Thursday, November 30, 2023

On truth and lies

"In the information war, the one who speaks the truth will always lose to the liar because the truth teller is limited to the truth and the liar has no such boundaries."
Robert Sheckley

Return to the crossroads

Reflecting on a neighbourhood
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This isn’t the first time I’ve visited this corner and composed a long-lens scene toward the setting sun. But if you’ve been hanging around my feed for long enough, it’s probably become apparent that I like to return to the same places again and again.

I’m not a believer in one-and-done images, where we no longer need to return once the checklisted location has been crossed off. I don’t follow checklists when I shoot, and I don’t think one image of one place on the planet is ever enough to tell the story.

Things change. For better and for worse. And returning to a place after enough time has evolved to appreciate the deltas strikes me as reasonable.

We get together with good friends over and over, after all, because we always have something new to discuss or see or learn. We change over time with them, get to know them better, and build a sense of familiarity that only deliberate togetherness over a period of years or decades can accomplish. Time is the ultimate connector.

Well, places can teach us things, too, and it makes sense to keep coming back to those places that mean something to us.

This particular stretch may not seem significant, but where I’m standing as I take the photo is one of the many gateways to the sprawling forest that winds its way through our subdivision. Often, as I exit the woods and head for home, I like to point west and stand there for a few minutes as I take in the thrum. It feels so far away - the lights are 1.8 km away - yet thanks to the miracle of the telephoto lens, I can squish all that detail into a single frame.

And as I’ve evolved this touchstone of shooting a single image on the way home from a forest wander, I’ve built a collection of similar pics, all reflecting the ever-changing stretch of our neighborhood that is all too often ignored as we skitter from here to there and back.

There’s something to be said for slowing the moment down, and then creating more moments in exactly the same spot. It certainly gives me lots to ponder as I tuck the camera away and continue to walk back home.

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

Related:

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Quiet walks on cold nights

Empty
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Photography isn’t always about the scheduled shoots with all the equipment. Sometimes it’s about the pools of light that spontaneously catch our eye when we’re walking along a deserted street.

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

Related:
Parking the hut, August 2023
Chasing snow at night, November 2021
No more games, August 2019
Date night, February 2018

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

King and Talbot in the rain

Intersecting lives
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Life just kind of happens on a rainy downtown street corner on a Sunday afternoon in London.

Two women take a smoke break. A parked moped slowly soaks in the steady drizzle. Inside the restaurant, customers take in the woodsy hominess of a beloved eatery as they watch the street life unfold just outside the window.

Whether we’re outside looking in or inside looking out, we all feel the rhythm of this place, where for a brief moment in time the crowds of shoppers and wanderers push the darker concerns of this neighborhood aside.

Soon enough, though, the crowds will leave the rain-slicked streets. The vendors will close up shop for the night, and the creeping sense of darkness that haunts the core will return. At least until the next day.

Every scene has multiple sides. It’s up to us to look for the light and hope it eventually prevails. We all deserve to enjoy the streetscape. We all deserve a shot at experiences like this.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #city #king #talbot #jdees #street #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
A moment in Tavistock, November 2023
Ticky tacky boxes, September 2009

Monday, November 27, 2023

Lessons from the horizon

Traces of light
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If we look closely enough at the spot on the horizon where the Earth meets the sky, we might begin to notice a few things:
  • Everything above feeds everything below.
  • In fact, they’re more connected than they initially seem.
  • What looks close enough that you can touch it often is not.
  • Echoes take on many forms.
  • Just as quickly as a scene appears, it disappears, as well.
  • We don’t just see all of this. We hear and feel it, too.
If the heavens decide to cooperate tonight, I’ll wander over to that same spot in our neighbourhood park near where the Earth meets the horizon. It won’t look anything like this, but that’s kind of why we keep returning to this place.

There’s plenty of room if you’d like to join me.

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

Related:
Sunset approaches, October 2013
Sunset at Chelsea Pier, September 2006
More photo fun, August 2004

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Berries on red

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


Thank you all for indulging my recent tendency to share photos from the woods.

