#whisky #weekends A sip in time

11 11 2017

It’s another weekend and the news is always bleak from the South. The USA seems to struggle with its former greatness. Once mighty and a world power never questioned is mostly a daily news item of scandals and conspiracy, a political grasp so tenuous its as gossamer thin as a reality show’s plot line. I digress.

It’s cold here, though Fall officially I will declare Winter is at the door and it’s open mor than a crack. It’s Remembrance Day. A day we pause to recognize and give thanks for our freedoms, our laws, our governments or at least the right to our democratic process.

Another week gone by and pictures were taken, hands were shaken, coffees were drunk and bonds were forged. Some relationships in place out of necessity while others made stronger just by mere acknowledgements. I spoke, some listened but preparation it’s own reward. Routines maintained and broken but the five days of the modern work week far behind in the rear view mirror and many more on the roads ahead.

Whisky. A complexity whether cask strength or not, bourbon or rye, aged or barely kissed by the oak. These bottles freshly filled with an elixir of warmth. Their beauty in the eye of a beholder, their value set by markets but priceless in the right hands. It thrives locally and beyond nations borders, served in crystal cut glass and paper cups or straight from the bottles depths.

Enjoy the weekend, and raise a glass to those lost, those who are lost, and the hope of the newly found.

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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 Winds Of March #winter #snow #abatechshow 

13 03 2017


There’s a storm coming. Not many snows this year at all and one big one scheduled a day before I take wing to the USA. 

I just read something that suggested there have been more electronic device searches at the border in February than all of 2015. That’s an interesting statement. I suppose it makes sense if you can get away with it but the USA prides itself on their constitutional rights and we pride ourselves on our Charter rights so a search of a personal device seems more intrusive than looking through someone’s underwear on a return from a vacation. (Not a job I’d want either way.) I’ll make more comments I suppose when I return from my trip to ABA TECHSHOW. 

This snap outside the workplace on University Avenue was from an earlier storm. This one was taken on the fly with my trusty iPhone 6, an unusual feat given its propensity to die at the first sign of cold. 

If you get a chance stop in and learn about the iron fence, see the Great Library or even stop in at the Court of Appeal and watch appeal lawyers in action. There’s also a pretty good restaurant with a committed check (Adam Foley) who does his best to offer quality local fare served with an old world panache. Some have compared the dining experience with eating at Hogwarts. 

Watch this space for dispatches from TECHSHOW. I’ll do my best to pepper Twitter with on the spot observations but maybe wrap up the day here. The fun should start here on Wednesday. 

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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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A Little Bit of Whisky #photos #whisky

7 04 2015

  So this is real whisky. It’s distilled in Toronto, Ontario. It is small batch and it is organic and made from local grains with a visible mash bill (it’s there on the label). It’s not technically Canadian whisky according to the Regulations that accompany the Food and Drug Act:

B.02.020. [S]. Canadian Whisky, Canadian Rye Whisky, or Rye Whisky

(a) shall

    (ii) be aged in small wood for not less than three years…

There is some other stuff in that regulation about potable alcohol distillates, grains being saccharified by the diastase of malt, and strangely how it has to “possess the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky”…but I digress. Is it any wonder the Toronto Distillery was started by two lawyers?

Note: this whisky doesn’t contain caramel nor flavouring (both allowed in Canada)…it is a clear organic spirit…

Try it…might be worth the trip. 

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Backyard shots

5 04 2015
This is the only splash of colour in the backyard so far

This is the only splash of colour in the backyard so far. It has been a long Winter and there haven’t been a lot of occasions to step out and shoot.

I was out a few weeks ago and there was nothing but shades of brown as far as the eye could see. This was shot with one of my most finicky lenses, the 60f2.8 macro shot at f3.2 and 1/3200 at a nominal ISO 400. I washed it through Photoshop and added a quick tilt-shift. There’s smidge of boosting to the vibrance and saturation but hey, did I mention I was missing colour?

Looking for more opportunities to shoot non-commercial in the next few weeks although I have some tight deadlines on that stuff.

The birdhouse painted by my 8 year old astronaut. . .she was worried birds might not spot her house from the flyover 😉

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