Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
~ Mary Ritter Beard
It’s been over two months since I started the second round of my photo challenge – Project 14. Every day I take a photo and post it online revealing something about my day.
As I did it last year – Project 13 - I can see what I rely on, what captures my attention and what lures my eye. So I’m trying to change things up – notice different details and hopefully show you something more unique this year.
And so far in the month of March, I’ve spent a bit too much time inside, hibernating from the extreme cold:
As I look back, I realize - I like colour and patterns. Now let’s see if I can get more people in my images! That’s my ongoing challenge to learn to become a better photographer and better ways to share my view of the planet with you. Wish me luck!
Some people are focused on when the first signs of Spring will appear here in Canada.
For me, I’m all about the beach, like what I saw in January on the west coast of Florida:
Or my fave sandy spaces from the islands of the Bahamas:
And then I think of far flung places, like when I was lucky enough visit Sydney, Australia:
Or the beautiful beaches of Tobago, including a black sand beach:
And as I gaze out my window as the snow continues to fall this morning in Toronto, I remind myself that even when its not tropical, the beach is my favourite spot, like Newcastle, on the east coast of Ireland:
And so I will keep dreaming until I’m back at the beach…
We’re apparently all photographers these days – between the smartphone and all those point and shoot digital cameras, nearly everyone has the ability to take a photo.
But doesn’t it drive you crazy when you think you have the perfect shot….and then its not?
In fact this isn’t THE photo – the focus was off, and someone walked into my frame when I was trying to focus on this exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum. This one of the side effects of travelling – trying to enjoy, remember, and capture the moment – but it shouldn’t always be perfect.
I’ve always remembered being in the 40C heat and humidity of Thailand, at one of the amazing temples north of Bangkok. As I was slowly making my way around the exterior, I was chastised by a North American tourist for being in their shot. As I scurried out of the way, a bus tour arrived and a group of 50 people were soon walking past, making this person even more frustrated with the crowd blocking their “perfect” photo.
I’m sympathetic - I’ve climbed, ran, perched and held my camera at odd angles to get the shot and cut out the person or people from my view. I’m also a big believer in photo editing, and the cropping tool is a welcome necessity. but I’m also a realist – the planet is not empty – there are people everywhere and it would be odd if we didn’t show a few now and then right?
So although I wanted to show more of the bar and less of the people – the Crown Bar in Belfast is a place of people. The bar has some amazing decorative details, which I captured when I cropped other images, but the reality – its a bar – and there’s no point showing it without people – everyone would assume it was closed.
So persevere dear travellers in getting THE photo – but don’t despair if there are others – just consider it a cool photobomb – or get that crop tool working in your favour.
Winter has certainly kept its hold on Canada – for the first few days of March, we’ve all been in a collective deep freeze.
When I wake up and see that my old windows are covered in frost, I know that the windchill is in full effect and so is the thought to hibernate. We don’t want stop to make contact, say hello or even extend basic manners – our distracted nature is blamed on the cold.
As we’re swaddled in our layers of wool, down and polar fleece, we’re focused on getting to and from a destination and not spending an extra time anywhere else – want to go to a movie? go see a band? take in an exhibition? Not if it means going outside in this bitter cold.
We take it one day at a time, trying to deal with our collective weariness from the onslaught of winter. And now we pray for the lamb to appear in the form of Spring. Then we can start complaining about the heat.
I’m noticing a transformation in Toronto – having lived here a few years, I’ve seen the skyline change, restaurants open and close and gentrification take hold. Construction is alive and well in this city, but so is street art.
But unlike other cities, which note their progress with the disappearance of graffiti and street art, there has been an increase in sanctioned areas. In the Dufferin/Queen St. West neighbourhood, a developer commissioned graffiti artists to adorn a long fence, preventing the random tagging that would cause them to be fined by the City of Toronto.
Our illustrious Mayor certainly has caused unique graffiti – especially when first elected and his declaration to get rid of graffiti – something that instead alienated several business owners who were fined for the street art.
At the Evergreen Brick Works, they’ve fought back, citing the need to preserve the site as it was given to them, as part of the history of this area:
But is the new found passion for street art a way of showing which areas haven’t yet changed dramatically? Or is it way to show off the growing street art scene, more noticeable with so much new around us?
One of my favourites has been the use of industrial items – like the metal clad boxes on our streets that enclose electrical or telecommunications wires:
Or the garbage bins which offer another canvas for a graffiti artist:
Or when one of our beloved political leaders died, we poured our hearts out in #graffiti at City Hall:
Whatever is increasing the creation of street art, I’m ready for it Toronto with my camera in hand.
I have my favourites among Toronto’s neighbourhoods – and Queen Street West has always been an area I regularly go check out – for the restaurants, boutiques and because I can wander down an alley and discover amazing graffiti:
This neighbourhood had a certain aura when I first moved to Toronto – everyone wore black, especially black t-shirts, black jeans black leather jackets and black Doc Marten’s boots, a post-punk, rock n roll sensibility that marked you a resident, and not just a weekend visitor. And the alleys – well it wasn’t a place for graffiti – just garbage.
Fast forward to 2014 – the uniform is still black – but now you’ll see Canada Goose jackets, toques, Hunter boots and probably a dog as an accessory – but black still does rule. And the graffiti has gotten better:
I keep my eye on what’s happening way out west – which used to be an edgy stretch of hole in the wall clubs and dodgy bars. Now the runners and cyclists thankfully outnumber the homeless and junkies, but the inventiveness still continues on the back alley walls.
Like most women, I love flowers. And in the gray, cold days of winter, Mother Nature blesses some places with plants blooming:
Thanks to recent trips to Florida and Arizona, I’ve been treated to the beauty of flora – but its also reminded me of a year ago, when I was in Philadelphia for its annual flower show – a riot of colour and style:
Or when I was visiting Victoria, BC, where spring comes with a vengeance thanks to all the flowers:
Or to the Dallas Arboretum, where this vibrant purple caught my eye:
And to the coast of California, where the wildflowers were everywhere:
And to the market in Castries, St Lucia, where I desperately wanted to take these long-stemmed beauties with me:
In the end, I just admire these blooms, but the photos do make me feel like I can survive the winter….and see these blooms in the local parks near me in a few months…
I remember my first taco – made from a grocery store kit with sloppy joe style ground beef, lots of cheddar cheese and tomato salsa that resembled ketchup. But I liked it.
I eventually graduated to chain restaurant tacos and then I had my first real taco years ago in Toronto’s Kensington Market, prepared by recent immigrants from Latin America. My next love was Tacos El Asador, an El Salvadorean restaurant that was steps from my former apartment, which fueled me with spicy tacos and freshly made guacamole.
Now I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole when it comes to tacos – I’ve had so many good ones across North America, Latin America and in the Caribbean. Being in Scottsdale, AZ reminded me of my love for this tasty treat:
Tasting this short rib and green salsa creation at the Scottsdale Old Town Farmers’ Market was a welcome option to my palate – even though it was 10am. Didn’t matter to me – tacos are welcome at any hour. And tacos seem to follow me - like these tasty grouper tacos on the island of Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos:
Or of course, in Mexico, in La Paz on the Baja Peninsula, where I had shrimp tacos with plenty of fresh lime:
And its even reached the shores close to home – thanks to the food truck El Gastronomo Vagabundo, who regularly serve up tasty treats in Niagara, like these fish tacos:
So I ask the food gods, keep the taco trend going – its a delicious effect on all of us…..