Thursday, November 30, 2023

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.

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