If the photos we take tell the stories from the different chapters of our lives, then this latest chapter in mine involves more visits than usual to the place where the tall trees grow.

I’m not sure I understand why. I guess it’s an escape of sorts, an ongoing attempt to take a time-out from the day-to-day and catch my breath somewhat.

Or maybe I’m making up for most time. We’ve lived beside this lovely stretch of nature for decades, yet I’ve never really taken advantage of it. Instead, I’ve often promised myself that I’d get out there more often, but life all too often got in the way.

Perhaps I’m just tired of life getting in the way.

Whatever the reason, the result has been a photo roll filled with lots of trees, rivers, sunsets, and variations thereof - often to exclusion of other things.

At one point I wondered whether there was some kind of limit, some finite number of moments and photos at which point I’d have maxed myself out. I thought maybe I should find something else to shoot, somewhere else to go.

But then I reminded myself that none of this is a numbers game. No one is counting how many times I walk through the forest, and it’s perfectly fine if my photo roll reflects that for a bit. Or maybe even for more than a bit.

Photos reflect life, after all. This is mine for now. Could be worse.

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

Related:
Look way up, May 2021
Naked forest, December 2020

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Wordlessly watching the day end

Branched sunset
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This is one of those rare photos where I don’t have anything to say.

As I did when I composed it, I invite you to just appreciate the moment. A moment when an empty branch swayed in the wind as the sun’s final rays of the day painted the trees above.

Not every moment needs words, after all.

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

Related:
Red-tipped glory, December 2011
Very berry, December 2006

Friday, November 24, 2023

Sunrise on the front porch

Morning fire
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’s 7:04 on an otherwise uneventful Wednesday morning, a seemingly ordinary day in a seemingly ordinary neighbourhood.

I’m stepping outside with the dog when I notice the light. Brilliant and soft. Soothing and soul-stirring. And oh so fleeting.

Now, here in suburbia, surrounded by houses that are in turn dwarfed by even taller trees, we aren’t blessed with as much sky as we’d like. As the trees have finally lost their leaves, though, there’s just enough of a sliver of sky if we happen to head out at just the right moment on just the right day.

And on this day, there’s just enough (but not too much) cloud cover to take the sun’s rays and turn them into something brilliant before they shoot through the bare branches, get filtered by my corneas, activate my retinas, and are processed deep in my pre-caffeinated brain.

It’s impossible to ignore.

I probably should keep walking the dog, but the light show in front of us tugs at my soul. So I tug back on the leash and take her back inside so I can grab my camera for a quick front porch photo session. The dog looks at me with Schnauzer-like annoyance - she’s used to this from me - and stands just inside the door while I compose and shoot through the canopy.

I grab less than a dozen frames before the light begins to fade. I show this one to the dog because I figure she deserves an explanation before I put the camera away and restart her walk. She still looks annoyed, so I give her an extra hug and fish a treat out of my pocket. She happily munches away as we wander back outside and get into our walking groove.

By the time we get to the first corner, the once-brilliant sliver of sky has gone completely grey. The moment that stopped me in my tracks has now slipped into history. But it persists, in some form, in a bunch of pixels on my camera back home.

Thanks to a very patient dog and a lifelong tendency to dawdle over minutiae when I probably should be sticking to the plan, the memory will be waiting for us when we get back to the house.

I ponder that duality as we explore the now-flat-lit streets. Plans can be broken. Memories don’t wait. Light can touch our souls. Joy must be held onto. Tightly.

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

Related:
A new day dawns, February 2007


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Ties my father-in-law gave me

Finding Waldo
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


For a whole lot of reasons, mostly revolving around no one’s need to see any more of my asymmetric nose than they absolutely must, I don’t take or share many photos of myself, particularly if they’re selfies.

But I’ll make an exception this time.

I took this a few minutes before a live national television interview last evening. I decided to wear one of my favourite ties. It’s my Where’s Waldo tie, and I’ve had it for decades.

