Archive for the ‘Not Square and Not Panoramic’ Category


Monday, March 1st, 2010

I went on a beautiful little ski trip with Jen and Nan this past weekend. It was our first time going to Québec together, and we drove to the Réserve faunique de Papineau-Labelle, about 2 hours drive north-east of Ottawa.

Natalie Maxson and Jen Preston climb a hill on skis.
Jen rests partway up while Nan approaches the crest of a hill on trail La Ouest en route to the réfuge Ernest.

Leaving Toronto on Thursday night we many snowy kilometres driving slowly to beautiful Brockville in the “World Famous Thousand Islands.”

Jen Preston, Best Western White House Brockville, Room 108
Jen catches a few more minutes of sleep in the motel room on Friday morning while Nan showers.

After a full day of logistics on Friday we skied away from the Accueil Gagnon in the park on Friday afternoon. We were happy to have a nearly full moon on Friday night as we skied the last hour by the light of our headlamps and the moon.

Natalie Maxson in Réfuge Ernest.
Nan washes pots in the hut.

We enjoyed a good dinner (basmati rice, eggplant and zucchini stir fry, asiago cheese), some nice wine (cabernet sauvignon), a warm hut (with roaring woodstove) and we slept in Saturday morning. Highlights from Saturday include: Pancakes with maple syrup, reading by a roaring woodstove, snowshoeing on the lake, trying to link a few telemark turns in wet, heavy snow.

The three of us take a break on our Saturday afternoon snowshoe.

David Parsons, Jen Preston and Natalie Maxson on snowshoes at Lac Ernest, Québec.
Le gang.

We left by a different route, and both Jen and Nan were feeling more confident on their skis as we cruised back to the Accueil and the rental car.

Papineau-Labelle Ski Route
Our ski route in (pink highlighter) and out (yellow highlighter).

Getting changed and packing up, it was back to Ottawa for an expensive and generally lackluster dinner (my fault) at a restaurant that I only barely managed to track down after several wrong-exit misadventures on the 417 .

Nan Maxson and David Parsons with sparklers.
Nan and David celebrate with sparklers.

It was a perfect way to celebrate my birthday, and I was lucky to share it with these kids. Jen made me birthday brownies, they sang me the birthday song, and they even brought sparklers.

Jen Preston sparkler art.
Jen hearts davie.

Nikonos II

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

A new camera has entered my photo-scene, and I am diving right in.

Nikonos II Underwater

The underwater results (at Harbourfront in Lake Ontario) have been… interesting.

Nikonos II Underwater

Technically, one might argue that the photos are entirely incomprehensible, but I would point out that technically the exposure has been quite exemplary.

Nikonos II Underwater

My Nikonos doesn’t have an internal light meter, and in lieu of the waterproof external light meter I don’t have, I’ve been using my own personal, built-in, waterproof, eyeballs (in conjunction with some educated guesswork). Granted: I was using chromogenic black and white neg film, and my latitude was huge, but I think my choices of exposure have, in fact, been rather decent.

My next plan is colour slide film.

Let’s see what colour the lake is under there, and let’s see what kind of precise intuition all that photo school has instilled in me where light metering is concerned.

(Please excuse all the dust on these contact scans.)

Annum Novus. (ew-Nay ear-Yay.)

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Telegraph Pole from train window, Dec 26 2007
Telegraph Pole from train window, Dec 26 2007

My Latin is a bit rusty, but my Pig Latin is a little more honed.

It’s a new year, and I’ve spent the past month visiting friends family and other folks across the western-more part of Southern Canada.

  • Thunder Bay, ON
  • Winnipeg, MB
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Chilliwack, BC
  • Victoria, BC
  • Toronto, ON (East End)
  • Stratford, ON
  • Parry Sound, ON
  • Toronto, ON

There has been much train travel. (Rest assured that I continued the tradition of photographing myself in bathroom mirrors both on- and off-train.) There has been snowshoeing, skiing, skating, saunaing, cycling, swimming, and sandwiches. There has been visiting with family. There has been visiting with friends. There has been breaking-a-hole-in-the-ice-on-Georgian-Bay and jumping into the lake.

Throughout it all, there have been pictures; rail-borne and snowshoe-shod, Manitoban and British Columbian, of prairie and of Cambrian Shield. Please find in the three previous posts a brief collection thereof.

