2020 through my lens

Much “ink” has been spilled about the year that was 2020. I’m not going to relitigate the shitshow that this year has been politically, idealogically, economically, and epidemioligically. This is simply a visual run-down of what 2020 looked like for me, through my camera lens. No more, no less.

There are many, many omissions here, but that doesn’t matter. I hope you like what you see. Let’s get started!

January

The year started with travel. At first, a drive to Montreal to celebrate the new year with some old friends over lunch and then a hop out to sunny Palm Springs, California, for a 3-day offsite meeting with my extended team.

A week later, I found myself in Calgary for a customer meeting. Had I known that the events about 2 month hence were going to completely decimate the deal I was working on, I almost certainly wouldn’t have gone. But then I wouldn’t have been able to spend time with my cousin Mike and make some cool urban photos…

Clearly Danielle wasn’t thrilled with me spending all this time away.

February

The mont started at home, with the celebration of my son’s 21st and father’s 78th birthdays. A little family party at home for both of them, and a little party at the local burger shack for my son and his best buds.

All this travel was starting to take a toll on my paperwork, which was starting to pile up…

A few days pass, and it’s time to get back on a plane… this time to Seattle (Bellevue and Redmond, WA, to be precise) for more internal meetings. (Remember those?) Travel weariness was starting to build, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. At least I got some nice weather (and great light!) for the Sunday afternoon I spent in Bellevue taking, but that wasn’t meant to last.

A week later… back on another flight, this time to Atlanta, via La Guardia. In & out, no time to sight-see, no time to walk around, nothing except time in transit or at work or asleep. (It rained the whole time I was in ATL.) At least I got to see Parasite on the New York to Atlanta leg. That was nice.

Another week passes, and another trip! This time, though, it wasn’t for business… it was personal. Victor was named to Team Ontario for 5-pin bowling at the 2020 Special Olympics national games in Thunder Bay, and we had to go! Because these were the National Games, we had to travel seperately, stay in separate lodging (he got to stay in the athlete’s “village”) and we weren’t allowed to see each other apart from during competition. This gave me lots of time to explore the environs of Thunder Bay and of course shoot at his events. Unfortunately, Victor’s team didn’t do all that well and they were out of the running for medals, but a great time was had by all.

March

On March 1, Team Ontario made its way home, and this would be the last time I set foot in the Ottawa airport (or any airport, for that matter) for the remainder of the year.

March was indeed one of the strangest months ever. The coronavirus pandemic went from one of those abstract “over there” problems you hear about on the news, to an oh-shit-it’s-global-and-that-means-us-too things that affected us all, and continues to, to this day.

Lockdowns (but no masks), stay-at-home orders, work from home, home baking, social distancing… everyone learning to pivot on a dime and try to make do. The streets emptied out (although not completely) and we all hunkered down.

April

April is when time started standing still. One day blended into the next, good habits broke, bad habits got formed, we cooked alot, ate alot, my photography got stuck in a rut… but at least it was mild.

May

Thank goodness we could get out. I got on my bike as much as I could, but we also spent lots of time in the house as covid raged. Baking, working, contemplating the light… and the tulips! Because they bloom no matter what’s going on. A most welcome sight for sore eyes.

At least I finally got my paperwork done.

June

Still stuck at home, stuck in the home office on Teams calls all day. At least things are green… but I didn’t take my camera out much. The photo-mojo fizzled away and not much inspired me. But at least things were green, and we did manage to go for walks in the woods, which did feel nice.

There was also a chance for a “safe” physically distant visit to my in-laws. It felt nice to see other people, and the kids were happy to see their grandparents.

July & August

The month started with my daughter Olivia’s 19th birthday, which she celebrated in a very low-key way with one of her closest friends. Being the summer, we spent most of our time outdoors… which as we all know is very therapeutic.

Since most people were now wearing masks all the time, shopping had “normalized” and we went downtown to shop and sightsee without too many issues. I avoided going indoors as much as I could, since my mask constantly fogged my glasses, but did enjoy getting out of the house.

Right in the trough between the first and second waves of the pandemic, things opened up somewhat in eastern Canada for the summer. We could form small social bubbles (two families) and travel a bit—although we limited ourselves to day-trips and places we could drive to. There wasn’t a chance I was gonna get on a plane, not then, and still not now.

Danielle and I broke our staycation and drove up to Quebec City for a much needed getaway “en couple.” We did everything we could to stay safe and were lucky enough to have great weather and be able to eat al fresco all weekend, without having to spend an unnecessary minute indoors.

The balance of August was spent in Ottawa enjoying as much of the great summer weather as we could. I even tried my hand at cooking pasta sauce on the barbeque… we had to do something with all those damn tomatoes growing in the garden!

September

Back to school (virtually, at least). Back to work. In many ways, September feels more like a New Year than January, because this is when things start getting serious again at work and at school. Of course, 2020 being what it is, normal isn’t really normal. We were blessed with a beautiful warm and dry September, so it felt like a continuation of the summer for us. I was starting to find my photographic mojo again and hit that shutter button way more often, whether at home taking in good light, or on day trips to places like Mont Tremblant. That was good for the soul.

October

We had fallen into a routine by now, and it’s safe to say, nothing really happened… because every day simply felt like “more of the same” and they blended together.

The autumn is arguably my favourite season. It’s cool & crisp, the weather is still nice, the leaves are turning, the light is getting really good, everything comes together. It makes the photographer in me very, very happy. Did I say the light got good?

November

November is one of those months where the impending gloom of winter starts showing its head… and this edition of November is no different. It’s starting to get colder, most of the colour has been drained from nature, and we’re getting ready to hunker down for a long, cold. isolated winter. But, there are still promising flashes of light to be seen.

December

Dark, cold (well, not that bad compared to other Decembers), gloomy, coronavirus second wave raging, and Christmas. My photo-mojo was strange this month… I took a turn at still-life, spent lots of time looking at that gorgeous low winter sun streaming through the windows, and mostly contemplated what was in the confines of our home or on our property. That’s not to say I didn’t venture out, but not as much as previous months.

Christmas was strange this year. Very “meh” with no gatherings whatsoever. I didn’t shoot much Xmas mirth, not because we didn’t have quality family time together, but simply because I didn’t feel like it. Alas.

As you can see, December was a mixed bag for me, photographically speaking.

And that’s that. See y’all in 2021!

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