Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Introverts invade the forest

Not all is ever as it seems
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We were raised to believe we always needed to stand out.

Yet as I stare at the singularly brilliant orange tree screaming its presence from clear across the water, all I can think about are the relatively muted yellow and green and stripped bare trees standing beside it.

They don’t scream so much as whisper, yet they’re the ones I can’t stop looking at.

I bring this up because I’m an introvert. I get laughed at whenever I mention it. Folks figure because I spend time in front of mics and cameras that I just love me a good crowd scene.

Sorry, no.

Crowds are hard for me. I have to work myself up to making a phone call or leading a meeting. I overprepare beforehand, then need to recharge after I’m done.

Parties aren’t my jam. Sure, I’ll attend if I have to, and I’ll smile and laugh and dance. But I’ll collapse in relief when I’m done. I cherish quiet moments - on long walks, on the bike, in an isolated corner of the house - to slow everything down and allow my brain to catch up.

I’m keenly aware of the fact that our world seems to value things that stand out, that are big, loud, bright.

For most of us it starts early, in primary school, where we’re trained, Pavlov-like, to raise our hands and compete for attention as a way of validating our knowledge. Too bad for you if that’s not your thing.

So, the trees. Orange grabs the eye first and most strongly. But allow your gaze to settle for a bit and the so-called lesser lights eventually take their place on the stage. It takes time, but those quieter elements will tell their stories if we allow them to.

Trees. People. Whatever.

Maybe we’ve been looking at things the wrong way. Maybe raising our hands and hoping our teachers notice us isn’t the answer. Maybe we all just have our own way of interacting with those around us. Maybe those definitions need a bit of an update.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #westminsterponds #tree #trees #leaves #autumn #texture #color #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
When colors fade, October 2022
Shades of orangeish, October 2011

Monday, October 30, 2023

Just before the demolition

One last look
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


17 years ago, I got off my bike in a once-industrial neighborhood and took a photo of a decaying, ancient factory.

The shattered windows reflected the sunlight just so, and I figured the building would soon be demolished.

For reasons known only to time, the hulking building found something of a second life, with part of it converted into a beach volleyball facility while the rest of it languished.

Eventually even the volleyball thing came to an end.

So when I found myself nearby while running errands last week, I took a walk to see what was up.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, time has clearly not been kind to this place. The windows were even more shattered than I had remembered, with chunks of the facade now completely open to the elements.

Yet wisps of autumn color still crept along the ruined brickwork, defiantly planting the seeds of life in a place seemingly hostile to it.

As I quietly snapped away, a gentleman in a hard hat and reflective vest approached and asked if this used to be a bakery. I said I wasn’t sure, but I thought it was originally some kind of machinery-making factory.

We chatted for a bit about how they don’t make them like this anymore, and when I told him I was glad it was still standing, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Not for long.”

Turns out he was part of the demolition team, and they had just arrived to begin the painstaking process of bringing the entire building down.

He had no idea what came next for this site, but I couldn’t help but shudder at the timing. Maybe I was meant to return here before it disappeared. Maybe old buildings aren’t as lifeless as we once might have thought.

Or maybe they deserve one last chance to say goodbye.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #weston #factory #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #ruinporn #urban #city #120weston #windows #autumn #color #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Sunny ruinporn, April 2022
Tim is still dead, February 2020

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Why Matthew Perry's light still shines

How many tomorrows?
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If Annie the orphan got it right all those years ago, the sun will indeed come out tomorrow. Which means we’ll get another chance to have our breath taken away as it finds new ways to paint the sky.

It’s been doing it for 4.5 billion years or so, so there’s always another chance to take it in, right?

Actually, wrong. We’re only here for a fraction of that, eligible for only a set number of showings before we run out of tomorrows. We kick the wow moments to tomorrow at our peril, because even if it’s a certainty that the sun will come out tomorrow, there are no guarantees that we’ll still be here to greet it.

I normally don’t comment on celebrity culture, but I’ll make a rare exception this time, as Matthew Perry was 54, and his sudden loss seems like a particularly cruel example of how the universe seems to work.

He battled back from addiction, his gifts of supernatural comedic timing and broadly recognized kindness not only intact, but still brilliant. He brought light to the lives of countless people, many of whom now mourn him despite the fact that they never met him.

We honour his life, and the lives of others like him, by making sure our own light continues to shine, no matter how many times the sun may or may not come out for each of us.

