Monday, December 05, 2022

The spider who visited me

Little helper
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

I noticed this uninvited visitor as I settled into my chair at 6:39 a.m. and powered the laptop up.

Spiders don’t freak me out as much as they probably should. I figure they do a good job keeping insects in check, so who am I to judge?

I didn’t want to test my Mac’s vaunted anti-spider keyboard technology, so I scooped the little fella up and walked him (her? I can never tell) outside.

Not the most conventional start to the workday. But I’ve never done conventional all that well, anyway. And sometimes you need a little help getting started.

Thanks, little one.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #spider #mac #keyboard #random #homeoffice #writerlife #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Battles in the fog and in life

Breaking through
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The sun eventually wins every battle against the early morning fog.

Inevitable, however, doesn’t mean hopeless.

And between now and the all-too-soon moment when our rising star burns the last remnants of murk out of the sky, there’s a sliver of time when everything still looks like this. Where we can rub our eyes all we want, but still feel like we’re looking through a gauzy filter.

Of course, the sun-vs-fog battle isn’t the only battle playing out this morning. The countless people rushing past this quiet grove of trees on this busy morning in the not-so-big city are all fighting battles of their own. Quietly.

Something to keep in mind as we cross their paths. Fog or not, we’d do well to appreciate the struggles of others before electing ourselves to judge.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #fog #weather #wx #highbury #avenue #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #streetphotography #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Saturday, December 03, 2022

Lilly at 6 months

In a rush to grow up
Dryden, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Lilly marked an important birthday yesterday: 6 months.

And since time can do magical things when you’re a munchkin, it feels, at the same time, like it’s gone by in a blink and she’s been with us forever.

Whether it feels fast or slow - or both - there’s no doubt she’s getting lots done along the way. The perfectly quiet bundle who charmed everyone in her first days is growing into a force of nature with a personality to match.

She’s in a rush to get moving, to bury her face in the dog’s fur, and to laugh from her belly when she thinks you’re being funny. Which is often.

She is the very best of Michaela and Zach, the limitlessly loved newest member of our family, the sweet little being who reminds us constantly how good life can be.

The next chapter will doubtlessly bring even more growth and change and adventure and smiles and whatever else a fast-growing young lady manages to grab onto amid the rush toward the future.

Her voice will continue to strengthen - and we’ll watch in wonder - as this no-longer-so-tiny-miracle grows into the person she’s destined to become.

Keep enjoying the journey, kiddo. We all are.

#family #everything

Friday, December 02, 2022

Fog takes. Fog gives.

It's all in the details
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

We experience so much less when we peer through the fog.

Colors can be muted. Details seem to lose their edge. Depth perception may flatten out.

Even sounds seem to drain away as the real world gets pushed further away.

But then interesting things begin to happen.

An entirely new set of colors - more monochromatic, but no less vibrant - emerges from the murk.

Different details present themselves against the simplified landscape.

That flatness? The better to see what remains.

Even the sounds, muted as they are, come into focus. We may not hear as much. Or maybe the volume is dialed down. Even so, it feels like a soundtrack - and a moment - we’ll never forget.

Indeed, as fog removes things from our midst, it simultaneously replaces them with an entirely new palette of experiences.

And all we need to do is stand completely still for a bit and let ourselves tune our brains in a little more finely. As we remove things from the scene, we perversely see and hear more. Makes sense to me.

I can’t wait till the clouds next crash to earth, and I plan on getting out there when they do. You’ll be able to find me if you look and listen just so.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #fog #weather #wx #monochrome #highbury #avenue #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #streetphotography #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Sleeping ball of fur

And dream of sheep...
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The universe is filled with countless unanswered - and in some cases unanswerable - questions.

Chief among them is this one: how do dogs (and cats, and all manner of furry animals) manage to sleep in such tight little balls?

And, by extension, why do humans lack this seemingly fantastic ability?

As I hovered over Calli the Wonderschnauzer and quietly pondered the joyful life of a well-loved schnu, I couldn’t conjure up any answers to these existential questions. But, frankly, none were needed.

Gentle moments don’t necessarily need to come with an explanation when simple observation and appreciation are more than sufficient.

Sweet dreams, our little furry girl. I hope you’re as happy as you seem to be in this frame.

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Beautiful building in a struggling neighborhood

Luxury (only) in the sky
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

London’s downtown skyline recently welcomed this wild-looking new addition.

Known as One Richmond Row, this high-rise apartment building features offset floor platforms that give the structure a rather striking presence in the sky.

It anchors Richmond Row, which is the city’s Ground Zero for bars, restaurants, and party-seekers from the nearby university looking for a night out in a trendy neighborhood.