Like most of the ties in my collection, it was gifted to me by my late father-in-law. Often, when we’d get together for Shabbat dinner on Friday night, at one point he’d shove a crinkled paper bag into my hand. “Here you go,” he’d gruffly say as I took out silk lovelies that you just can’t buy anymore.

He got them from his “Tie Guy”, one of his group of cronies he’d regularly meet for lunch. Over the years, it became our little thing, and I accumulated a spectacularly meaningful collection of ties along the way.

This one’s a little busy for TV, but I consciously pulled it up before this particular hit. See, my FIL would have turned 90 yesterday, and I felt like I needed to mark the day in some tangible way. I already think of him every time I put on one of his ties, but this wasn’t just any tie, and this wasn’t just any day. A little fun was called for.

In the end, the interview - a chat with the CBC’s Sarah Galashan about OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman being fired then rehired 5 days later - went exceptionally well, and I’ve got to think it was because of the tie.

My father-in-law would have found it amusing, and the fact that I couldn’t call him afterward reminded me of just how much I miss him over 4 years after we lost him.

Thanks again, Dad, for always making sure I had the best ties. As much as I love wearing them, I cherish the stories around how you gifted them to me infinitely more.

#ldnont #family #everything

Related:
Endings... June 2019

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Bee yourself tonight

Nature's hovercraft
London, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

It’s a little softer than I’d like, but I’m sharing it here as a reminder to myself to look for more bees when they return next spring.

They’re magical little beings, aren’t they?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #green #bee #bees #savethebees #beesofinstagram #flowers #insects #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Quasi-Charlotte's Web, September 2020

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Logitech for the win

Light me up
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We take our keyboards rather seriously around here.

Of all the technologies we interact with on a daily basis, it’s the humble keyboard that probably gets the most touch time.

(My iPhone apparently begs to differ, and I appreciate why some might think smartphone > keyboard. But when you’re a writer, there’s something about a full-sized keyboard that just connects with your soul in ways no smartphone ever will. Besides, no one ever willingly prefers to hammer out articles, scripts, and papers with their thumbs on a touchscreen. That’s just cruel.)

I had almost forgotten that mine is backlit, so after I shut everything down for the day and turned the big lights off, I was pleasantly surprised by the friendly glow floating up through the darkness. The moment called for a photo.

I’m sharing it because I think this was the universe’s way of reminding me that small things aren’t really that small.

So we take the time to appreciate them before we must rejoin the rest of the world.

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

Related:
QWERTY madness, August 2018

Monday, November 20, 2023

Signs of life in the almost-fallen leaves

Obvious signs of a hard-lived life
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Deep in the woods in a valley carved by the river, one maple tree among thousands stubbornly clings to the last of its leaves.

It’s rather obvious these particular leaves are holding on for dear life, survivors really, and they wear every last scar of a brutal spring, summer and fall. Between drought, pests, heat, smoke, and everything else Mother Nature could throw their way, they’ve endured and still managed to come out the other side.

So this isn’t a typical autumn scene. No perfection here, no picture-perfect blaze of red or orange. Leaves like this don’t make it to postcards. Or textbooks. Or frames or walls or mantels.

I could probably walk a little further and find one of those picture-perfect trees with its picture-perfect leaves. Some of them - and, I guess, us - wear life differently than others. But I have no interest in doing so, because the imperfection on display here is precisely the point - and I’ve never really subscribed to arbitrary definitions of perfection and imperfection, as if others can or should dictate what we feel.

I’ve said this so many times before, yet it bears repeating: beauty comes in many forms, particularly when it tells the story of how something got to this point in time in the first place.

After all, wouldn’t we rather know the stories behind the things we see? Wouldn’t we rather lean into the scars and the torn and shredded and faded spots and listen for the echoes of how they came to be?

Perfection, whatever that may be, is overrated, anyway.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #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

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Never lose sight of the horizon

Early test shot
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Chase the sun.

Seek out the light.

Even if it’s fading.