It’s what we do. Or at least that’s how I think all of this is supposed to work.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #sky #tree #trees #cloud #clouds #cloudspotting #weather #wx #optimistpark #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #friends #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Sunrise, sunset, November 2020
Reflective sky, September 2010

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Reflecting on old, memorable glass

Still lit after all these years
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Among my many odd habits is this one: I don’t have the heart to sell or otherwise dispose of my old cameras once I’ve moved onto newer ones.

I suppose it’s because a camera isn’t just some meaningless piece of hardware to me. Over the years that I use it, I come to appreciate its unique quirks, its heft and balance, the way it feels in my hand, or even its sounds as I work through the controls.

Use any inanimate object for long enough and you’ll develop a certain degree of muscle memory, an innate ability to make it come alive without actually looking at it.

Besides, by the time I’m done with a camera, it’s got enough shutter clicks and dings in it that whatever I might get for it would fall far short of the sentimental value it holds for me. I feel cameras deserve to be out there, used and loved and marked up from the places they’ve been and the stories they’ve helped us tell.

So I keep them lined up on a shelf in my office, and they often attract attention from folks on Zoom calls or anyone who catches me in an interview or segment. Or I’ll just stare over at them every once in a while and muse about the chapters of my family’s life that each one got to help tell.

A camera is a fairly simple machine: a box with a shutter that lets light in - light that helps us tell stories and freeze memories in time. But over the years where it goes from a pristine wondermachine to a used up relic, it ends up becoming an integral part of the stories - our stories- that flow through the glass.

So it feels like the right thing to do to freeze these memory-makers in time, as well, to pay silent tribute to each chapter of our unfolding life.

It isn’t the actual object that we covet, after all. It’s what we choose to do with it along the way, and how it makes us feel.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #homeoffice #roguesgallery #nikon #canon #glass #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Friday, October 27, 2023

Grades and shades of ivy

One last colourful dance
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I can’t identify plant matter to save my life. So if I’m mistaken in calling this ivy, please accept my apologies.

Whatever this is, it inspires me.

On a cold, cracked concrete wall in the shadows of four lanes of high-speed traffic, it clings to life despite everything this harsh environment throws at it.

All summer long, it ducks in between countless rounds of graffiti, followed by just as many rounds of graffiti removal. Yet still it grows, seemingly oblivious to the forces intent on killing it.

Then, just before the snows fly, it puts on one last show of colour, a brilliant gradient of sheer defiance before it disappears for good.

Next spring, it’ll be back, proving once again that tenacity beats environment every time. And even a stringy-looking plant can hold lessons for us.

But only if we take the time to stand next to the cracked concrete and ponder what’s possible.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #red #ivy #leaves #thames #river #stilllife #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Tenacious twine, March 2022
Clinging to life, February 2019
Climbing the walls, March 2018
Looking back in time, October 2009
He's dead, Jim, July 2008

Thursday, October 26, 2023

One wet, mysterious leaf

Here for now
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’m [this] close to losing my ability to fully comprehend humankind’s ability to dole out cruelty.

So please don’t mind if I revert to sharing soothing photos I’ve taken in the one place where I can fully - if temporarily - escape from the darkness that seems to be enveloping the planet.

It’s a river valley that happens to be a short walk from home, and I’m reasonably sure it keeps me sane these days.

I came across this single maple leaf sitting on the railing of a boardwalk that crosses over a bend in the river. It was randomly covered with water droplets that reflected the brilliant sun spearing through the leafy canopy above.

The winds were strong that day, even this deep in the woods, so I was a little surprised that it held its own and hadn’t been blown into the waters below.

Maybe the universe meant for me to find it.

Maybe this photography thing is more than just the process of assembling pixels.

Maybe I need to keep returning here.

Maybe I should ponder less and spend more time playing with glass.

Maybe this is where l’ll find some of that elusive kindness.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #leaf #leaves #texture #water #droplet #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #stilllife #monochrome #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Blink and you'll miss it, September 2015
A Bug's Life, April 2013

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Rainbows among the leaves

Lessons from high above
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If the forest is made stronger by its diversity, then why aren’t we applying similar logic to the rest of the planet?

Sometimes I wonder if humanity is ever going to figure it out.

In the meantime, we have temporary rainbows in our midst. If only they were enough.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #red #orange #yellow #green #leaves #texture #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
When colors fade, October 2022
Let's start colorfully, November 2020

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Relentlessly searching for autumn color

The view from the bridge
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’s been a lousy autumn for color, with leaves that have been slow to change, often dropping right from the trees after turning a dreary shade of brown.

