Staycation, Interrupted

Without a doubt, 2020 is the year of the staycation. Don’t need to explain why.

Young love

But… being stuck at home since March, with nary a change in scenery, was starting to grate on us. What about a short road trip? Somewhere not too far, with decent scenery, decent food, relatively low Covid infection rates, and most importantly, no kids.

So, my wife and I decided to head out to Québec City, only a 4½-hour drive away from home in Ottawa. Checks all the boxes, to be certain. We even brought our bikes along to allow us to cover more ground in less time when wandering around. Thankfully, the weather cooperated!

Continue reading “Staycation, Interrupted”

Philadelphia, revisited

Philadelphia is one of those cities that doesn’t seem to get much respect, especially from New Yorkers. To be honest, I’m not sure why. I had the pleasure of spending a week there on business in 2017 and found Philly to be a beautiful, vibrant, and interesting city, with lots to see and do.

Of course, given the time available, I only saw a small part of the city. Both my hotel and my customer’s offices were downtown, within 3km of each other, albeit on opposite sides of City Hall.

This kept me in the heart of the business and tourist areas, to be sure.

Continue reading “Philadelphia, revisited”

The Sleeping Giant

The Sleeping Giant is a formation of mesas and sills on Sibley Peninsula which resembles a giant lying on its back when viewed from the west to north-northwest section of Thunder Bay, Ontario. (Wikipedia)

I had to squint to see it. But it’s there.

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There and back

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Wake up Tuesday at 0400

Uber to the airport

Security & Customs

Boarding

Quick stop at LGA

Off to ATL

Uber to the office

Meetings + Meetings

Crash at the hotel

More meetings

Uber to ATL

Off to LGA

Dinner at LGA

Wheels up

Wheels down

Uber home

In bed at 0100 on Thursday (45 hours later)

I brought my X100F along for this trip. She keeps me sane.

A fine mid-century morning

The NOIA Building in downtown Palm Springs looks like the kind of place Don Draper would have worked in, had he not been a New Yorker.

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Take a Bow

Downtown Calgary is chock-full of midrise and highrise towers of varying styles, vintages, and aesthetic charm.

The Bow is one of those iconic structures that is just different from everything else around it. It’s taller, it’s oddly shaped, it catches light, it’s not a glass obelisk, and it has a cool sculpture at its base (Wonderland by Jaume Plensa). What more can a travelling geek with a camera ask for?

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Getting back into the game

The past six weeks have been a complete blur. Between a pre-Christmas family vacation, Christmas itself, tons of business travel, not to mention the pressures of closing a quarter and starting a new one, I’ve had no time to sit down, gather my thoughts and write them down.

On a few occasions, I may have gathered them, but like marbles on an almost-flat table, they got away from me before I could do anything with them.

I’ve always intended this blog to be a visual journal of sorts, but without regular updates, it’s not much of anything. So here I go again. Back on the wagon. Some discipline and some regular posts. This time for real! I promise.

Despite all the travel, all the work, all the busy-ness, I have managed make a fair amount of photographs. Making photos is theraeutic to me and I never go anywhere without my camera. Even on the shortest business trip to the least exotic place imaginable. Because you never know.

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Since the beginning of December, I’ve been to Calgary, Toronto (twice in the same week), Cancún, Montréal, Palm Springs and Calgary. With a few nights spent in my own bed at home, too.

Over the next few days and weeks, I’ll pull together some of the better shots from those trips. Stay tuned.

¿La playa? ¡No necesariamente!

Resort towns don’t always have tons to offer beyond the beach. That’s not always true… if you look, there’s always something eye-catching to see.

This is why I’m happy I brought my trusty X100F with me to Cancún before Christmas.

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Toronto the wet

It’s always good to have a few hours to kill, camera in hand. Yesterday was one of those days… I had to drive my son to Toronto for a sports event (where parents were verboten) and that meant I had the day to myself. Met up with my good friend Bruce for lunch, and then ventured out on a cold, miserable, rainy photowalk in Cabbagetown (a funky neighbourhood east of downtown) and into downtown.

No agenda, no preconceptions, just a few hours, my weather resistant X-Pro3 and an umbrella.

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All images shot with the awesomely weather-resistant X-Pro3 and XF35mmF2 combo, processed with the new Classic Negative film sim in Capture One.

It was a dark & stormy night…

Oh, Canada. Here we are, almost 6 full weeks before the official start of winter and it’s already begun anew.

Delays.

De-icing.

Despicable.

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Another day, another dollar

It rained overnight. Not that it matters. Out of bed, over to the congress centre. Escape from the windowless meeting rooms to take a call in the lobby.

There was good light.

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L’affaire est ketchup

Went back to Québec City for a family thing last weekend and had a few hours to kill in the St-Roch district on Sunday morning; I couldn’t help myself and snapped away like a kid in a candy store.

FYI, “l’affaire est ketchup” loosely translates as “it’s all good” or “everything’s cool” from québecois joual.

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The lobby


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One of the few redeeming architectural features of the lobby of the Sheraton in Bloomington, MN is the way the light hits the lobby’s courtyard (very) early in the morning.

