Out of my way: days 386 — 390

In which I ponder self-doubt and second-guessing myself. Or maybe I don’t.

I did not want to take another photo around the gym this Sunday!

And yet I was too busy watching old seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race to get out of the apartment in the afternoon, which left me with no daily photo by the time volleyball rolled around. I know, that’s no excuse, but there you go.

I did have vague plans to shoot 4th Avenue on the way home—all those street perspective shots still fresh in my mind—but what I ended up doing was stop on Cornwall by Trafalgar and go down by the water. I’d been there before, during the day, but it was perfectly safe with the light from my phone, if a bit wet. For my trouble I got a great view of downtown. Incidentally, it looks like this is pretty much the limit of my phone’s light sensitivity. Good to know.

Monday was Day 2 of Nicolas looking at things across the water. The cranes weren’t really the focus here, but the sky itself, partially clearing just for that day it seemed.

And then you’ve got No. 6 Fire Hall, at Nelson & Nicola. I know I’ve done it before, but not when a bunch of firetrucks were running their lights in front! It’s been a while since I walked through the West End. I need to do it more often (more about that later).

Okay, I’ll be brutally honest here: I’m not really happy with the next 2 photos. They were taken on the way back from work, wandering around east of Granville—but not very far out of my way, because it was cold and raining. Maybe that’s why I like them less? On Wednesday I walked by Emery Barnes Park, took a few photos I wasn’t 100% happy with, then decided to press on to Granville Bridge and shoot some more. I still wasn’t feeling it, but this is the best of the bunch I kinda-liked.

Same on Thursday, except I didn’t get as far as any bridge. And was second-guessing myself so hard I considered taking down that #dailypic a second after posting in, to do a bit of cropping and retouching. Which I didn’t do, but still, what the fuck? looking at it now, it’s fine. It’s got this element of motion which has been missing form pretty much all my photos. But really, if I’m feeling that way about a photo, I’ll just post a selfie like I said I would.

Also, I think the lesson is that I need to vary my commute. Fuck the second-guessing. If my brain’s going round in circles, that means my body is too. I need to find new paths to walk, and not fight myself when I get there.

A little perspective: days 381 — 385

In which I reminisce about high school art class and buy an imaginary penthouse suite.

I guess it was one of those days when I just didn’t see anything to inspire me… and then just as I was getting home and thinking I’d need to whip out another selfie, I came upon an abandoned couch with some foam thingies on it. So, that was interesting. I wasn’t crazy about the white balance, but it didn’t occur to me to fix it. Oh well. I passed by again two days later, and most of the foam thingies were gone, leaving a message…

The following day I was walking home, trying to find a good shot of Granville street. It wouldn’t be the first, but I was feeling lazy and needed something quick. Fortunately lazy paid off because I got a great shot of the multi-level store at Granville & Robson. It has a surreal, almost Tron-like vibe, and immediately Rush’s Subdivisions started playing in my head. Remember that song, and the video, which had kids playing Tempest?

Then two days with similar themes. I didn’t plan it that way, but I like how it turned out. First, a shot of the tree tunnel by the Law Courts on Hornby Street. I loved the composition, and the asymmetry of it. At first I wanted to crop that lone tree out, but nah. It stays. I don’t think this is the first time I shot this particular street, but hey, it never hurts to revisit old haunts, right? Besides, this phone makes everything so bright and crisp, even such a dreary morning.

The following day, a shot of Robson Street, looking south towards Granville. I had also taken a shot in the opposite direction, but I love this one the best. It’s the colours that pop out, the reds and yellows and blues and greens.

And now I’m thinking of high school art class. We studied linear perspective, and colour theory, and the use of colour in classical painting and all that jazz. M. Balsamo was a harsh taskmaster, but though I really resented the crap I had to do, I learned a lot from him. I’ve forgotten most of it, true, but maybe it’ll come back with this project? We never did photography… but the rules of composition can’t be too different from classical art, right?

To cap off the week, a little gayming night where I played the ultimate whitebread normal™ game, for the first time in years and years. I lucked out at first and got to be a doctor, but then I lost that career and transitioned to a star athlete—which paid almost as well. And then a couple other bitches found buried treasure and won in the end. Oh well, it was good silly fun, and I still made enough to afford a lovely penthouse suite. Only $700K, a ridiculous steal in Vancouver!

And then a step to the right: days 376 — 380

In which I reminisce about commuting to the suburbs and enjoying foggy vistas

I said I’d take a selfie if I wasn’t feeling inspired and couldn’t find a good subject, and here we go. It’s… ehh, I never thought I was especially photogenic, but I like it. It exquisitely conveys my irritation at the cold and the rain, and also how I hadn’t shaved in like three days.

Friday, I decided to shoot a bit around Canada Place, and eventually decided on the West Coast Express station from up high. It was remarkably popular (relatively speaking) though I don’t quite get why. Don’t get me wrong, I do like it, mostly for the nostalgia value. 10 years ago, it was, when I took that train between PoCo and downtown, to work at Accenture (2007) and then Waterstreet Technologies (2008, until I moved downtown in May). The train rides were fun, the scenery was gorgeous (yes I took quite a lot of photos), though it was still a long commute especially at night. And if I had to work extra late, and the Trainbus was full, then the commute by bus was extra gruelling.

I remember one time, staying on the train past PoCo Station and getting off at… Maple Ridge, I think. I didn’t really plan it that way, but it turns out that was the last station before we got seriously in the sticks and I wouldn’t even get normal bus service back home. The only enjoyable part of that extra trip was going over Pitt River—who doesn’t like going over bridges in the dark, with Highway 7 just off in the distance?—but everything else was… bleagh. Maple Ridge was just as suburby as PoCo, even more so, and to torture myself even more I ate at a McD. It was a weird time for me.

