Be the Game #photos #games #thoughts #Nikon

30 04 2017


Sometimes you have to go inside the game. 

So where are we? One hundred days in and there’s a lunatic at the wheel of the free world. You know I’ll feel really bad if it turns out Trump is suffering dementia “bigly” and he isn’t just an idiot. What if he really is a person of diminished capacity? Then where will we be? We have one person posing and thumping his chest in North Korea and quite likely ordering hits on his half-brother in another country, and we have the runaway Cheeto just south of the frozen wall posturing on Twitter of all places and that’s become the new “nuclear button.” 

So why now? Let’s look inside. If you look at various past leaders there have been lots of bad ones in the past, some hung on too long (Stephen Harper, Richard Nixon, Papa Doc,) and others left too quickly, (sure Kennedy, Obama even after two terms, and lots of others,) and how much damage did they leave us with? Well bad political decisions are kind of the gifts that keep on giving. We still have bad legislation brought in by Harper, and the USA eventually had to dismantle mandatory Federal sentencing guidelines on drugs because their jails filled up, and they killed 3 strikes before it killed them. Not a lot of downside for a guy with two strikes in a non-death penalty State to shoot it out with the cops trying to get away if he’s only getting life anyway. 

So now we are inside the machine, bouncing around, hoping we don’t “tilt” or lose our balls without a free play. Is Trump going to blow us up? Is he all posture? I have ideas…

The photo: Nikon D4 with Nikkor 50f1.4 @ 1/50th and f 2.8 in a friends basement playing unlimited video games surrounded by industrial soap dispensers. 

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The Value of a Good Shoeshine #portraits #photos

15 04 2017

This is Mr. Carter. He runs a shoeshine empire in Chicago. I can’t remember the number of chairs he has around Chicago but it’s significant. He does a great job from his double-chair setup in the Hilton on South Michigan Ave and if you get a chance to stop in you should. As with most places you can leave your shoes with him for later pickup but you would miss out on some great conversation and wisdom! 

I’m sure he has his moods offsite but on the job you will never find a nicer or more engaging individual. He can talk politics, federal or local, families, technology, or anything else you’re in the mood for. On occasion we touched on the fringes of theology (he is a God fearing man,) but he can go with the flow and you never feel as if he has a strong opinion he wants to impose on anyone else. 

His shoeshine, which I’m sure includes lots of environmental threats, is never rushed (which almost made me late to speak at a conference last year,) and seems to last just the right amount of time. A stop there borders on meditation, and I can’t imagine being in Chicago without a stop to see Curtis and to get a shine. I have had his shoeshine last six months! 

The snap was taken on March 18th with my Nikon D4 using the Nikkor 50f1.4 @ f4.5 and 1/250. 

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What if that’s all there was? #abatechshow #photos #tech 

18 03 2017


Another year of ABA TECHSHOW is behind us and where are we? Well hopefully we are a little wiser, a little more road weary, and energized to take on some of the challenges of technology in law as change ambassadors to China phrase from about 10 years ago. I have to admit I managed to get through this show without hearing “synergy” or “disruption” although I heard “lean” and “agile” too many times people!? Have a little decorum! And please leave the puppies at home where they belong and NOT at TECHSHOW. 

As I look into the future what do I see? For one thing lawyers (attorneys) need to wake up and smell the VPNs! Seriously people! I was in a session this morning and one person (besides me) was running a VPN on public wifi!? I had to rush back to my room and shower! People stop exposing your clients confidential information to the world! If I can be the proud owner of a Pineapple Mk5 penetration tool (I know that sounds wrong,) then anyone can have one. 

OK and it’s not just VPNs (while I’m on a rant,) get yourself some encryption too! You know, you’re soaking in it! OK well not literally but sort of. When you turn on your Mac or your Surface, or your PC, it’s there for you with a right-click you can activate encryption. What are you waiting for? Use encryption now. Protect your USBs when you take data out of the office, use whole disk encryption (look it up!)

