Saturday, September 16, 2017

Brushed by time

Long exposure fun by the river
London, ON
September 2017
Photo originally shared on Instagram

It isn't often that I have free time to just walk around and do a whole lot of nothing, so when the opportunity presented itself one sunny morning last week, I grabbed it.

Here in the so-called "other" London, we've got a river that, like our city's namesake, is also called the Thames. For reasons I can't explain, it attracts me like a magnet whenever I'm nearby. I figure if I have a camera in my hand, I'll probably find some inspiration by the water.

The light was shadowy and patchy, but a big, slanted tree made a nice improvised tripod as I experimented with long exposures of the rushing water. Sometimes, nature finds ways to turn spontaneous wanderings into memorable moments. Note to self: Return here. Soon.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

She completes another journey around the sun

The best half
London, ON
April 2017
Please ignore the doofus on the right and instead focus on the lovely individual next to him. She's celebrating a rather important birthday today, and while it's not my place to share her age here (or anywhere), I'll let it slip that it's more significant than usual. If you'd like to wish her a happy without having to go through me, pop over to her Facebook page.

I've spent most of my life with her, the majority of that time wondering how she puts up with me, why she puts up with me, and how I came to deserve her in the first place. I can't remember what life was like before I met her, nor do I ever wish to. She makes every day memorable simply by being in it. I can sit in a room with her in utter silence for hours on end, yet still feel delightfully connected for every moment.

Whether we realize it or not, time is an incredibly precious, irreplaceable commodity. That she has chosen to spend the time she has with me is something I'll never take for granted, today, tomorrow, and however many other days I get beyond then. Because every day is worthy of celebration when you get to spend it with your best friend.

Happy birthday, sweets.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

20 years of Dahlia

The princess and her pup
London, ON
September 2017
Photo originally posted to Instagram

Two decades ago today, the young lady in the photo above made her way into the world, a tiny, perfect, pink-bundled munchkin who instantly grabbed onto our hearts and hasn't let go since. As anyone who's crossed her path in the interim already knows, she's grown into an accomplished, kind, creative and incredibly funny human being.

She was my wife's early birthday gift, and since then they've been day-apart birthday buddies - though they hardly need a calendar to reinforce just how close they are. I have no words to describe how proud she makes us, and how lucky we are that she's turned out as remarkably as she has.

Every child is a blessing, of course, but this child is in a league of her own. Happy 20th birthday, Peanut. We know you'll never stop making everything - and everyone - around you better through simply having crossed your path.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

After the game ends

Perfect emptiness
London, ON
August 2017
Photo originally shared via Instagram
 

I'm a big fan of the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams. Despite my less-than-stellar Little League Baseball experiences - I became a better buttercup-picker in left field than anything else - baseball has remained one of my favorite things to watch or to simply be around.

Why? Maybe it reminds me of a simpler time. Maybe the rules of the game form a nice analog for how a life well-lived should be lived. Maybe we all just need a little time-out from the planet every once in a while, and a storied game played on a storied field could be just the ticket.

Whatever the reason, I found myself drawn to this field in south London. It was after the game was over, after the players had gathered up their equipment and cleared out of the dugouts, after the spectators - largely friends and family - had folded up their chairs and trudged off to the dirt paths on their way to the gravel-covered parking lot, trailing dust all the way.

The silence of the field on one side of me contrasted with the ebbing burble of the departing crowd on the other. A picture seemed in order.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monochrome? Not quite.

Towering
London, ON
August 2017
Photo originally shared via Instagram

These towers are everywhere, and as ugly as they may seem to some, they're an essential component of modern, mobile life. You may say you don't want one of these things in your backyard, but you'll probably also curse the sky when you lose your bars on your phone. NIMBY much?

What originally started out as an inadvertent monochrome photo shot quickly on the walk back to the car became, on closer inspection, something more Pleasantville-like than I originally intended. Photography still has the potential to surprise, which is why I keep at it.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A puppy, a carpet, and some insanity, too

The view from the stairs
London, ON
Photo originally shared via Instagram
 

You have to be borderline-insane to bring a puppy into your family. You lose sleep. Furniture and objects that matter to you are summarily destroyed. You need extra makeup to cover up the inadvertent (or are they deliberate?) bite and scratch marks. You live in fear of her getting into something that could hurt her. Or you.

Yet when you watch and listen to her in the very middle of what once was a much quieter, calmer, predictable home, you realize the little hell-raiser you see here is just what we needed.

I may not be happy when you pee on the floor, Calli Finn, but I can't imagine our family without your feisty self in it.

Remembrance stones

In the end, we're more similar than not
Duvernay, QC
August 2017
Photo originally shared via Instagram

I don't often make it here, because if we're being brutally honest I've never believed a grave or similarly physical monument is the sole marker of an individual, or the only means by which we should remember him or her.

My father and mother-in-law are buried here, literally in adjoining rows. I'd hate to think the only time their memory touches me is every year or so when I take the long-ish drive to visit their respective resting places. Their memory, and the lessons I hopefully learned from them, aren't tied to this or any place. And as the relentless passage of time puts their passing further in the rear-view mirror, I often find myself thinking of them wherever I happen to be.

I'll still come to this place, but it's merely one touchstone, not the only one.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Curved glass under a partly cloudy sky

Look up
Toronto, ON
July 2017
Photo originally posted to Instagram
Some of my most satisfying moments with a camera in my hand tend to happen when I'm seriously pressed for time. When I'm moving between one place and another, and don't have the luxury of time to stop what I'm doing and slowly ponder the scene. Instead, I walk and shoot, often getting only one shot of a particular scene before I move quickly to the next one.

I find it exhilarating. Just as it is when I'm writing on deadline, the pressure of time forces your brain into another gear. Everything non-essential gets tossed, and you're forced to live explicitly in that moment, to the exclusion of all else.

Sometimes you get good stuff, and sometimes you don't. But you remember what shooting-and-running felt like, how satisfying and soul-nurturing that process can be, and you hope it won't be long before you're doing it again. It isn't always about the end result, after all.