Thursday, February 29, 2024

Winter in Dryden

Where Wilson Street ends
Dryden, ON
January 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Winter just loves to play games with light and colour.

After the snow has fallen, or the ice has frozen, or both, it’s common for the colour palette to shift from vibrant to near-monochrome. Things that might have appeared overly saturated before the storm now feel like they’ve been run through a beloved old roll of Kodak TRI-X.

It’s a show that never gets old, and something to look forward to at a time when we might otherwise want to curse the cold.

So I’ll be the weirdo who after the storm ebbs will don a giant parka, even larger-scale boots, and enough layers of woolies to guarantee me permanent resident status in Greenland. I’ll grab a camera and head out into the near-black-and-white wonderland.

When I get there, I may find some colour hiding in unexpected places. I’ll see shapes and textures that will only exist in this form for as long as the temperature remains below zero. I’ll feel something I wouldn’t be able to feel without the wintry blanket covering almost everything in sight.

I don’t love winter. I suspect most Canadians don’t, and I’m certain the ones who say they do are probably lying. It’s a hard, uncomfortable, even dangerous slog.

But there are enough reasons to love this place, enough good reasons to stay right here. Because the good of Canada far outweighs the weathery bad.

I can’t change the weather, anyway. But I can absolutely change how I choose to see it.

It’s stunningly beautiful. It figuratively and literally takes our breath away. And it’s strictly temporary.

So we enjoy it while we can.

#dryden #ontario #canada #throwback #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #frozen #winter #weather #wx #onstorm #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Watching planes chase the sun

Framed sky
London, ON
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The skies were busy as day turned to night, as a sudden swarm of planes high above chased the sun and left traces of their passage behind.

We’re all chasing something, after all. And we’re all leaving some sort of mark along the way.

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

Sunset test shot, July 2023

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Picture window

Scene from a hotel stairwell
Laval, QC
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Nondescript windows in nondescript hotel stairwells can be anything but nondescript if the right conditions present themselves.

Like the ethereal glow of late afternoon light on the window coverings on a day that up until that moment had been as dark as any in recent memory.

The lesson: look for the light. You’ll find it. Sometimes in the most unexpected place.

#montreal #laval #quebec #canada #throwback #roadtrip #travel #sun #weather #wx #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Watch your step, January 2022
Hotel room chair, June 2021

Monday, February 26, 2024

The Marlboro Man hates recycling

Out of time
St. Laurent, QC
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

We find the craziest things in the shadows.

Like this crushed pack of Marlboros in the frozen corner of a crumbling parking lot, discovered as we got back into the car while running errands.

I was of two minds about it as I processed the scene in my mind.

As ticked off as I was at humanity’s tendency to indifferently ruin the planet, I was equally fascinated by the spontaneous appearance of a brand I hadn’t thought about in decades.

Curiosity won out as I crouched beside the open car door and fast-composed this bizarro still-life scene. My wife, bless her, patiently watched and waited in the cold as I played photographer behind the tattered Tim Hortons coffee shop.

Like every experience with her, I learned something from this one, too. That even in the middle of a dark day amid too many dark days, there’s life - however strange - to be found in the spaces where we normally wouldn’t look.

So we look anyway.

#montreal #stlaurent #quebec #canada #roadtrip #travel #parking #lot #winter #weather #wx #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Discarded cigarette, January 2018
Roadside smoker, May 2012
Marlboro Man, February 2012

Sunday, February 25, 2024

All dogs deserve a Place

What home looks like
London, ON
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

To the rest of us it’s a simple dog bed. But to her it’s her Place.

When she needs a break from the stresses of the world, this is where she’ll go.

All we have to do is say the word, place, and she’ll jump in, spin herself around, and plop down in a tightly wound ball of fur.

Sometimes she’ll chew on the increasingly frayed corner of the pillow before she flops her head over the edge and settles down. She’ll lie very still as she pretends to be sleeping, but those giant furry eyebrows of her always give her wandering eyes away.

She’s smart, but not very subtle.

I’ll often watch her as she sighs heavily and settles into the gently worn fabric. I’ll wonder what she’s thinking about, if she’s happy, if she knows how much we adore her.

