Friday, December 30th, 2022

Canadian Snow Fort

In the painting now known as American Gothic, artist Grant Wood was inspired to paint the long faces of his models to mirror the one tall window that he saw on a farmhouse in a small town in Iowa. In this snapshot-style photograph taken by the American expat amateur photographer Ms. Jessica Shanahan, you can see a large snow fort constructed by hand by a brother and sister team. The round faces of the models mirror the one round door to the under-snow home. The photograph represents the joy brought by those things which, like childhood and snow, are ephemeral in nature.




Actually, that part about representation and mirroring and whatnot is all a load of cow poo. Akiva wanted me to take a picture of the snow fort before it melted. I think it’s a rather dull photo, so I had to liven it up with a bit of art criticismβ€” or whatever you call it when someone tries to explain to you what you’re looking at. Plus, their expressions are just SO American Gothic!


Friday, December 23rd, 2022

Power Outage

I take photos by candle light.






Thursday, December 22nd, 2022

Sledding Hill, Parc Bellevue

Wednesday, December 21st, 2022

Our Lanterns: Winter Solstice Lantern Walk

It was Iris’s idea to go for a lantern walk.

We walked in the dark on the snowy trails in the woods behind the Knudsen house.

It was beautiful. Thank you, Iris.



Saturday, December 10th, 2022

@trailside (Waterville)



The depth of field is shallow because I didn’t bring my tripod.

I didn’t bring my tripod because I didn’t want to carry it.

I didn’t want to carry it because my backpack is not properly engineered for carrying a tripod.

I wish I was comfortable bringing my tripod everywhere.

I would like a new backpack.

Sunday, November 27th, 2022

Massawippi Trail Revisited

We had to hurry home from the Massawippi Trail on my birthday two weeks ago because it coincided with opening day for registration for the campgrounds at Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay. I wanted to register at at the first minute of the first possible hour so that I could get my favorite spot. Both Martin and I clicked the proper button on our separate computers the instant registration opened. I had around 10,000 people in front of me and he only had about 8,000 people in front of him, so after a mere 50 minutes in the virtual waiting room, we were in! Bonus, I got my spot. It helps that I’m not really picky about which week we go camping.


Anyhow. That’s all besides the point.

The point is, we had to go back to the Massawippi trail so that we could walk to the far end of it.

There’s a lot more to explore.


Sunday, November 13th, 2022

My Birthday (Massawippi Trail)

It seems that, for my birthday, I took exactly one photograph. Here it is!

Apologies to all family members whom I failed to photograph on my birthday.


Tuesday, October 25th, 2022

Parc Harold F. Baldwin (Mont Pinacle)

The autumn that Akiva was 6, we hiked up Mt. Orford the long way. It took six hours. I didn’t take any photographs. Instead, I told an epic tale about a war between the monsters and the humans. It was probably the best story I’ve ever told in my life. I told a lot of stories that year. Unfortunately, I don’t remember any of them. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs.


I started telling monster stories when Akiva was at Kate’s at the Waldorf school. The first story I told was about a monster who dug tunnels in the Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and the boy who met him there and befriended him. It was a good tale, and probably the only one I’ve ever told where the main character is sad about the removal of a large swath of invasive plants.





I stopped telling monster stories when Akiva found out about superheroes. He wanted superhero stories. To me, superheroes are all the same. The only thing really interesting about them is their creation story, and creation stories are pretty difficult. I managed one inspired superhero story about a boy who somehow gained the superpower of zapping dog-poop that was left in an inappropriate place back onto the property of the human who owned said dog, often with the human being in a coincidentally inconvenient location when the poop descended out of the skyβ€” a telling tale in terms of how I fell about humans who let their dogs shit in public places or on others’ property and don’t carry out the common courtesy of cleaning up. That’s basically the only superpower I’ve considered acquiring lately, so after that tale, I had no more inspiration.





But the tale of the war between the monsters and the humans was one of utter devastation ending in hope of resurrection. I wish I had recorded it. On this hike, the kids spent time trying to re-tell the tale to me. I think it’s all Humpty-Dumpty, tho, to be never together again.



Sunday, October 23rd, 2022

Parc de la gorge de Coaticook

When my high-school photography teacher described the flavors of Kodak B&W filmsβ€” Kodak T-MAX or Kodak TRI-Xβ€” I chose T-MAX & stayed faithful to it until I discovered Ilford Delta. I’m sure there were people who switched films all the timeβ€”and there were many filmsβ€” but such loose behavior me feel like a floozy.


I would expose the onto paper in such low light, sooooo sloooooowly. I was agonizingly slow in the darkroom. I was afraid that if I exposed with more light and shorter times, the moment of perfection would pass and I would not be able to catch it.


I liked matte paper. My high-school teacher recommended that we all start out with glossy, but I thought the reflection of light on the paper annoying. I would see the image, then I would see the extra light. I liked how the light sunk into the matte finish so I could look at the picture.


I took okay photos in high school. I was too shy to venture too far or to be too creative. I became more adventuresome in college, but still, I was shy. I was too afraid of humans to photograph them well, but I certainly thought they were (and still are) the most interesting thing to put in a box and look at through a view-finder. My favorite humans are my family. I like looking at them.



Now I can click on one imitation B&W film after another, chosing whichever one pleases me, wondering how accurate they are, wondering how they can mean anything at all when the look of the image changes so dramatically when I change my camera profile. For this picture, I tried out each film simulation one after another in quick succession, and then I did it again. What a floozy!

It would have been a much better pictureβ€” perhaps almost interestingβ€” if she was leaning on the other side of the bridge. Unfortunately, I didn’t ask her to move. Also unfortunately, it reminds me of my high-school photos. I think I photographed a lot of chain-link fences.






Developing B&W images in ye ol’ darkroom, courtesy of Ilford. The above photo is imitation Ilford Pan F 50.

Follow all step-by-step instructions or skip right to 5:50 to see the moment that makes a photographer’s heart go pitter-pat.

Friday, October 21st, 2022

Tamarak in Autumn (Johnville Bog)


we went to Johnville




in autumn




we looked at




the ponds




we breathed in



the woods