Part of me wanted to jump in the car and drive far away, as I’d heard other folks were having more luck further afield. But my eco-conscious conscience got the best of me and I stuck closer to home.

I kept walking over to the nearby woods, revisiting nooks and crannies in the canopy with the faintest hope that they might have something new to share, perhaps a little extra light or color.

It felt like an ongoing mission to find something that seemingly didn’t want to be found, to tease out some brightness from a landscape that had no intention of cooperating.

And as much as I whined about it every time I returned home with bupkis, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. There was something about digging through the murk that made this year’s autumn color search the most enjoyable one I’ve had in a while.

Photography, after all, is never so much about the stories that present themselves to us, without effort. Rather, it’s become about the process of uncovering the hidden, of searching for the invisible, of finding and capturing the unexpected. It’s the search, then, that’s the thing.

In the end I found some color - in places I’ve never looked before. But what sticks with me most isn’t the photos I brought home, but the stories I managed to tell as I stumbled through the woods looking for inspiration.

Photography. Life. Kinda the same thing, I think.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #red #leaves #texture #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Canopy in chaos, October 2023
A tale of two trees, October 2022

Monday, October 23, 2023

Sun-kissed cathedral

Stand right here
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The Sun did its best to punch through the canopy, the leaves losing their battle with time as one after another detached in the brisk wind and floated to the forest floor.

Soon enough that battle will be over, the protective cover just a memory, the winter skies free to dump their snows unimpeded. Another season, another reality.

That probably explains why I keep returning to places like this. Because every day here serves up a different story. Because nothing here ever really stays the same. Because you never know how you’ll feel until you walk this path.

Change is the only constant here. Then again, that’s just as true outside the forest as it is within it.

Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #yellow #leaves #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Boop the snoot

Siesta time
London, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


As a matter of fact, no, I will not be sharing my spot on the couch.

We Schnauzers aren’t known much for sharing, but we’re pretty good at hovering pretty close when we sense you need us.

And now is one of those times, right?

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

Related:
Dog meets snail, June 2022
Eight dog years, March 2015

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Bent but not broken

Shaped by unseen forces
Arva, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We’re all blown by the same winds.

Maybe we look a little different.

Grow up in different places.

End up a little taller (or shorter).

Even sound different from each other.

But we feed from the same earth, breathe the same air, reach for the same sky.

If only more of us realized this simple truth.

Please share this. Let’s start something.

#ldnont #london #arva #ontario #canada #forest #tree #trees #leaves #grasses #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Wheat, chaff and light,  November 2006

Friday, October 20, 2023

Canopy in chaos

So many layers
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There’s a lot going on here, a chaotic mixture of colors and textures, random foreground and background elements, a riot of out-of-control growth in various stages of dying before winter.

In other words, it’s a leafy analog to real life, in all its achingly diverse and unfair and painful and tragic and stunning beauty.

Let’s just focus on the good, then. It’s how we best cope.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #leaves #autumn #texture #color #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Let's start colorfully, November 2020

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Fallen trees aren't really dead

How many years?
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


All life has its own texture, even after it ends.

Indeed, the story of this fallen tree didn’t stop after the chainsaw that brought it down to the forest floor was powered off. In many respects, its story was only beginning to be told.

I’m just a simple human being, so I’m hardly qualified to talk about the meaning of a tree’s life. Or of any life, for that matter.

But standing beside this decaying giant, I wondered about all the other visitors to this valley who had enjoyed its shade over the years, who listened to the song of its leaves blowing in the wind, or who brought a particularly colourful example home when they finally fell to earth.

Even if they weren’t acutely conscious of it at the time, their lives were touched in some remarkably subtle way by this tree.

Trees, squirrels, people, whatever or whoever. We all brush up against each other as we wander through the forest, and we all leave some kind of impact as we do.

So before I leave this scene behind, I run my fingertips along the textured rings, silently marking off the years and thinking about the passage of time. Maybe it’s just a dead tree to some, but it still has stories to tell, and lives to touch.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #leaves #autumn #texture #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #stilllife #monochrome #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
A tree meets its end, September 2016
New beginnings, July 2009
Bark, cubed, November 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

An overdue walk in the woods

Splattered
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I needed to hit the pause button for a bit, so I followed the advice of friends and looked for color in an entirely new spot, deep in the corners of a forest I hadn’t recently explored.

Mother Nature was clearly busy here, splattering the canopy with a rainbow of shades and tones as she got ready to tuck the entire valley in for the winter.