And I’ll quietly wish we could all find our own version of Calli’s little place.

Because everyone deserves refuge from the storm.

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

That Schnauzer stare, December 2023
Boop the snoot, October 2023
Sleepy puppy stare, November 2022
The king at rest, December 2014

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Abstract winter parking scene

After the plows have gone
Laval, QC
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Conventional wisdom dictates that a snowy parking lot in the deep shadows behind a hotel wouldn’t be a top choice for a photographer.

I’m nowhere near conventional, and my social media feeds suggest the wisdom thing is iffy, too. But when you’re far from home and find yourself in need of a photographic moment of shelter, you take what you’ve been given.

And so I ended up in a stairwell overlooking the freshly plowed lot. The snow squalls that dogged us all the way in had moved on, leaving a classic Montreal winter scene in their wake.

I could practically feel the frigid temperatures through the dirt-streaked windows, and looked for some way to remember what it felt like to be in the moment.

Not exactly the loveliest of places, but we didn’t travel all this way for a happy reason, and the darkness of the day seemed to dovetail nicely with the unconventionally desolate scene playing out below.

Every photo has a backstory. Or at least it should. And even if the story is tinged with sadness, it still deserves to be told in some way.

This, then, is my way.

#montreal #laval #quebec #canada #roadtrip #travel #parking #lot #winter #weather #wx #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Kiss my asphalt, November 2019
Scene from a (wet) parking lot, September 2019

Friday, February 23, 2024

After the last fan has left the stadium

Toronto, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I grew up watching the Montreal Expos lose their way year after year into the hearts of Montrealers. Eventually they started to win, only to leave the city they first called home.

It was a hard lesson in real-world sports economics, where the simple joy of just being a fan wasn’t nearly enough to keep the magic going.

So these days we root for Canada’s only remaining Major League Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays.

And as I often do whenever we see them play at the Rogers Centre (Skydome forever!) I like to wander the concrete concourse after the game and grab a few random memories through glass before we head for home.

I settled on the lower bowl seats this time out, because I knew they’d be gone before our next visit. The old stadium is in the middle of a huge makeover designed to maximize profits from fewer customers. That real-world sports economics thing again.

I needed to remember what it felt like to sit in the stands and watch our heroes play a game they loved.

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

No fans here, January 2021
Expensive blue seats, October 2017
Done deal, September 2004
'Spos - almost done, September 2004

Thursday, February 22, 2024

The big bug conundrum

That's a lot of legs...
London, ON
January 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The planet belongs to the insects, and we just live here.

So when they show up inside the house, I feel more than a small amount of guilt that I have to, ah, find a way to remove them from our midst.

Normally I’ll do my best to coax the little folks outside. If I can get it onto a Kleenex* or paper towel, I’ll happily walk them outside and introduce them to their new home. The snow-covered bushes are particularly lovely this time of year.

This particular bug, however, may have met a different fate, as it was far more freak-out-worthy than a typical spider. Just the legs alone gave me chills, and there was no way I was going to allow that thing to keep roaming the house unimpeded.

I still feel guilt from having dispatched him (her? It? Neither?) but no one ever said life - an insect’s, a human’s, or any other organism’s - had to be fair.

Indeed, it isn’t. Bug or no bug, it’s a lesson we all learn one way or another.

* Kleenex is no longer sold in Canada. The company last year announced it was pulling its products from store shelves in the Great White North because apparently Canadians weren’t buying enough of it. Or something. Funny how the brand persists in our hearts, though. Marketing…

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #insect #bug #bugslife #random #stilllife #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Yellow shopping carts in a frozen parking lot

Just pick one
Dryden, ON
January 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Shooting the ordinary has always been a bit of a thing for me. I call them in-between moments, when you’re busy going through the motions of everyday life and you want to remember the minutiae that would otherwise slip unnoticed into the past.

No one’s going to wax poetic about a line of yellow shopping carts in a frozen parking lot in northwestern Ontario. At least that’s not what we’ve been taught.

Instead, we’ve been conditioned to zero in on the spectacular and the familiar. Think CN Towers and Niagara Falls instead of railway repair equipment and grasses growing in ditches.

