Wednesday, October 27, 2021

A river runs around me

Textured waters
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The waters have receded just enough to allow me to jump onto to a rocky sandbar just a few feet from shore.

It gets me far enough into the rushing river that I can almost feel the current in my head as I crouch down and compose the shot. It’s an admittedly beautiful spot, one that will in all likelihood disappear when the rains return and the waters rise again.

The flowing water all around me seems to add a certain sense of magic to this place. The air is a little fresher. The sounds are a little more resonant. Being here, on this tiny outcropping of smoothed-out rocks, makes me feel alive.

As I carefully hop back onto shore, it isn’t lost on me that all this is temporary, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to get out there for a bit.

It’s a small thing, really, but as I walk back to the outside world, I remind myself that small things really are big things.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #thames #river #water #texture #bokeh #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Trees from Venus

Purple haze
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Ray Bradbury’s iconic short story, All Summer in a Day, kept popping into my head as I walked through this foggy forest still shaking off the rains of the past few days.

The story of children on Venus who are perpetually stuck indoors by relentless rains, and are granted a single hour of play outside every seven years before the rains return, is but one of so many of Bradbury’s works that have imprinted themselves on me.

These woods feel like that story. The soaked-to-the-bone landscape. The condensation rolling into the air and dripping to the ground. The landscape trying to catch its breath before the rain returns anew.

The mind works in remarkable ways, with triggers from long ago going off precisely when we allow ourselves to disconnect from the here-and-now.

I’ve got to spend more time here. No matter the weather.

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

Monday, October 25, 2021

Not as scary as it seems

Always look toward the light
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Depending on how you choose to look at this scene, it’s either ominously dark or hopefully light.

I’m pretty sure most of you will know which one I’d choose.

Because even in the darkest of moments, there’s always enough light to guide us. Even if we have to look a little harder to find it.

Yesterday morning, I managed to find the light in a fog-covered forest. I’m sure I would have found it wherever I happened to be. I’m sure you would have, as well.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #thames #river #weather #wx #fog #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Morning among the shrouded trees

Beside the quiet waters
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The temperature hovered around the freezing mark as I wandered into the woods soon after sunrise this morning.

Condensation rose off the river that’s been carving this valley for more years than I can imagine, bathing the trees in a surreal mask of muted grey. I pulled my hat over my ears and carefully walked the eroded path by the burbling water.

Autumn color continues to be a no-show around here, so I found myself looking for other stories to tell in this remarkable place that lets us leave the rest of the planet behind while we’re lucky enough to be here.

If not color, then maybe texture. Or structure. Or tone. Or a mixture of all three. Or something else entirely.

The “what” didn’t matter as much as the fact that I was out there at all.

Maybe it’s a blessing, then, that the primary thing we seek isn’t always necessarily what we find when we get there.

Maybe it’s a blessing that we still have the ability to walk in the woods - real and figurative - at all.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #green #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

The mural around the corner

Art on brick
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Like broken windows and shattered beer bottles littering dusty gutters, graffiti is another seemingly inevitable signal of a city wrestling with itself.

No city or suburb is immune. Indeed, even my little corner of town experiences it - spraypainted tags on walking paths, bridge abutments, and every wall imaginable. I feel for business owners who have to contend with it not just once, but constantly. The unkindness of those who leave graffiti behind is difficult to understand.

It's also a problem not easily solved. Short of turning the neighborhood into a police state, there's not enough surveillance capacity in the world to stop it.

But, still, right-thinking communities can't afford not to try. A number of area businesses and community groups have stumbled upon an interesting reality of graffiti I-won't-call-them-artists: while they'll happily tag an empty surface until the end of time, they won't overwrite an actual piece of art. Respect takes on many odd forms, I guess.

So murals are now very much a thing, with new ones popping up all over town.

I walk past this one fairly often while I'm out with the dog. It's on an exterior wall of a nearby strip mall variety store, and for years, it sported fresh graffiti almost as quickly as the beleaguered store owner could clean it off. But since this mural - complete with sponsorship logos in the corner - went up, there has been no vandalism here.