I was alone on the leafy path, joined only by the occasional squirrel scurrying through the fallen leaves in search of supplies for the coming cold. The creek that shaped this valley burbled gently nearby, its cooling waters dotted randomly by fallen trees and smooth-worn rocks.

In the end, I spent more time just absorbing the moment than taking pictures of it. Because sometimes memories are quietly held rather than explicitly captured.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #leaves #autumn #colors #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
#FindTheLight, Part 1, October 2020
#FindTheLight, Part 2, October 2020

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The tracks we leave

Who?
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We all leave tracks in our wake.

Are we ensuring they’re positive ones?

Serious question.

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

Related:
Footprints, December 2017
Transience, May 2006

Monday, October 16, 2023

Branched logic to start the week

We're all seeking something
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Lessons from a branch:

Dig your roots deep into the soil.

Soak up all the goodness you can.

Stretch far into the unknown.

Keep growing despite all the uncertainty that surrounds you.

Make it possible for future generations to pick up where you leave off.

Sounds like a reasonable way to start the week, doesn’t it?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #leaves #branches #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #bokeh #stilllife #monochrome #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Branched life, May 2023

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Red on grey on a windy day

Brilliantly defiant
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


So I found a little color, after all.

It wasn’t much, just a couple of strands of ivy clinging stubbornly to a worn wooden fence amid a stiff autumn wind intent on getting rid of it. But it was enough to merit some exploration with the lens.

The funny thing is I had just about given up. We were almost home, and the grey sky over the grey landscape reflected our grey mood.

But then we rounded a corner and this was waiting for us, a tiny bolt of color defiantly standing against the relentless monochrome that surrounded it.

I’m sharing it here as a reminder of a few simple truths:
  1. Beauty is everywhere, particularly where we least expect it.
  2. We should never give up hope even when the evidence is overwhelmingly grey.
  3. Life holds on tenaciously even in the harshest of places.
Again, something tells me these reedy little leaves are an analog, but I’ll leave that pondering for another time. For now, the skies are still relentlessly dark, and it’s time to head back into the woods to find the hidden slivers of color that I know are out there.

Today and every day, these tiny exceptions are always out there. We owe it to ourselves and each other to stamp out the overwhelming doubts that now cloud our minds and our hearts, and look harder for them.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #red #ivy #leaves #thames #river #stilllife #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Tenacious twine, March 2022
Clinging to life, February 2019
Climbing the walls, March 2018
Looking back in time, October 2009
He's dead, Jim, July 2008

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Where light banishes darkness

Always room for more
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Countless families around the world lit an extra candle last night to welcome in the Jewish Sabbath.

The wish? More light. More peace. More humanity. No matter who you are.

Why can’t the human race figure it out? We may never know, but throwing more light into the universe seems like a reasonable thing for reasonable people to do.

So does leading with small gestures of light. Of connecting with each other. Of talking. Of realizing there are way more reasonable people on this planet than the other kind.

That despite the overwhelming sense of powerlessness that we all feel as we read the headlines and scan our feeds, each one of us has the power to initiate small changes.

Darkness only happens in the absence of light. So we must choose to be the light.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #candle #light #hope #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Let the light return, December 2020
Candle in the wind, November 2010

Friday, October 13, 2023

Ravaged leaves and lives

Defiant
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Autumn colors mean different things to different people. And anyone who knows me even vaguely probably knows that, ah, I’m different.

So when I’m tramping through the woods in the midst of a futile hunt for color that doesn’t want to show itself, I look for other things to play with.

Like insect-ravaged leaves that have barely survived the season.

Back in the day, this is the kind of pic that would have gotten me a “you wasted your film” comment. Yet even back then, it would have been worth it. In the age of digital, even more so.

This leaf (actually, there are three in-frame, but the one on the left is dominant) leaves nothing to the imagination. It wears its experiences in stark relief, telling its story without having to say a word.

It draws us in - the mind, not only the eye - and asks us to wonder what it must have been like in the harsh river valley. At first glance, the place looks peaceful. Pastoral, even. But the stripped greenery tells another story, of trees and bushes fighting to stay relevant amid a landscape filled with neighbors trying to get rid of them.

This isn’t remotely like a typical autumn scene. But what is typical, anyway? Who decides what is and is not worthy of having its story told? And who thinks any of this is just about a few ephemeral leaves?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #green #leaves #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #stilllife #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Dirty old leaf, October 2020
When life ends, September 2020

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Shadows, light, and hope

Geometric
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The light can’t shine as brilliantly as it does unless we first experience the darkness.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #architecture #urban #city #downtown #shadows #lines #geometry #regcoopersquare #streetphotography #monochrome #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Shadows on brick, October 2022
Smoke and light, July 2022
Sun-striped bridge, October 2021

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Muted colors on the forest floor

Keep looking
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We’ve headed into the woods a number of times in recent days, but autumn colours have been difficult to find - as if nature itself refuses to reflect joy.

