A Photo a Day During the Month of May

There has been so many technological advances over the few decades that has impacted the vast majority of humanity on our planet. I come from the “black and white generation”, referring to the black and white television people of my generation watched together as a family. We lived in the country, and we used what was commonly known as “rabbit ears” to improve reception. They were not actually ears from rabbits, but it was a plastic ball with 2 metal telescopic antenna rods “ears” sticking out. Normally we could receive one channel, but with the rabbit ears we could get three channels (though one was quite snowy). It was like a miracle. Outdoor antennas with the tower and electric rotor did become available in the late 1960’s. With those, people could get 9 or 10 channels. But money was tight, we didn’t watch a lot of TV on the farm, and my dad could never justify the expense.

Remembering that car in the driveway we used to own as a family, I am guessing this photo was taken in the late 1960’s. Also around when we got a coloured camera. Precious memories! ๐Ÿ™‚

Another way I could be referred to as the black and white generation was photography. Though this was in use well over a half a century before I was born. Tucked in the cabinet section of my mom’s buffet cabinet was a black and white camera that got very sporadic use. Cameras back then you had to buy film. And on top of that you had to pay to have the film developed. The expense of pictures was never justified, so I have very few childhood photos of myself. Plus also being the youngest child. I believe there are three photos of me by the time I turned six, and another three by my thirteenth birthday. None are by myself.ย  Though I do appear in those yearly class photos, which is awesome.

One of the 3 photos of myself before I was six. I am the baby!

Unfortunately I inherited that photo expense mindset into my young adulthood. In my twenties I travelled and backpacked through some absolutely spectacular places on our planet. And spent thousands of dollars (back in 1984) on a three month mountain climbing/leadership training program. Some of the most incredible experiences of my lifetime, and I have so little photo documentation from my Kodak 110 Instamatic.

Mountaineering training back in 1984. ๐Ÿ™‚

That changed once I met my wife. Lynne grew up as a missionary kid in India. There was very little money to spare in that family. But spending a little bit on family photos was justified. The photo memories from her childhood days in India are priceless.

Picture of my wife when she turned two during her years growing up in south India.

During our honeymoon we took a lot of photos. And of course with each of our children there are loads of photos. There is a big fat photo album for each of our children. It wasn’t until our youngest child was six that we got a digital camera. Photography like I had known would never be the same. No more film. No more film developing. I bought our first digital camera when Lynne was about to take our children for a visit to New Zealand to visit her mom and dad. Digital cameras were still fairly new. They started off with two megapixel, and then four megapixel. And I just learned then that Sony had just put on the market an unheard of six megapixel camera. It was expensive, but I figured the extra expense was justified. Hundreds of photos were taken “down under”.

Amazing memories for my wife and children, when they took a trip to New Zealand to visit Nanna and Poppa in 2005.

I often have a camera with me when I am running or hiking. Even during actual races, I am often stopping to take photos. This year with the pandemic, and with races still being cancelled into the summer, I’ve been doing a few virtual races. The cool thing with virtual races, there is no cut off times. So I take my merry time taking up to 30 photos during one outing.

The beautiful Hemlock Varnish Fungi. Dead and dying hemlocks are the only tree this grows off of. I was on my knees to get the angle of this picture during my 56k 2018 Limberlost Challenge. Several runners went by me while I took this photo.

One of the virtual races I have been involved with was the Great Virtual Run Across Tennessee. It is 1021.68 kilometers. Every day I have been out I post a sampling of my photos, plus a screenshot of my distance for transparency and accountability. Daily posts have been found on my Facebook Running Page and on my Twitter feed. My camera is nothing fancy. It is a twelve year old, ten megapixel Fuji Finepix S2000. I would love enough zoom to take better closeup of animals. Please let me know what camera you use, and your thoughts on it. Asking for a photographer wannabee.

My camera was on full zoom with these six turkey vultures. Usually hit and miss whether they are blurry or not. So excited this turned out okay,ย  but would love a camera that would draw the image closer.

For the rest of the post, I would like to share one photo a day during the month of May during my virtual run across Tennessee. The virtual race started May 1st, but I didn’t register until May 6th. On May 9th the Virtual Smiles for Amanda began. Only since then then I actually began saving photos. So there will be some missing days during the 1st eight days. You will notice the extremes of the changes of weather and vegetation during the month of May. Sometimes the photo might not be the best photo that day (as far as photos go). But they usually have a story behind the photo I am using.