Because light - and hope - are always there if we’re willing to look hard enough.

Or walk far enough.

Or simply wait long enough.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #sky #clouds #cloudspotting #weather #wx #silhouette #forest #tree #trees #optimist #park #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #meta #metaphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Gelt to the rescue, December 2020
Picture in a picture, September 2010

More wonders on the forest floor

Life in many forms
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Another tiny sprout emerges from the forest floor, just as the trees overhead decide it’s time to tuck in for the winter.

Meanwhile, an unseen spider adds its own unique spin to the scene.

The timing seems almost ironic. Poignant, even. Endings and beginnings seemingly crashing into each other; everyone and everything following unique yet connected trajectories.

Because life here never really stops, and it’s going to play out whether or not we’re here to see it.

So we find ways to be here. To crouch down amid the leaves and appreciate a singular moment in the middle of countless other moments. To take it all in before the lives that call this place home decide it’s time to move on to the next chapter.

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

Related:

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Parked next to an Airbus

Windows A320
Winnipeg, MB
August 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We often see interesting things outside airplane windows when we’re moving from there to here.

In this throwback image from this past summer, we’ve just boarded and are settling in before pushback. I peek out the window and see this lovely old Air Canada Airbus A-320 parked beside us, still wearing the toothpaste livery.

The randomly opened and closed windowshades are attracting my attention for reasons I don’t fully understand. I imagine each one concealing the story of whoever sat beside it on the previous flight. And as the aircraft gets turned around on the ground, it sets the stage for an entirely new set of passengers to board - and stories to be told. Or not.

It’s what we do when we travel, when we look for small touchstones to hold onto amid the overscaled ebb and flow of giant planes flying through giant airports.

Come to think of it, we do this not only when we travel, but when we live.

At least we should.

#winnipeg #manitoba #canada #throwback #ywg #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #aircanada #flight #flying #aviation #airbus #a320 #avgeek #plane #planes #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
One blue plane, December 2019
Curvy rear view, June 2007
Pretty plane, January 2007

Friday, November 17, 2023

Straight lines and ice cream

Where's my ruler?
St. Thomas, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


So I seem to have developed a bit of an addiction to straight lines - even when they’ve been slightly beaten around the edges by the elements, time, and a few rogue ice cream trucks.

As is often the case with my photographic life, it defies explanation.

But on reflection, not everything needs to be explained. If it brings us joy to stand in an empty parking lot and play with lines and angles under fading sunlight, then far be it for me to question how the moment was ignited.

#stthomas #ontario #canada #shaws #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #street #geometry #streetphotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
When infinity...isn't, February 2023
Ice Cream Sunday, June 2020

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Black horse photobomb

I'll just graze over here, k?
Arva, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


When you’re practising landscape composition and a lovely horse wanders into the frame.

#ldnont #london #arva #ontario #canada #horse #horses #horsesofinstagram #horsestagram #instahorses #neigh #green #grasses #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Lonely, July 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Long after the colour fades

Scene from a valley
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’s been a few weeks since I took this, and if I returned to the scene today I’m certain the only colours left would be various shades of grey and murk.

Yet I still find myself wandering through my recent photo roll and cherrypicking individual images, seemingly the ones with the most colour possible.

Why is that?

I’m guessing I don’t want to move on from autumn. That if I immerse myself in the shades of the now-lost season, I won’t have to deal with the emptiness that comes afterward.

Or the unpredictability of life outside the viewfinder. Because we all know when it’s just you and the camera and the subject, the rules of optics and composition are known quantities, and you get to control everything you see through the glass.

Or the inexplicable comfort of returning to the things that once brought us joy. Because who doesn’t look at an autumn-blazed tree without even a hint of a smile?

Or maybe there’s no answer at all. Maybe what we choose to do with our photos - review them, share them, let them gather dust, whatever - is an entirely personal choice, one that isn’t right or wrong, but just is.

Maybe I’m just overthinking this. It’s okay if it’s just an insignificantly pretty picture of a moment that’s since faded.