We’d be forgiven for giving up, then, for staying inside and not wasting our time chasing the muted tones that now define the landscape around us.

But still, we go. Because even muted scenes have merit. Because even if we fail to find what we were originally looking for, we haven’t wasted our time at all. Because just setting out has its own rewards.

Staring at the crumpled leaves and stripped branches on the silent forest floor, I can’t help but feel they reflect the end of something, the closing of a chapter, the beginning of a cold winter, the absence of any final flourish to mark the moment.

Maybe this is an analog for the broader planet. Maybe we mourn without color now. Maybe sadness paints our midst in faded shades. Maybe silence is our new defining soundtrack.

But still, we head out. Still, we endure. Still, we will return after the coming winter, when the lifeless mess we see here feeds a new generation of riotous life.

It may never be the same as it once was. But it’ll be masterful in its own right. And we’d hate to miss the show.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #leaves #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Rooted to the ground, December 2019

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Finding light long after sunset

Patience...
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Whatever you do today, please do everything you can to find the light.

Our daughter and I looked for it last night - and managed to find it long after the Sun had disappeared.

There’s a broader lesson here, I suspect. And maybe this isn’t simply about sunsets.

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


Monday, October 09, 2023

Beauty in an unexpected place

Look way up
London, ON
August 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


When I woke up this morning, the world was still a pretty ugly place.

Filled with people who behave reprehensibly.

Who care about themselves first. And others less. If at all.

Who believe the rules don’t apply to them.

And while I realize there’s nothing the rest - thankfully majority - of us can do to fix or eliminate them, we still have options.

Like looking for beauty in places where we might not otherwise expect to find it.

And taking the time to focus on the good that surrounds us.

Instead of on the forces of darkness.

So my contribution today is this recent capture of a mural in a downtown alleyway. It can’t repair the damaged streetscape below, or the damaged lives of those who live in its shadows. But perhaps it can inspire just enough light to begin changing the tide.

It’s got to start somewhere, after all. Why not here?

Where are YOU finding the light?

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

Related:
Underpass art, September 2023
Bird on brick, December 2022

Saturday, October 07, 2023

Summer ends for the Boys of Summer

Velocity
Toronto, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The Toronto Blue Jays crashed out of the post-season this week, losing two straight games in their best-of-three wild card series against the Minnesota Twins.

As the only Canadian team in Major League Baseball (Montreal Expos forever!) the sorry end to a challenging season was felt across the country.

We got to see them play in Toronto last month, and as luck would have it that day, the good guys won.

And as the post-season speculation around who’s to blame and who returns (or doesn’t) next year hits a new gear, I’m reminded of the simple lesson I learned from my own inglorious little league experiences on a decidedly rattier-looking diamond: there will be more games.

And as much as fans seemingly live and die by whether or not they win a game or a series or a championship, I’d rather not follow the crowd.

Because win or lose, it’s a beautiful game. And simply being there to witness it is a privilege in its own right.

#toronto #yyz #ontario #canada #bluejays #rogers #centre #skydome #stadium #baseball #kevingausman #fieldofdreama #sports #sportsing #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

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Friday, October 06, 2023

Dead leaves at our feet

Where it all begins
London, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Yesterday I shared my habit of taking cathedral shots of the forest canopy. So today brings us another weird habit, albeit in the opposite direction.

Maybe a dirty forest floor covered with crumpled red and brown leaves is less spectacular than the canopy overhead, but it’s no less important. Indeed, it’s likely more so.

Because there’s a lot going on down by our feet. And those towering trees? They started off down there once, as seedlings competing for light and water. Even now, as they tower over the landscape, their roots dig deep under the earth, depending on it for survival.

Life starts and ends on the forest floor. And as the leaves overhead change color, dry up, and tumble down one last time, they fuel another in a seemingly endless number of cycles.

Maybe we look down and see an ending. But it’s really just the start of whatever comes next.

Aren’t you glad we looked down?

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

Thursday, October 05, 2023

What's a cathedral shot, anyway?

Humbled
London, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I do a thing every time I go for a walk in the woods: at some point, I look up at the canopy and take a photo.

