Sunday, December 31, 2023

On speaking up

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion, against injustice and lying and greed.”

William Faulkner

Excerpt of speech presented at his daughter’s graduation (1951)

Resolve to not resolve at all

Blink and it's over
London, ON
July 2012
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’m generally not one for New Year’s resolutions. Or ball drops. Or big, loud celebrations. Or fireworks*. Or any of the modern traditions - glittery glasses, anyone? - that seem to mark the transition of one year into another.

While I appreciate the importance of milestones, this particular one gets a little tired when it plays out almost identically each and every year.

I find the notion of resolutions especially laughable. As if we can wipe the slate clean and magically turn ourselves into better, kinder people as soon as the year turns.

Planet Earth witnessed enough unkindness from January 2nd onward this past year that I’m reasonably sure most folks stopped caring soon after the cheap champagne hangover wore off.

I’m hopeful 2024 will see some kind of change, but we’ve seen this scene play out so many times previously that it’s difficult to believe in the New Year Fairy.

So here’s my plan: no New Year’s resolutions.

Because seeking kindness and light should be a basic human condition not subject to one-time empty promises that ultimately go unfulfilled.

*Don’t worry, though, I’ll still take photos of fireworks. And drones. And anything else that’s cool-looking. That’s not a resolution. It’s simply who I am.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #happynewyear #newyear #newyearseve #fireworks #firecrackers #pyro #celebrate #family #night #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Disney on fire, December 2020
Burn the sky down, January 2020
Take back the night, December 2010
Fires in the sky, February 2007

Saturday, December 30, 2023

One tree always stands alone

Straight lines are overrated, anyway
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


In a razor-straight line of trees seemingly planted with rulers and/or lasers, it’s the one that breaks from the crowd that merits a little extra attention.

As you might imagine, the curved tree is my favourite.

It’s the one that plots its own unique course to the sky.

It’s the one that ignores convention.

It’s the one that dances a little differently than the others.

It’s the one that avoids conformity, no matter the cost.

It’s the one most like me, and the one whose lead I’ll always follow.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #wonderland #tree #trees #fog #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Fog gets a bad rap, January 2023

Friday, December 29, 2023

One last look back...

Just over the cliff's edge
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The valley is a messy place, with wildly knotted branches clogging the landscape.

But when the fog rolls in, it turns the chaotic into something else. If it isn’t orderly, it is at least somewhat easier to visually digest.

So I turn around for one last look before I leave this place behind and give quiet thanks for being able to witness this rare makeover.

We never quite know when the fog will return. So we take it in while we still have the opportunity.

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

Related:

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Not quite Toy Story

Curbside
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


At 9:21 on Christmas morning, we come across evidence that not all toys find a forever loving home.

Am I the only one disturbed by this scene?

#london #ontario #canada #green #stuffed #head #toy #garbage #random #roadside #street #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Po stares in to the wind, September 2022

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

When trees disappear

Deep in the murk
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Look no further than a lineup of trees for proof of fog’s power to change the way we see things.

In this photo, the furthest trees are the most faded. Yet if I had decided to change position - or waited for the fog to lift - the story would have been decidedly different.

I tossed all of this through my head as I tucked the camera away and headed for home.

Because what we see in any frame isn’t necessarily reality. It’s simply the result of a limitless number of tiny circumstances and decisions that lead us to a given moment in time.

And we change the outcome by tweaking those circumstances and decisions.

Again, maybe this isn’t simply about photography.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #fog #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Walk the foggy streets, December 2023
Fog gets a bad rap, January 2023
Fog takes. Fog gives. December 2022
Highbury Avenue in fog, November 2022

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Walk the foggy streets

Mystery
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I decided to wander the streets before the morning sun burned the fog off.

In the 31 minutes between first and final images, I encountered no one aside from the occasional passing motorist. Which gave me ample time to drink in the monumental silence that blanketed the area.

I’ve walked down this particular street countless times over the years, but never had I seen it in quite this state, its end drifting off into oblivion underneath the protective cover of the trees, the colours being stripped out of the scene by the mist.

As familiar as this lovely spot can be on any given day of the year, it was especially resonant this time out.

