Another Friday Photowalk

Taking some time out to go for a walk between back-to-back-to-back Teams meetings while working from home has become increasingly important to me as this pandemic wears on. Normally I try to get out for 45 minutes or an hour if I combine my walk with what passes for a lunch break. Today I could only muster about 30 minutes, but that’s okay because it was -15°C with a windchill of -23°C.

I always try to bring my camera with me, despite the relatively boring suburban surroundings. It’s not like I can shoot architecture or street photography or majestic landscapes from my doorstep – these are the suburbs and there’s really not much to see here.

Some days I venture into the woods near the esacarpment on the northern part of our subdivision—but that’s getting long in the tooth after a few weeks of daily walks—but today on my abridged journey I stuck to Fallingbrook park and paid close attention to a couple of gnarly birch trees that were looking great against the pale blue skies.

Only a 1.6km round trip, but I got some nice, rosy cheeks out of it. It was energizing and good for the soul.

All images SOOC JPG from my X-Pro3 with the XF27mmF2.8 and the “Nostalgic Negative” film sim.

Friday Photowalk

A weekly recurring feature of Neale James’ most excellent Photography Daily podcast is the Friday Photowalk. Rather than recording the episode in a studio, Neale takes his show on the road (on a ramble would probably be more appropriate) through his Berkshire stomping grounds and literally walks and talks and snaps away. He invites his listeners to do the same, that is: listen to the podcast whilst out on a proper photowalk, listening and snapping away. I did this today for the first time.

What a wonderful concept!

I’m fortunate to live close to a park which is connected to a small wooded area that’s a popular walking destination for those trapped in the suburbs and seeking a quick getaway.

So I formatted my SD card, snapped my lovely Fujinon XF16mmF1.4 onto my X-Pro3, and set it for Ritchie Roesch’s wonderful Tri-X 400 film simulation recipe, popped in the Airpods, hit Play on Episode 186 and headed out for an hour’s ramble between two Teams calls.

Oh the joys of working from home!

2020 through my lens

Much “ink” has been spilled about the year that was 2020. I’m not going to relitigate the shitshow that this year has been politically, idealogically, economically, and epidemioligically. This is simply a visual run-down of what 2020 looked like for me, through my camera lens. No more, no less.

There are many, many omissions here, but that doesn’t matter. I hope you like what you see. Let’s get started!

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Random acts of ornamenting

In the woods just off the Ottawa River in Orleans (just under 2km from home, as the crow flies) some anonymous souls take to ornamenting the trees every winter with a few balls and baubles here and there. It’s not much, but it’s a nice gesture and adds some much-needed colour to an otherwise bleak landscape, especially when there’s as little snow as there is this year.

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Longer days start now

The best part of the winter solstice is the fact that every day until June 21 will be a little bit longer.

My inner numerologist is soothed by the chronological symmetry that happens on the winter solstice. Peak sun at exactly high noon, with sunrise and sunset exactly 4 hours and 21 minutes on either side.


Zuck you

As they say, “if you’re not paying, you are the product.” When we use Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, Gmail, Google, Instagram and any number of other “free” platforms, we users “pay” for the service with our attention, our personal data, our privacy, and a host of other intangibles, which are all packaged up and sold to advertisers who can target us with laser-like precision and the persistence of a honey badger.

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There’s nothing quite like the November sun. It’s low, it’s bright, and when you’re in the city it reflects all over the place in all sorts of unexpected ways.

I had the good fortune to be able to play hooky from work for a few hours yesterday afternoon and take advantage of the unseasonably warm (22°C vs the “normal” 7°C or so) and go on a little photowalk in downtown Ottawa.

Here’s a little of what I saw, arranged in pairs.

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Oakey dokey

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the maples
And they’re quite convinced they’re right
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light

But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream “Oppression”
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
“The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light”
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw

Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart

Continue reading “Oakey dokey”