But hey, look at me now! Living the life downtown, and even when getting over a cold it’s just a short stroll to Granville Island—or at least to a spot on the Seawall where I can gaze at it across the water. Had I ever visited Granville Island back then? I must have, at some point. But I don’t know, those were dark and troubled times, and I’ve blocked some of them from my memory.

I do remember back in those days I couldn’t have dropped into Competitive, even if I’d had the skill. Such a long trek in the morning, with no guarantee of play? And then do it again at night? No, that would have been too much. I would have missed the foggy sun over the field. And later after my nap, I would have missed Burrard Bridge in all its misty glory as well as the West End Inukshuk. My god this city is beautiful.

Beautiful in fog and in clear skies. This Monday I wasn’t 100% ready to go back to the gym, so I thought I’d take a bit of a scenic walk down Pacific and then… I forget, up Hornby, maybe? I stopped at Burrard and Pacific, snapped a couple of pictures… it was magnificent, but not quite right. So I took a few steps to the right, into the bike lane, and voilà!

The moral is: if the photo doesn’t look right, take a few steps to the side and try again. You’d be amazed at how much of a difference it can make.

PS: I’d originally entitled this post “Beyond The Farthest Suburb” as a shoutout to the Star Trek: TAS episode “Beyond The Farthest Star”. It seemed clever, but kind of obscure, and a Rocky Horror shoutout is better.

The view from the bridge: days 371 — 375

Here’s a pattern I’ve noticed for a while: I generally don’t have a lot of interesting pics on Sundays. I play volleyball (or try to) in the morning, go home, eat, nap, come back in the evening. And I end up mostly just taking photos around the gym. Some of them are great, of course. Like this one, which could have come straight off the cover of some lurid gothic horror novel, with the haunted moors and the family secrets and the locked room you must not enter…!

So… I need to either (a) get off my butt and go somewhere else on Sunday, or (b) not be so self-conscious about taking photos around the gym. Either will take effort. And what the hell, how about we do both?

Like for example, asking if it’s okay to take pictures of the eye machine thingy when getting my eyes checked. Hey, why not? The optometrist said yes, and showed me a drawer containing the dozens and dozens of individual lenses that go in the machine, and are used in eye clinics that can’t afford them. That was cool. And it just goes to show, it never hurts to ask. I’m not sure I would have had the nerve to do it this time last year, when I was just starting out, but now… Well, now I’ve got da noive (to quote the Cowardly Lion). It feels good.

At some point on Tuesday I got the idea of walking out on Burrard Bridge to take a picture of Sunset Beach. I used to do that for a while, in the summer of ’08, after I moved downtown and was still working at Waterstreet Technologies down in Gastown. Oh, apparently I continued, on and off, until 2010? Neat. Anyway, I had a hankering to reproduce that, and to see what it looked like in the dark. It looked pretty good. I was especially fascinated by the little island of light around the ferry dock…

…and so the next day, I went down there to take a closer look. I wasn’t feeling well, but this would keep bugging so what the hell. The dark Seawall was a bit intimidating—there are supposed to be lights!—but I got a satisfying view of Burrard Bridge and a nice closer view of the dock, taken from the dog beach at the foot of the bridge. I was nervous heading out on the beach by myself… maybe it would have been safer to bring a buddy? I’ll have to think about that. Nothing happened, and there was adequate light so I knew no one else was nearby, but you never know.

And now I’m thinking: this daily shot of Sunset Beach, is that something I want to pick up? I could do it, too. Something separate from my daily pic hashtag… still on Instagram so I can’t do an album, but I could do a special hashtag, yeah? Honestly, I’m afraid I won’t have the discipline to do it every day (or I guess every weekday) at the same time, but I said that about my dailypic and look where I am now!

So, who knows? It’s definitely something to mull over. No rush. I’ve got all year to tweak the format.

A second beginning: days 366 — 370

I was really tempted to call back to my very first photo on this account, but smartly decided against it. As cool as it might be to repeat last year’s story beats, I want to strike out in unexplored directions. Besides, a bowl of Froot Loops™ is much more interesting, right?

I went back to Ottawa that same day, and flew home on the 2nd. No shot of the Rideau Canal this time—way too cold for that, sorry!—but I’d decided on a selfie. Night selfie, which was new, but my phone could handle it. And it would be here, celebrating my return home. That’s important.

I think I need more selfies. I want to put myself out there more, and that includes my face on my social media. I think that any day I’m not feeling inspired, instead of shooting Davie Street, I’ll shot my own mug. Deal? Deal.

The next couple days saw my return to the gym. Callback to my January 4, 2017 photo, kinda? Yes, but this new one is taken much earlier, when it’s still darkish outside. It’s allowing me to work out longer, and still get to work on time. That’s one of my resolutions, to stop being late for things, and to kick it up a notch at the gym. BAM!

On Friday, I felt like walking up to Bute and cutting through Davie Village. Haven’t done that much since I changed jobs… Figured I’d take a nice night shot of the tree-covered streets, but it’s Rand House that ended up catching my eye.

And now’s the time to look forward. How will I sing of this year? In pictures and words? Hey, what about videos? That would be different, wouldn’t it? Something more focused in content, with themes and things? Maybe… right now I don’t have any ideas, but that’s okay. What I’m doing now does not need to be the template for the coming year.