The Contractor #photos #portraits #photography

26 02 2017


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.



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

25 02 2017


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.


That time in Toronto #photos #derail 

20 02 2017

I was looking through some photos today and this one was full of memories and meaning. It was taken in the Bay Shore area of Saint John, New Brunswick. My Dad used to catch trains out of there all his life, some to McAdam, some down the shore line, and some all the way to Montreal via Brownsville, Maine. 

It was a foggy late afternoon, not unusual for a summer’s day in the coastal Maritimes. Trains were the lifeblood of that port city at one point but eventually they became less necessary as trucking took over. 

I can remember going down to Bay Shore to see my first caboose, otherwise known as a van by the conductors. I saw my first canned water, (water was notoriously undrinkable,) and I remember going there to swim when I was a kid, and one time around 1970 the whole family went down to Bay Shore to see the HMCS Bonaventure one more time before it sailed off to Taiwan to be torched apart for scrap. 

This photo is patience. This photo is solitude. This photo is a sense of impending doom as you rattle along the rails, too fast, on a predetermined route of destiny. 


Footsteps in the snow #politics #security #borders

12 02 2017

It’s the dead of winter 2017. I have to say I’m still wrestling with whether I will cross into the USA during the next four years. 

I’m not the most political person but I look at everything happening to the South and I wonder what happened to the Americans. They talk a great game about freedom of speech and the right to bear arms but I’ll take our protections anytime over theirs. We have tonnes of guns. It’s fairly easy to get rifle or shotgun in Canada but there is a rigorous background check and a mandatory safety course. It’s more rigorous if you want a handgun but not impossible. There are more courses, more background checks, and you don’t get to carry it around with you…but neither does anyone else. Governments shade the truth…so far the new Trump government has shredded the truth. What hope for a peaceful future?

Now Canada contemplates Bill C-23. The Preclearance Act 2016 will give powers to US border agents to search Canadians on Canadian soil. We have people fleeing into Manitoba to get out of “TrumpAmerika.” Some think it’s not a big deal, a matter of convenience for preclearance and speedy travel. I’m concerned when a Canadian border person doesn’t search me or my personal devices and a US authority wants to search me. 

I’m not sure what’s next. I don’t know who will upset the thin-skinned one. Will he yank off some world leaders arm with his crazy handshake? Will he use a nuclear option? Will there be any reason to visit our neighbours? We have food. We have oil. We could close our borders too. We don’t need to take American wood, electricity, chicken, beef, nor anything else really. Heck, we even have our own lobster. 

Stay tuned…I may get more annoyed. 


#ABATechshow Survival Guide 2017

29 01 2017

OK, here is my attempt at shedding some light on ABA Techshow for this year. I did a similar rundown in 2015 but I thought I would update as best I can with a few personal photos this time around for my own amusement. I’m not sure I’m going this year but a few people found this useful last time I sent out one of these so here goes:

First, you can skip this entire post and just read the ABAs official First Time Experience Guide. You should also read Victor Li’s article about this year’s even HERE.

Planning on Chicago for the first time? Do some research before you go so you don’t arrive home after the conference and find out you missed something like the Art Institute of Chicago.


It is just down the street from the Hilton and you have to plan a little time there to see paintings you have only seen in books. They currently have a Japanese photography exhibit (and other amazing things too!)

Second, you must get out of the hotel!


Stop and say hi to Rufus. He has been there for years and knows what you need before you need it. Ask him for a local tip, where to grab a late night meal, where to see the hidden sights, or what’s currently a hot location in Chicago. Be nice, and tip well.

Don’t be shy. You came to ABATECHSHOW to learn sometime, or possibly just to get your state required learning for the year, either way, live a little. You should/must talk to people you don’t know. Chat up people on the elevators, at lunch, before sessions start and after sessions are finished. If you go to ABATECHSHOW and leave without meeting new people you have lost out on some of your investment and some great opportunities! I can’t state this enough. This is your opportunity to chat with the luminaries of the legal profession. Want to speak to Kevin O’Keefe from Lexblog for some personal tips? He’s probably there. Maybe you want a tip on podcasting from this guy:


OK, so he doesn’t always look like that but Adam Camras, the CEO of Legal Talk Network is a speaker and no doubt they will be cranking out high quality podcasts from the exhibitor’s floor during the conference and asking questions that weren’t asked of speakers when they were part of a panel.