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

Related:
A tale of two trees, October 2022
Let's start colorfully, November 2020

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - A TGI Fridays masterpiece

In 2014, Caity Weaver published a story on Gawker that struck a nerve and burrowed itself deep into my long-term memory.

The title - My 14-Hour Search for the End of TGI Friday's Endless Appetizers - is self-explanatory. The way she wrote the piece, however, was extraordinary, and has become a shining example of first-person longform journalism that reinforces why this genre is so precious.

It's a poignantly humorous piece, and as articles of this caliber often do, it worms its way to the surface every once in a while. And when it does, I'll follow the link home for a few minutes of literary joy. It's how I pause the planet on occasion.

I had one of those moments earlier today, except when I went to follow the link home, it was dead. Gawker shut down in February, and all of its content was summarily removed from the web.

Thankfully we have Archive.org, which snapshots digital resources before they disappear. If you're looking for a moment of literary joy, this is the article you'll want to start with. Here's the link.

The mugs that comfort us

What warmth might look like
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It doesn’t really matter what’s in the mug.

Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or whatever brings us radiated joy. As long as we’re taking the time to make something, anything really, we’re good.

And if we happen to sidle up to the kitchen table when the morning sunlight is blazing through the front window, so much the better.

Note to self: more mugs. More spontaneous kitchen table still-life photo sessions, too.

Simple, really.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #blue #mug #random #kitchen #sunlight #shadow #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
My beloved green mug, January 2016
I've been mugged, January 2014
Morning rituals, December 2010
Turbulent tea, March 2009

Monday, November 13, 2023

A dog's nose blocks the sunset

Scanning her neighourhood
London, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


This late-afternoon almost-sunset roadside photobomb is brought to us by Calli the Wonderschnauzer.

She doesn’t mean to get in the way, but that’s part of the charm of welcoming a dog like her into our family: she just does her thing, typically led by her nose, and we simply follow along.

Sure, we have to watch closely lest she try to scarf down a wayward mouse or someone’s leftover Swiss Chalet holiday chicken dinner. But those moments are thankfully far more rare than the fairly typical sniff-fest that she’s demonstrating here.

I like to pause whenever she gets this way, because there’s something weirdly cathartic about watching a dog in her element. Nothing else matters to her in this moment. She’s perfectly content to run her insanely sensitive schnoz over every square centimetre of the neighbourhood, to map out which dogs have been where, and to ensure the bunnies and birds and squirrels aren’t getting in her way.

She’s undisturbed by the broader worries that fill our heads - a blessing, really, as she focuses only on the things that she can see and hear and smell. Yet at the same time she somehow carries all of us on her sturdy shoulders, never leaving our side as we work through the challenges of our decidedly more complex lives.

Which explains why I take pictures like this. Because some dogs seem to roam that interface point between the animal and human worlds with a particular kind of grace. They speak volumes without speaking a word, connect to our souls just by looking into our eyes or nudging us with their noses.

So I try to capture the occasional photographic reminder, as she’s earned the right to photobomb me whenever she wishes.

At the same time, I’ve learned to be grateful that this weirdly unpredictable little being chose us in the first place.

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

Related:
The family grows by one, again, June 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Moss, bark, past, and future

Life in many forms
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I suppose we could look at this fallen tree and feel saddened at what’s been lost.

Or we could feel joy that the tree lived at all, and continues to fuel life on the forest floor long after it tumbled from the sky.

That perspective thing again.

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

Related:
Message in the bark, October 2017
New beginnings, July 2009

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Taking a moment to remember

Reflection in red
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


As the light fades on a grey day alongside a busy road in an unassuming corner of a darkening planet, a single stand of bushes ignites into colours and shades that seem to defy description.

This is all strictly temporary, of course, as within days the leaves will shrivel to brown, and then nothing. Not long after, the snows will paint the bare branches another shade entirely.

It’s an easy thing to ignore, what with schedules and deadlines and life and stuff. Who, after all, has the time to stare at brightly coloured leaves in the throes of autumn?