One of the things about TECHSHOW that always surprises me is the same things keep coming up. We have talked about mobile offices and paperless offices for years (although paperless got a break this year,) and yet, we seem no farther ahead. I heard one of the speakers mention an app this morning and said, “Well, for it to work you have give them access to all of your contacts and load them into the cloud” NO NO NO! Seriously people, this is NOT an app you want to use! Do not give up your data for the convenience of screening your calls (or anything else!)

What else? Well, collaboration is big again this year, and we did hear from the collective CEOs of Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom and Avvo. Just for fun I’m going to add my snapshot of John Suh here:


There was no doom and gloom, they weren’t talking “The Sky is falling” like Siskind(s) or Furlong (the Canadian Chicken Little,) but the message was clear about our clients really being consumers, wanting more control, more transparency, and a better customer experience. It’s not rocket surgery, the legal service or whatever it is we think we deliver is a specialized service for sure, but if we want people coming back, recommending us, paying us, and making their representation easier, we have to make them part of the experience. I had dinner with a lawyer last night and she gets it! She does customer service surveys throughout the duration of her family law retainer. OK, well that part she got, she did some other things that caused me to go, “Huh??” like a minimum general retainer that got you exactly…nothing. I’d like to think those days are coming to an end. If I’m giving a lawyer an $8,000 retainer they are giving me an itemized bill and I’m going to want a partial refund unless they’re also bearing one of my children. 

Where were the Canadians this year? A lot of people noticed there was a paucity of Canucks this year. I’m not sure why but it was great to see the Canadians I did see! The show had a bit of an unusual vibe this year but maybe it’s just because for the first time in a million years, TECHSHOW is moving! For those of use how enjoy stable wifi (adequately protected with TunnelBear or Cloak2 of course,) this might bode well for the future. Getting out of the Faraday Hilton might mean you ban actually get a signal but who knows?

I shot a bunch of photos this year, some of which I shared on my Twitter feed (@psuba98) and more I will post when I get home! It was great to see Jack Newton, George Psiharis, and Josh Lenon from Clio, Andrew Arruda from Ross Intellignece, and Aron Solomon and Jason Moyse of Legal X (and more.) The Canadians were definitely out, just not in quantity this year. A shoutout to my Nova Scotia peeps Julia and Robin! You guys make me proud to be a Maritimer!

The information about the photos above in sequence…well the first one was obviously shot on the shores of the Sea of Tranquility and yes, the small boy in the photo is Armstrong! The second I shot with a Nikon 14-24 f2.8 and is the inside of the clock tower at Old City Hall in Toronto. Special thanks to Justice Wong for facilitating that trip! Shot at 1/100, ISO 100, f8 and set at 16mm. 


OK so nothing to do with TECHSHOW but another shot inside the tower and the stairs! That one same lens but handheld 1/15 second. 

The John Suh shot (of LegalZoom fame,) taken at ClioCloudCon in 2015, magic natural light f4.5 with my trusty Nikon 85 f2.8 at 1/125 and ISO 800. John is a gracious guy and has time for lots of questions from people interested in tech and entrepreneurship. He and Chas Rampenthal (General Counsel,) are great guys and they were part of a great keynote this year (and at Clio in 2015.)

Last shoutouts to Adriana Linares, Jason Marsh, Ivan Hemmans, Lincoln Mead, Adam Camras, Laurence Colletti and anyone else who has been one of my photographic victims!


Since I’m on a roll, my interpretation of “American Gothic”…peace out! If I get more energy after going through my Polaroids® I’ll add more photos (yes, I’m joking.)

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The Contractor #photos #portraits #photography

26 02 2017

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Occasionally I get time to do some studio work. This was done with two small studio flashes, 1/160th with my Nikkor 50f1.4 @ f16 and ISO 100 and the trusty D4. The flashes were about two stops offset, and I was shooting Elinchrom D-Lites. Mark was still covered in glue from working on some frames for fine art (one of this many talents,) and he is about to start producing handmade wooden furniture.