Social Media – If you don’t know what social media is, well, that’s OK too, but a lot of info is zooming around during the conference on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Periscope too. Periscope is doing some cool things in 360 right now. I’m interested to see if there is anything in “surround” at Techshow this year. Find out what a hashtag is (this # is a hashtag,) and follow what people are saying about techshow and where the parties/gatherings are right now (in plain language, get a Twitter account and follow the #ABATECHSHOW feed.) Last time around I was tagging people during sessions they were speaking at and watching them look at their Apple watches and then reply (I”m looking at you Adriana!


Speaking of Adriana Linares, find her. There’s no prize or anything (at least not that I know of,) but she will be everywhere and is this year’s Chair. If there is something going on at Techshow, she will know about it. She will know where the hot spots are for going out, where the new restaurants are, which sessions are “must attend” and she can tell you if you’re missing anything! If you find Adriana you have found the conference grail.

Vendors – Wander around the vendor floor/area more than once. Sure some of them will want your soul (or at least your business card so they pester you into the afterlife). . .but you can see lots of cool things and some of them might be right for your office, (or you will find out which ones you want to avoid in the future.) The other thing is you can’t necessarily figure out what the product is from the banners or signage as you walk past a booth so talk to someone, make eye contact and find out what it is they do! Some of the vendors give away great gifts in a draw which takes place at the end of the show. . .you can’t win it if you’re not in it (as they say.) Want to know the differences between Clio, Rocket Matter, MyCase and Firm Manager? Well this is your chance to find out! Talk to all of them, get a demo, find out about the nitty gritty costs and have them explain the Terms of Usage agreements. Ask them if they will modify them. Ask them where their cloud servers are located. Ask them what the heck the cloud is!?


Ever wonder how Clio gets such great employees? (Full disclosure: I am friends with Rian (L) and Jack (R) and first met them just before attending techshow for the first time. They go with my next tip:

The Canadians – Find us. . .we are friendly, we know a bit about tech, and most of us will give you the shirts off our back. If we don’t know how to get someplace we will probably stay with you until you complete your journey. We will talk your ear off. We know a lot about beer (some of us,) and there is a special contingent who know a lot about scotch and sometimes arrange a scotch tasting at a nearby purveyor of spirits…seek them out if you’re interested. We are usually ridiculously polite (annoyingly so for some people.) Some of the Canadians (not me) are ABATECHSHOW insiders and know everything. Find a Canadian and hold tight…possibly more important this year than other years if any of us make it across the border.

Taste of Techshow I have been to one of these and I would recommend going at least once. It’s hard to pick one ahead of time so I would say forget about who the hosts are and decide which restaurant you want to go to and sign up. You pay for these ones yourself so watch your budget, oh, and you’re away from home so live a little. I have added the link for the 2016 Taste but stay tuned and you will eventually see some online signon I think.


Music – Its Chicago, go find some live music on one of the nights. . .seriously, just do it. The above snap is Shawn Lacy from Nashville. If you get a chance to see him, see him! Bub City is part of the Lettuce Entertain You group and have a series of restaurants all over the country and lots of variety in Chicago. If you don’t want to venture too far, the Hilton is next door to Buddy Guy’s Legends and there is always something going on there!

Food – I’m not going to give any real tips here except to say if you sit in your room and eat room service alone you might as well have stayed home. Tag along with some of the people you just met and go someplace fun and eat something you might not have a chance to eat again. OK, I will make a few suggestions even though I said I wouldn’t. . .eat one of the “Chicago hot dogs” just for the fun of it. They put fluorescent green relish and sport peppers on it. . .its strange…but just go with it. Find a deli and have some brisket or smoked meat or pastrami or even a place that brews their own root beer. There are places. . .use the Google! If you want to know what is supposedly hot right now in Chicago, check here

THERE’S A LAKE. . .its big…walk down to the lake…take a long walk…you will feel better…dress warmly. It is a six minute walk (East I think) to the Lakefront Trail and Lake Michigan. . .take a camera.

