A Lovely Little World

Adventures in Southern Ontario

Author: alovelylittleworld (page 1 of 7)

Lake Erie at Night

I have long been an admirer of Mike Kukuscka‘s night photography; he specializes in capturing the world after dark, and his work is really just so beautifully orchestrated, that when I heard he was doing a talk at Haldimand Photography Club, I basically signed up immediately.

Sarah went along with me, and afterwards said, “We should go out shooting this weekend”. So, last night we went to James N. Allan Park and set up along the beach as a storm was rolling across the sky. It’s a little eerie being entirely alone on a dark beach and I was glad we opted for this open expanse rather than Rock Point Provincial Park which is basically a forest, as we had first discussed. Not because anything would happen, but for the creepiness factor. I think I’d have to tackle that in a larger group.

I haven’t mastered the skill of night photography, and I don’t even really have the proper gear, but I created a few things that I don’t mind sharing.

The white flash behind the clouds is lightning. The storm never did hit us, but we were all set to leave when the lightning started and it never came our way. 

Americans, we can see you!

I randomly decided to shoot the darkest part of the sky, where the cloud cover was most dense. This was one of the “out-takes” but I love how abstract looking it turned out, despite being so underexposed.

And more out-takes, just because….

Sarah wanted me to look at something on her camera, 

And she’s painting a tree with light, but it looks like a funny dance. Although she literally was dancing and it was dark, so I had no way to capture it, which she knew and was glad about, I assume, since I would likely post in on social media.

Bleeding Heart

I’ve been thinking about why I’m a “bleeding heart” and I realized its because I want the world to exist in that idealistic way. I want a world where love is the norm, where we are consistently kind and thoughtful to each other. I want a world where we help the poor and needy or even more than that, where there aren’t any poor or needy because hope has infected enough people that they help each other and grow themselves.

I want a world where there is NO war, not holy wars or righteous wars or wars for democracy or war to free people, NO WARS!

And I only see the world heading in that direction through bleeding hearts and people who demonstrate radical love and peace and I’d rather err in being idealistic and naive and maybe something good happens than wallow in the cynicism I felt for so long. Cynicism about governments, love and mostly myself.

“It’s said that the biggest determinant of our lives is whether we see the world as welcoming or hostile. Each becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy”. – Gloria Steinem

 

 

 

 

 

Abandoned Prudhomme’s Landing

These are old photos, from last July actually. I never got around to sharing them but the setting is too interesting to just file them away on my computer without showing them. Prudhomme’s Landing was bought out by a developer. Previously the site had been home to an amusement park, paint ball field and hotel. We knew we had to photograph it before it got torn down, so we went and just in time too. A few weeks later, the hotel was destroyed by a fire, (if you consider an abandoned, graffiti-covered hotel NOT destroyed). I love how nature grows over things. The roses bushes all but took over the front entrance and it was beautiful. I won’t write anything else, the photos speak for themselves. Hopefully this spring I’ll be able to find a few new (old) places to explore. So many times the locations get torn down or revitalized before I make it there, not that revitalization is bad obviously. 

The Stotts at Halo

I use to document my everyday way more than I do now, which is sort of weird because I use to really enjoy that. On that note, here is a series of SUPER GRAINY photos from when the Stotts performed at Halo a few weeks ago. I wasn’t playing photographer that night, but I enjoy things more when I observe it through the lens, so I brought a long a camera anyway. At concerts, I like to capture the audience, so I tried to do a bit of that, keeping in mind, the room was really dimly lit. It was a different sort of event, because it was private and limited space, so people were kind of piled anywhere they could find a spot. The Stotts were, of course, amazing. You can’t tell from the photos but they have energy, and the crowd loved it.

And… in case  you haven’t heard of the Stotts, which seems unlikely if you follow my social media at all… check out their music video here. I linked to War on War, which is a song about learning to love and forgive instead of going to war, which is a pretty awesome message if you ask me.

 

The Ugly Day Didn’t Pan Out – Hamilton Bayfront

There was a day, a few weeks ago, I decided I would try to challenge myself and photograph “ugly” things when I went out for a walk around the city. Of course, it ended up being that really warm, sunny Saturday when so many people were out enjoying the sudden break in weather. It was impossible to not see beautiful things that day. Even the ugliness barely looked ugly. And there were so many couples just wandering around, laughing, holding hands, and a man feeding pigeons. I think that’s just so kind. A lot of people really hate pigeons, but this man had brought a bag of bird seed and was throwing it for them. No word of a lie, he was backlit by the sun, as if he was some kind of angelic being in the gritty centre of the city, feeding the very birds that contribute to its grittiness.

People always seem so much happier on the first warm, sunny days of spring. It did feel good to not wear a coat that day. And the feeling is infectious. But…. on the grey days… there are still solutions to combating the cold and isolation.

Pretty donuts, hot drinks, and a book in a cafe with steamy windows.

Cute, colourful buildings against a dark sky.

Buildings with big windows and weird architectural features…..

Really, whatever you please.

 

 

Why I Love Cities

Some people only want to live in cities. I have always known that I am a small town person. The countryside is beautiful, but the few years we had to ration water, and the amount of grass that needs to be cut, confirmed for me it wasn’t for me. At the same time, I’m not a city dweller, and don’t really plan to be, but I love cities. Every time I say that, someone inevitably points out the busy-ness and the smog and whatever else that is typically wrong with city life, and yes, I get it, that’s why I love my town but…

My reasons for loving cities are pretty valid, especially with my – coffee-centric, explore your neighbourhood and photograph it, love history, and indie art and music – type of personality. I will share my favourite city places in a later post, for now here are my arguments for why cities are great.

  1. There are coffee places everywhere. I’m not a connoisseur, I don’t ever think “wow, this place has the best coffee”, I just want a hit of caffeine and I don’t want it to taste like swamp water. That being said, it’s nice to have a variety of different places to visit, within walking distance, with their own charm. Small towns may have a coffee place or two, but they are probably in the same neighbourhood, and one of them might be a chain; it doesn’t feel as much like exploring and then relaxing, if you sit with your book. Also, you feel silly in a small town, and less anonymous, just sitting there working, alone.

Durand Coffee, in the Durand Neighbourhood. My favourite part is the mural

     2. Cities have super weird buildings. So do towns. But it’s fun to come upon them unexpectedly when you’re wandering around a place you don’t know very well.

These two aren’t super weird examples, but I’m quite certain you understand my meaning. There are unexpected things everywhere in cities.

      3. There’s a mix of old and new. This particular neighbour is a bizarre assortment of condos, apartments, and beautiful old brick homes. Did you ever see that kids’ movie, Monster House? This whole neighbourhood reminds me of that.

4. Now, towns definitely have this going for it… cities are full of the quirkiness factor, or the daydream factor, whichever you prefer. Those little touches of humanity that make you smile… a funny coloured wall, chairs on a deck where people have been sitting enjoying the sun, stained glass windows in an run down building. Those are my favourite things of all.

There are so many things to love about a place, but obviously, there’s no place like home.

 

 

Punchbowl hike in the fog

My birthday is at the end of January. That means a lot of cancelled birthday plans for bad weather. It’s meant that some years I’m reluctant to even try, so I had one main goal this year… hike a waterfall in Hamilton. Hamilton is known for its waterfalls and I’ve only seen maybe three of them. My cousin Liz said she’d go with me on my actual birthday, a Sunday. Of course, the weather wasn’t good. It was insanely foggy, which, by the way, is very weird for a Canadian winter. We went anyway, and despite the ridiculous amount of mud, which added weight to our boots, it was worth it.

I couldn’t really see the waterfall, but I managed to create some of my favourite images in years.

There is something about fog that instantly adds a level of mystery to your photographs. The world becomes an entirely different place. Devil’s punchbowl is on the far east side of Hamilton, and it’s also home to a really amazing bakery, (Best peanut butter pies you’ve EVER eaten).

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The downside to Hamilton waterfalls – even in the bad weather – there are tons of people who hike there. We saw at least three other groups of people and heard more. Although I guess that’s not exactly busy. It’s just not remote/secluded, like places where you would hike in Northern Ontario.

The trails here are slightly steep, so if it’s muddy, be careful unless you want to go for a slide, but otherwise, I would do it again – especially in the fog.

 

Grimsby Beach

It was really difficult selecting the photographs for this post, because Grimsby Beach is just so cute. 

Grimsby Beach is a neighbourhood right on Lake Ontario, not far from Winona. The cottages are candy coloured and still have all their ornate trimmings, the kind that make a place look like a gingerbread or doll house. It’s sort of sweetness overload, as if Sanrio invented a real life town for Hello Kitty to live in. I loved it. There are a few cottages that stand alone, but when you find the original cul-de-sac, you know you’ve arrived.

And when I say original, I mean historic.

(Historical photographs, courtesy of Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives). 

Grimsby Beach was originally established as a Methodist campground in the late 1840s. It was a dense forest and liquor was strictly forbidden on the property. By 1888, a temple was built and there were about 70 cottages with fancy gingerbread trim, where people could stay during the camp meetings. There were concerts, lectures, athletic competitions and a beach. After 1908, the location was a picnic area and amusement park. In 1922, the temple was torn down, but many of the cottages still remain and are recognizable in the old photographs of the area. Hamilton Library’s Local History & Archives has an actual archive of that area, (I haven’t gone through it). It’s easy to forget how many interesting places there are in Ontario, and if you ever need to explore a new place, it’s worth it.

 

Within Walking Distance James Street South

Highlights of 2016: Photo heavy as always

In 2016,

I was free from depression.

I loved music festivals, art crawls, hikes, bonfires, urban exploration, and spending time with “my tribe” (as much as I hate the terminology).

One of my best friends got married. Another walked her first runway (the one in the hat). Her husband started an amazing band (also the one in the hat). I did fun photo sessions with great people.

I visited the ROM Chihuly exhibit, Ripley’s Aquarium, the AGO and the AGH (multiple times).

I planned a photo walk with 500px. It got rained out, but it didn’t matter. I had my first solo Art exhibit.

I stayed at a cabin in Haliburton.

I started a new job in a city I love. I explored and walked that city, a lot.

I bought a new car! I helped amazing people do heartwarming things.

I saw how beautiful the world is at sunrise. I tackled things that scared me and found direction I didn’t have before.

I remembered how much I love music and started learning to play guitar.

2016 was an amazing year for me. The first year I thought I might be close to happy. Maybe you haven’t had your year yet. Maybe peace feels impossible. I know this is cliched, but please hang on.

All it takes is a little bit of light into the darkness – a second to weaken its pull and then you will slowly begin to push it back. You will find the path, the fog will break, the darkness will lift. Please don’t give up hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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