With each passing day, I realize ever more clearly that we must all make the time. Because each of us has a duty to remember those whose sacrifice made it possible for us to take in the fields of red.

Or whatever other scenes our unchecked freedoms allow us to enjoy on any particular day.

We remember because they ensured we can.

#ldnont #london #hydepark #ontario #canada #remembranceday #lestweforget #red #leaves #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturepgotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography

Related:
Starting to see red, September 2021
Never forget, November 2009
We remember, November 2007

Friday, November 10, 2023

Lens to lens with a stranger

Busted over the apple display
Woolwich, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Not a particularly spectacular photo - just a hastily taken scene in a busy farmer’s market, shot with a smartphone because I didn’t want to disturb the vendors on the other side of the display.

I moved so quickly through this scene that I failed to notice the very real stranger to frame right apparently taking a picture of me at the exact same moment.

So somewhere out there, someone has a photo of me taking this photo. A photographic collision of strangers, if you will. What, then, are the odds we ever cross paths again?

#stjacobs #stjacobsmarket #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #farmers #agriculture #farming #farmer #farm #farmlife #farmersmarket #street #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Peachy! August 2021
Banana U, December 2017
Fruitography, November 2004

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Defiance deep in the shadows

Seeking light
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In nature as in life, there are always two sides to every story.

As the branches overhead send their leaves on a one-way trip to the forest floor below, they inevitably pile up in a shrivelled brown mess that seems to suggest that their story is drawing to a close.

Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. The story isn’t ending at all. Yes, perhaps one chapter is closing out, but another is just getting started.

Indeed, the decaying pile that chokes off the ground is also fuelling new life.

Appearances notwithstanding, nothing, in fact, is being choked off. And as the sprout emerges from the depths and stretches toward the sunlight, it reaffirms the reality of life in the forest, that it never really ends, and is just setting up for whatever happens to come next.

The circle of life is far more than a catchphrase popularized by The Lion King. It’s happening right at our feet. All we have to do is pay attention.

#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:
When leaves end, October 2021
Rooted to the ground, December 2019

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Remembering our veterans

Life from the ruins
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


A long-abandoned rehab centre for WWII veterans lies in ruins by the edge of the forest, grasses growing wildly out of its crumbling foundations.

This place once teemed with the lives of those who had sacrificed so much and deserved to be cared for in return. Now, the wind blows through the trees that surround this clearing, a distant whisper that the knots of hikers and dog walkers who wander through here don’t seem to be tuned into.

For now, the forest’s colours paint a vibrant backdrop around this resonant space, an annual paint job that almost feels like a belated thank you to those who once called this place home.

The buildings may be long gone, but history’s echoes can still be felt if we stop here for a moment and listen for them.

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

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Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Beside the rushing waters

Fast and slow, all at the same time
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Heading into the woods has become my coping mechanism of late, and whenever I leave the house with my camera in hand, I do so without much of a plan at all.

I just repeat the same line to myself as I close the door behind me: I’ll see what I’ll see.

I don’t have any expectations as I leave the city behind. I’ll just walk quietly into the valley and let my mind wander for a bit. It never takes long for something to present itself, like a tiny message from the universe asking for a little attention.

On this Sunday afternoon, it’s the rushing water that begs for its moment. Now that most of the leaves are down, the entire place just sounds different, the usual whispered sounds of white water flowing over smoothed-over rocks rising to a sustained, cathartic roar, unmuffled by a canopy that’s now open to the sky.

I don’t have a tripod on me, so I figure I’ll have to become the tripod. I carefully lean against a giant tree by the water and compose a particularly fetching stretch of rapids. I stop the aperture way down, set the shutter speed to really slow, then get in touch with my inner Zen as I gently brace against the angled bark and trip the shutter.

I repeat the scene a few dozen times, moving from tree to tree until I’m satisfied at least one of these weird pics is workable.

It takes seven minutes from the first frame to the last, seven minutes when I’m not being called or pinged, when the only two things that matter are a) not falling into the water, and b) seeing what I’m destined to see.