Fog somehow does that every time. It makes even the familiar feel mysterious and memorable and special. It invites us to take another look, to linger for a while as we ponder the irony of being able to feel more despite seeing less.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #canopy #cathedral #fog #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Emerging from the fog, February 2021
Playing with light, October 2007

Monday, December 25, 2023

Rudolph leads the way

Imagine we're in flight
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It doesn’t matter what we celebrate.

Or how.

Or when.

Or with whom.

What matters is that we all deserve to celebrate anything at all.

To feel the fantasy of anticipation.

To be surrounded by people who love us.

To know what it’s like to be included.

To recognize that we all share this simple common sliver of humanity.

That word: humanity.

That’s what matters most.

Today.

Every other day.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #christmas #rudolph #reindeer #victoriapark #chanukah #hannukah #howeveritisspelled #kwanza #holiday #holidays #weareone #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #phone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Be the light, please, December 2018

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Ghostly tree on a foggy night

Mother Nature paints with light
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


As the fog rolls in for the night, the trees reach up to greet it.

Or at least that’s what I’d like to believe as the air thickens with comforting anticipation and the sounds of the outdoors trail off to a whisper.

By morning this will all be gone, leaving nothing but a fleeting memory in its wake.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #leaves #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #night #fog #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Bright tree on a dark night, January 2023

Saturday, December 23, 2023

The answer is always mug

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


Winter is here, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, which means mugs.

And low-angled morning light that starkly paints the kitchen table.

And reflections on why beverages of any temperature and type bring us such comfort when the outside world is so forbidding.

So we take still-life images like this one as a reminder to ourselves to slow the mornings down before the day has its way with us. To think about how lucky we are that we get to have these quiet moments in a protective home in the first place.

Maybe it’s just a mug of coffee sitting in the sun. Maybe it’s something else entirely.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #blue #mug #random #kitchen #sunlight #shadow #stilllife #monochrome #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

Friday, December 22, 2023

The first freeze

Don't miss the moment
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We had our first deep freeze the other night, which meant by first light the gutters were filled with tiny worlds of frozen wonder - at least until the Sun showed up and melted them all.

I attracted more than a few stares as I paused the dog-walk and crouched down for a closer look. Most of them weren’t worth the pixels, but a couple of them held promise.

I’m under no illusion that any of these are frameworthy, but I had to start somewhere.

That old photographic saw - good is good enough - seems to have worth beyond the lens, as well. For now, it’s enough to shoot quick scenes with a smartphone camera. It gets my head back in the gutter photography game, and it gives the neighbours a few things to think about - namely that I’m insane - while I work on refining the craft.

Eventually I’ll probably pull out the actual camera and leave the dog at home. Eventually I’ll have more experience working through the specifics of this particular genre. It’s how you get better, both behind the lens and when you’re far away from it.

Photography and life. Yet again, I’m learning they’re more closely linked than I might have once thought.

Funny the things we learn when we hang out on the dirty edge of the road.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #onstorm #water #ice #frozen #winter #walkabout #actofdog #nature #naturephotography #abstract #stilllife #photography #apple #iPhone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded


Thursday, December 21, 2023

When the sunrise comes to you

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


Sunrises are going to happen whether or not we’re there to witness them.

So doesn’t it make sense to wake up a little early so we’re on the front porch before they light up the sky?

I suspect it does, but I’m no expert.

#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


Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Old City Hall

Still...
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


London’s City Hall opened in 1971, and time hasn’t been kind to her.

She leaks in a bunch of places, The parking structure is crumbling. Her electrical and mechanical systems are obsolete. The city has been considering alternatives for years.

But she still makes quite the sight if you’re standing in just the right place at just the right moment. Like just before the sun says goodnight, as the shadows grow and the light reflecting off her windows shifts toward cool blue.

Which I’m going to take as a reminder to never write off old buildings. Or old anythings. Or old anyones.

We seem to have this thing with new and old, and that thing needs a rethink.

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

Related:
An empty public square, December 2023
Polytechnique at 32, December 2021
No Pope here, April 2008

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

7 years...

Sweet boy
London, ON
December 2010
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We lost our Frasier 7 years ago today.

