My good friend, Dan Timis, passed away yesterday. I was fortunate enough to have worked with Dan on two separate occasions over the last twenty years — at both Opcode Systems and at Muse Research. Dan was a brilliant digital audio programmer and a very clever fellow. He could see a solution to a problem before many of us even knew that a problem existed. He always had an interesting idea; another angle; or a unique take on a design.

But as much as I valued Dan as a coworker — and he was the best — I valued him far more as a friend. I’ve never met anyone with a greater enthusiasm for life. His zeal was infectious, and his hunger for knowledge was ravenous. Yet he possessed the endearing qualities of innocence, wonderment and purity that are more commonly associated with a child. Because Dan’s musical tastes were as broad and eclectic as mine, we would discuss subjects like opera and Romanian folk music the way most guys chat about football. Dan was a film and television nut so, when I moved to Canada, he immediately drafted me as a human TiVo — supplying him with a slew of Canadian television comedies he’d been wanting to see. But the thing Dan and I shared the most over the last few years was a love of photography. In fact, the week before his heart attack, I told him I was considering going back to film for street photography. Dan thought I might be losing my sanity, so it was for him that I started writing the Like a Leica series of articles for this blog.

Dan was the quintessential ‘backyard’ photographer — literally. By that, I mean his favorite subjects were whatever critter happened to wander into his or a friend’s backyard. These photos always had a certain quirky charm that made me smile. With Dan’s passing, I wanted to take my own backyard photo for him. But, since I live in a high rise, I don’t have a backyard. In fact, I don’t have a yard at all. As I looked out my condo window to contemplate how I could possibly take a ‘backyard’ photo for Dan, I saw the sky change in an instant. It burned a dark and vibrant orange for a period just long enough for me to photograph it. I’m not much for romantic notions, but I like to think that Dan was responsible for this fleeting but intense show in my Vancouver yard. So this photo’s for you Dan. The world needs more of what you offered it.

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©2009 grEGORy simpson
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