The hatred that now envelops the world and has followed us home? Still there, but in those seven minutes it isn’t squeezing my soul. The worries and fears I spend every day struggling to control remain firmly outside the forest for as long as I’m Zenning out in the trees by the water.

Soon enough, it’s time to go back, to leave the river’s white noise behind and allow the calls and pings and worries and fears to find me once more.

Seven minutes is never long enough to hide out from the rush of a tumultuous planet. But even a sliver of time is better than none.

Even if we don’t have a plan.

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

Related:
More fast water... November 2021
Messy brown water, September 2018

Monday, November 06, 2023

Reflections in still waters

All that remains
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Autumn’s explosion of colour, such as it was in this muted, saddened year, has now faded to memory.

But I took a walk in the forest, anyway, because it has become something of a refuge from the outside world, a place where nothing matters but the sounds, sights, and even smells of nature doing its thing.

The river was running higher than it was the last time I was here, but even then it wasn’t difficult to find quiet spots along the shore where the waves and currents gave way to perfectly still, reflective pools of water that defied the flows around them.

The sight made me think: calmness among the chaos, reflection amid a general lack of same, remnants of what once was, just below the undisturbed surface.

We can find peace if we’re willing to look for it, if we’re willing to walk a little further, to the places we once were, in the hope that on this visit, it’ll present itself to us.

It starts with one step. And it doesn’t necessarily require a forest.

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

Related:
Not-so-still waters, February 2022

Sunday, November 05, 2023

A moment in Tavistock

Witness to history
Tavistock, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We’re in the middle of a long drive home through the rural Ontario countryside when we stop in a quiet town for some much needed caffeine.

As I finish parking, I look around and realize we’re surrounded by a frozen-in-time streetscape seemingly ripped from a Sears catalog. My brain spins thoughts of a super-quick walkabout to grab a few pics of this lovely place before we get back on the road.

I give my deeply understanding wife that familiar look she’s seen too many times before. She nods as I pull out my smartphone and engage in the fastest random photo shoot of my life.

The ancient facade on Hope Street West pulls me in instantly, its worn, often-repaired brickwork betraying its triple-digit age. On any other day, I’d have probably delved a little more into this stunning piece of architectural history, but a stranger in a pickup had just parked immediately left-of-frame, and was eyeing me suspiciously as he took a toolbox out and slammed the tailgate shut.

So I waited for him to walk away, then shot this single frame before turning back to our car. In all, it took 4 minutes, and reminded me of the power of photography to hold onto moments and places and people that would otherwise go unrecorded.

We’ll never capture everything, of course. But a furtive in-between moment in a small town feels like the right place to start.

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

Related:
Silos of history, August 2019

Saturday, November 04, 2023

Transit the night

Wherever you go...
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’m posting this not because it’s a particularly compelling photo of a city bus. It isn’t, and there are countless reasons why the image doesn’t hit the mark.

It’s easy to understand why, as it was little more than a hasty smartphone grab while balancing the dog’s leash with my other hand. I had no time to size it up, or ponder the composition, or even tweak the shot or my positioning to improve the lighting. It is, frankly, a lousy snapshot.

But I’ve had it in my brain for a while that I want to capture more moody night scenes. And what’s more moody than a city bus casting pools of blueish light across the cold, damp asphalt before disappearing for good into the dark?

The logistics of this kind of photography are somewhat challenging, because you have to be in the right place at the right time - which isn’t always possible when your primary job is controlling a springy Mini Schnauzer.

So you take what you can get when you can get it, and you post it here as a mental reminder to keep trying to raise the bar.

A placeholder, if you will. A promise to come back and try again.

Because photography isn’t really about tripping the shutter or taking a certain kind of picture. It’s more about the mental games we play with ourselves long before the scene presents itself.

If only the real world beyond the viewfinder worked the same way.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #road #street #night #transit #ltc #transit #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Bus stop moment, May 2022
The endless wait, April 2020