But when we root through the photos, we end up with lots of CN Towers and Niagara Falls. Which might make it seem like that’s all there is when that’s not the case at all.

In between high-profile visits to tall towers and dangerous waterfalls, we eat, walk, work, drive, ride, and play. We wander the streets and hang out beside bay windows. We talk with friends and smile at strangers.

We live in the everyday, and I’d argue all of these otherwise trivial moments are every bit as meaningful to us as the big, spectacular ones are.

So in my world, they merit some photographic attention, too. In my world, we absolutely wax poetic about yellow shopping carts.

Because despite our having been conditioned to overlook the ordinary, it’s precisely these ordinary things that trigger the memories that make life that much richer.

We’ve shopped here with our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. We’ve made memories here. This place holds a tiny but important spot in our family’s collective memory.

And all it takes is a silly picture to trigger these and other memories.

Hardly seems ordinary at all, then, does it?

#dryden #ontario #canada #throwback #grocery #store #retail #yellow #shopping #carts #buggies #building #streetphotography #photography #canon #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Tree trunk texture

Years of texture
London, ON
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

In the dying light of a day that’s now been consigned to history, a maple tree pauses for its moment.

The scene, the one where light from afar paints a textured scene that is felt as much as it is seen, has been playing out night after night, for the 4 or 5 decades this tree has been growing here. And if all is right in the world, it’ll hopefully continue for many decades to come.

There’s no telling how many of these dying-light moments have been witnessed by passers-by, or how many simply played out silently ignored.

I’d like to think the tree left its own indelible mark on those who encountered it.

I’d like to think it had some kind of significance to others.

I’d also like to think it isn’t just trees that can imprint themselves on strangers.

I’d like to think we could all be a little more like the trees.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #forest #tree #trees #optimist #park #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #texture #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Monday, February 19, 2024

Everything ends eventually

Make a wish for more
London, ON
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

On a day when a dear friend we’ve known since childhood says goodbye to her mom, it doesn’t feel right to share imagery that suggests happiness.

So we go with this. Where the day ends with the setting of the sun. Where angry clouds paint the sky in futile protest against what’s about to happen. Where the howling winds that shape this scene remind us how powerless we are to change much of anything.

I’m often reminded that as much as sunsets signify an ending, they also hold out hope for tomorrow. The sun will always rise again, we’re told.

But not for everyone.

If we’re lucky we’ll be able to greet the morning. But every night marks the last for some, and eventually we all run out of however many sunsets we were destined to have.

I have no answers to any of this, nor do I think any of us ever will. Or even should.

Time is a finite, precious resource for us all, and this is just as true when we’re watching the light fade over the horizon or listening to the cruel beat of earth on wood in a cemetery.

So we watch the brilliant sunsets, feel the howling winds, and rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Because missing all of this would somehow feel wasteful.

#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

Sunday, February 18, 2024

A peck of imperfectly perfect peppers

Mixed vegetables
London, ON
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Not everything - in the pepper section and in life - will always fit into neat little rows.

We’ll often have to contend with random messes along the way, or even spots, like here, where one spills over into the other.

And that’s perfectly fine.

I admit I was tempted, for a nanosecond or two, to clean this scene up a bit before I shot it. Someone had filled the bins to overflowing, and between the unpredictable forces of grocery store physics and neat-averse customers, the inevitable mixing along the edges seemed like an invitation to fix them.

Yet as I looked at the shades of red, yellow, and orange tumbling into one another, I realized the story that wanted to be told was one of randomness rather than perfection.

It also dawned on me that playing pick-up sticks with the produce wasn’t a good look, and everyone else would have been weirded out. Well, at least more than they usually are when I show up and start a spontaneous photo shoot.

So quick photography is okay, but touching everything in the interest of photographic symmetry is not. Got it.

Lessons aside, it felt somewhat freeing to grab a quick shot of messiness before the bread section beckoned.

Because things often break even when we wish they wouldn’t. Because we aren’t always fully in control.

And sometimes we just have to accept the way things are. Whether they’re vegetables or anything else.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #nofrills #grocery #store #fruit #fruitography #red #yellow #orange #peppers #color #texture #shopping #retail #random #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Fighting the coming frost

London, ON
October 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Tiny shoots of green meet the first autumn frost, as if nobody told them to stay below the earth, where they’d be protected from the coming freeze.

It’s a nasty place, this forest floor, where life emerges, and ends, in a seemingly endless cycle that leaves little room for the weak.

Maybe it’ll thrive for a while. Or maybe it’ll shrivel into nothing. Maybe it’ll be remembered. Or not.

I suppose the template for all life is playing out by my feet on this chilly October morning in the nearby woods, lessons for the so-called real world being written in miniature for anyone willing to go for a walk and look down.

I’m alone in this quiet place, and I’m guessing most folks who come here aren’t looking for lessons from the forgettable green leaves fighting for life in the deep blue shadows.

Soon enough the snows will come, and none of this will matter. Or so we think.

All of this matters, whatever the season.

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

Road trip hoar frost, January 2024
Stella in white, December 2021
Frosty the doorman, November 2018

Friday, February 16, 2024

The accidental sunset

If you wait a little...
London, ON
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

There’s a park not far from our house that I’ve been visiting more frequently of late.

As sunset approaches, I’ll watch the skies from the house to figure out whether or not it’ll be worth the walk over. It needs be partly cloudy, as full overcast hides the show, while a perfectly clear sky is just boring. Things get fun with just the right amount of cloud.

On this particular day, it looked promising when I left the house, But by the time I got to the park, the fast-moving clouds had given way to largely blue - and boring - skies.

I almost didn’t take the camera out of its bag, and took a few quick test shots with my phone in a lame attempt to convince myself I hadn’t completely wasted my time.

As I turned for home, something felt…off, as if a little voice was telling me to stay out there despite all the evidence that the shoot was destined to be an optical and meteorological washout. So I leaned against a nearby maple tree and listened to the winds.

As the sun disappeared below the tree line, tiny wisps of cloud appeared between the branches. The light shifted to an ethereal tone of gold. High overhead, jet planes left flowing contrails behind as they sped toward destinations unknown. The washout had become somewhat salvageable.

It wasn’t the best sunset I’d ever seen, but I’m slowly learning that “best” doesn’t matter as much as “at all”.

What DID matter? That I got out there. That I hung around a bit longer. That I tripped the shutter regardless of what played out in the sky on the other side of the glass.

As the light finally faded and I turned for home, I was strangely uninterested in what I had captured on the memory card. I was just glad I had taken the time.

This photography thing teaches me something new every time I pick up the camera. This time it was the fact that craft can matter more than outcome if we’re patient enough.

Next time? No idea, but I look forward to standing on the edge of the park before sunset so I can figure it out.

Maybe the clouds will show up. Maybe they won’t. Doesn’t really matter.

#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

Sunrise, sunset, November 2020
Electric sky, November 2020

Thursday, February 15, 2024

When winds paint the water

The shape of water
Boca Raton, FL
February 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#OneYearAgoToday, the winds painted the water’s surface something ripply, so I leaned way down and tried to remember what it felt like in that fleeting moment.

#bocaraton #florida #vacation #throwback #travel #swim #swimming #hotel #pool #water #waves #pattern #geometry #abstract #blue #water #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

When infinity...isn't, February 2023
Swimming in the abstract, September 2021
Twisting by the pool, February 2019

When neon goes dark

Light from the past
London, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Whenever I randomly come across a neon sign, I make a point of taking a photo. Even if it’s filthy.

It probably seems like an odd photo choice. After all, it’s just a sign, right? One of countless such objects all begging for our attention in our cynical marketing-fuelled modern existence. Meaning it normally wouldn’t be worthy of a second look, let alone a first.

But I see neon through a different lens, because as a technology it is fast disappearing from our midst. In fact, look at streetscape pics from decades ago up against otherwise identical views of the same scenes today and one thing becomes immediately apparent: there’s almost no neon left.

Once upon a time, artists crafted ethereally twisted tubes that then splashed stunning pools of light across the typical urban street. When the sun went down, the neon hummed to life and turned once-ordinary stretches of brick, concrete, and asphalt into magical playgrounds where lifelong memories were made.