Happy New Year

Speed limit
Alberta, Christmas Eve.

The People

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Pea-Ball in Winnipeg
In some Winnipeg railyard, of course: Peaball.

If the train was great and the snow was the bonus, it was certainly the people who made the trip such a great visit.

It was great to see family, good friends and meet some new folks along the way.

Yeah for people.

Scrabble on the Train
Playing Scrabble on the train with (left to right) Thomas, Alex, Jocelan (absent: Brie).

In Chilliwack on a pre-Christmas Christmas morning: The Whole Family.
Back Row: Thomas Dickau, Kathleen Parsons, Nancy Howden, Alex Howden, John Presseau (crouching), Devon Presseau, Bob Raffle Middle Row: Bob Parsons, Emily Parsons, Cougar (Dan) Leavens, LinLi holding Thaydn Presseau, Shirley Raffle, David Parsons (standing) Front Row: Doug Presseau, Zachary Presseau, Jesse Howden, Reece Howden, Barb Presseau Absent: Jenn Mino

Jesse, Alex and Zach
In Chilliwack: swordsman Jesse Howden duels Alex Howden while Zachary Presseau goes corps à corps.

Johan Genberg on guitar
In Vancouver: Johan Genberg on guitar.

Ryan Newell with the Arctic Char
On the shores of Georgian Bay: Ryan Newell cooking Arctic Char.

Fennel over water (Melanie Willson)
Hiking in to Kim’s cottage over water, sled in tow: Fennel (Melanie) Willson.

The Snow

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

David Parsons Skiing
Yours Truly, Skiing on Georgian Bay (wearing skiing sweater) with Dan. Photo: Dan Guay.

If the train was great, the snow was an added bonus.

I love the snow, I love the cold, and I love talking about the temperature when it is cold.

For instance:

and (not as exciting):

Right now in Toronto we have had a few days of the not-as-exciting-to-talk-about-but-still-talked-about temperatures of 12ºC, 13ºC and now (at least it’s dropping) 4ºC. I like it when it’s cold in the winter time, because it’s supposed to be cold in the winter time.

Packing up after New Year’s on Georgian Bay
Packing up after New Year’s on Georgian Bay; Jen Preston, Ryan Newell (walking). Jan 2, 2008.

I like the snow. Makes things happy and exciting.

Travelling west, the country was snowy everywhere between Toronto and sunrise on the train in British Columbia after the Rockies. There it was just wet.

The consolation to this being that, in Vancouver, you can reach the snow by increasing your altitude, as my Dad and I did with friends Johan and Rochelle.

Snowshoeing With Rochelle, Johan, and Bob
Snowshoeing on Mt. Seymour in Vancouver; (front to rear:) Rochelle Gause, Johan Genberg, Bob Parsons.

The New Year’s Wake-Up Call:

I went swimming with Kim and Dan in Georgian Bay on New Year’s Day. This required a certain amount of preparation.

Dan and I started breaking ice for “the hot tub” on New Year’s Eve, in the dark, and we were clear by 2pm on the 1st. (We did have some help and take some breaks.)

Clearing the Ice
Jen Preston, Yours Truly and Dan Guay excavating a hole in the ice on Georgian Bay. Jan 1, 2008

Clearing the ice
Dan and I clearing the last bits of floating ice.

We were few who actually dipped, but we were not unwitnessed; there were three or four photographers documenting events (myself included) as well as eight other humans observing and three dogs who watched somewhat incomprehendingly.

David Parsons, Polar Dip
My special polar dip outfit with accidental toque. Thank you Wade Lifton.

Dan Guay, Polar Dip
Dan’s Cannonball. (Dan wins full marks from this judge for diving form. An iconic cannonball.)

Kim Hedges, Polar Dip
Kim’s scream.

It was breathtakingly wonderful.

The Train

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Sunset; Rocky Mountains.
Sunset; Rocky Mountains.

Between Toronto, Ontario (43º 38′ 38″N latitude; my southernmost point of travel), Victoria, British Columbia (123º 20′ 60″ W longitude; my westernmost point), some undetermined northernmost point on that section of track betwixt Bickerdike/Edson, Alberta (around 53º 34′ N latitude) and Edmonton, Alberta (at 53º 35′ latitude) and MacTier, Ontario (79º 46′ W; my eastern-most point of travel), I travelled by all modes of vehicle.