I miss this little guy, and like to imagine that all these years later, his memory continues to make us better people.

Dogs really can do that. It’s what Frasier the Rescue-Schnauzer taught us. And so much more.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #dog #dogs #actofdog #throwback #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
5 years... December 2021
3 years..., December 2019
2 years..., December 2018
A year without Frasier, December 2017
Canine muscle memory, December 23, 2016
When a dog's life ends, December 19, 2016

Parallel diagonal parking

I'll just leave this here
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Annals of #LdnONT parking, Exhibit A: those rear wheels are reeeally tough to straighten out, aren’t they?

#london #ontario #canada #toyota #rav4 #car #carporn #automotive #opc #oldparkedcar #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded


Monday, December 18, 2023

Another abandoned factory burns

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


I’m starting to think it’s me. Every time I visit an old, decaying building for some ruinporn photography, it seems to go up in flames not long after.

Years ago, for example, my visit apparently doomed the old McCormick cookie factory, and this time it was the former Ex-Cell-O machine tools factory - later Spike’s Indoor Volleyball - that fell victim to what emergency officials have called a suspicious fire.

Which makes this photo, taken in October, feel even more poignant, as it almost looks like the building’s last effort to survive, each pane of glass stubbornly holding on to impossibly weakened frames despite the surrounding environment’s relentless efforts to destroy them completely.

Like so many previous fires that have ravaged countless demolition-by-neglect properties in our city, this one has a backstory involving rapidly expanding homelessness coupled with society’s inability and unwillingness to address it. Advocates have been saying for months that as the weather gets colder, unhoused individuals will seek shelter wherever they can find it - and that often means buildings just like this one.

It was obvious that it was being accessed as I shot it from the street on that October day, and it’s obvious now as fire officials pick through the debris.

The facility was already earmarked for redevelopment, so there’s no tragedy in lost architecture or legacy or heritage.

But this isn’t about bricks and windows and design and history. It’s about lives playing out harshly on the fringes of a society that has so often looked the other way. Of people just trying to stay out of the cold. Of the rest of us not knowing what to do because every story of every person who’s been here follows a different script - one that isn’t always so neat and tidy.

In other words, a grindingly human tragedy. One that seems to have no end.

There are no easy answers. And tonight, a shadowy population looks for a new place to hide out from the cold.

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

Related:

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Flight + 120

It only looks old-fashioned
London, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


120 years ago today, Orville Wright took humanity’s first-ever flight in a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft.

In all, the Wright Flyer covered 36 metres (120 feet) in 12 seconds.

Later that day, his brother Wilbur flew 255.6 m (862 ft) in 59 seconds.

This is not the Wright Flyer. It is a Pitts 12S, and I captured it during this year’s Airshow London. Aside from it being a biplane, this high-performance aerobatic design doesn’t have much commonality with the Wright brothers’ creation.

But that’s the joy of aviation, where today’s designs stand on the shoulders of everything that came before them. And it took a couple of brilliant and brave brothers to take that first leap into the unknown.

December 17th, 1903 seems like yesterday. In terms of human history, it kind of is.

#ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #throwback #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #pitts #flight #aircraft #aviationphotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Jet fighter photobomb, September 2021
Almost home, September 2005
Snowbird down, December 2004

There's magic in those LFC tiles

Ceramics and light
Delray Beach, FL
February 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


If you’re ever asked whether or not it’s possible to find photographic inspiration in a fast food joint, the answer will always be a yes.

For the record, this was taken in a South Florida KFC earlier this year, and I think it was the lines and shadows and textures of the builder-grade ceramic tile that first caught my eye.

I’m glad I allowed myself to play with the angles for a bit. By the looks of the bystanders who looked at me funny, I’m guessing most people wouldn’t.

But I’m not most people. And life is too short to make decisions based on whether or not total strangers would or would not approve.

So today we get tiled walls in a fast food joint.. Tomorrow is still a mystery. But there will indeed be a tomorrow. Hopefully from your lens, too.

#delray #beach #florida #throwback #vacation #travel #restaurant #geometry #abstract #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
The grid, August 2021
A study in wet tile, August 2007

Saturday, December 16, 2023

An empty public square

Puddled light
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Behind London’s City Hall, there’s a public space known as Reg Cooper Square.