The problem isn't solved: the bridge at the other end of the path that winds through the woods is regularly and savagely painted over, so one can argue that the scourge has simply been relocated elsewhere.

But, still, it's a start. And a pretty cool-looking one, at that.

The city of Kitchener, about an hour east of here, has done a wonderful job marketing its murals and integrating them into its local business messaging. I see opportunity to do the same here.

Until then, I'll continue to smile at the happy painted animals as I meander on past with my own happy - and very much real - animal in tow.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #urban #suburban #city #street #photography #streetphotography #graffiti #art #color #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday

Saturday, October 23, 2021

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On the iPod at 20

#IfYouReadOneThingToday, make it this clear-eyed view back in time, 20 years to the day since Apple introduced the iPod.

20 years. Unreal.

For the 20th anniversary of the iPod, we talk with the inventor of Apple's iconic music player, Tony Fadell, who reminisces about working with Steve Jobs and the success of the device.
By Roger Cheng
CNET
October 23, 2021

Red light in a northern town

Waiting to get to the mountains
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We spend a good chunk of our life waiting.

May as well remember what it looks like.

#saultstemarie #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #travelphotography #traffic #roxanne #red #light #random #street #photography #streetphotography #red #traffic #light #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Same trees, slightly different perspective

The Three Graces, in color
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


So this is weird, a slightly different composition of the previous scene.

It's what I do. Look at the same thing from a different perspective. Try to squeeze out more than one perspective of a given scene. Probably a remnant of my childhood when I'd squint my eyes just so, as it was the only way I knew to change the image out the hospital window.

I guess we adopt strange behaviors when confronted with realities that are difficult to understand. And I guess that applies in adulthood as much as it applies in childhood.

[Pause as Carmi looks back at what he's written. Stupid pictures of trees triggering metaphysical recollections from decades ago. Don't mind while I laugh at myself for a bit.]

There, I'm good. Let's get back to the trees. And the bulrushes in the foreground. And the fact that we're surrounded by wonders like this, and gifted with the ability to get out there and take them all in.

In monochrome. In color.

Inside a hospital looking out, or outside in the middle of a giant meadow.

Wherever we happen to be, and however we choose to squint our eyes.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Friday, October 22, 2021

Remembering the first time I shot monochrome

The Three Graces
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Whenever I shoot monochrome, I’m taken back to the very first time 12-year-old me signed out a 35mm pocket camera at camp and spent the next couple of hours shooting my first ever b&w roll.

I remember first wondering how I would capture all the shades of green in the hills north of Montreal with a color-blind camera. But as I continued my solo walk through the silent woods, I started to notice shapes, textures, and shades. And something went click in my head.

As it turned out, the camera wasn’t color-blind at all. Black, white, and grey are colors, too, and as I played with the controls on this remarkable machine, I quickly learned that filtering the world this way can be an eye-opening process. All I had to do was shift my attitude a little.

As you may have guessed, I was hooked, and to this day I’ll often deliberately force myself to shoot monochrome, just because.

And to think it all began with a single walk through the woods, and a search for shape, texture, and tones amid the overgrown tree line. Some things never change.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Revisiting the tic-tac-toe tree

Iconic
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The last time I shot this tree was way back in December. A blizzard was moving in, the winds were picking up, and wisps of snow covered its tic-tac-toe-board-like branches.

Some things stick with you, and this wild tree is certainly one of them.

So I looked for it again as I walked past on a summer-like October afternoon, and soon enough I was peering at it through glass: my favourite way to look at beloved trees. Or pretty much anything else, for that matter.

No snow this time out, obviously. But some things in life are just as captivating no matter when or how we encounter them, or what happens to be going on around them when we do.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Pondering the power of peeling paint

Decay you can feel
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Can a 2-dimensional image make you feel in 3 dimensions? Can a flat photo turn texture into something tangible?