Today? Plastic covers fluorescent. Or LED screens play marketing content that looks stunningly similar to the stuff we fast-forward through at home. None of it is memorable, and those pools of light are more washed out than magical. If memories are made here, they aren’t particularly warm or gauzy, and our future history won’t love them as much as our current history loves neon.

Of course the new technology is more efficient. It’s probably cheaper - no one has to bend the glass into uniquely sculpted visions in script - and I’m guessing it’s easier to maintain, too.

In other words, better.

But in the world of light, better isn’t always better.

So we remember what once was when it winks at us from the shadowy corners of an increasingly dusty streetscape that no longer comes alive after the sun sets.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #neon #glass #wongsgarden #restaurant #light #night #urban #street #photography #architecture #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Blue neon at night, January 2020
They dream in neon, January 2012
Size does matter,  August 2010
Neon - not the Chrysler, May 2009
Neon world, February 2006

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Another Hallmark moment

The one where he marries up
London, ON
June 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

If my math is correct, she’s agreed to be my Valentine 40 times so far.

Which makes me an insanely lucky human being.

Not because she consented to the norms established by a modern-day marketing construct designed to boost sales of pre-written cards and packaged chocolates, mind you. But because she looks at me like that not just on February 14th, but on every other day of the year, too.

Truth is, we never needed a holiday. But any opportunity to count a blessing of a lifetime is a worthwhile opportunity.

So we take it and hope for 40 more. To start.

What are you thankful for?

#LiveLaughLevy #life #family #everything #lovethisgirl

My forever Valentine, February 2023
Lost Valentine, February 2021
Unvalentine, February 2020
A kiss in the washroom, February 2018
1.1 seconds, February 2008

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Rainbows far from home

Sault Ste. Marie, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram

It’s no secret I use this venue as a bit of an escape from Planet Earth. Take/choose a photo, write some words around it, share it. Repeat.

I call it a vignette, and it has become something of a daily moment where I get to create anything I wish, to the exclusion of all the noise on the outside.

Many of the images are monochrome, because I have a thing for composing without colour. But some of them are all about the colour, as if a random dance across the spectrum has the ability to bring us joy.

Come to think of it, that’s exactly how it should be. Colours and shades and tones have the power to make us feel things we wouldn’t otherwise feel. They can dredge up long-buried memories. They can counter the noise on the outside. They can bring us joy if we let them.

So here’s some yarn that I found in an unexpected place far from home. In the middle of a long journey, it was an unassuming swath of colour hanging under indifferent fluorescent lights in an otherwise ordinary-looking craft store that cut through the noise and turned the drab into the glorious.

Small, I know. Even laughable.

But it brought me joy when I first captured it, and it brings me joy now. I hope it does the same for you, as well. Because we can all use some joy - and colour - no matter where we find it.

#saultstemarie #ontario #canada #throwback #roadtrip #travel #travelphotography #retail #store #michaels #rainbow #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Chalk it up to art, August 2023
Eat the rainbow, March 2022
A rainbow of potential, September 2017
Rainbow connection, January 2011

Monday, February 12, 2024

Hotel room lamp still-life

Light and shadows
Boca Raton, FL
February 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#OneYearAgoToday, a spontaneous still-life photo session took place in a hotel room far from home.

I never quite know when such a session is about to happen. I call them “visions”, and my ever-understanding and patient wife knows that look that I get when one of them pops into my head.

This particular vision involved lamps and walls and reflected light. Something about the way this otherwise ordinary lamp painted the otherwise ordinary wall seemed to speak to me.

I know it sounds strange. But trust me: in my convoluted world, it makes sense and it brings me comfort.

And if this vision thing plays out as it should, I hope it brings you comfort, too.

#bocaraton #florida #throwback #vacation #travel #hotel #lamp #light #reflection #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Let there be light, December 2009
My daughter's light, February 2008
Light from below, January 2008
Lens meets mirror, December 2006
Shades of blue, April 2006

Where flowers go to die

Almost forgotten
London, ON
April 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The things we find when we dive deep into our photo archives.