The building is all very chic and sleek and tomorrow-looking. And for a sleepy mid-sized city like ours, it’s a bit of a departure.

So when I found myself in the neighborhood the other day, I couldn’t not point my lens skyward and have a little fun with geometry.

But here’s the thing: this is a deliberately composed scene that rather deliberately avoids the reality on the ground. Because not far from this high-end residential tower, a crowd of people experiencing homelessness waits patiently for the nearby mission to begin serving dinner.

They mill about on the street surrounding this oh-so-luxe building, some pushing shopping carts filled with garbage bags containing everything they own, others pacing back and forth trying to deal with their inner demons.

I can’t get myself to point my lens toward them.

I’m struck by the proximity of a beautifully built and marketed residential tower casting shadows on the lives of those who can only dream of living in this rarified structure. I’m struck by how much more visible London’s homelessness problem has become since the last time I was here. I’m struck by the disparity.

This is just a photo, and it won’t remotely solve anything, let alone a crisis that seems to have become part of this city’s post-pandemic DNA.

But I couldn’t not share it, either, even if I lacked the courage to share an actual picture far removed from the marketing perfection that first sold - and continues to sell - this palace in the sky.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #downtown #OneRichmondRow #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #city #sky #monochrome #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Publish Day - Ukraine war and cybersecurity

Nine months after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, a parallel digital war rages alongside the military one. My latest article for the STEP Software Inc. blog is now live, and it has some sobering perspectives on why the #cybersecurity risk is significantly more profound than we might have thought.

Global supply chain crunch. A visual.

Where the shelves are empty
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

One day far in the future, I want to imagine that we’ll look back at this chapter in history and wish we had done more to remember it.

I’m a big believer in visual histories, of using technology to capture imagery that tells the story of a given point in time. To me, photography is one of the most powerful ways of taking us back to a moment that mattered to us.

Now, an empty shelf in a non-descript grocery story may not represent anyone’s definition of powerful. But here’s the thing: for as long as I’ve been going to these places, I’ve never encountered emptiness to the degree that I’ve witnessed since the first lockdowns in 2020.

Indeed, the global supply chain crunch means every trip to the store is an adventure in navigating empty shelves and figuring what substitutions may or may not be feasible. Easy? Not anymore.

Which is why this scene speaks to me. It is of its time. This time. And it serves as a signature of a chapter in history we’re now living through.

And long after it’s over, I hope I’ll be able to look back at photos like this one and feel what all this was like. And maybe puts it all into perspective, because we’re lucky enough to live in a place and lead a life where this is often our biggest daily worry.

Which begs the next question: what other visual signatures of the pandemic should we be capturing? Please do tell…

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #grocery #store #shopping #retail #random #stilllife #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Monday, November 28, 2022

Trudging through the fog

London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

We all take shortcuts to school, work, or wherever else we’ve got to go.

This person is no different, following a well-worn path through a weed-choked field to a nearby school - likely the same walk through the same path at the same time, day after day. There’s comfort in routine, after all.

This day has fog thrown into the mix, which makes it a little more dramatic, particularly because I’m shooting almost directly into the sun and the tone and cast - untouched off the camera - are more than a tad weird-looking.

I’m also shooting fast - getting off a couple of almost blindingly-composed frames before I lose the scene for good.

I could always stake out the same spot tomorrow, but it wouldn’t look or feel the same.

What I first thought was endlessly, identically repeatable turns out not to be. Every day tells a different story, even on what seems to be a forgettable walk through a forgettable field.

Perhaps nothing is forgettable.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #fog #highbury #avenue #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #silhouette #streetphotography #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Continuing our walk through the fog

London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Wedged between four lanes of high-speed traffic and a massive overgrown soccer field that hasn’t hosted a game in what seems like forever, three trees stand firm in the thick early morning fog.

No one stops here. No one reflects. Or ponders.

Or appreciates. This place is less a destination than something that’s overlooked by countless people rushing from here to there.

And still, these three trees somehow managed to dig deep roots and thrive despite the choking exhaust and relentless neglect.

Call them defiant.

Even beautiful.

Because beauty exists even in the places where nobody bothers to look.

So let’s bother to look, then. We may be pleasantly surprised by what we see.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #fog #monochrome #leaves #branches #highbury #avenue #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #streetphotography #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Highbury Avenue in fog

Muted canopy
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

While the good citizens of #LdnONT slept on Wednesday night, the fog rolled in and reshaped the landscape.

Since life doesn’t stop just because the atmosphere decides to put on a show, our daughter and I found ourselves driving through the pea soup on the way to campus, another early morning moment of parenthood I wouldn’t trade for anything.