I'd like to think so. And peeling paint under a giant bridge that spans an otherwise quiet valley strikes me as a worthwhile place to try this out.

Once upon a time I would have lamented the fact that the paint had been allowed to peel at all, that our city, in its infinite lack of wisdom, allowed yet another piece of public infrastructure to languish.

But it's just paint. Cosmetic, really. Nothing's about to collapse. Peeling paint is infinitely more fun to explore with the eye and the soul than a perfectly smooth surface.

And who am I to judge?

At least that's what I tell myself as I stare at the randomness mere inches from my face and muse about the fact that wonder is often found in the craziest of places.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #bridge #shadows #light #lines #geometry #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Sun-striped bridge

Surprise!
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Show up to the pedestrian bridge at just the right time on just the right kind of sunny day, and thanks to the magic of optics, the sunlight you see here will end its 149 million kilometre journey from our nearest star in rather spectacular fashion.

I wonder if the engineers who designed and built this vital contribution to the local landscape planned for this shadowplay, or if they, too, we’re just as pleasantly surprised as I was the first time they noticed these sublime projections of shadow and light.

I’d like to think none of this was planned, that magic can still play the occasional delightful surprise on us if we let it.

Because the world needs occasional delightful surprises. Or maybe more than just occasional.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #tree #trees #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #bridge #shadows #light #lines #geometry #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Monday, October 18, 2021

Where the rushing waters flow

So much can happen in half a second
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I went for a bit of a wander over the weekend. The mission was a typically simple one: walk through the woods and look for autumn color.

The universe had other plans, as there was no color to be had. Correction: there WAS color, just not the brilliantly saturated kind that typically defines the season.

So I switched gears, and instead sought out other forms of inspiration in the still-muted landscape.

Like long-ish monochrome exposures of the fast-flowing river that runs through the valley. Never mind that I hadn’t brought a tripod: the bridge railing made for a handy brace point, and before long I was (oh so carefully) shooting over the edge, experimenting with various exposure combinations until I was happy with the results.

This little photographic moment wouldn’t have happened if everything had gone according to the original plan.

But that’s the thing about plans: we may make them, but the universe often has plans of its own. And the universe always wins.

So rather than focusing on what we might lose when we encounter an unplanned tangent, we’re probably better off focusing on the unexpected blessings that drop into our lap while we’re busy navigating the resulting detours.

I’m learning this lesson, albeit slowly, that life’s not about getting what we want. Rather, it’s about getting the most out of whatever we happen to encounter along the way.

This time out it was softly textured monochrome instead of sharply defined colors. Next time it could be anyone’s guess.

I’ll just have to go for another wander to find out.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #medway #valley #forest #thames #river #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #water #abstract #monochrome #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
Half-frozen river, February 2021
Brushed by time, September 2017

Sunday, October 17, 2021

So I climbed the stairs, anyway

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


As a follow up to the last photo I shared - the one with the hotel sign that guilted me into taking the stairs - I decided to take the stairs all the way to the top. At which point I very carefully leaned over the rail and peered down.

Yes, it made me a little queasy.

Scintillating, I know. But one of the secrets to this life thing is apparently relishing the little things. And playing optical geometry games in stairwells represents - to me, anyway - another one of those little things.

I wonder how many other little things there are. And I wish I had enough time to explore, and record, them all.

#saultstemarie #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #travelphotography #hotel #stairs #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
Concrete stairs, January 2007
Pierced darkness, December 2006

Guilt from a hotel lobby sign

Thank you for your concern
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’m not sure how I feel about signs that shame us into engaging in physical activity.

I feel guilty enough taking elevators and escalators, and passive-aggressive messaging like this doesn’t help.

[Which explains why I took the stairs after taking this shot. Guilt is a powerful motivator.]

#saultstemarie #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #travelphotography #hotel #elevator #sign #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Crabapples near and far

Gravity always has the last laugh
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The house where I grew up had a crabapple tree in the backyard, and every autumn this wildly out-of-control tree would drop a massive load of berries all over the place.