Like this forlorn rose on an equally forlorn concrete garage floor. For some reason it got left behind on garbage day, and someone thought it should be remembered for posterity - with a BlackBerry Priv, of all things.

That someone would be me. And almost seven years after I snagged this shot before tossing this dehydrated flower out for good, I’m still at a loss as to why I seem so insistent on remembering mundane objects and scenes and moments.

Maybe it never needs to be explained or understood. No one gets hurt in the process, and all I’m really consuming is drive space.

Works for me.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #random #flower #rose #yellow #nature #texture #plants #life #stilllife #blackberry #priv #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Explosion at my feet, December 2023
The Color Purple, August 2010
Fall flowers, October 2007
Life, defiant, January 2006
Soft and fluffy, December 2004

Sunday, February 11, 2024

When Airbus met Embraer

Scene from the gate
Toronto, ON
February 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#OneYearAgoToday, I took weird pictures of airplanes at the airport.

Please don’t ask why.

#toronto #yyz #pearson #international #airport #ontario #canada #throwback #westjet #boeing #737NG #porter #embraer #e195e2 #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #flight #flying #aviation #avgeek #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Chain link dichotomy

Divide or connect?
London, ON
April 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram

There’s a poignant duality to the humble chain link fence that often goes ignored by those who walk on past.

To the good, it provides protection and shelter. Or even peace of mind when all we want is a break from whatever it is that’s going on on the outside.

But fences can also separate us. They keep us out. Limit our freedom and movement. Suppress and oppress us. Prevent us from finding whatever opportunity lies on the other side.

The difference between these two states of being often lies in the intentions of those responsible for the fence in the first place. Like any tool or technology or weapon, a fence is just a thing until either a warm or a cold heart decides how it should be used.

We can wish until the end of time that it’ll be used for good, but we all know the world doesn’t work that way.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #fence #fences #fencing #landscape #design #fencesofinstagram #streetphotography #street #walkabout #monochrome #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Barrier to entry, December 2006

Saturday, February 10, 2024

The trees that protect us

Natural canopy
Dryden, ON
January 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

My favourite urban streetscapes are the ones where the trees on opposite sides of the road join together overhead.

It feels like they’re protecting us.

That someone cared to plant them in the first place.

Then successive generations nurtured them.

And ensured modern life didn’t replace them with something “better”.

Because nothing we can build will ever be better than trees.

#dryden #ontario #canada #throwback #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #frozen #winter #weather #wx #onstorm #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Walk the foggy streets, December 2023
Highbury Avenue in fog, November 2022
The clarity of fog, February 2021

Friday, February 09, 2024

The winglet's ugly back-story

Split the difference
Winnipeg, MB
January 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Boeing is getting a ton of richly deserved bad press these days. The company that was once the very definition of engineering excellence has, since its ill-starred 1997 takeover of McDonnell-Douglas, devolved into a bottom-seeking pursuer of profit above everything else.

Harsh, I know.

In 2018 and 2019, two then-new 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashed after software designed to prevent stalls ended up violently pushing the nose down so severely and repeatedly that the pilots fought their planes all the way into the ground.

Last month a stretched MAX 9 variant of the jet belonging to Alaska Airlines had a door plug blow out mid-flight because bolts designed to secure it were somehow left off at the factory. Thankfully everyone survived.

The MAX itself was the result of a botched decision to re-engineer a 1960s-era design well beyond its reasonable design limits instead of starting over with a clean-sheet design. Investors liked the cheap roadmap, despite the fact that it resulted in a frankenplane that had no business being in the sky.

Those crashes? Caused by the MCAS software that was introduced precisely because the new, more efficient engines were too large to be mounted under the wing. So they were pushed forward and upward, which impacted the plane’s balance, hence necessitating the software.

Making matters worse, Boeing fed data to the software through only one sensor - a no-no in an industry where safety depends on redundancy - and then charged airlines extra for warning lights on the flight deck.

Boeing also lobbied to minimize retraining requirements for pilots transitioning from older 737 models, arguing the new plane was almost identical to the old. It wasn’t, and pilots had no idea what a monster MCAS could be.

