Seasons Greetings friends, family, colleagues and customers. Now staring down round two of lockdown I trust my blog reaches you as you are safe, happy and in good health. I have been trying to get onto a writing schedule but life’s everyday and the events of this year certainly have weighed in heavily – thus this post could get lengthy. So I’ll give you some highlights of my year and possibly even a lowlight.
I am pretty sure I don’t have to remind anyone what 2020 has brought to our lives. What started out as a relatively normal and productive year quickly evolved into the opposite for pretty much everyone.
I certainly remember where I was and what I was doing as the situation with Covid unfolded. I was in a planning meeting on Saturday, March 14, 2020 for what was supposed to be this year’s photographic art exhibition hosted by Sault Photography Club at Camera Craft Gallery here in Sault Ste. Marie.
If you had told me that day the turn of events would come this far I likely would have told you that you were crazy, yet here we are today. In times like these it’s very difficult to remain positive even for the strongest of us – myself included.
This year, for myself I tried to do everything possible to keep active. Since I was already freelancing for SooToday, and while I mainly covered events which were no longer happening in real time, I was tasked with finding new ways and stories to produce in order to keep content flowing. I am so thankful for the advice and guidance given to me by my editors and for those folks who have given me a glance into their lives so that I may share it with my readers.
Unfortunately in the early stages of the pandemic, Sault Photography Club’s planned exhibition was cancelled due to concern from some members over the building situation. Interest did not come to the forefront once things began opening up again.
That in mind when local businesses began to reopen I made the decision to rent the gallery space and hold a my own solo exhibition in an effort to support local, help generate traffic into Camera Craft – a generous business who have gone out of their way for me on numerous occasions in the past, and to show my appreciation for all their efforts. It featured 32 of my newly framed pieces, all were shot within the last year and were never yet printed. The exhibition was a huge success and was extended through December 18, 2020.
I also did a mini gallery exhibit within the store which hung prior to the first lockdown and hung for several weeks after things began opening up again. I have done this a few times in the past. (photo provided by Camera Craft staff)
The late winter and early spring months were likely most difficult of this year. Once the concept became familiar and plans formulated it became easier. Coming from a Health Care background I can attest to the fact that being isolated and using such practice is not new to me and I grow more thankful everyday that I didn’t have to deal with the pandemic in a work related environment as would be the case had I not retired. I really miss those friends I left behind and I think of them often.
I did get out to walk as much as possible. I was blessed to be able to share some of my walks with a nursing colleague who herself has basically a bubble of two and took her retirement early this year. It’s been beneficial to both of us to be able to run ideas by each other and be safe with a partner while out in locations not always suitable to be alone in. If the weather was too cold or inclement that meant an inside day for me. However, by the time the third day rolled around I was ready to be out. A little birding drive usually did the trick.
Birding has been a huge benefit. There are lots of education and learning opportunities in the birding community locally but also online. In addition lots of special individuals willing to share their knowlege, expertise and encouragement like Carter Dorscht of Dorscht Birding and Algoma District Birding who is always open to approach and I truly miss being able to stop by his office while out in the field.
I have made preparations to participate in the 2021 Ontario Migratory Bird Atlas this year. This is a 5 year, citizen science project done every 20 years and this is the third edition.
With the border being closed we are ever dependent on observing the local owl population during this time as opposed to being able to spread out and move further south to view the Snowy Owl visitors in Michigan – something we have been privileged to grow quite accustomed to in the past.
Luckily we experienced an owl eruption this past winter which allowed those of us who bird the good fortune of observing and photographing. Late winter I was happy to locate and be in the presence of a few Great Grey Owls on numerous occasions. On some outings I had observed up to 3 different species of owls for the day. This winter is also starting to look good so I am hopeful for a replay. On my last outing this month I came across a Great Horned Owl who apparently was more on the ball that I.
Through the spring and summer months kayaking season stretched right from first ice out to well into very late November. I am very grateful for the beautiful weather we experienced this summer / fall, it couldn’t have come at a better time. It would be nice to see it continue, however I’m sure we will pay our dues somewhere down the line.
Online studies have been a great way to learn and occupy time. In the first half of 2020 I completed the first module of my advanced photography studies – “Building Your Own Website”. with a 100% final mark. Better than I could have even hoped for. Part of the reasoning behind the mark I learned upon debriefing with my mentor, was going above and beyond the requirements in taking on the blog portion of the website build which was not a requirement as well as a few other items. That is why getting back to or making time for blogging is important to me.
In the second half of 2020 I moved into the next module of my advanced studies – ” Travel & Landscape Photography”. I was out photographing as much as I could since everything photographed as required, needed to be done so, specifically for the course.. We live in such a beautiful world! My set finish date was to be December 18th where I would have moved on to the next module. Due to the Covid situation I was given an unexpected extension which has allowed me to take a bit of a break before finalizing.
Photographing Still Life has become a great pass time when I am left indoors. I had taken a course a while back and am beginning to utilize some of the things taught including the set making, backdrop painting and creating accessories.
My original plan to do the “Bushplane Christmas Show” this year fell through as it did for so many due to crowd limitations and safety concerns. My long term goal only ever was to do one show / market per year. At the 11th hour I was asked if I was interested in participating in a small Pop Up Christmas Market – “Bushplane Museum Christmas Pop Up Market”(photo courtesy of Alan Lukala). I did rise to the occasion, but it was a bit of a rush for me since I made no preparations earlier through the year for such an occasion and the majority of my framed pieces hung in exhibition until set up day. Literally I took my art from one location to the next on December 18th. All went well and the end result was better than I predicted it would be.
I managed to produce my calendar, matt some new prints and photograph and print some new Christmas and Greeting Cards. If anyone is interested in purchasing I still have some and you can view a selection of the Christmas cards on my Christmas Card page.
In an effort to keep us all safe my husband has been doing groceries and store runs for both our household and that of my elderly father-in-law. This still continues as of today. Our social bubble has not expanded as of yet. We still remain a bubble of 4. This Christmas will be very different for us.
Both my husband and I quietly marked milestone birthdays this year. It wasn’t quite the picture I had in mind nor was this the plan we had for our retirement, however, being in the outdoors was not so bad.
I am forever grateful for the friends I have made in my journey of life. 2020 the year of learning the technology of the Zoom meeting has kept many of us in touch. Others of significance have chosen to reach out in other ways. It’s been a great year to upgrade your knowledgebase don’t you think?
Here we are in Christmas week moving into lockdown number two. It will be a simple week. I am in the process of making my traditional French Canadian Tourtiere today (my family recipe originated with my paternal aunt who was a Catholic Nun) and we will have that on Christmas Eve followed by the Turkey with all the trimmings for 4 on Christmas Day.
I know that most of us would just like to forget about the events of this past year but both the genealogist/historian and the photographer in me tell me to document to preserve for the generations to come. I think it’s an important aspect in our journey and I hope some of you have.
As we push to end this year 2020, – The year we won’t soon forget in our lifetime it’s important to remember where we have been. We don’t yet know where we are heading but it’s important to remember we have the ability to shape the path.
In closing I would like to reach out to each and every one of you – my friends, family, colleagues or customers, wish you a Safe & Merry Christmas and thank you for your support. Be kind as every one of us processes situations differently and we are all going through something that no one knows anything about. The one thing we have in common is this pandemic year.
As we push into 2021 lets all count our blessings. Stay safe.