I call it “the cathedral shot” because, well, it feels like a cathedral. The towering trees make me feel small. They cast a certain hush over the entire forest floor. They offer up temporary insulation from the outside world. They invite reflection, resonance, pause.

All just like a real cathedral, I suppose.

It seems stupid, really, the same kind of photo, every time I visit.

But when I look at the series of cathedral shots that I’ve accumulated over the years, I notice how they slowly shift - color, tone, depth, whatever - depending on when they were taken. Seasons have their own signatures, and the roof of the forest is as effective a measure as anything else.

I do take other kinds of pictures, too, but it feels somewhat comforting to always have a kind of go-to pose in my photographic pocket. As if bringing one home makes the trip feel complete. Or worthwhile, even.

I guess we all have weird little habits that we’ve evolved over the years. If they make us feel better in the process, and they don’t hurt anyone else, then I don’t see why we shouldn’t do everything we can to hold onto them.

And so I shall.

What’s YOUR weird habit? Does it involve a camera? Do tell…

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


Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Impressionism on the water

Feeling reflective
London, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We’d be forgiven for thinking what we see here is just an illusion, or a reflection of what we believe reality to be.

Indeed, everything in this photo is reflected, filtered, ephemeral. We aren’t looking directly at anything - or at least anything permanent or solid.

And a blink after this photo was taken, countless unseen forces - wisps of wind, the pull of the river’s current, even the passing of a bird over the burbling waters - would all conspire to repaint the scene yet again.

Maybe someone else might come along to witness it.

Or not.

Doesn’t make a difference to the forces of nature that continually redraw this very unreal place. They’ll do their thing whether or not they have an audience.

Nature sure is funny that way, isn’t she?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #thames #river #water #impressionism #reflection #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded


Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Green is a colour, too

Game of (almost-autumnal) tones
London, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Our daughter and I took a walk in the woods the other day, and our mission was fairly straightforward: find some autumn colour.

We knew we were early, as while we’d been seeing rare flashes of it here and there, the canopy was nowhere near its seasonal peak.

But as we walked to the trailhead, we reminded ourselves that this wouldn’t be a one-time thing, that we’d see whatever we’d see, and we could always take additional walks as time went on.

As you can see here, the woods clearly weren’t ready. Yet we were just as happy to be there.

Because green is a colour, too.

Because there’s no single version of “right”.

Because beauty takes many forms.

Because the here-and-now has a magic all its own.

Because waiting for something “better” feels like a waste of energy.

Because tomorrow will tell its own story.

It won’t be long before we grab our cameras and head back out for another look. Whatever we see, we see. None of this is about the photos, anyway.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #thames #river #water #reflection #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded


Related:
Autumn on the Thames, November 2017

Monday, October 02, 2023

The endlessness of waves

There's always another one
Port Stanley, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The funny thing about waves is that there’s never just one.

No sooner does the first one crash into the beach than there’s another one right behind it.

And long after the camera is packed away and we’ve gone home, they continue to roll, relentlessly, into the shore.

I can’t help but think there’s some kind of greater meaning to this.

#portstanley #beach #ldnont #ontario #canada #great #lake #erie #water #waves #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Splat goes the ocean, January 2018
Do the wave, January 2010
Thanks, Bill, August 2009
Where sand meets sea, January 2008
Endless waves, January 2007

Sunday, October 01, 2023

One last flight over the beach

Where did everybody go?
Port Stanley, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


On the first day of autumn, the gulls frolicked in the sky, arguing with each other over whatever scraps they could find in the sand below.

The crowds below had thinned out since the peak of summer, yet still the birds searched from above, hoping for a stray hot dog or fry. They relentlessly circled the beach, landed in a pack, then took off again as opportunity beckoned once more. It was hypnotic to watch.

I wondered where they’d go when the crowds finally disappeared for good. Soon enough autumn will give way to winter. The ice fences will arrive, and the sand will disappear under the drifting snow. Even Great Lakes need an occasional rest.

It occurred to me that while I was pondering the future of these birds, they most certainly were not. All that mattered to them was the here-and-now. Finding their next meal. Staying ahead of the other birds. Staying in the sky. Landing safely.

Tomorrow didn’t seem to matter to them. They needed to get through today first.

I wished them silent strength as I stepped off the beach one last time and shook the sand from my feet. Tomorrow was still a mystery, but still I hoped they’d stay safe and warm and fed, and that we’d meet again when the crowds eventually return.

#portstanley #beach #ldnont #ontario #canada #great #lake #erie #blue #sky #bird #gulls #flight #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Party of birds, September 2023