Outlaws

These days, going outside is fraught with peril, especially if you don’t keep your distance.

It’s a good thing we’re keeping it all in the family.

If there’s any good to come out of this coronavirus business, is that it’s getting us all out to take walks more often than we ever did before. Even Victor, notorious around the house for never leaving his room, was able to be coaxed outside for a stroll on the weekend.

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.

The Village

This winter has been brutal.

The snow arrived early (Nov 12) and hasn’t relented.

Wild temperature swings, ice storms, freeze & thaw & freeze & thaw & freeze again.

On a sunny, reasonably warm (i.e. warmer than -12°C) day one of the best things I can think of doing (other than skiing, of course) is to go for a walk with my camera and revel in the light cast by the still-low winter sun.

On this particular day, I was walking through the Pointe-Claire Village, one of the last places in suburban Montreal that has resisted demolition, gentrification and the onslaught of McMansions. For now, anyhow.

The Village is tiny (less than 1km long end-to-end) and is nestled right by the waters of Lac St-Louis in the mighty St-Lawrence River. Lots of old houses, old businesses and plenty of fixer-uppers make for lots take in.

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A picture is worth 1000 words

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In 2017 I had started a photo blog, but after a few months I lost my focus and abandoned it. After experimenting with numerous photography sites (500px, Adobe Portfolio) and social platforms (Ello, Tumblr, Instagram) I realized that the blog helped me do something that all the those sites couldn’t: tell my story with my voice on my terms. I missed doing that, so here I am once again.

Last week I had the good fortune to take a workshop with the inimitable Patrick La Roque, a Montreal-based photographer who teaches visual storytelling. It was lots of fun, I learned a lot (although less than a week later I feel like I’ve forgotten most everything!) and Patrick’s sage advice showed me how to weave a thread through my images, tying them together not only thematically but also stylistically.

What stories? Great question. I’m not entirely sure yet.

Let’s kick this off with images from an early morning walkabout in Montreal during my workshop and see where things go.

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A natural capital

As soon as you leave the ceremonial areas of Ottawa (think: Parliament Hill, the Supreme Court etc.) and get away from the other obvious touristy areas (ByWard Market, The Canadian Museum of *.*, etc.) it’s VERY easy to forget you’re in the national capital of a G7 country.

Ottawa is easily one of the most modest capital cities you’ll ever come across, and it’s one that’s very much in touch with nature and outdoor living. We are the second-coldest capital city in the world, which means when summer comes, we enjoy it. We do everything we can to extract the most out of summer, and depending where you look, it can be easy to forget you’re smack in the center of a city!

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Lawrenceville

Lawrenceville is one of the largest neighborhood areas in Pittsburgh. It is located northeast of downtown, and like many of the city’s riverfront neighborhoods, it has an industrial past. And like many industrial-era neighbourhoods, it’s gentrifying and becoming hipsterized.

 

That’s bad news if you’re looking for a cheap place to live, good news if you’re going to eat out or are looking for live entertainment.

When travelling on business about a month ago, I got a chance to visit Lawrenceville after a day’s customer meetings. Armed only with my X100F I went for a walk and sought out interesting stuff to shoot.

This is clearly a neighbourhood in transition; it will be interesting to see what it looks like in 5 years’ time (or even 2).

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