After spending so much time coding the new photo site, I finally deemed it “good enough,” and was ready to venture outside for a long walk around town. I’d suck in a little of that fresh Vancouver air and, if something struck my fancy, I might even take a photo or two. Normally, long walks are an essential part of my work day because, in my estimation, I solve about 90% of my most complicated problems while pounding pavement. It’s one of my many little idiosyncrasies that makes it essential that I work at home. Whenever I’m given a complex design task by an employer, the first thing I do is take off out the front door. Walking is how I accomplish my best design work. And there’s the rub — admittedly, it doesn’t reflect too well on me if, when presented with a big problem to solve, I’m seen immediately leaving the office for a couple of hours. Water cooler politics would, of course, dictate that I make a beeline for my desk and sit there shuffling papers with furrowed brow until the task is accomplished. But, for me, the desk is just about the last place where I’m going to be productive… at least when dealing with issues related to design or creativity.

So these last few weeks have been an anomaly because I actually have been stuck at my desk. It’s not that web design isn’t creative. It’s just that, for every 5 minutes I spend designing the site, I have to spend the next 3 days getting cozy with Google — researching all the code, tools, and techniques required to actually implement the thing. I design while walking. I solve problems while walking. But research requires being chained to my desk.

Choices MarketAfter three weeks of research, I was more than ready to walk. Last time I was out, I was kicking through a shin-deep sea of beautiful red maple leaves. Now I’m kicking through shin-deep snow. Funny how much can change in a few short weeks. Vancouver has recently seen about a foot-and-a-half of snow, and more is falling as I write this. The air is fresh and crisp. The dogs are happy. The trees are enrobed in a shroud of white where, just last month, they were warm in their brightly saturated red, orange, and yellow jackets.

When I captured the image at the top of this page, I was walking south across the Granville Street Bridge, nearly blinded by the bright winter sun, which hung low above the horizon. As I approached a park on the south shore of False Creek, the trees began to filter the harsh winter sun, making it look as if the snow itself was luminescent. In the distance was a couple walking a dog—muzzle burried in the snow. Regrettably, I needed a long lens, but had the 17-40 wide-angle mounted on my camera. The moment would pass if I switched lenses, so I took the shot with the 17-40; later cropping away at least three-fourths of the captured scene to get the composition I wanted. Those 21 megapixel images can really help save a shot like this.

The extra-blustery winter scene, shown above, was captured with my little Panasonic LX3 on my way to buy ice cream (I kid you not) at Choices Market on Christmas Eve.


The “his and hers” scooters, above, caught my eye because the snowmobile was invented in Canada. Of course, despite all appearances to the contrary, neither of these are representative examples.

The snowlady, below, fascinated me not just because she was so well realized, but because she’s so indicative of the city in which I live. She’s standing in a downtown public park. I walked by her in the morning then, again, in the afternoon — yet no one had stolen her purse, her earrings, her beads, her fur color — nothing!



©2008 grEGORy simpson

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