Impressive what 12 months can do to change your life and perspective in many ways. When I take time to reflect back each year on trips and photos I never think the next year might include things like domestic travel restrictions, quarantine, and wearing a face mask while hiking. Yet here we are in December 2020 and that and much more was awaited us as came into the year.
The beginning of the year started in a tropical paradise with my family and adventure-filled plans to fill up some extended time off I planned on taking. I wanted to go here and there, and everywhere. That was before everything changed.
Once the pandemic hit I didn't expect to travel much, and I didn't after March. I figured the end result would be having hardly any new photos by year's end. That was not the case. It goes to show with the right attitude and flexibility as artists we can still produce new work in a responsible way even in the middle of a global pandemic. What you see here is not the full set of best of 2020 highlights, only what I have worked through. The rest I will get to reviewing and processing in 2021.
From a photography business standpoint, I am truly thankful for all the customers that continued purchasing and licensing my work throughout 2020. Beyond that, the definite highlight was the release of "Oregon My Oregon, Land of Natural Wonders" with my great friends on the Photo Cascadia Team and designed by Timber Press. A high-quality publisher supported photography book is an aspiration for most photographers and filled with immense gratitude as the book was released.
There were a lot of negative reactions on social media and the news about 2020 which I get. It was anything but a normal year and is truly unfortunate the number of lives, jobs, and businesses lost. Not to mention all the forest fires in the west that devastated communities and altered wilderness locations to point of being unrecognizable. I do believe that there is a silver lining in almost everything. This year included. The changes we all experienced in 2020 are going to continue to shape how we live our lives for years to come and I don't see that as a bad thing.
It's easy to get set in our ways and an abrupt societal pause, even if it's a pandemic, can be just what we need to remind all of us of what is most important going forward. There are certain things I will never go back to again like commuting 5 days a week in rush hour and things I will appreciate even more such as in-person group gatherings that don't require face masks, being outdoors, and standing at least 6ft apart. I am also absorbing my experiences in nature on another level, sadly realizing that I never know now when I leave a forested location if I will be able to come back to it again before it's visited by wildfire.
I feel like 2020 was training for whatever 2021 and beyond brings our way. To everyone reading this, stay positive. We are ready!
Early in the year before Covid shut down travel, my friend Sean Bagshaw and I did a multiday road trip around Southern Oregon and Northern California. We had a mixture of subjects including a stop for a night at Crater Lake National Park which resulted in a nice sunset and sunrise.
Then in late spring to early summer, I went with another friend from Photo Cascadia, David Cobb, to several locations in Washington. Traveling in our separate vehicles of course. Here are a couple of images from the places we visited. If you look close enough in the forest photo filled with lush ferns you will see David hiking ahead of me.
In mid-summer, we found a way to make a small extended family trip to work down to Crescent City, California to visit Redwoods National Park. I found this nice set of rocks along the shore and this wonderful "salad" mix of seaweed and kelp. The fog rolling in and out in the redwood forest is something you can't pass up.
While out hiking on one of the few trails open in the Columbia River Gorge, I ended up taking my camera out for this close-up image of a partially burned tree trunk. The three very distinct textures and colors drew me in.
Speaking of burned, the whole pacific northwest felt like it was on fire at one point this summer, which isn't much of an exaggeration. For about a week the air in Portland, Oregon was considered hazardous. I put on the best mask I had to get out for this photo.
One fall day my friend Michael Bollino and I headed out to see what we could find. After a long drive through pouring rain that had me almost hydroplaning at one point, I was rewarded with this view as flurries of snow fell on my camera and the fog failing an attempt to perform a disappearing act. Taken in the Mount Hood National Forest on a cold fall day with snow showers and freezing fog.
In early fall I had just recently purchased the Canon 100-400 telephoto lens which had been on my wishlist for years. One morning in the Columbia Gorge the dense low clouds and fog were slowly being burned away by the incoming sunlight. This view is something I spied way off in the distance and I set up at this location hoping the right moment of sunlight and clouds would appear, and it did.
For years now I have passed through the Oregon Coast range in fall and always said "next year" as I drive to wherever I am headed. Well, I couldn't let another year pass and not stop. While I want to get back again to explore more this was a very nice start. I put myself in the photo for some perspective.
One rainy spring day we decided to head out as a family for a hike with only loose plans for a general area but not a specific spot. We decided to visit this location which turned out to be a great family hike. Considering it was a rainy weekday we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Plenty of wet foliage and thick mud. We all needed to wash our clothes and take a shower after this hike.
While at the Oregon Coast dunes my daughter ran on ahead of me towards the top. Multiple times a day we ran around the dunes. Great exercise as we took a family camping trip shortly after the state parks opened again. Pretty easy to keep your distance from others when you camp.
This photo sums it up. Hiking in the redwoods with a mask on. While I tried to avoid busy hiking trails even some of the hiking required wearing a mask to do the right thing and be considerate to those you pass on the trail.