May 3rd. This was actually a 50k run as a virtual for Pick Your Poison. If I had of been smart I would have planned it better. I did not register for the #GVRAT1000k until May 6th, so I was not able to use that distance. Ran several loops of my course, which included climbing over this fallen tree several times.


May 9th. A half marathon distance on day of one of my Smiles for Amanda Virtual. Such a late spring snowfall. Photo taken by my wife off her phone. I also used this run for the half marathon distance in the East Coast/West Coast Challenge organized by Candice Burt of Destination Trail and Jason Green of Yeti Runners.


May 10th. An “old school” selfie. Photo taken using my 12 year old Fuji Finepix S2000 camera. Hold out my arm with the camera turned around facing me. Guess and shoot the picture. Sometimes I will try 5 or 6 times. And there are times when I’m not happy with any of them.ย  This was my 1st attempt that day.


May 11th. Lots of logging going on in my area over the past few years. Some forests, the timber companies do a fairly good job of leaving different aged species of trees. It is a properly managed forest. This forest (I used to call “My Secret Valley“) was one of the most spectacular forests around. I was devastated when I saw how it was so aggressively harvested five years ago.


May 12th. One of my last trips in to this swamp north of Cassel Drive before the mosquitos get too thick. I have seen bear footprints in the area often before. But nothing this big. My glove is an extra large by the way for comparison.


May 13th. This is where a camera with a better zoom lens would come in handy. I saw in the distance the little pond with the geese on it from the country sideroad I was running. Hiked in on someone’s property posted with No Trespassing signs to get the photo. Boy, was I nervous.


May 14th. A socially distanced walk with a friend along Barrie’s waterfront. Normally this marina would be right full of boats in the middle of May. Stage one reopening would come a week later.


May 15th. Quite an interesting day about a dog name Sam that doesn’t want to go home, and a dirt bike rider named Mike. I ended up writing about it in a blogpost.


May 16th. A day I took a lot of photos, because it was such a beautiful trail. Sadly there was also a lot of illegal dumping found in several places. This one dumping spot really jumped out at me because it included hundreds of family photos. All those memories just trashed. Had me asking “why”.


May 17th. Loved seeing so much the short lived Trout Lily. Flowering before the tree leaves are bursting out of their buds, and even a few days before the beautiful trilliums, their new life gives me such joy.


May 18th. I always wondered if I could get through what is known as a very wet two kilometer section road allowance off the Blueberry Marsh Road. That day was my attempt. Picking my way through the “drier” pieces, and leaping over the bits of water as hard as my 61 year old body could take me, I made it through. Yes the feet did get damp, but they weren’t soakers.


May 19th. Copeland Forest is extremely special to me. Every time I’m in there I’m taking tons of photos of the flora and fauna. What made this early settler foundation unique is that I have walked or run right past this dozens of times over the past 40 years. It is quite concealed, and a bit back from the trail. With very little ground vegetation this time of year, I just happened to notice it this time. I always imagine the people living there. Who were they? And what challenges were they facing?


May 20th. I don’t own any pets, but find trees very calming. They reduce stress in me, boost serotonin and eat away excess cortisol. When all alone, I hug them very tightly. Very tough to come across a tree like this one where you know you have hugged often in the past. And see a stump. It may sound strange, but having lost pets as a kid, coming across a stump of a much beloved tree is the same feeling as losing a special dog or cat to someone else. Something I don’t talk about, because I’m not sure how people would react.


May 21st. The white trilliums were in their full glory. They always bloom just as the trees are first beginning to bud. If it is a later spring, and the trees are a bit later, the trilliums are always on the same timetable as the trees. These trilliums are in a very special protected forest called Elliot Woods.


May 22nd. I can never get enough of Copeland Forests. It has wetlands, hardwood forests, leg burning hills. And so many little details in nature. Such beautiful lighting filtering through that took by breath away here.