The problems aren’t limited to the plane once lovingly called Fat Albert. 787s have suffered huge delivery delays because assembly workers kept leaving debris behind, and the next-generation 777X is years behind schedule.

Travellers used to say if it’s not Boeing, I’m not going. These days, they’re simply not going.

Which makes this photo hard to look at. Boeing calls it the AT Winglet, and it graces the wingtips of every MAX. It ostensibly reduces drag, which improves efficiency.

Beyond that, though, it’s a piece of highly refined engineering art, a tightly drawn example of why aviation can be a stunningly beautiful space if you know where to look.

It’s hard to reconcile the stark beauty of an advanced wing design against the rotting culture that produced it. It’s hard to understand the flawed groupthink that, within the space of a generation, managed to turn a one-time shining star into a global laughingstock. We’ll be studying this downfall in business schools for generations. As we should.

In the meantime, I’ll take an Airbus. Their winglets aren’t quite as lovely, but loveliness is only part of the equation.

#winnipeg #manitoba #mb #canada #throwback #airport #ywg #flair #boeing #aviationphotography #avgeek #aviation #aviationgeek #instagramaviation #planespotting #travel #travelphotography #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Epic fog battle on an autumn morning

Just listen
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Autumn came late to the valley, which largely explains why it was still so green when I walked through the woods on a late October Sunday morning.

The fog was fighting a losing battle with the sunlight, holding on for dear life just above the rushing waters. Meanwhile the canopy overhead swayed gently in the cool breeze, its whispers barely masking the songs of the birds who hadn’t started their trek south.

In other words, just another day in the woods.

Or was it?

I’ve been back since, but the tone, the sounds, the light, weren’t quite what they were on this day.

And that’s kind of the way it’s supposed to be. Every day serves up its own palette, of sorts. And while at first glance it might look like just any other day, if we look just a little more closely we might notice the tiny traits that make this day unique.

We have to take the time, of course. And that’s why I keep returning here.

To find the tiny differences.

To feel the subtle shifts.

To look in the margins for signs that nothing is ever really the same even if we think it is.

I guess that’s the difference between merely living and feeling truly alive.

Yeah, let’s go with that.

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


Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Ukelele close-up

Where music is made
London, ON
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Our daughter plays the ukelele - no bias, beautifully - so when she leaves it out after she’s done, a spontaneous pic is called for.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #ukelele #uke #ukelelelove #music #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

In tune, May 2009
Caption This 99, November 2008
88 Piano Keys, September 2008

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

The electronic warrior

Showing her dark side
London, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I’ve got a thing for fast planes that make their own weather.

This is a US Navy E/A-18G Growler turning the skies over last year’s @airshowlondon into a bit of a playground.

The electronic warfare-capable evolution of the F/A-18 Super Hornet retains all the aerial mastery of the original, along with enough e-wizardry aboard to fry electronics - and blind the enemy - for miles around.

I kinda liked the abstract relationship between the hot afterburners and the cool vape pouring off the wings. As if the pilot was painting the sky above us.

#ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #boeing #mcdonnelldouglas #usn #gonavy #ea18g #growler #fighter #flight #aircraft #aviationphotography #vape #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #planespotting #instaplane #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded


Monday, February 05, 2024

Glass mug on a sunny kitchen table

Light and shadows
London, ON
January 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

We never quite know when inspiration will touch us.

It happened yesterday morning at the kitchen table. As I settled in for some breakfast and catch-up reading, the sunlight was pouring in through the front window.

It took a while for my still-sleepy brain to register that we hadn’t seen this much sun - or, frankly, any of it - in weeks. So I was a little slow to notice the little light show my beloved glass mason jar mug was putting on mere inches below my nose.

Soon enough, though, spontaneous photography scuttled my reading plans, and the coffee needed another spin in the microwave.

But it was worth it. Because when light travels 147 million kilometres through space and splatters itself all over the kitchen table, it feels like the right thing to do to stop what we’re doing and remember the moment it first touches our soul.

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

Apple juice + light, November 2021
Eat a good breakfast, December 2011
Tea time in London, November 2011