Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Staring into the fuzzy horizon

Tracing lines in the sky
London, ON
April 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Depth of field is one of those cornerstones of photography that can take years for photographers to fully internalize.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I struggled with it for years after I first picked up a camera. Even now, I bracket more often than I probably should, a hacker’s attempt to compensate for my admittedly pedestrian photographic skill set.

So when I found myself staring through the bare branches, I thought it might be fun to focus on the foreground and let the colourfully fuzzy horizon tell its own part of the story.

Was this the correct way to shoot this particular scene? I’ll probably never know, and to be honest I don’t give questions like this much thought.

I’m not a classically perfect photographer by any stretch of the imagination, but I know what makes me smile - and this pic does.

In the end, photography should make us happy. That’s the only thing that needs to matter.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #redskies #sunset #cloudspotting #weather #wx #silhouette #bokeh #dof #optimistpark #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

School of frozen fish

Pick me, pick me!
London, ON
May 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Exactly one year ago today, I leaned over a freezer in the fish section of our local Costco and took a rather strange photograph.

If I remember correctly, the place was packed with people. Most of them were idly shuffling through the grey concrete warehouse, barely aware of what was going on sound them. Almost no one was smiling.

In a moment of ridiculously trivial inspiration, I convinced myself that taking a stupid picture would bring joy to a joyless place. And before I could talk myself out of it, a spontaneous still-life photo session was happening.

It’s what I do. It isn’t reasonable, logical, or even sane. But we’ve all been in situations that felt, if not hopeless, then at least devoid of colour. And if a photo can bring happiness to a moment that is anything but, I’m hardly going to stand in the way.

The fish may have a different opinion, mind you.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #costco #grocery #store #retail #random #frozen #fish #ice #stilllife #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photography

Monday, May 13, 2024

Where the trees frame the water

Just breathe
London, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Whenever Earth’s merry go round spins faster than I’d prefer, I’ll try to disappear into the woods for a bit.

I’ll walk the soft-floored pathways in search of a spot where I can pause and reflect. It can be anywhere, really, but if we’re going to rank them, anything near water will naturally gravitate toward the top of the list.

So this explains how I ended up beside the creek on a Saturday afternoon, taking a picture of a scene that, unlike an eclipse or an aurora, probably doesn’t often merit an avalanche of photos, let alone a single one.

But popularity has never really been my thing, anyway. If it moves me, I’ll pull the camera out and have fun with it. And quiet spots in the forest will always move me when I need to get off the spinning ride for a little while.

I can’t know for sure what I’ll find the next time I venture back to this place, but I can promise that there will certainly be a next time.

Hopefully you’ll follow my lead and find a similar spot near wherever you happen to be.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #heritage #forest #tree #trees #thames #river #water #reflective #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photography


Sunday, May 12, 2024

The two sides of Mother's Day

London, ON
March 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Mother’s Day has always been bittersweet for some.

Maybe you lost your mom. Or you’re slowly losing her. Or you never had fond memories of her to begin with. Maybe you wanted to be a mom, but couldn’t. Maybe you’ve been a mom, then weren’t. Maybe your experience doesn’t fit the perfectly typeset sentiment of a Hallmark card.

Whatever the case, it can’t be easy to navigate the avalanche of globally programmed marketing messages, to be reminded yet again how impossible it can be to live up to manufactured imagery, to compare better to everyone else as they play the same game, too.

So we get through today and wait for the triggers to subside tomorrow.

All of which begs the question of why we wait for days on the calendar at all when any day is the right day to express gratitude and kindness to others, wherever they might be located within our family dynamic, and however we define family in the first place.

On any given day, many of us are blessed to be connected to folks whose lives naturally cast light on our own. We’re lucky to have that front row seat to lives that make our own better. We shouldn’t need to visit the card aisle to let them know how we feel.

So while today I’ll be looking for ways to ensure Debbie, seen here, knows full well how thankful I am that she is the very centre of our family’s gravity, it won’t be because the calendar says so. I’ll do the same thing tomorrow and on every other day I’m lucky enough to get to spend with her.

I’ll never come close to evening the score. Everyone knows the best moms, like this one, always give far more than they receive.

But still, everyone needs more kindness, however we’re connected, and this will be just as true tomorrow as it is today. And everyone needs to somehow appreciate that what - and who - they have is incredibly special. And never guaranteed.

So please celebrate your people today. And tomorrow. And be as kind to them as the best moms have been to us.

If we’re lucky, they’ve taught us well.

#LiveLaughLevy #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #mothersday #mom #moms #life #parenthood #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photography

Her, May 2018

Saturday, May 11, 2024

The things our cameras can see

“The camera sees in ways the eye cannot.”
C. Levy
This photo originally shared on Instagram

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #aurora #borealis #northernlights #solar #optimistpark #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #night #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography

The aurora comes to the north

London, ON
May 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

At 10:43 on a Friday night, 24,000 feet above our heads, an Aeromexico 737-800 descends through electric skies on its way to Toronto.

My shutter is open for 6 seconds, capturing the plane’s blinking lights as it covers the final 200 or so km of its journey from Mexico City.

On-board, I like to imagine at least some of the 180-ish souls are peering out the windows in awe as the planet’s strongest solar storm in 20 years lashes the atmosphere with pulsing waves of glowing electromagnetic energy. I hope they’re feeling as much wonder as my wife and I are feeling way down here on the ground.

We’ve walked over to a nearby park to find some workable darkness. A scene that first presents itself as dull. wispy lines in the sky seems to come alive when we view it through the camera, as if the combination of glass, pixels, and algorithmic goodness adds its own dose of magic on top of the celestial kind that’s drawn millions of people from their homes on this memorable night.

As much as I strive to get the shot, I’m strangely feeling no pressure to do so. Everyone and their dog seems to be shooting and sharing on social media, and as it was during the recent solar eclipse, it occurs to me that I’m not a follow-the-crowd kind of photographer.

No, the reward here isn’t something that translates well into an Instagram post. It’s time with her that I seek, another indelible moment in a lifetime of them where I get to experience something unique through her eyes, listen to her sense of wonder, talk about it excitedly as we pack up and head back home.

There’s no photo of any of that, no pixellated memory of a moment that’ll exist far more vividly in my mind than I could ever capture through glass.

As we turn for home, I count myself lucky that I get to share this experience with her. And I hope the folks on that now-long-gone plane - and in the park, and alongside country roads throughout the region - are also with someone who matters.

Because everything is better when you’re with someone who gets it. Who gets you.

Maybe next time our adventures will involve the sun. Or not. Doesn’t really matter. If I’m with her, I’m good.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #aurora #borealis #northernlights #solar #optimistpark #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography

Eclipsed, August 2007

Friday, May 10, 2024

Where the school bus goes at night

Nap time
London, ON
May 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

It’s 11:06 p.m. in the dead-silent corner of an elementary school parking lot, and the big yellow bus sits alone under the harsh security lights.

Whatever kids it may have carried are fast asleep at home, their humble chariot resting quietly until the next day’s journey.

Most of us have likely had our own journeys on busses just like this one, fuzzy memories from childhood that stick with us long after we’ve moved on from playgrounds and field trips and summer camps.

Perhaps they’re happy ones - or maybe they aren’t - but it’s still something we all seem to share, a powerful connector of sorts, hidden in plain sight.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #yellow #school #bus #night #automotive #street #streetphotography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photography

Transit the night, November 2023
Bus stop moment, May 2022
The endless wait, April 2020
No more games, August 2019

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Calli at 7

This is more difficult than it looks
London, ON
May 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Birthday week here in Levyland continues, and today it’s my turn.

Yes, dogs can, too, have birthdays, and today is my seventh.

Which means I’ve had seven years to learn a whole lot of things, like advanced language skills so I can write social media posts, the ability to nap anywhere and anytime, and adaptive bunny, squirrel, chipmunk, and bird hunting techniques. I still haven’t learned NOT to play with skunks, though. Maybe I’ll work on that this year. Or not.

I’ve also learned how loved I am. My people are always petting me, playing with me, hugging me, and otherwise getting in my face. I’m not always the best behaved girl - I’m loud, I chew things that probably shouldn’t be chewed, and most of the other dogs in the neighbourhood know enough to cross the street whenever they see me coming. But I try to give them kisses on their noses so they know how much I appreciate being part of the family.

My dad takes me on long walks, and he often talks to me as we explore the streets and parks around our house. He still calls me his puppy, saying if he never wants to grow up, he doesn’t want me to grow up, either. He talks about something called time, that humans and dogs alike don’t get enough of it, and we wouldn’t want to ruin it by forgetting what it was like to be a puppy.

So I won’t forget. I’m still bonkers like I was when they first brought me home. I still follow them everywhere they go. I still snuggle with them, hard. And I still wish all of this would last forever, even though I know it probably doesn’t.

I’d love to write more, but as you can see, today I’m focused on refining my napping technique, and I’ve found just the right spot on the couch. This life thing is turning out pretty good, and I’m one thankful schnu.


Calli the Wonderschnauzer

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #actofdog #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photography

Calli at 6, May 2023
Calli at 5, May 2022

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

One day among 365

Turn that lens around
London, ON
May 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Now that I’ve completed another loop around our nearest star, I can’t wait to see what the next orbit has in store.

While there’s no way to ever know for sure what lies ahead, I expect each of the next 364 days to be every bit as precious as this one has already been.

