2020, a year in through the lens.

I know I’m not the only one who’s happy we’re finally putting the dumpster fire that was 2020 behind us. It was a year that started out strong for many of us, then cratered miserably for far too many. Coming through the last year unscathed creatively was no easy task. Though things started off pretty well…,

New Years Day.

Sunrise New Years Day, Maine.

February.

Wonderland, February in the White Mountains.

…then came the isolation.

As the world around us was shutting down in order to contain the pandemic, I challenged myself to create (at least) one image a day, for 30 days.

Without leaving my back yard or the woods just beyond.

I’m not exactly sure where the idea came from, but I soon realized it would soon serve dual purposes. The first was to challenge my creativity. With the beautiful scenery of the rugged seacoast, or the majestic White Mountains no longer easily at my disposal, I had to ask myself, could I make good photographs without amazing landscapes to photograph? I had always thought that given the right light I could make a halfway decent photograph of anything. Now it was time to put up or shut up.

The second reason I continued with the project, and perhaps I’m over inflating my worth here, was to inspire others to do the same. I had hoped to show others, even if they weren’t as fortunate as I was in having a large back yard bordered with conservation land to play in, good images can be made anywhere. All you need to do is open your eyes to the possibilities.

Sometimes too, I didn’t even have to leave the house.

March, 23 ~ April, 23. The Isolation Project.

Then, adding to the challenges of the lockdowns and the need for social distancing, I started a new job. An entirely new career actually (sorry no, I didn’t take up photography full time). A combination that affected me more than I thought possible.

Who the hell simply up and changes careers at age 55, in the middle of a pandemic???

Ironically it was the social distancing that had the biggest effect on my desire to photograph. But not in the way you might think. It wasn’t that I couldn’t go out, though that was part of it. It was that far too many people, often from other areas and states with much higher rates of infection, people who suddenly found themselves out of work and at home, began flocking to the New Hampshire parks, beaches, and mountains.

In droves they came. Bringing trash, overcrowding, and more than once their selfishness and inconsideration resulted in many of the places I normally go to be closed down to the public completely. Several northern landowners, so disgusted with the disrespect and inconsiderate actions of people, got fed up and closed off access to hiking trails, access that had been so generously allowed for decades, in some cases generations, now gone possibly forever because of people trashing their land and completely ignoring posted no parking areas.

And you wonder why I’m not a people person?

April. Venturing out, again.

April Daffodils.

May.

Forest Light. May.

Slowly but surely I began to venture out more, doing my best to avoid the hoards of people incapable of grasping the meaning of “social distancing” and “stay ay home.” Our illustrious governor didn’t help at all in this regard when issuing his state wide “stay at home” order, which was more of a “we wish you would, but we won’t stop you or do anything about it if you don’t” recommendation, while in the same breath announcing, “but our parks are open!” So which was it, Stay home! or Come on in!?

Yea, don’t get me started!.

June.

I had intended to include at least one image from each month of the year, hence the title of this post, but June was a little slow when it came to picture taking. I didn’t realize just how slow until I began looking for images shot in June to include. On the one hand it wasn’t hard to choose one, there were only 16 after all. But only 16 images, really? Luckily my back yard pulled through, providing me with yet another wonderful sunset view.

Backyard Fire, June.

July.

July was a little better as far as image count goes. Though I only made one outing with my camera, a feat I would have thought ludicrous had we not been in the grips of a Stupid Virus.

Of course every image from that outing, all 63 of them, is of water lilies. No summer would be complete without me thigh deep in the water, my camera precariously close to going for a swim, pandemic or not.

Jewels of July.

August was looking up.

Down on the Maine coast.

August Morning, Maine.

September, and 18 miles to clear my head.