It was supposed to be a shining example of 1960s placemaking, surrounded by a concert hall, apartments, stores, and the seat of government - all across the street from the city’s marquee park.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans, right?

The surrounded-by-concrete design hasn’t aged well, and the space is usually empty and windswept, the only sounds made by garbage skittering in between the crumbling paving blocks. I’d hate to imagine getting around here in a wheelchair.

Yet as the sun disappears for the night and the cold seeps through my mittens, I wander away from a nearby crowd to feel the energy of a place most Londoners prefer to ignore. The entrance to City Hall casts a brilliant, almost beacon-like light onto the broken ground below. It feels like an invitation.

The space is far from perfect, reflecting design concepts that were obsolete almost before the paint was first dry. But imperfect doesn’t mean without merit, and on this cold night in this cold world, it feels comforting to take in the oasis-like light from the very centre of our city.

Accepting imperfection as it is. Applies to public squares. Applies elsewhere, too.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #architecture #urban #city #downtown #shadows #lines #light #pools #oasis #geometry #regcoopersquare #streetphotography #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
A beacon in the fog, January 2023
Pools of light, October 2010

Friday, December 15, 2023

Last night. Last light.

Burn brightly, friends
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We lit all eight Chanukah candles last night - a moment that was and is both my favourite and my most dreaded of the entire holiday.

It’s my favourite because this is as bright as it’s going to get, a source of brilliant light that banishes the darkness and gives focus to whatever hopes we happen to hold in our heart.

At the same time, it’s tinged with bitterness because it represents an ending. There are no more candles after these burn down, no more light to overcome the darkness.

Some holidays you wish would last longer, and this is one of them. There’s a glow to it that I’ve so often wished I could capture, or otherwise hold onto, to save for a later day when we’d otherwise really need it.

If only light worked that way. If only the fires of hope that burn so brightly on this night could be frozen in time.

On second thought, maybe they can. For we may not have a ninth candle to light on the next night, but hope takes many forms, and light need not always come from a candle.

I’m guessing it comes from us. That’s the game plan for tomorrow night. And, frankly, for every night thereafter.

Let me know if you’re in.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #chanukah #hannukah #howeveritisspelled #jewish #holiday #stilllife #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Revisiting the wagons of our childhood

Echoes of automotive history
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


On occasion, I’ll come across an old or notable car that I just have to remember in some way.

This Chevrolet Caprice Classic wagon is one of them. Given its equipment level - including rear outboard three-point belts that were added for the 1989 model year - I’m guessing this is either a 1989 or 1990 model.

It represents the almost-last gasp of the big, American, V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive, body-on-frame station wagon that had long represented an aspirational vehicle for generations of post-war families. By the time this particular wagon first hit the road, the minivan had already killed most of the market for these behemoths, and they staggered into the 1990s before disappearing from the landscape for good.

I grew up in cars much like this. They were enormous, ponderous, inefficient, and in retrospect, frankly uncomfortable. But when your dad drove you through the night to see distant family, it was always the quintessential wagon that defined countless core childhood memories.

My own memories often involve lying awake in the quiet darkness, watching the shadows of the mountains loom ghostlike against the inky sky. Out in the middle of nowhere, these giant hulks of metal and glass represented home and security as we listened to the rumble of the road in our jammies.

So perhaps that explains why, when I came across this largely used-up, woody-panelled relic of a bygone era in a nearby parking lot, it felt right to do a fast photographic walkaround before I got back to the business of today.

Memories like this don’t present themselves often, so we probably ought to hold onto them somehow when they do.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #chevrolet #chevy #Caprice #Classic #wagon #american #car #carporn #automotive #opc #oldparkedcar #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Where the trees watch over us

Follow your path
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


“I will always protect you,” the forest gently whispers.

But are we sufficiently prepared to hear it?

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


Tuesday, December 12, 2023

A chance moment by the tracks

Waiting for departure
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


So I’m driving to the train station the other night for a pickup, and as is often the case, parking is a mess. Too many cars, not enough spots, too much chaos.

