Category Archives: video


Over two years ago I found myself at a crossroads in my life.  I had just quit my job after being almost 8 years on 24 call of some sort or another.  It got to the point where I cringed and flinched every time a phone would ring.

I was working on some other projects that hadn’t come to fruition and I needed a job.  So I took one at Don’s Photo for a couple of reasons.  I have always loved photography, I always liked going into Don’s Photo, and I needed some time away from being in a high stress environment all of the time.

I didn’t think I would stay long but something changed.  When I would leave work at 6 p.m., I had no stress in my life.  I left work behind.   I enjoyed my colleagues, I enjoyed work.  Life was good.

In January I was having a discussion with the manager on ways to better use the web to drive in-store sales.  He asked for a memo.  I sent him a 7000 word missive on what I thought we could do better.  He forwarded that to the owner and there was some discussions on me doing some writing for the store.  Personally I think the discussions revolved around how to ensure I never sent a 7000 word memo to them again.

I still deal with customers but the goal is to find a way that I can write for the company blog and social media.  Most of my time is spent on the blog.  Since I took it over, I have posted over 200 times in 2015.  Many are product announcements and are pretty basic but I have created some long form articles as well that I am pretty proud of.  As a family based business, it is fun to be given the freedom to compete with companies like B&H Photo or Adorama online.  I love being the underdog.

The bad part of it?  I had to go on Facebook again.  I refuse all friend requests but it does allow me to manage the Don’s Photo page.  They also have a Pinterest board that I umm, do whatever it is that you do to a Pinterest page (right now it is building theme based pages around products and tutorials).

The biggest obstacle in writing it is that while I am can write, compared to everyone else, I am the worst photographer both technically and artistically.  It has given me a chance to emulate one of my heroes in Steven Johnson and that is research and write about what I don’t know about so that you can learn it without having to do through what I had to do.

In the future there will be a podcast and a YouTube channel but for now I have a large bucket list of articles to write.  That will take some time to work through.

The one unexpected part of being at Don’s Photo is that there are quite a few of our customers that have strong political views.  Also, there are quite a few of you who have strong political views that escape by taking photos.  It’s amazing how many of us can have concurrent conversations about poll numbers and aperture settings at the same time.

Not everyone is a fan.  The other day this women comes in and is asking some questions about something.  She asks my name and I tell her.  Her eyes narrow and says, “You don’t know that blowhard named Jordon who writes in the paper.  I can’t stand him.”

I just looked back and said, “You aren’t alone, he drives me crazy some days too.”.

I still have some city building and affordable housing projects on the go but for now, being a writer and camera nerd is paying the bills.

Where container ships go to kill other people

There aren’t too many places left in the world where the practice of ship breaking—scrapping old ships for metal—can still exist. These days, environmental and labor regulations in the developed world have displaced the practice to India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, where cargo carriers are salvaged for their steel.

The largest vessels wind up on the shores of the city of Chittagong in Bangladesh, where the industry has become a vital part of the country’s urbanization. It employs roughly 200,000 workers and supplies the country with 80 percent of its steel. Ship breakers beach and dismantle vessels daily wearing flip­-flops and T-shirts. It’s no easy task, considering ships are constructed to withstand the elements for the 30 years they spend operating on international waters.

True North?

So Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have a new ad out.  Canadian politicians since the days of John G. Diefenbaker have been loving the north.  John Turner, Jean Chretien, Stephen Harper all love the north.   It’s expected that Justin Trudeau loves the north as well… and wants to make it better!  That’s it.  

As a voter, I want to hear how.  What is the big strategy.  There is some political room for him to maneveur as Harper has really accomplished nothing as part of his northern agenda.  The Department of National Defence can’t even procure rifles for the Rangers (who arguably don’t need replacements for their bolt action rifles that work really well in the winter).  Plans for a deepwater port?  Umm that has gone nowhere.  

Instead of just matching Harper’s unfulfilled and broken promises with real ideas, Trudeau just floated out some cliches and feel good statements.  In other words, not much has changed.

Chicago in the 1940s

According to City Lab

At a recent estate sale on the south side of Chicago, Jeff Altman spotted a canister of film simply labeled “Chicago” and “Print 1.” That tidbit of information was intriguing enough for Altman to drop $40 on the print.

Altman, who works in film post-production, took two weeks to inspect and fix minor issues before scanning and turning it into a digital video.

The result is this short film, a marvelous and thorough overview of 1940s Chicago, when the Wrigley and Tribune Towers were still considered modern landmarks.