The last time I had been hiking there was snow on the mountains. Brilliantly glorious, and pristine white snow. But now it was time to enjoy the mountains when they were putting on a much more colorful show. If a visit to New Hampshire during the peak of the fall foliage season isn’t already on your bucket list, it certainly should be! The best part is that you don’t need to hike 18 miles through the mountains to enjoy it. Though if you want to avoid the insane crowds of leaf peepers visiting from the world over, you might just want to.

Carrigain Notch, September.

Dodging waves in October.

Fort Foster park in Kittery, Maine is a seascape photographers playground, with rocky shorelines, a long photogenic pier, and views of the Whaleback Lighthouse all for you to enjoy. On top of all that, Fort Foster is both an excellent sunrise, and sunset location. So whether you like your seascapes bathed in morning light, or enjoy watching the sun set beyond the horizon, you wont be disappointed.

October or any time, the Fort Foster never disappoints.

Seascapes not your thing? From 1901-1946 Fort Foster was once an active part of our coastal defenses, with many of the old forts structures still in place.

Fort Foster, more than just great seascapes.

November.

November was another month of limited adventures with my camera, but I was able to get in a little flowing water up in the mountains. Since the pandemic put an end to my workshop season, I wasn’t able to share with clients some of the many waterfalls the White Mountains has to offer, but I needed my waterfall fix. Even if it was only one waterfall and cascade, for a short visit.

November on the Ammonoosuc River.

December and finishing off strong.

With new found motivation and inspiration, I decided I needed one last mountain adventure to finish out the year. The question was, where to go? The answer whenever I can’t decide on where to hike, but I know I still want a spectacular view as reward for my efforts, is Mount Pierce. Located in the Presidential Range in the White Mountain National Forest, Mount Pierce is also on the list of New Hampshire’s 48 4,000′ peaks.

With this view to greet me as I step above tree line, it’s not hard to see why Mount Pierce has become my fall-back option when I feel the need to hike.

Parting shot.
The Last image of 2020.

Big changes for the New Year.

Along with my rekindled enthusiasm for making photographs, for better or worse you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me around here.

I’ve decided I’m going to be putting considerably less effort into the all consuming chase for likes on Instagram and Facebook, instead focusing those effort into writing and sharing here. New for this year new images will be seen here first, with the occasional post to the ‘gram and the ‘book. I wont be completely shutting down either, but if you follow me on either one you’ll be seeing far fewer posts. Though with Facebooks algorithms, even if you do follow me, most of you probably aren’t seeing my posts anyway.

You can also follow me on Twitter where I’ve recently become much more active with the sharing of images and my own unfettered sarcasm.

I encourage you to follow along, 2021 is going to be good, I can feel it!

6 thoughts on “12, Give Or Take, From The Fire.

  1. Always enjoy your beautiful shots, Jeff, pandemic or not. I’m looking forward to getting out to see more of the amazing things that are near or relatively near us in Arizona, so different from the MIdwest or even where you are.

    janet

  2. You’ve done very well in the face of very serious challenges. I know we all hope for considerably better conditions and far fewer dire worries in this new year. Keep up the great work.

  3. It’s a great set of images despite the VID. Thank you for creating the The Isolation Project. This gave me something to do and motivation. I was able to make it 165 days instead of 30.

  4. I realize I missed this post and I’m so happy to catch up ! What glorious pictures you took this year, Jeff ! I wouldn’t doubt your capacities anyway, but I’m always in awe and drooling over their composition, light and perfection, really.
    It sure was a fantastic opportunity for me to join you on the Isolation Project and definitely helped with coping with the first lockdown in France ; I almost took up the challenge again back in October when the 2nd lockdown was decided but finally didn’t “have to,” since I felt much more at ease with being home by then.

    Anyway, great pictures, very thoughtful remarks on people’s behavior, good for you to not have let that deter you from what you love most, fabulous of you to take upon a new job in the middle of the pandemic (how has it been so far ?!) and thank you for the daily inspiration !

    May 2021 be as sweet and gentle to you and your loved ones.
    Take care and enjoy each day’s photographic opportunity !
    xoxoxo

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