Before I know it, I’ve found my way into a barely paved, barely lit lot hard by the tracks. I’m reasonably sure it’s wildly illegal to be here, but the place is rather empty, so I figure I can hang out here for the few minutes it takes for everyone to get off the train.

While I’m waiting, I engage in some random urban guerilla photography, because any in-between moment like this one deserves to be remembered in some way. I’m weird like that, but by now I’m sure most of you know this.

While I wait, another train pulls in, and as luck would have it, I can stare right into the locomotive from my still-very-illegal parking spot. I wave toward the engineer, but I’m guessing he has better things to do with his time.

Soon enough, the locomotive pulls out, and the train I’m waiting for finally decides to show up. I connect with my peeps, leave my ill-gotten spot behind, and head for home. Wherever this engineer ends up, I wish him safe travels through the night.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #via #viarail #choo #train #rail #urban #city #downtown #travel #travelphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:

Monday, December 11, 2023

Finding light in the darkest forest

A shaded life
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


When you’re walking through the deepest, darkest part of the woods, don’t be surprised if you look up and see the most brilliant flash of light.

Maybe you thought the darkness was impenetrable. Maybe you thought the light would never find its way in.

Or just maybe the unseen forces that surround this place were busy working miracles and proving you wrong.

Whatever the case, light has a funny way of showing itself when we least expect it.

Maybe this is what hope looks like.

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

Related:
Canopy in chaos, October 2023
When colors fade, October 2022
Back to the woods, October 2021

Sunday, December 10, 2023

A different kind of light

Traces of a colourful history
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It’s Chanukah, which means you may be seeing candle-lit photos showing up in your feeds.

In years past, I likely would have done the same, as the Jewish Festival of Lights has always represented just that to me: a light that banishes darkness, a flame that projects hope.

But this isn’t just any year.

Not when a wave of antisemitism doesn’t just wash over the world - but it comes directly to where we live, with hordes of marchers walking down streets, unchallenged, echoing 1930s Germany, and any number of inquisitions and pogroms before that.

Or when my wife asks whether she should wear her Star of David around her neck when she goes out, or whether it’s advisable to put Chanukah decorations on the front door. Or whether I should even write about the fear of being a Jew in 2023.

I’m well aware of the risks we face in daring to challenge a global narrative that seeks to put Jew-hatred in some kind of perverse context. I’m well aware that Jew-haters may read this, too. I’m used to it. And silence is no longer an option.

So instead I present this chanukiah after the candles have flickered out. In this frame, there is no light, no banishment of the darkness, no flicker of hope.

But look more closely. At the layers of wax from years past, clinging stubbornly to the metal.

They signal moments when there was indeed light. When we gathered around and shared moments just as our ancestors have been doing for thousands of years. When we gathered to remember what it felt like to overcome adversity and survive against overwhelming odds.

There may not be light in this captured moment, but there is a story of the history that led up to it. And the promise that tomorrow there will be more light, and even more afterward.

The caked on wax telegraphs a simple message to anyone willing to lean in and hear it: there’s too much history here for us to simply put our candelabras away and call it a day.

We’ve fought the darkness before, and we’ll do so now.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #chanukah #hannukah #howeveritisspelled #jewish #holiday #stilllife #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Gelt to the rescue, December 2020
Let the light return, December 2020
Light vs. hatred, December 2019

Saturday, December 09, 2023

Distracted driving in my neighbourhood

Updating his feed at the wheel
London, ON
November 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Behold the second generation Ford Escape.

I noticed this vehicle driving through our neighbourhood the other night. As the dog and I waited on the sidewalk at an intersection, the driver casually turned the corner without signalling, his phone in his hand against the steering wheel.

He was so engrossed in his device as he drove on autopilot that he had no idea we were even there.

We continued our walk, only to soon realize he had stopped a couple of blocks away. I walked past on the sidewalk and he was sitting there, foot on the brake, madly playing with his phone. Again, he had no clue he wasn’t alone - or that I was quite literally standing Right There watching him patently violate our province’s Highway Code.

So in the most passive-aggressive Canadian way possible, I stole a fast photo of the idiot’s license plate, figuring when he inevitably destroys some unfortunate soul’s parked car - or worse - I’ll at least have an image and an experience to share with our local police force.