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That Time in Chicago #ABATECHSHOW #Streetphotography #politics #lust

25 02 2017

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Its a foggy day in Toronto and I’m working on a comparison of ethics resources in various State Bars in the USA. It made me think back to one of my previous trips to ABATechshow and one of my forays into Chicago street photography which I engage in occasionally when I manage to actually get outdoors (which if you’ve been to Techshow you know isn’t very often!) I came across this snap of Kira. She was making her way across the country with some friends in pursuit of…well I’m not exactly sure but it was partially the American Dream.

These kids were mostly care-free. Travelling with their dog, a few friends and very few belongings, they were hopping freight trains to crisscross the country in search of something, adventure, prosperity, maybe just existence and experience. They were chased, occasionally beaten, but they had a strong bond with each other that was palpable.

I think about how far removed they were removed from technology and wealth. They weren’t begging or soliciting handouts, they were just sitting on the sidewalk together waiting on some friends, experiencing an unfamiliar city from street level. This was 2010 in the USA and as you may recall there was a different government in place.

This shot was captured with my trusty Nikkor 85f1.8 cranking at 1/200th and f3.5 – there were a bunch of others in this series but I thought the tattoo was appropriate for the frenzy going on right now with our Southern neighbours. Their lust for security, prosperity, truth, and well, depending on which side of the fence you’re on…survival.

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Distillery Photos

22 01 2017

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It’s time for more nighttime photography. This shot was taken in the Distillery District in Toronto with ambient light (and there wasn’t much of that.) As always, the D4 was working hard. I was using the Nikkor 50/f1.4 AF-D cranked almost all the way open and it is a dream to shoot with. It isn’t the least bit finicky (a real photographic term,) like my 60mm Macro. That thing is as unforgiving as any lens I have ever used and by the time if focuses (in low light or low contrast,) your subject has moved along.

There are lots of things to shoot in the Distillery District (abandoned truck shots anyone?) but I like to snap people. The tourists, the hipsters (not that there’s anything wrong with them,) the wanderers and the vendors…never a lack of subjects. Also some cobblestones, signs, brick buildings, and lots of lights and windows. If you time it right you can even shoot someone else’s wedding party!

If you wander into the Distillery District in Toronto make sure you drop into The Ontario Spring Water Sake Company and take a tour. Also drop in and see Zumei at Boku sushi and sample their amazing menu!

More photos coming. I am back working on some portraits so stay tuned.

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Toronto Distillery Whisky

15 01 2017

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I got to have fun today. You could put everything I know about whisky (or any booze for that matter,) in a shot glass. I got to hang out with Jesse Razaqpur, one of the founders of Toronto Distillery Co. and did a little shooting. I also got to sample one of the 54 bottles of rare, 3 years in the making, Organic Canadian Whisky. From the label its a Straight, Unadulterated, Not-Compounded, All Organic whisky, 50% ABV, and aged in a charred hickory barrel hand-made in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

How did it taste? It was deep, smoky, complex, spicy, and it tasted and smelled like whisky. It made me think of smoking a cigar or eating chocolate and smoking a cigar. I wanted to sit on a deck near a lake and watch sailboats bobbing on the waves. I wanted to listen to the water rocking the floating dock…the gravel rolling on shore with each wave. . .in short, I wanted to drink a glass outdoors, maybe with a drop of water…ok two drops (I mentioned it’s 50% ABV.) It made me think of the woods, the summer, the heat and sounds of being all alone. I mentioned I know nothing about alcohol right? It was a bit reminiscent of some bourbons I’ve had and I would say its smoother than a lot of rye whisky I have had over the years.

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I guess the bottom line is this, if you want to try this whisky you have to grab it fast because I suspect in two weeks it will be gone forever, sadly, just like the award winning Distillery. Sounds like they are closing their doors for good on January 31st. It’s a long story related to doing battle with the government and the cost of doing business in Ontario so I guess they will transition back to their other love (the law,) and hopefully we will see some of this magic another time…at this point you can still but a few products including J. R.’s Dry Organic Gin which is also listed at some LCBO stores. Check online for this offering or go and see them at their store. Their hours, directions, etc. are HERE.

As always, thanks to Jesse Razaqpur and Charles Benoit for the hospitality!

More shots coming. . .

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