After I dropped her off and turned for home, a little voice in my head suggested a quick pre-workday photowalk - and who was I to disagree? You wouldn’t be surprised to hear I had already packed my camera because you just never know.

Which explains how I soon found myself wandering along Highbury Avenue as I alternately looked for foggy scenes of opportunity and watched the time to ensure I wasn’t late getting back. I shot photos through four lanes of high-speed traffic, the drivers largely ignorant of the show going on around them.

I wasn’t out long, as the sun soon started to burn off the murk. But as it turned out I didn’t need all that much time to capture in pixels what I had already imagined in my mind. Sometimes the plan just seems to fall into place.

I don’t know when the next foggy morning will present itself. But like any other sorta-random act of nature, I’ll keep my camera close by. Because good things never last, even if we wish they would.

#london #ontario #canada #tree #trees #fog #monochrome #leaves #branches #highbury #avenue #walkabout #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #streetphotography #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Friday, November 25, 2022

Rose petals on cold concrete

What happened here?
London, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

It’s 9:50 p.m., and I’m on a late-night mission to pick stuff up at the pharmacy just before it closes.

As I emerge into the cold night, I notice the pools of light in front of the supermarket that anchors this tired old neighborhood mall. I wander over for a closer look.

As I approach, I notice these random rose petals, strewn haphazardly on the dirty concrete just beside the overflowing garbage can.

I don’t know the story behind how these brilliant red petals got here, but I think it’s safe to assume it isn’t a happy one.

The scene, of course, needs to be remembered. Because soon enough, the petals will shrivel and blow away, leaving behind two unknown souls with fading memories of something they, too, wish would disappear in the next wind.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sherwoodforest #random #night #street #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Thursday, November 24, 2022

After the last leaves have fallen

Finally, light
London, ON
October 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

An interesting thing happens after the final leaves have fallen.

We can see the sky.

We can almost touch the intricate network of branches.

We can feel the light shine on us.

We can watch the clouds slowly float on past.

An entire layer of the ecosystem, normally hidden in the dense canopy, now presents itself.

We realize we didn’t lose something - leaves, summer, whatever - as much as we gained something else that’s just as worthy of holding onto. That perspective thing again.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #519ldn #519london #sun #sunset #sky #cloud #clouds #trees #weather #wx #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #silhouette #photography #canon #canonphotography #canon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Wedding night wine glass still-life

Transparently upside down
Ingersoll, ON
November 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

This isn’t the first time I’ve shot glass in still-life, and it probably won’t be the last.

We were at a wedding, and I’m reasonably sure the bartender thought I was insane as I took out my smartphone and quickly composed the shot.

I smiled that same smile I’ve used so often previously - where I try to telegraph in body language that I hope no one calls in the bouncers on me - and I’m pretty sure she smiled back. It was dark, so I couldn’t tell.

It only took a few seconds, and soon enough the phone was tucked back away as I rejoined my incredibly understanding wife.

Life moves fast, after all, and it’s entirely our call whether or not we choose to slow it down on occasion so we can capture the strange in-between experiences we’d otherwise miss.

My call will always be the same: do it. Those glasses won’t be there forever, after all.

Neither will we.

#ingersoll #ontario #canada #elmhurst #spontaneous #glass #stilllife #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotobiphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The official tech gift list for 2022

I often get asked to chat about nerdy things on TV and radio, and one of the most common asks around this time of year is tech gifts. Here's where my head is at:

 Two-and-a-half years into the pandemic, it’s clear this historic event has rewritten the rules for the entire tech industry - and gift-giving is no exception. If 2020 was all about the panic-move to working and studying from home, and 2021 was about taking the time to be more strategic about how we use technology remotely, then 2022 was the year when raging inflation, spiking interest rates, and concerns over our jobs forced us to finally get smart about buying tech gifts.

Against that backdrop, the 2022 gift-giving season is shaping up to be all about NOT spending the most, but spending wisely. The pandemic has taught us to be more flexible with our tech - and gift-giving is becoming more creative because of it. Here are some creative, cost-effective ideas:

1 - Boring utility stuff. Everyone NEEDS these things, even if they aren’t necessarily the sexiest tech out there. Things like backup batteries (to recharge your phone while you’re on the go), trackers (Apple AirTags and Tile trackers are dead-simple easy to use, cheap, and will save your life), cables (you can never have enough - just make sure you know what kind), car holders/chargers, memory cards (still a thing, especially for photographers and for anyone who uses a phone with a memory card slot), external drives, dongles, card readers, USB hubs, etc.