May 23rd. Very excited to see my 1st beetle of the year. This is a blister beetle. You don’t want to pick these beetles up, as they will release as a defense mechanism a toxic chemical that can cause blisters when they are stressed. These beetles have a fascinating life cycle. The youngest larval stage forms a clump and gives off pheromones that attract solitary male ground bees. When a bee tries to mate with the clump, the tiny larvae grab on to the bee. If they (and the bee) get lucky, they then transfer to a female bee. When she lays her eggs, they slip into their burrow where viola…it gorges on all the honey it wants. They emerge as adults like you see in my picture.


May 24th. Burdocks have such a fascinating way to disperse it’s seeds. Did you know the inspiration for Velcro came from burdocks?


May 25th. Something I have never witnessed in my life. Two snapping turtles were fighting tooth and nail at Tiny Marsh. This continued for 20 minutes until they were both exhausted.


May 26th. About three kilometers west of Hillsdale there is a gravel country road with a half a dozen old, mature maple trees with deep canopies along a hay field. Every year a colony of red wing black birds return to this very spot.ย  One male will have up to five females in a colony, although this article mentions they have had up to fifteen females in a colony.ย  I always look forward to seeing them each year.


May 27rh. I love toads, and the role they play in nature. I arrived at Copeland Forest just after a rain that morning. There were so many toads out that day. Toads are such a welcome animal to have in the garden as they keep insect pests down naturally. A single toad can eat 10,000 insects in a single summer.


May 28th. This picture shows only about a third of how many ants there was. This was right in Hillsdale on the edge of the sidewalk while I was walking up to the highway to change the sign. We had a decent rain a couple of hours later and when I went back after the rain to check on them, there was not one ant around. They all retreated underground.


May 29th. Unbelievable how fast this storm moved in. One moment it was hot and sunny. Then the wind picked up substantially, and all of a sudden the clouds were there. The speed those clouds were moving, I knew there was not a chance I would outrun it. The torrential rain was coming down so hard, there was even three vehicles that stopped asking if I wanted a lift. Even though I was drenching wet during a pandemic. I was so tempted to accept, as I was feeling extremely vulnerable in those moments against the elements.


May 30th. This was the final day for the Virtual Smiles for Amanda Charity Run. In honour of Dr. Amanda Kelsall who lost her life just shy of her 23rd birthday. Amanda had such a legacy and had such a positive influence on others, the University of Ottawa presented Amanda’s parents her doctorate posthumously. Life is so precious. Live each day to the fullest. We never know what is around the corner.


May 31st. I find so much peace and solace in the hardwood forests. There is so much chaos in our world, but the seasonal rhythms of nature continue. Just as they have always done.

We are well into June, and I have just finished chipping away at my one remaining virtual, the 1021.68k Great Virtual Run Across Tennessee. Again took lots of pictures and made daily update posts on my Twitter and Facebook. Please let me know if you’d be interested in a similiar blog post for the month of June. ๐Ÿ˜€๐ŸŒณ


Categories: PhotographyTags: , , , , , ,


  1. Great photos, Carl! There is so much to see during a run!
    Those snapping turtles are amazing, I have never seen that either. It’s nice that there are still areas where nature is undisturbed by humans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Catrina. You are very kind. The snapping turtles were in conservation area a little bit off the beaten track on a gravel road. The battle was literally just 15 feet in front of me. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved these photos, especially the nostalgic ones. We had those red winged blackbirds in Virginia. You know I photograph everything, way more pictures than necessary, probably, but I love photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read April. And for your kind words. I am coming to believe myself to take way more photos than necessary. Always keeping an eye out if this or that would make a great photo. Sincerely hope you are well these days! ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Oh, how lovely post. We love to watch our old photos. They are B&W, but it doesnโ€™t matter. Memories wake up when looking at them and the inside feeling is great. Thank you for this post Carl.

    Have a good day!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the nostalgia, Carl. We had an antenna with a rotor but we still only got 3 channels when I was a kid! ๐Ÿ™‚ I was never a good picture taker for the reasons you describe here – you had to buy film and get it developed, never knowing whether the pictures turned out or not. Mine usually did not! Loved these photos and the writing that went with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to read Laurie. And thank you for your kind comment. When my wife and I were on our honeymoon we shot a whole roll of film only to realize the film did not advance. Not one photo turned out!


  5. Memories beautifully carved into pictures โœจโœจ

    Liked by 1 person

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