When the light is gone… well, at least there’s a decent bar, so not all is lost.

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The glamour


A hotel. A business park. An hour to kill in the morning.

Could be anywhere. Could be somewhere. Could be nowhere.

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But the camera follows.

Le moins vieux Québec


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Old Québec City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason. It’s the only North American city to have preserved its fortifications and ramparts, and is second to none in terms of its architecture, historic charm and overall awesomeness. If you’ve never been, you must go.

However, there’s a whole lot of charm in Québec City outside the walls of the Old Town. The “haute ville” and the “basse ville,” particularly in the St-Jean-Baptiste, Montcalm, and St-Roch neighbourhoods (just to the west of the ramparts).

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The old buildings in these neighborhoods—not quite as old as Old Québec, but old enough—have generally been well-maintained and ooze charm. These areas are mostly residential with a dash of commercial here & there. Formerly working-class, they are gentrifying quickly and you can feel the tension between the traditional residents and the monied classes moving in. It shows in the grafitti, and it shows in the vary states of renovation.

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Modernism, capitalism and nobody around


TD Centre PlaqueTD Centre Plaque

When New Year’s Day falls on a Tuesday, it’s incredible how many people take the whole week off. I guess it has something to do with the fact that just about all schools are closed that week. The financial district in downtown Toronto is usually bustling with activity, but this particular Thursday (around lunchtime) there was barely anyone to be seen.

That’s okay; less is almost always more.

Here are some scenes from the “largest Mies in the world,” the modernist Toronto-Dominion Centre, designed by the famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. I’m particularly drawn to the copper-tinted windows set against the simple, stark black buildings.

(Be sure to click on the images to view them full-size in the lightbox)

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Late summer roundup

It feels like ages since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been shooting, but just too lazy to post and write anything compelling.

I won’t deliver any compelling prose here, but rather a mixed bag of images shot late this summer. Some holiday snaps, some observational stuff, some street, some god-knows-what. Gotta keep pressing that shutter button!

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Photo Essay #17: No B&W here

I recently had the good fortune to visit Bermuda for the first time, and couldn’t help but marvel at the strikingly simple geometry and gorgeous colours of Bermudian architecture.

They say you’re not supposed to shoot after 10 and before 4 to avoid the harsh daytime light. Consider that rule broken.

All shots from my Fujifilm X-T2 and X100F, in Velvia or Classic Chrome, with only a very few minor adjustments in Lightroom.

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People watching in Quincy Market

During a recent visit to Boston, I got some time to myself in Quincy Market when my family decided to check out the giant Sephora store there. I don’t do Sephora.

So I decided to hang out (in the shade – it was hot!) and watch the world go by. Quincy Market is an interesting 80/20 blend of tourists and Boston locals at any given time (although I’m pretty sure it was 90/10 when I was there). A historic place, to be certain, but one that has been coopted by the forces of rampant commercialism that seems to have taken over the world in the last several years.

It was a glorious, sunny day, with all sorts of great light bouncing around from the nearby modern office towers and the plate-glass of the Sephora and other stores.


Smile, honey! - This is going to be AWESOME! Look at that light! What a perfect day...
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Smile, honey!

This is going to be AWESOME! Look at that light! What a perfect day…


Waitasec... - Who's that guy in the background? Why is he in our shot? Dammit!
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Waitasec…

Who’s that guy in the background? Why is he in our shot? Dammit!


Smile, honey! - We got this one.
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Smile, honey!

We got this one.

Now of course, not everyone was taking selfies… some were posing for their beau.


Yeah, there's a smartphone in those meathooks somewhere.Yeah, there's a smartphone in those meathooks somewhere.

Yeah, there’s a smartphone in those meathooks somewhere.


The lovely couple.The lovely couple.

The lovely couple.


Seems a little young to be worrying about his 10,000 steps.Seems a little young to be worrying about his 10,000 steps.

Seems a little young to be worrying about his 10,000 steps.


Some people pull "it" off better than others.Some people pull "it" off better than others.

Some people pull “it” off better than others.

Photo essay #16: Seeing Red in Boston

It’s been almost a week since we got back from vacation, and I’ve only just gotten around to culling and processing the far too many shots I took. A few days in Boston followed by a 7-day cruise to Bermuda and back.

Our time in Boston was blessed with sunny, warm days and great light with no haze.

Not a huge believer in traditional holiday snaps of all the touristy sites, I opted to do a little street shooting instead. Tremont Street, Quincy Market, Boston Common and the North End. Click to enlarge.

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Look into my eyes

On Pittsburgh’s Mount Washington which overlooks the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers, one can find a parklet called “Point of View” which is a part of the Grand View Scenic Byway Park.

The park got its name from the bronze sculpture Point of View, by James A. West. Point of View depicts a face-to-face meeting between George Washington (yes, that George Washington) and the Seneca leader Guyasuta that took place in October, 1770.

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Staring contestStaring contest

Staring contest

If you step on the other side of the sculpture, there’s a pretty decent view of the rivers and the city below.

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