This stupid pandemic has really kicked me in the ass.

Initially it wasn’t all that bad, in fact I started out highly motivated. Some of you may remember my Isolation Project* series really giving my creativity a boost and, dare I say, (hopefully) inspiring others with the idea that one doesn’t need beautiful and dramatic scenery in order to make good pictures. Forcing myself to make new photographs within the confines of my back yard and the woods beyond was actually quite enjoyable, and it saved me a lot of gas money.

*At least one new image a day for 30 days, socially distancing by not leaving my yard or the woods beyond.

However, upon winding down the project I found myself losing all motivation to photograph. I would try to tell myself that I needed to get my shit together and pull myself out of my funk. I’d even make plans to get up early for a sunrise somewhere. But when it came down to actually putting that plan into motion I wouldn’t bother to set my alarm, instead just sleeping in. Of course this would inevitably lead to me being pissed off at myself for not going. Sadly I witnessed a lot of amazing sunrises over the course of the summer.

While standing in my kitchen looking out the window.

I readily admit that the cause of a lot of my funk was financially driven. Due to the pandemic not only was I forced to cancel all of my scheduled workshops this year, every one of the mountain running races I would have been photographing was also cancelled due to social distancing concerns. At first I thought this wouldn’t be so bad, in fact it would allow me the freedom to photograph in places few workshop clients would be capable of going to. Yet even that was spoiled my the number of people willfully ignoring stay at home orders and coming up to the New Hampshire mountains. People who never would have even considered stepping foot into the wilderness had it not been for a global pandemic preventing them from whatever else they might do in their spare time. On the face of it you might think people getting off the couch and getting outside was a good thing. Until you realize these people have zero respect for nature and other people’s property. The trash, crap(literally), graffiti carved into trees and painted on rocks, and parking wherever the hell they felt like, has lead to gross overcrowding on the trails and there have been numerous trails that cross private property, trails that have been open to the public for years, having access closed off due to the inconsiderate actions of a none too small number of inconsiderate visitors.

All of which left me with little desire to visit my beloved mountains.

Unfortunately the seacoast wasn’t fairing any better. Due to overcrowding and the continued selfish actions of people coming from areas of high infection rates, pretty much every town along New Hampshire’s short seacoast locked down all of the parks and parking areas along the coast. This pretty much left anyone not within walking distance of the coast with nowhere to go. All of this has contributed greatly to my summer long lack of motivation to even pick up my camera.

The sun is shining again.

Fortunately the fog has lifted and the motivation is returning. With the onset of autumn, and winter not far behind, I’m becoming more and more enthusiastic about getting out of the house with my camera. I’ve made a few visits to the slowly reopening seacoast, and my one hike in months was an unbelievably enjoyable 18 mile long adventure in the mountains during the peak of the colorful foliage season.

So, for those of you who’ve been following along, my apologies for this long whiny post(if you even made it this far 😀 ). My plan is to return to sharing my lunatic ramblings and kind of ok photographs on a much more regular basis.

Consider yourself warned.

For those of you who have been suffering a similar funk due to the stupid pandemic, stay safe, and know that the sun will shine again.

13 thoughts on “Stupid Virus.

  1. I hear you on all the mournful consequences of this stupid virus for nature lovers. Thanks for your beautiful fall panorama photo that shows the brilliance of Nature despite human beings’ shortcomings!

  2. Glad to hear and see that you’re coming out of your funk, Jeff. We don’t see many fall colors here in Arizona where we moved at the end of March, unless we get up to the mountains somewhere, so I’m really enjoying your colors. You have a rather nice view out your window, I must say. Hopefully your finances will kick back in along with your mojo and you’ll have a wonder-filled fall and winter.

    janet

  3. Hi Jeff, Thank you for sharing- I understand your feelings and share them. It’s been a real challenge to remain positive and creative. Your images are gorgeous and are filled with beauty and hope that we will get through this! Take care of yourself. 😊

  4. “Slough of despond” – always thought that writer’s particular phrase so descriptive of times in life.
    Summer’s end was certainly that for many of us.( Just how many lizard, leaf, and cloud pictures can I take? UGH)
    It was nice people did get out, but the downside was the sloppy care of the outdoors – really depressing – especially with so many wailing about “the environment”…geesch, help it out a little bit and pick up you litter, masks, diapers, fast food containers….
    Oh, well, fall’s light and some breezes make a difference… and energize
    Always enjoy your images. The first one is interesting with the textured details against the blurs. The tree silhouettes are striking. Mountains and water always look good.
    You’re off and running – have fun!

  5. For a lot of self employed people this virus has been a nightmare, Jeff. It will be nice to see light at the end of the tunnel. Or my youngsters, in the UK 😦 Onwards and upwards!

  6. I hear you, J. If I was still in NH, I’d probably feel the same way, but then I’ve always had a talent for finding obscure, out of the way places to shoot. Northern Wisconsin though, is pretty much all out of the way and I only have to go 10-20 minutes to find real wilderness and unpopular trails. So hang in there. Do what you can. Find magic in the small things and hope that 2021 is better.

  7. For a moment I thought you were saying you had caught the virus. Thank God that is not the case.
    The visitors to your backwoods sound less than stellar. We get them here too, even when there is no pandemic.
    Your photos continue to be wonderful, so I’m glad you will be posting more.

  8. I initially shared Diana’s concern, but good to see that you are still among the blessed and starting to get back into at least some cautious adventure. We have been so fortunate here in NZ to have leaders who have taken taken what I might call a radically-conservative approach from the very beginning, and it has paid off. We have been back at Level 1 since last Wednesday midnight, with only one new case reported, the day before yesterday. Folks are strongly advised to continue with masks on public transportation and most comply, but things are miraculously pretty much back to a semblance of normal. Looking forward to more from your new outings, Jeff.

  9. Oh how much I agree with you. I feel people becoming even more selfish and inconsiderate than they were before.. Looking the other side towards those who care, who are mindful of others and nature, who want to be the change and inspire us.
    The colors you share and the sun shining are great soothing balms. Hopefully, everything will adjust in time and you’ll be able to go back into the woods with clients.

    Enjoy the day, as much as possible.

  10. I, and many others, can certainly relate to your feelings of almost depression concerning the quarantine and the virus in general. So sorry that you almost lost your will to photograph the beauty of nature, because you do it so well. And I’m equally sorry that people are crowding the trails and beaches with little respect for nature. But you seem to be coming out of your funk and into a new period of creativity. Thanks for letting us know that you are human and experiencing what many of us are also feeling.

Comments and thoughtful critiques are always welcome.

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