2 - Streaming devices. They’re cheap devices that hook up to your TV - usually through the HDMI port - and let you directly access streaming services by turning a “dumb” TV into a smart one. Popular options include Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku Streaming Stick and others. Some start at less than $50, so it’s a cheap way for giftees to cut the chord. The only caveat: While some content is free, most of the good stuff is subscription-based. So know your recipient before you buy - or have a conversation with them about their content plans for 2023 before you pull out your credit card. Either way, we’re spending a lot of time at home, so we may as well have lots of good stuff to watch on TV.

3 - Headphones. Apple’s AirPods, especially the pricier Pro model, are hot (just don’t lose them!), as are competing models from Beats, Sony, Jabra, Samsung, Sennheiser, JBL and others. The choices are endless - wireless or wired, noise cancelling, gaming, buds/on-ear-over-the-ear. So if you’re buying for someone else, do your homework on your giftee before you hit the checkout button, as some models work better with certain phones, operating systems, apps, and services.

4 - Smart speakers. Huge last year. Even bigger this year. You can still buy the ultra-cheap Amazon Echo Dot or Google Nest Mini (old: Google HOME Mini). Even better, get one with a screen (Amazon Echo Show, Nest Hub). Or buy two and build yourself - or your giftee - a hybrid stereo system. Avoid the Facebook Portal, as the company has a terrible privacy record and we’re heading it’ll soon be discontinued. Same deal with Apple’s HomePod mini: It’s more expensive than the alternatives, and increasingly being left behind by newer, better competitors. If you’re more of an audiophile, speaker companies like Bose and Sonos are including smart assistants in their latest connected speakers.

5 - Smart home devices. This category (namely smart hubs, smart plugs, smart light bulbs, security cameras, locks, etc.) is exploding in popularity as prices come down. But you’ll want to be careful here, as not every device plays nice with other equipment, and you’ll want to know what your recipient is using/prefers before plunking down your hard-earned cash on a gift. The just-approved Matter standard will help: make sure that whatever you buy is Matter-compatible. Either way, in a permanent work/study-from-home world, smarter homes are a major focus this year.

6 - Home office accessories. Now that we’re almost three years into this thing, it’s time to get serious about our home offices. Great gift ideas abound here, from better keyboards and mice to headphones (both the higher-end noise-cancelling ones as well as extra earbuds as stocking stuffers) and stands. Podcasters always need better tools, so microphones (BLUE’s Yeti or Snowball) (bonus points if they have stands or arms) and webcams (Logitech, Rode, Shure, Audio-Technica) that are inevitably better than the lousy ones typically built into laptops and monitors. Speaking of which, better/extra monitors are an easy gift choice, as are stands/arms to make your giftee’s desk insta-worthy. Ring lights are another hot gift idea given how much time we’re all spending in web meetings and virtual classes.

7 - Gaming. This category remains massively popular, and for good reason. While a full-on console like a PS5 or XBox Series X might be a bit much, games, controllers, and accessories like extra batteries and chargers are always welcome. Subscriptions to online services can be affordable gift options, especially given the exploding popularity of networked gaming. Do keep in mind, however, that the global semiconductor shortage has made leading devices like the PS5, XBox Series X, Nintendo Switch/OLED very difficult to find.

8 - Action cams. GoPro was the pioneer (and its latest camera, the HERO10, continues to set the bar for the industry), but this year we’re seeing competing action cams from DJI Sony, Akaso, Yi, and others that LOOK like GoPros - and in many cases are compatible with GoPro extras and accessories - but they might be less expensive, or they’ve got features like wireless connectivity and better apps.

9 - Retro audio. Turntables are huge this year, for some strange reason. It’s partly fuelled by a resurgence in interest in vinyl records (sales have doubled globally for each of the past 2 years) so folks are looking for newer hardware to play them on. Many new models pack techie tricks up their sleeves, like network capability, one-touch digital backups and better sound than you could ever get out of your old Radio Shack turntable. (AUDIO-TECHNICA, SONY) If you’ve got an iPhone and hanker for the old iPod days, you can even download an app that mimics the iPod Classic, complete with its iconic clickwheel.

10 - Security. Lots of interest in smart/connected security cameras that let you keep an eye on things even when you’re away from home. Ring doorbells let you “answer” the door even when you’re halfway around the world. Security alert, though: these devices open up huge privacy concerns around where all that video footage goes, and who can access it. Make sure your giftee is comfortable with these issues before going this route.

The roof that touched the sky

Reach higher
London, ON
September 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Look to the sky and tell me what you see.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #blue #sky #weather #wx #cloud #building #architecture #architecturephotography #buildingporn #architectureporn #urban #city #dundas #street #walkabout #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded