, again.

At 5, Calli is every bit the bonkers Schnauzer she was when we first brought her home, the one who guards us with limitless energy and noise.

She’s also the same cuddly girl who shadows us when we’re not feeling 100%, who curls up in a ball in our lap, and brushes us with her paw when she thinks we aren’t giving her enough attention.

She’s my loyal little buddy, always up for a long walk through the neighborhood, always pointing me in the right direction with her sad brown eyes and heart-melting whine.

My favorite thing about her is how she’s changed us. I love watching our kids with her. She’s taught them so much about kindness, empathy, and selflessness. They are better people because we’ve had her - and before her, Frasier - in our family.

People who have dogs and cats and other pets get it. They understand how pet ownership defies logic, yet becomes a blessing they can’t imagine living without. They know how much they give us, and how life just seems to have a little more color because they’re in it.

So while we can’t stop the relentless passage of time - for ourselves, for our pups, for anyone - we can certainly appreciate the tiny little moments that these four-legged beings bring to us.

And while this one doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak dog, that look and that paw telegraph as clear as day that we communicate with each other just fine.

That extra treat in her bowl tonight isn’t just because today is a special day. It’s because every day is a special day, thanks to her.

Woof!

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #birthday #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood

Related:
Calli at 3, May 2020
Calli turns 1, May 2018

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Celebration squared

Pretty woman
London, ON
March 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’s Mother’s Day today. It’s also my birthday. So we’ve got lots to celebrate.

I’d rather focus on the former, as my completing another trip around the Sun is hardly relevant to the masses.

My wife, on the other hand, is highly relevant to all of us, and to so many others. Like the Sun, she is the very foundation of our orbits, the source of the gravity that grounds us.

My hackneyed space metaphors notwithstanding, she is the quintessential mom, the kind of mother anyone would love to have. And we’re blessed that she’s ours.

This will be just as true tomorrow as it is today, so don’t mind if I fail to buy into the Hallmarkian commercialism of this day. She matters on any day, as do all mothers who spend days and years being there for others before being there for themselves.

Still, we’ll make any excuse for cake and singing and happiness. We should all celebrate each other more than we do. Today. Every day. Because life, and the moms who create and nurture it, should be treasured.

#LiveLaughLevy #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #birthday #mothersday #mom #moms #life #parenthood #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
On a journey, May 2009
Gifts, May 2008
From a distance, May 2007

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Bus stop moment

Where travel begins
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Waiting. Together.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #suburban #street #photography #walkabout #bus #transit #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
The endless wait, April 2020

Parking lot playtime

Whenever creativity hits
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I call this playtime.

It’s the kind of random, spontaneous photographic exploration that happens when you don’t have time for a dedicated shoot.

It’s what you do when you have a few free minutes and a surplus of synapses firing in your brain.

It’s what happens when the little voices of inspiration start reaching out, begging for you to pay attention to the neat little things that always seem to happen during these so-called in-between or in-the-margins moments.

It’s what happens when life gets too busy for words, but that itch still needs to be scratched.

And so it was in a downtown parking lot long after the sun had gone down, and long after I should have been home. The sight of time-worn concrete under harsh streetlights felt mournful, but I couldn’t look away. Soon enough, the smartphone came out and I started to play with angles, textures, and light.

The entire thing lasted a few minutes, if that much. But it was just enough to scratch that itch and get me back into that place, that zone where it was just me and a flash of an idea.

Because sometimes you need some adult playtime. And even if this doesn’t look like much, it turns out to be just the escape I’ve been needing.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #via #viarail #train #rail #urban #city #downtown #travel #travelphotography #stella #red #color #texture #carporn #parking #lot #night #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Friday, May 06, 2022

Newspaper nostalgia

Stacked
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I strangely miss this.

The smell of the newsprint, the ink-stained fingers, the heft of a Saturday or Sunday paper as it hits the doorstep, the sounds of sections being shared across the kitchen table, the folding and refolding as the family settles into its morning routine.

Electronic devices may be more efficient and timely. Forests don’t have to be sacrificed at the altar of the morning news, and dinosaurs don’t get burned on the truck ride to the neighborhood. No more spending time on hold waiting to lodge yet another complaint over missed delivery.

But no smartphone or tablet is ever this visceral, this tangible. Scrolling through articles on a touchscreen just doesn’t touch the soul in quite the same way. The shared experience of conventional news is lost in a world that cherishes multimedia and multiplatform. Multianything, really.

I get it: we’ve advanced as a species. Today’s solutions are better than yesterday’s. We don’t so much read articles as we consume content, as we interact with it and turn it into something those who built it never envisioned.

But as is so often the case, we’ve left something behind in the process.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #newspaper #newsprint #media #monochrome #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Blue doors. Vanished history.

Beer me.
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’m riding along the bike path when I notice a flash of color out of the far corner of my eye.

The path curves through the shadows of a massive brewery, in a neighborhood where historic single family homes stare out into London’s commercial and industrial history.

Curiosity wins the moment, and within seconds I’m peeling off the path and circling back for a closer look at the impossibly blue doors.

A man waits for his dog to finish sniffing the weeds poking through the weathered asphalt in front of his house, while next door a woman sits on the covered porch with a laptop. I park the bike a little down the street and quietly take in the delightfully aged building across the way.

They make beer here. Or they ship it from here. Or something. I can’t really tell what this building is used for, as the only identifiable sign is a large “15” over the main entrance.

But those blue doors just beg for a linger. They’ve probably been around for far longer than any of us, and they almost seem to drip history onto the dusty streetscape.

By the time I finish my quick shoot, the lady with the laptop is staring at me and smiling. I apologize for ruining her peace, and she laughs. We briefly chat about my Instagram addiction, and how much I admire the visuals of her cool little hood before I pack everything away and continue on my way.

The lesson from this moment is a simple one: always give into your curiosity. You see some pretty neat things, and meet some pretty neat people.

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

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

We've got the meats

A plethora of protein
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Date night looks a little different in the middle of a pandemic.

Not that we were ever big party people, but the concept of “going out” is still a little too scary for us. I’m guessing we’re not the only ones who feel generally skittish about being in close proximity to crowds of strangers.

So date night now happens in unconventional places, like grocery stores. As an added bonus, the aisles are almost empty, which gives me a little more latitude to bring home a photo or ten.

Like this meat counter still-life. There isn’t anything in-frame that I’d remotely consider eating, but the visuals were too good to pass up.

Artistry takes many forms. If this chapter in history has any upside - and I believe that it does - it could be that we’ve been forced into situations that allow us to see what we might have once missed.

I wonder where our next date night will take us. Maybe something cheese-themed.

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

Related:

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Big box parking lot discovery

Beige is always beautiful

The scene: July 2020, in a big box retail parking lot on the south end of town.

It's a warm, sunny Saturday evening, and I've come here to pick dinner up for the brood. They eat, apparently, and this parenthood thing means you've got to keep feeding them.

Imagine that.

As I return to the car and carefully place our din inside (chicken wings; please don't judge), I notice a cargo container sitting ignored in the corner of the lot. A nearby store is under renovation, and they're using the bin for recycling.

I fixate on the latching mechanism for a few seconds before I decide it needs a photo.

No, the world doesn't especially need another picture of mundane, beige-painted hardware. But in these early days of the pandemic, I've been taking more and more seemingly stupid pictures because of the way they freeze time.

And this is another moment that seems to merit freezing.

Fast-forward to today, and I don't remember the photo so much as how it felt to be out in these strange times, engaged in an admittedly routine act on behalf of my all-time favorite people back home.

It certainly doesn't reflect the lofty ideals of photography as 15-year-old-me first envisioned when I bought my first serious camera. But life is like that: the world changes around us, so we kind of have to change along with it.

May as well shoot the experience so we remember it more clearly, right?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #retail #parking #parkinglot #beige #buffalo #wings #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Monday, May 02, 2022

Returning to the temple of hockey

The game
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We did some sportsing the other night.

It had been a while since we had been in this place. 27 months, to be precise.

I’m not sure how I felt being surrounded by 6-plus-thousand people. It was lovely to be out and about with my family, doing something - following our beloved Ontario Hockey League team, the London Knights - that for so long has brought them so much joy.

But it was still nerve-wracking. Even if everyone had worn masks, it would have felt…off. But with most folks not wearing a mask at all, it felt even less normal. It’s not a judge-others kinda thing. It’s just one more elevated threat in a world that already has many.

Still, the good guys won. Convincingly.

And the simple act of going downtown to watch a game reminded us that good things wait for us at the end of this chapter. Even if getting back to them will be more of a gradual transition than we might have once hoped.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #hockey #budweisergardens #knights #londonknights #goknightsgo #playoffs #kitchener #rangers #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
They play hockey here, February 2021
Hockey Night in London, November 2019

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Meadowlily Bridge from below

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


Yesterday was a good day to roll the bike out and push just a little further and faster.

It wasn’t easy - thanks, stupid lungs - but it still felt good to get out and power myself across the city once again. I wasn’t alone on the trails, and everyone around me seemed to be smiling, which made it a little easier to spin the pedals a little harder.

The turnaround point was a bridge that’s been around for over a century, and after a painstaking restoration a few years back, should be up to carrying foot and bike traffic for at least another hundred years.

I pondered the best way to share the view this time out - the last time I was here I settled on a geometric exploration of the rivets on its main span - and eventually decided it might be fun to go underneath the deck.

I’m odd like that, but I’m sure you likely already knew that.

So here we are, looking straight up at the underside of the wood deck. Thanks to the engineers who first built it, and the ones who brought it back to life in 2013, we’re left with a structure that begs to be appreciated from any angle.

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

Related:
Back in the saddle, April 2022

The sun begins to set on AWACS

G-d's eye view
London, ON
September 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’m in an avgeek mood.

It’s funny how that works: when life gets kinda swirly, I like to think about things that bring me comfort. And if it flies, it brings me comfort.

This is an E-3 Sentry. It performs the airborne early warning and control system mission, hence its more commonly-understood nickname: AWACS.

Basically, it’s a super-sophisticated air traffic control asset. It uses that giant rotating radar dish to scan huge volumes of airspace and provide real-time visibility to fighters and other airborne assets.

Why does this matter? You can put a much bigger radar on a jetliner airframe than you can on a fighter. And having one giant radar for everyone means the fighters don’t have to light their own units up - which means they’re harder for the enemy to find.

Functionally, AWACS planes stay well outside the threat area and point their radars over the battle zone, then feed data to strike packages. The good guys have eyes on everything, and the bad guys never know what’s coming. I’ll take networked warfare for $200, Alex.

Needless to say, the Sentry is a priceless piece of kit, and is one of the most highly prized targets in any armed conflict.

Like Ukraine, where NATO-tasked examples of the type are flying round the clock just over the border to soak up data from Ukraine and monitor Russian air activity. It’s a poignant statement that this product of the Cold War now protects NATO’s eastern border and stands firm against Russian aggression.

Alas, these aircraft are based on an ancient airframe. All those antennae and protrusions may make the Sentry look like a bit of a monster, but underneath it all it’s a Boeing 707. So its flight crew are in some cases the grandchildren of the engineers who designed it. It’s an incredible, lifesaving, gamechanging plane, but it’s wearing out.

Well, USAF officials this week announced they’ve chosen Boeing’s E-7 Wedgetail as the E-3’s eventual replacement. In addition to being based on the much more recent 737 (Next Gen, not the MAX, thank goodness) airframe, it replaces the rotating dome with a wedge-shaped antenna, hence the name.

Of course I appreciate that looks matter less than capability. And as long as these continue to offer G-d’s-eye perspectives to the good guys in the air, nothing else matters. Another example of technology for the win.

I will definitely miss the rotating dome, though.

#nikonskydrive @airshowlondon @nikoncanada #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #throwback #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #boeing #e3 #sentry #awacs #usaf #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviastionphotography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography #lifeinthemargins

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

Related:
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

Related:

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


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