Not that I’m taking any of those 364 days for granted. I’m thankful to have any days at all, and profoundly appreciate how little control any of us ever has over numbers or time. We get what we get, and we’re lucky for it.

So if I celebrate the so-called ordinary days a little more than might seem normal, at least you’ll understand why.

Because there’s no such thing as an ordinary day.

#LiveLaughLevy #birthday #family #everything #lifeinthemargins


Tuesday, May 07, 2024

That night the sky turned purple

Stay for the twilight show
London, ON
May 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I chased the sunset again.

Because I’m never sure how many we’re going to get.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sunset #cloudspotting #weather #wx #silhouette #optimistpark #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography

Monday, May 06, 2024

What happens when we forget?

Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

As I prepared to take the recycling bins out to the curb last night, I did something I’m rather ashamed of: I took the empty matza boxes and buried them under all the other paper products.

Then I stood alone in the garage and asked myself why, in 2024, was I afraid of being identified as a Jew?

See, it’s Holocaust Remembrance Day today. And if I remember anything from my Jewish upbringing, it’s two simple words: never again.

And for much of my life, I’ve subscribed to the notion that never again will something so monstrous be allowed to happen to any identifiable group.

Yet here I stand in an ordinary garage in an ordinary town in Canada, and I’m afraid of being singled out. Simply because of who I am.

Why is that? Why is Jew-hatred still a thing? Why is hatred still an acceptable pillar of curriculum in countless schools and communities? Why has this become normalized? Why haven’t we learned from history?

So many questions - and I have no answers for any of them as I carry the recycling box down the driveway, careful to ensure those pesky matza boxes don’t give me away, and don’t give anyone a reason to look more closely at me, my home, my family.

Never again? Not quite. Not now, and possibly never at all.

#ldnont #YomHaShoah #NeverAgain

Why we must remember, January 2023
Not quite never again, January 2022
Never forget, April 2012
Kristallnacht + 70, November 2008

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Walking the pink carpet

The one where she follows her nose
London, ON
May 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Calli the Wonderschnauzer’s lovely brown eyes may not be able to discern as many colours as a human’s can, but that doesn’t mean she can’t sniff out some vibrant shades as she explores the neighbourhood.

There’s a tree just around the corner that drops a beautiful carpet of pink around this time every year. If it smells like heaven to us - and it does - then I’ve got to imagine her nose has a field day every time she gently pads her way across the Barbie-hued sidewalk.

The brilliant scene never lasts as long as we’d like, and indeed by the next morning the winds have thinned out the fallen petals, and those that remain have already begun to shrivel up.

I suppose it’s a sad thing to witness, the fading of what was once brilliant. But to the nose and eyes and imagination of a dog, it’s just another excuse to seek out new adventures.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #callitheschnauzer #callithewonderschnauzer #dog #dogs #actofdog #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzers #pink #spring #blooms #dogsofinstagram #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photography

Dog meets snail, June 2022
Dog in fog, September 2021

Saturday, May 04, 2024

When blooms litter the ground

London, ON
June 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

We’re in that blink-and-you-miss-it time of year when the trees and bushes explode with vibrant blooms, only to shed their brilliance before most of us have a chance to appreciate the show.

Which leaves us with a choice: either sigh wearily and get on with our day, or crouch down and take a closer look at what’s left before time and winds whip them into oblivion.

So that’s what I do on this gently sunny Saturday morning as Calli the Wonderschnauzer patiently sniffs the grass nearby. The two of us have evolved a bit of a routine around dog walks and spontaneous photography, and I often forget to thank her for giving me a reason to get out with a lens in the first place.

As I compose this moment down at my feet, I ponder how temporary it is, and how a simple bloom from a nearby tree deserves to be the centre of attention before it disappears forever. Come to think of it, we all do.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #white #flower #bloom #nature #naturephotography #abstract #sidewalk #stilllife #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photography

The silence of snow, November 2019
Remember the fallen, November 2009

Friday, May 03, 2024

Nose-to-nose with a Raptor

Pause for effect
London, ON
September 2023
This photo originally shared on Instagram

After we’ve slayed the dragon, we pose nose-on - with a bit of jelly for good measure.

@airshowlondon @f22demoteam #ldnont #london #airport #ontario #canada #throwback #SkyDrive #AirShowLondon #aviation #lockheedmartin #usaf #f22 #raptor #fighter #flight #aircraft #avgeek #aviationphotography #planespotting #instaplane #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Silhouette sunset romance

Both sides of the light
London, ON
February 2024
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I have a bit of a thing for sunsets.

And silhouettes.

And sunsets WITH silhouettes.

And trees.

It’s something of an obsession.

Or, I guess, an addiction.

Whatever it is, it isn’t something that needs fixing.

So I won’t.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #twilight #sky #tree #trees #optimistpark #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photography

Sunrise, sunset, November 2020
Electric sky, November 2020