Frozen Lakes and empty rail car near Jasper, Alberta; Christmas Eve.
Frozen Lakes near Jasper, Alberta; Christmas Eve.

By Foot; Subway; City Bus (TTC); Airplane; Automobile; Coach Bus (Greyhound); Passenger Train; Ferry; Commuter Train (GO Transit); and Ski.
(Not included in the above list are: Streetcar, Snow Shoe, Toboggan and Bicycle, because they were only used for recreational and/or within-municipality trips during that period. All other modes (skiing included) were used as an essential and/or primary mode of transport between significant destinations — i.e. between towns.)

The one mode of travel which far surpassed the others in terms of actual hours spent en route, was the train.

Tunnel; Alberta.

I have taken many East to West by-land journeys on Highway 1, but this was my first experience doing the same by rail. I am sure it seems clear to the reader, but it was a real shock to me: The train is not the bus.

Taking pictures in the Dome Car near Jasper, Alberta.
Taking photos in the Dome Car near Jasper, Alberta.

By this I mean that while my experience of travelling by coach has generally been a quiet, retreat-like experience, with scarcely a word said either to quiet compeers or to prarie postcard purveyor, my trip by train was shared and social. Scrabble with sojourning strangers and sing-alongs to acoustic guitar in the dome car — the time was characterized by extroversion and not introspection (though there was certainly some quiet time for that, particularly on the return trip).

Sudbury, Ontario
Sudbury, Ontario.

I was thrilled to see hawks and bald eagles, a fox, many deer, herds of elk, mountain sheep and kilometre upon kilometre of not-the-side-of-a-highway. There are places where the tracks do follow the highway (or rather, the highway follows the tracks) but there are more occasions where the tracks follow the river, or the canyon, bringing one’s eyes to places otherwise unseen. Contrary to travel by air, travel by rail is a chance to embrace the journey rather than anticipate its completion.

Nightfall; Christmas Eve. (A view of one dome car from another.)
Nightfall; Christmas Eve. (A view of one dome car from another.)

I commend the train to you as the alternative to air travel.
More expensive than the bus, but –to me shockingly– different than the bus.


Thursday, December 6th, 2007

I’ve been playing a little with stop-motion films lately: making some tests; experimenting with the results on the computer… this will be the first I have published here.

David Parsons Photography


There has been an error loading this quicktime multimedia file.

Higher quality version available here.

Did I help Jen and Donné paint their new room in Little Italy? you may ask. If by ‘help’ you mean photograph the ordeal and later publish those photos to the web then: yes. Yes I did help. I helped very much.

Buses, Bathrooms, Mirrors, Me.

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

For some years now I’ve been making trips by bus across parts of Canada.


I have made a multimedia piece about my experience on my most recent long bus trip: Vancouver to Toronto.

Here it is:

(audio-visual format)

David Parsons Photography


There has been an error loading this quicktime multimedia file.

Beyond talking about my bus trips, it’s also about taking pictures of myself in mirrors in bathrooms.
David Parsons: Self Portrait, Indira Gandhi International Airport, 2003
David Parsons: Self Portrait, 2003, Indira Gandhi International Airport( DEL), Delhi, India

My first substantial trip was from Toronto, Ontario to Whitehorse, Yukon in 2002. (This remains my longest in Canada-by land-trip to date, at approximately 86 hours.) The bus makes some stops between Toronto and Whitehorse. For instance:

  1. Wawa, Ontario
  2. White River, Ontario
  3. Wabigoon, Ontario
  4. West Hawk Lake Junction, Manitoba
  5. Winnipeg, Manitoba
  6. Wapella Junction East, Saskatchewan
  7. Whitewood, Saskatchewan
  8. Wolsely Junction East, Saskatchewan
  9. Waldeck Junction, Saskatchewan
  10. Webb Juntion, Saskatchewan
  11. Walsh Junction, Alberta
  12. Whitecourt, Alberta
  13. Wonowon, BC
  14. Watson Lake, Yukon
  15. and, naturally,

  16. Whitehorse, Yukon

My initial trip was followed later that month by 38 hours en route from Whitehorse to Chilliwack via:

  1. Morley River, Yukon
  2. Smart River, BC
  3. Swift River, Yukon
  4. Coal River, BC
  5. Liard River, BC
  6. Toad River Lodge, BC
  7. Prophet River, BC
  8. Buckinghorse River, BC
  9. Salmon River, BC


  1. Iron Creek, Yukon
  2. Contact Creek, Yukon
  3. Dawson Creek, BC
  4. Commotion Creek. BC
  5. Cache Creek, BC

as well as:

  1. Watson Lake, Yukon
  2. Muncho Lake, BC
  3. Summit Lake, BC
  4. Azouzetta Lake, BC
  5. McLeod Lake Lodge, BC
  6. Bear Lake, BC
  7. McLeese Lake, BC
  8. Williams Lake, BC
  9. Lac La Hache, BC

Mountains from the bus window.

Recent Vancouver-Toronto trip statistics:
60 hours;
Abbotsford, Banff, Calgary, Dryden, Ernfold, Falcon Lake, Golden, Hope, Indian Head, junction after junction, Kamloops, Lake Louise, Medicine Hat, Nipigon, Oak Lake Junction West, Portage la Prarie, Qu Appelle Junction, Regina, Sicamous, Thunder Bay, Upsala, Virden, Winnipeg, Yorkdale.

I almost hate to do this.

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, we interrupt our regular programming to bring you this important message. Due to continuing verbal threats which have been both unsportsmanlike and bordering on grammatically incoherent, straight from the darkroom regrets to announce the following escalation in severity of the ongoing “spat” between David P. Ball and David Parsons.

I hoped it wouldn’t have to come to this David, but you leave me no choice. Following is a visual metaphor; my own stepping-to-the-plate of this toe-to-toe webslinging.

David Ball vs. David Parsons: Mullet vs. Style

I have been bold, David, and I risk grave offense, but such are the choices we make — and live with — in the fast paced world of self-portraits and -haircuts; both with the aid of the bathroom mirror.

As you may recall, the last mullet I had was in solidarity with you as you faced the bombing of Beirut. I maintained that mullet, nurtured that mullet, and allowed it to flourish until the day I saw you safely return to Toronto. And just as that mullet was a symbol through which I stood with you, so, I fear, this one is a symbol by which I stand alone.

Do you see the style, the fashion-sense with which we are each represented here. One, you, old-school; stuck in the past; living a sweaty-hockey-equipment-rotting-in-the-basement, Stanley-Cup-a-million-miles-away dream; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. One, me, living into the future; Michael J. Fox sneakers fresh from the DeLorean; opening tin-cans of bald-eagle caviar soufflé with the push of a soft-touch button; self-portrait-with-Stanley-Cup resting on the Brazilian rosewood mantle. Your haircut says, “Can I borrow a No. 2B pencil for my science test?” David, and mine says, “I just got back from DisneyLand.”

You: David Hasselhoff.
Me: David Beckham.

I trust that I make myself clear.

The gauntlet has been cast down, David. Please make your response, and I will post it here.

Godspeed dear brother.

For a brief history of the ongoing conflict, please see the following post and subsequent comment.


Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

Well, I’ve been accepted to the Eddie Adams WorkshopBarnstorm XX.

My friend Don Denton tells me that I’m one of three Canadians amongst the 100 chosen applicants, but I have yet to confirm this; in any event, I am honoured and excited.

I am also happy to report that I was awarded the “Best Portfolio” and “Best Overall Image” awards for my program at the Western Academy of Photography in an awards and graduation ceremony Tursday (June 21).

I have been busy, and have had limited access to computers, so haven’t posted anything in quite some time (read: too long.) I intend to keep this blog reasonably current, but have so far not been doing a great job. I still have limited access to imaging software, so some new pictures will have to wait. In the meantime here are a couple of photos of BMX riding.

Alex Howden (no.56 with black and gray helmet) Gets a flat tire at a BMX competition in Langford, BC.
Alex Howden (no.56 with black and gray helmet) Gets a flat tire at a BMX competition in Langford, BC.

Alex Howden Crashes during a BMX race in Langford, BC.  His tire went flat on the second turn -- the flat was caused by a collision with a downed rider earlier in the race.
Alex Howden Crashes during a BMX race in Langford, BC. His tire went flat on the second turn — the flat was caused by a collision with a downed rider earlier in the race.