I never quite saw the point of a crabapple tree, because we weren’t about to make crabapple cookies or pies. And the berries ruined the lawn and stained the carpet when we inevitably tracked their messy remains into the house. Good times.

Fast forward to adulthood, and rather coincidentally we have a crabapple tree in the boulevard just across the sidewalk from our yard. And wouldn’t you know that it, too, makes quite the mess around this time of year.

The dog doesn’t much like the berries, either, as we have to carefully navigate the sidewalk every time we head out. So I’m sure she was wondering why I stopped for a closer look during this afternoon’s meander.

I assured her I was just taking a picture. We’ll leave the crabapple pie for another time. Or, more realistically, never.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #suburban #sidewalk #street #stilllife #photography #berry #crabapple #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

#IfYouReadOneThingToday - On newspapers

#IfYouReadOneThingToday, I hope you’ll make it this grimly detailed story on the decline of a local newspaper, and the ensuing cost to the community.

This matters to us all.

We don’t often talk about how a paper’s collapse makes people feel: less connected, more alone.
By Elaine Godfrey
The Atlantic
October 5, 2021

Someone painted the blue sky again

Oh so temporary
London, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The clouds in the sky were particularly fetching the other morning, so some spontaneous sidewalk smartphone photography was called for.

This is easier said than done when you live in the Forest City, as there’s always a tree nearby, ready to get in the way.

Don’t get me wrong: I love me some shade. Just not when I’m trying to capture the widest possible swath of sky through the maddeningly limited wide angle lens on my phone.

I’m not sure if I succeeded this time out, but it sure was fun to give passing motorists a reason to smile at the weird sandal-clad guy staring at the clouds while his dog waited patiently beside him.

I hope they, too, find a way to enjoy the sky when it decides to put on a show. There’s always magic happening up there, and all we need to do is look up.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #weather #wx #blue #sky #clouds #gradient #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, October 15, 2021

When they walled up the Costco

Costco Wonderland North
London, ON
April 2021
Photos originally shared on Instagram
I took these photos six months ago today. Provincial rules banning big box stores like this Costco from selling anything more than essentials resulted in this surreal scene.

The giant-walls-of-merchandise blocking aisles of supposedly non-essential goods were an epically creative solution to a particularly vexing problem, and they strangely brought me comfort during a time where I - indeed all of us - felt anything but comfortable.

It was but one of countless surreal moments during this surreal period in history, and I felt like I needed to record it in some admittedly trivial way before getting back to the very serious business of quickly fetching what I needed and getting the heck out of dodge.

The restrictions were lifted after a few months, and the store has since returned to its usual crowded, salmon-swimming-upstream-amid-countless-other-drunk-and-clueless-salmon vibe. For the record, shopping, here and elsewhere, is now sheer hell.

I wish we could go back to these giant stacks of boxes. I wish we could go back to before everything changed. When we were all blissfully unaware of what lay ahead.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #costco #bigbox #store #covid #pandemic #shopping #retail #random #everyday #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Spiders over Sault Ste. Marie

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


I don't know why I feel the need to photograph random spiders who happen to spin webs in the wind and the rain just outside filthy third-floor hotel windows.

They may not represent conventional visual storytelling. But conventional isn't quite my thing. And since our daughter first noticed these busy insects on the other side of the glass, they had become part of the story of us in this place far from home.

It isn't remotely spectacular or normal to anyone else. But it strangely has meaning to us, a touchstone, if you will, of a couple of days in the history of our little family.

Which is more than enough to justify the picture.

As if pictures ever needed to be justified in the first place.

#saultstemarie #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #travelphotography #spider #insect #hotel #window #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #instagood #photooftheday #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Life outside a smalltown Tim Hortons

Local networking
Mount Forest, ON
October 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The Parking Lot Coffee Club is now in session.

No word yet, though, on whether or not they're planning on applying for jobs inside.

#mountforest #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #random #timhortons #urban #street #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins