A Lovely Little World

Adventures in Southern Ontario

Tag: hamilton (page 1 of 2)

Losing Hope

This week has been challenging one for the world, with new acts of violence and terror, in a place that should have been safe, and those hurt were girls, teens and their mothers.  Undoubtedly, people are angry and scared. If you are one of those people who believes that love makes a difference and that they way forward is hope, well, basically it’s hard to believe at a time like this isn’t it?

And this is easy for me to say, because I’m not there… I didn’t lose a loved one… but I think the answer is the same. One by one we have to make life better for individuals, until the good outweighs the bad. We can’t suddenly give up on trying to make the world better because it seems like the odds are too big. THEY ARE HUGE. THEY ARE OVERWHELMING. But I spent too many years assuming there was nothing I could do, and you know what? Nothing got done.

As I’ve gotten older, I realized how foolish it is to throw your hands in their air and let the world kill itself, which is really what apathy does. If you don’t fight for a better place, who will? And isn’t it better to try, than to do nothing, even if in the end it makes no difference? Find a way, any way, you can to make the world better for even one person and… right there, it IS making a difference. Do not despair. Do not be apathetic. Pray. Love. Hope. On the smallest level you can, until it becomes bigger.

These photographs were all taken at Hamilton’s Royal Botanical Gardens.

The Responsibility of Magic

 

 

Magic.

I know that I am incredibly blessed to live in a world that is so overwhelming beautiful. 

I am so grateful that I have been blessed with the ability to see beauty, in ways not everyone can. It’s not something I taught myself. I cannot take credit for it.

My world is just so magical. 

It feels so overwhelming at times.  Like maybe it’s dangerous to see it all. 

There is a catch, when the world is this beautiful… the pain is so heartbreakingly obvious, you cannot ignore it.

Don’t forget to help out someone in need. Someone struggling with mental health, someone poor, even just someone who feels alone.

They need you. Okay?

 

Wild & Free Art Gala

Friday is the night! I spent the day selecting eight double exposures to show, and by that I mean, I’ve already fussed over which eight a number of times. Finally I decided to pick them based on the general mood they created together… so I feel okay about the selection, which isn’t normal for me. Typically nothing feels right or complete, which doesn’t exactly create confidence.

Sneak peek…. only this one didn’t make the cut, even though it’s one of my favourites.

Anyway…

The Art Show opens at 7pm at the Spice Factory, located at 121 Hughson Street North. There is parking all around, and after 6pm it’s only $1.50 I think… you might be able to find free parking within walking distance, but I don’t have inside information on that. There is no cover charge, but we are collecting non-perishable food goods, if you’ve got them.

As you know, there is live music; James Favron, Chad Brown and Josh Edwards. I am most familiar with James’ work, and he’s amazing, so there’s that. I am exhibiting with other women, Sarah Wills who is exhibiting band photography, but also does amazing fashion photography, Melanie Crumb who is this fresh, talented painter, who uses her art as a way of coping with depression, yay Mel! and Krista Roberts who is exhibiting pottery, and it’s beautiful (which her video in the below link, even the making of the beautiful pottery is beautiful). Here’s a link to event page, but also check out the links below!

Melanie Crumb’s Video and website

Krista Roberts’ Video

Sarah Wills’ Video and website

Also I should mention, Sarah made the videos.

Painting by Melanie Crumb

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas time in the city

Tomorrow is the big day, Christmas Day! In fact, I suspect most people won’t be reading a blog post on Christmas Eve, but that’s okay. I’m writing it out for me anyway – sharing my thoughts this season, and a few of my favourite captures of the people and places I love, (starting with a few snaps from a family session with one of the best girls in the ENTIRE world).

Truthfully, this Christmas has been tough for me. It’s my favourite time of year normally, but some reason, this year single-dom hit me harder than other years.  Everyone around me is settling into relationships, and I’m just not. Not even close. All of that being said, things haven’t been all bad. I’ve realized how grateful I am for the friendships, family and support that I do have, and it dawned on me that if I had to trade all of that for a romantic relationship, I wouldn’t do it. I love my people far too much for that.  I stopped volunteering at the soup kitchen when I started my new job, and I still received presents from people there, which is almost too sweet for my heart to handle, seriously. I get to take photos (and hang out) with friends all the time. My co-workers are amazing, and the kind of people you know will be your friends for life. And I really love my Church.

I didn’t have a lot of time for Christmas adventures this year, but I still got in most of my Christmas movie favourites, and my friends who just got married, still had our annual Christmas movie night, only this year, they made a whole Christmas dinner, which was amazing. It was just on a work night this year, because all of our schedules have gotten so crazy.

The last few years, I’ve done all my shopping online and even though this year, I still did most of it that way, I went with Sarah, Joe and Katrina to pick up a few small things, and that felt really festive…. particularly because they dressed like deranged elves, just kidding guys.

And finally, the city is just so pretty at Christmas. Everything is festive. I didn’t even photograph most of it. Delivery truck drivers wear Santa hats, and formal offices look more playful with fairy lights. My favourite though, is balconies on apartment rises, decorated with colourful lights that you can see from faraway.

And I did make it to a Santa Clause parade, and any Dunnville parade is a treat for very unexpected reasons, (think Star Hollows or Pawnee) but that’s a post for another day.

Christmas reminds you that miracles happen all the time, and that’s something for which to be grateful.

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