A Lovely Little World

Adventures in Southern Ontario

Tag: hamilton (page 1 of 2)

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.

Hamilton Flea

Hamilton Flea was this weekend. It moves around each year, and this time it was at the old Lawson Lumber building at Dunsmure and Gage. My understanding is, they pick a different historical venue each time, and decorate according to a theme. Then all kinds of talented local vendors and vintage clothing sellers show up and sell their wares. It’s a pop-up flea market, which I think is a really fun idea.

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I knew a lot of my favourite shops and artists had reps there, so I went. I also really wanted to see the Petal to the Metal and try another Donut Monster donut. I loved both for the record. But of course, how can you not love a mobile flower shop and gourmet donuts?  My other favourites are Girl on a Wing, White Elephant, Jelly Brothers and Jenna’s Doodles.  If you’re looking for fun accessories, clothing and art that’s locally made (Hamilton), check them out. There were other great vendors too, but I tend to stick with my first loves, and ended up buying a few vintage photos from White Elephant, without even realizing I was buying from them. You know what you like I guess.  I ended up dragging one of my friends who described the event as looking like an underground scene for “white hipsters”, but then he went and bought a whole box of donuts, so I feel like the review was a bit pre-mature.  In any case, I loved it, and would definitely go again!

Exploring a new, old city

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There are perks to working in the city, especially a cool city, like Hamilton. Everyday there is something new to see, and so many interesting faces. I haven’t done a lot of street photography lately, but I really should. Hamilton is such a diverse place and “characters” are everywhere (and sometimes they are the people with whom you’re photo walking!) Most of these photographs were taken during the 500px Global Photo Walk. We got a lot of rain that day, but the sun came out for the last hour, just not while we were along the waterfront.  The down side to so many adventures (and a new full time job working with photos!) is that I never get time to blog anymore.  This post is only happening because I slept in too late to make a workshop I signed up for, so I had a few spare minutes. Hamilton is such a fascinating city. The more time I spend, the more I love the old buildings. I’ll have to schedule a post just on my favourites, although it’s not always easy finding out information about them, without hitting up the land registry office (and I work in the Archives).
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I’m currently obsessed with the Jackson Square Roof, actually, I always have been. Lunch times up there are so peaceful, and the light changes every day, so the window reflections in the nearby skyscrapers shift constantly. You meet different people than you normally would, and you take photos of them, even though it’s sort of out of character for you to even ask someone. So you have to let them take your photo in exchange.  Plus photographs taken from that vantage point (roof tops) make the world look like tiny dioramas. It’s weird, because you feel more like you are observing than participating.

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Isn’t this little alley way perfection? I love the colours and butterflies.14567575_10157501520590557_6626905078291348970_o paint people pretty-building rainbow roof skyline street-photography-fav unahppy-couple where-i-fell-in-love-with-you window york-blvdReally this post is just to share what I see each day, a rather beautiful world. It’s easy to believe the worst in people, and just see the garbage and smog, but try to look with a different lens this week. Explore a new or old place, simply because you can.

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A photo of me on a rooftop, by my good friend, James Allen Shepherd.

Hamilton Art Crawling

This is an out of date post. That’s how behind I am on everything. On a positive note, in part it’s because I’ve been adventuring more and not sitting editing at my computer.

I love the Hamilton Art Crawls. They take place on James Street North on the second Friday of every month, and they’re ideal for people watching. All the artists, hipsters, hippies, and gypsters show up in full force and full-fashion, and it’s wonderful to mingle in the crowds on a warm summer evening.

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I took less photos this time, I’m not sure why. I do remember I was really tired. For more Art Crawl scenes, see my post here and check out the big art event Super Crawl too!

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