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Pics & Prose

(Temporary) Promotion

Marina eyes me from the pitchA cer­tain someone has been pro­moted to team cap­tain for the next four games.

This is a big deal among the girls ever since it was imple­men­ted a couple of months ago. Mar­ina, for her part, has been work­ing hard for this distinction—not just on the field, but off as well. Last night was her first game and she admit­ted that, at the begin­ning, it was “nerve-wracking.” As luck would have it, she helped lead her team to vic­tory; the first win in quite some time. To be fair, the goal was scored by one of our call-ups, from the “A” team. I’m not sure we would have scored without her but we’ll take the win non­ethe­less.

I hope this bout with lead­er­ship will help con­tinue fos­ter­ing Marina’s con­fid­ence. As her coach says, she has the skills; she just needs to bulk up a bit.

As a par­ent, it’s been a pleas­ure to watch her develop as a player and as a friend to so many girls on the team.

Decisions, Decisions

An elderly woman enters a church door

If you  ever won­der why it takes so long to pro­cess my pho­tos, here’s a great example why.

Aside from the volume of pho­tos taken on a trip, let me first reit­er­ate the biggest reason for the delay: I shoot in a RAW format. As such, each photo is com­pletely unaltered, unlike a photo you would take in auto­matic mode or with a mobile phone. You see, unless you shoot RAW, the cam­era applies vari­ous adjust­ments in the back­ground to make the photo look nicer–a tweak of the con­trast, sat­ur­at­ing the col­our and sharpen­ing the image–all done without your con­trol. I prefer to handle these tweaks myself, once I down­load the pho­tos to my com­puter. This gives me greater con­trol over the image but at the cost of time.

As an example, I’ll often under or over­ex­pose a shot to get more detail which I can bring back in post-processing, such as with the photo above. When I saw this lady walk­ing toward the church door—down a tiny side street in Bayeux, Normandy—my inten­tion was that it would make a won­der­ful black and white photo. And it does. There’s great tone in the shad­ows and won­der­ful detail on the church wall. What I didn’t notice at the time was the qual­ity of the light which, in turn, com­ple­ments the reds of the wooden door. Even the shad­ows have great warmth to it.

So which photo do I prefer? Well, the black and white does make it look as if it could have been taken 50 years ago, and that’s pretty cool. But, the warmth of the col­our photo alone is enough to win me over.

Of course, I’ll keep both. Because I can.


Two gentlemen sitting at a café in Paris


On the off chance you ever wondered, this is the kind of shot that excites me.

Sim­ple, beau­ti­ful, street pho­to­graphy.

It may not be your cup of tea but those cof­fee cups, cigar­ettes and keys on the table, the tone in the man’s shoe, the ped­es­tri­ans and blurred bike in the back­ground plus the crisp­ness of his shirt…del­ish.

Bike Date

A cyclist rides down Ossington AvenueSat­urday saw some­thing that hasn’t happened in a long time: a bike date. There are a few reas­ons for this. For one, we’re only now tak­ing the time to go off to do our own thing, able to leave the kids behind to enter­tain them­selves. Addi­tion­ally, Jen­nifer has never been quite com­fort­able bik­ing in the city. And with good reason; cyc­lists aren’t always wel­comed on the roads. How­ever, this situ­ation has been improv­ing as City coun­cil adds more bike lines to vari­ous thor­ough­fares and motor­ists learn to adjust their beha­vi­our and make space.

Two factors con­trib­uted to Saturday’s trip. First, I wanted to visit the Vivian Maier exhib­i­tion “Mean­ing Without Con­text” at the Stephen Bul­ger Gal­lery. Secondly, I’ve been on a bit of a fit­ness push, look­ing to cycle more (in addi­tion to more walk­ing and run­ning). At only 4 kilo­metres from home, this out­ing seemed like a good jaunt for Jen­nifer, so we moun­ted our bikes and trekked along Dun­das to Oss­ing­ton, then down Queen Street.

The exhib­i­tion itself was small, fea­tur­ing only 40 of Maier’s pho­tos from Bulger’s col­lec­tion. Still, it was nice to see the images on a wall, in their proper set­ting, instead of on a com­puter screen. It was also inspir­a­tional, boost­ing my con­fid­ence and will to push my own street pho­to­graphy. We then took the oppor­tun­ity to walk up and down Oss­ing­ton Avenue, check­ing out some funky shops and stop­ping at Bang Bang Ice Cream for a tasty treat. Hop­ping back on our bikes, we chose Dun­das to Ron­ces­valles as our route home for another four K.

This won­der­ful date was capped off later in the day with a fam­ily out­ing to BMO Field to watch Toronto FC soundly beat the New England Revolu­tion. We had traded tick­ets with our “seat neigh­bours,” giv­ing us the oppor­tun­ity to take in a match as a fam­ily. Every­one enjoyed the elec­tric atmo­sphere, made all the more spe­cial by the Reds’ con­tin­ued win­ning streak and bois­ter­ous sup­port­ers sec­tions. The two instances of the “slow clap” were both thun­der­ous and fun.


A mix of photos from our weekend in MuskokaRight, the blog.

Apo­lo­gies for the lack of post­ing. In all hon­esty, we’ve been so busy with soc­cer and other less-than-interesting “life moments” that it’s been dif­fi­cult to find the time to write. What little time I do have on the com­puter at night has been spent work­ing through the pho­tos from out trip and I’ve still barely made any head­way. We did man­age to get away for the week­end, head­ing up north to Muskoka, to stay with our friends’ Effi and Larry.

We took advant­age of the warm weather to enjoy a fair bit of swim­ming and both kids took a fancy to stand-up paddle boards (Mat­thew in par­tic­u­lar). On Sunday, we drove up around Lake Rosseau and stopped at a short trail that lead to a beau­ti­ful water­fall. The Lad, always eager to do what Larry does, walked under the water­fall, chilled but exhil­ar­ated. As always, the week­end saw much food, drink and laughter and, as always, the week­end flew by. We capped off the even­ing with an uproari­ous game of Taboo in which you have to get your team to guess a word given to you, without using any of the “taboo” words lis­ted. It’s not as easy as you might think.

Today, we headed home mid-morning, slowed by long week­end traf­fic near Bar­rie before the 4o0 opened up a bit. We then spent the day catch­ing up with laun­dry, gro­cer­ies and those things you need to get done before you head back to work. And that’s it!

Avoiding the Darkroom

A father and his daughter walk in the middle of the streetMud­dling through the 2nd day of the trip.

Sadly, I’m not quite as com­mit­ted to post pro­cessing as I’d hoped, so the devel­op­ing is tak­ing longer than expec­ted.

I’ll blame the jet lag. Yes, still.

How­ever, I am find­ing some gems. Here’s one of my favour­ites, taken in Mont­martre. While the rest of the group toddled off to visit a shop, I waited for this father and daugh­ter to make their way up the middle 0f the street.

I think the wait was worth it.