Saturday, March 31, 2012

Love Doves
A pair of mourning doves have taken up residence in our backyard this spring. Last night they perched on a branch outside the dining room window and seemed to go through a courtship ritual that ended in a pretty intense round of 'kissing'. I recorded a video of it and edited it down to one minute. Click on the YouTube link and have a look.

Friday, March 23, 2012

8-80 Cities

Gil Penalosa with FON volunteer Bob Fanning
I had the good fortune to spend the day yesterday - well part of the day - with Gil Penalosa, executive director of 8-80 Cities, an NGO that promotes "parks, streets and public places for all" - in other words more livable cities.

The idea behind the name is that if a public space is inviting to an eight-year-old and an eighty-year-old, then it will be inviting to people of every age group. Gil is a passionate speaker and travels the world to promote his ideas about humanizing cityscapes. You can read Gil's bio here.

In the morning Gil attended our Focus On Nature workshop with students from John McCrae Public School in Guelph. The students were asked to let their photography in a local park express what they liked and didn't like about the park, and thereby help to improve the eventual re-design of the park.

Gil was so impressed by the results that he used some of the photos in his talk at City Hall that evening, and suggested that every city planner should take a Focus On Nature workshop! We'll be doing another workshop with 8-80 Cities in Toronto in May. Gil even wondered how we might facilitate similar workshops in other cities around the world!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I spent the day today at a TED conference in Kitchener-Waterloo. If you never heard of TED, check out their homepage with links to fascinating short talks on an amazing array of subjects.

Karen Morris (centre) with Lawrence & Jessica
There were some excellent speakers here in Waterloo: Izzeldin Abuelaish, a doctor from Gaza who spoke of forgiveness after losing his daughters to an Israeli bomb; Karen Morris, an innovation specialist and lawyer who spoke about Love; and Taylor Jones, who started a website called "Dear Photograph", one of the top-rated sites on the web, almost by accident. Good talks and good food with good friends: all in all a great day!
Yours truly with event co-ordinator Kevin Thomason, Lawrence McNaught and Jessica Rodela

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Life in 3-D

Yesterday was "3-D with Simon Bell Day" at the Guelph Civic Museum, as part of their activities for March Break. The museum is newly located in the former Loretto Convent, in front of Church of Our Lady, Guelph's original Catholic church.

I gave two talks called Life (history, adventure, animals and outer space) in 3-D, to about 150 people. I used my 3D TV and some of my favourite stereo photos to illustrate my talk.

After my presentation, there was a craft table to make your own 3-D glasses and lots more 3-D photos to look at, including my wildflower photos on the walls around the room.

3-D cross-view of a part of my audience. They loved seeing themselves on the TV in 3-D!
Previously, I'd always illustrated my talks with traditional slides and slide projectors. This was my first talk to go 'all digital'. It took many hours of preparation to put the show together but it was worth it. Judging by the audience response, it was very well received. And I now have a good selection of stereo images to display on my 3-D TV!