Alcohol – OK so be responsible but there is a lot of alcohol in Chicago…something about the post-Prohibition recovery!? Check out the nice guys at Warehouse Liquors about a block from the Hilton. These guys really know their booze and are patient if you have a lot of questions. It’s also next door to a chicken place but as I recall, when I asked, they said they eat someplace else…just sayin’.


The conference concierge desk/genius bar-like oblong shaped holding pen of speakers – This is a resource that is hidden in the open. You might stop just to ask the person behind the counter how to get to a particular conference room and then move on. . .that would be a mistake! Engage the people behind the counter, they are the synapses firing behind the scenes that really make techshow do it’s thing. Talk to Lincoln Mead, or Ben Schorr or Adriana Linares and find out something about the conference that you would never discover otherwise. They can tell you where the best Wifi spot is in the hotel. They can fix your wifi if you can’t connect in the hotel. They can tell you where to eat. Want to know what’s going on with the Cubs, ask them (OK, so really just ask Lincoln! Want to know where someone bought a cool bit of tech, ask them. Curious about Ben’s last triathalon, ask him. They can tell you which vendors have the best swag. Its like having access to a supercomputer.

Pick the sessions you want to go to in advance, and then pick an alternate session at the same time. I have been to a few sessions that looked great on paper and then the presenter just didn’t “bring it.” It could be they didn’t have enough coffee, or had too much coffee, or they didn’t prepare, or they over prepared, or there is some technical glitch. . .but just in case have another choice up your sleeve and be prepared to get to another session if your first choice is a dud.

Don’t be afraid to have a “spare.” In other words, you don’t have to go to every session. Take some time to absorb some of what’s going on, maybe sit down and chat with someone and do a little quiet networking. It’s also a slower time (during sessions) for vendors and now you can get close to the vendor you wanted to corner.

Usually there is a “Beer for Bloggers” session in the hotel with Kevin O’Keefe and it’s worth checking out if you blog, vlog, send out a newsletter, or can spell Tweet. Also a great place to meet other drinkers….oops, I mean bloggers. Seriously though, you can usually spot Bob Ambrogi, Ernie the Attorney, Sam Glover and Molly McDonough there.

Talk to the ABATECHSHOW Planning Board members. Tell them what you like, don’t like, or give them some ideas for the next year. Engage people, don’t just be a bystander.

There are lots and lots of parties going on in the background – find one. . .ask someone what’s going on and you can be one of the cool kids (I have never attained that status but I think it’s possible for others.)

Plan ahead. This is a show packed with vendor/exhibitors. Is there some service you always wondered about? Have a look at past exhibitors and find the one you want to know more about.

Last words, bring something warm to wear. . .you will need it on at least one of the days or nights. . .microfleece is light and will keep you warm – ask someone from Minnesota (maybe even this guy) or anyone from Canada.

Go have fun, meet new people, say hi if you run into me. . .I’m easily recognized from my bewildered look. Look for a gaggle of Canadians and I am probably there. At a minimum you will recognize me by the chunk of camera around my neck (look for the D4.)

Oh wait, last word – if you haven’t been to Canada, it is a very quick hop from Chicago. You can fly out of Midway and be in downtown Toronto (4th biggest City in North America,) via Porter Air in less than 2 hours!

Very last word: I don’t think I said anything bad about the ABA app. I don’t know if there is one for this year (it’s not there to download yet,) but it has improved over the years. Biggest tip I can give is reach out and meet new people. I can’t say it enough. One year I met a guy from Canada who won two of these crazy races! You can’t judge an ebook by its ummm…never mind!

These are my own opinions. not the opinions of anyone affiliated with ABATECHSHOW nor are they the opinions of my employer.


Landscapes in the wild

28 01 2017


This is a snap from a trip to Awenda Provincial Park in Ontario. It was just before sunset on a windy late summer evening and I was trying to capture the mood as the winds swept sands across the beach.

The D4 was cranking along with the Nikkor 50 f1.4 at f16 with an ISO 100. The shutter was a full one second, hand-held and I guess I’m a little steadier than I thought I was given the winds.


Distillery Photos

22 01 2017


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.