That the light signature looked kinda fun wasn’t lost on me. Even scofflaw motorists can inspire some memorable guerilla street photography.

So for the record, this is a 2008-to-2012-model-year Ford Escape, Ontario plate CBAP 316. I don’t expect London Police Service - Canada to weigh in here, but I can’t miss an opportunity to at least get some of these terrifying on-the-road behaviours entered into the digital record.

I feel like this could be the start of a road safety vigilante thing. Maybe next time I’ll camp out at the nearby stop sign that has become a mere suggestion for some - yet in the decades we’ve lived here we’ve never seen so much as one ticket handed out.

Enforcement isn’t really this town’s strong suit.

Perhaps if we start making these things more visible, things will change.

(OK, I know I’m fooling myself, but still, I’m a hopeful Canadian.)

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #ford #escape #distracted #driving #carporn #automotive #oldparkedcars #opc #night #red #light #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded


Friday, December 08, 2023

That Schnauzer stare

So?
London, ON
December 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’ll just keep staring deeply into your soul until you dig into your pocket and hand over those treats you promised me if I was a good girl.

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

Related:
Toe beans on pink, August 2023
Canine resolution, January 2023
Sleeping ball of fur, December 2022
When shaggy dogs sleep, February 2022
Dog meets snail, June 2022
Eight dog years, March 2015

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Explosion at my feet

Flash of orange
London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The scene: on a cloudy Sunday afternoon in October, I wander the path through the woods in search of something - anything - that will catch my eye.

There isn’t much to be had. The leaves have been slow to change colour this year, and the landscape looks like a riot of ratty-looking grasses interspersed with barely-alive trees and bushes. This is as far from a glorious autumn as we can possibly get.

As I head home with barely anything worthwhile on my memory card, I spot a tiny flash of color in my peripheral vision and bend down for a closer look. It’s a single orange flower, growing almost defiantly out of the half-dead grass and leaves.

I probably would have walked right on past, but somehow the universe had other plans. There’s nothing else remotely worth shooting around here, yet this single flower somehow overwhelms the trashed landscape around it.

I shoot a few low-angled photos of it before heading for home. The entire way back, I can’t get it out of my head the strength of a single flower to reshape the narrative despite everything that surrounds it - and the fact that the lesson I’ve just been taught clearly has nothing to do with flowers.

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

Related:
The Color Purple, August 2010
Fall flowers, October 2007
Life, defiant, January 2006
Soft and fluffy, December 2004

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

It's almost gutter-ice season

Frosty was here
London, ON
March 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’ve been scanning the gutters in our neighbourhood lately, as I’ve been looking for a very particular kind of icy wonderland.

It’s what you get when you have a lot of rain, followed by a fast overnight freeze. While it makes for a scary-dangerous morning commute, it also leaves crystallized magic in the very margins of where we live.

I’m a glass-half-full person, anyway.

The best time to catch the icy show is early morning, when the ice is super crisp, where the conditions lead to all sorts of surreal layering and cracks and reflections. You never quite know what you’ll get, which I think is a large part of the appeal.

The clock, of course, is always ticking, as soon enough the sunlight reaches down from the sky and starts to soften it up. Before long, it’s gone for good.

Canadian winters can be brutal and miserable. But they also serve up random magic like this, tiny little slivers of frozen perspective coming to life in the most impossible places. They flare brilliantly for a blink before they melt into memory.

I took this one last March, and share it now because the temperatures are just now getting down to the point where we’ll have some new examples to shoot in the days and weeks to come. We’re so close, and the dog and I are ready.

I’d imagine our neighbours are used to me by now, the weird guy crouched down by the side of the road, looking like he lost a contact lens while the puppy either stands patiently to the side or wanders nose-first into the frame.

Everyone is always welcome to join in if they want, as there’s plenty of wonder to go around. We’ll just have to move quickly to capture it.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #onstorm #water #ice #frozen #winter #walkabout #actofdog #nature #naturephotography #abstract #stilllife #photography #apple #iPhone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Frozen X-ray, March 2023
Icy duality, February 2023
When puddles freeze, January 2023
Leaf frozen in ice, March 2022