The COVID-19 virus is to blame for any number of things this year. Realistically, however, I cannot blame it for the steep decline in the number of photographs that I have taken in 2020.
If my memory is accurate the last time that I went out to shoot for fun was in the month of July when my oldest son, Caleb, took me out to photograph an energy-packed thunderstorm that was so far away that the thunder it was generating could only be heard on rare occasions.
As for work, the last pictures I have taken were on a sweltering day last summer. The lack of work photographs is particularly disappointing since illustrating stories that I had written was once one of the more enjoyable aspects of my job.
As I have shared on numerous occasions, there was a time when one could have said without any argument from me that I lived for my next photo excursion, be it work related or purely for fun. I would wake up early or go to bed late in order to photograph something unique. I have gone out shooting when it was crazy hot and bitterly cold. I have shot in an assortment of weather conditions, ranging from a mist of rain to a blizzard of snow. In order to capture just the right angle for a shot I have tiptoed through streams and waded thigh high into the Atlantic Ocean.
So what has happened to take the joy out of something that I once had loved doing so much?
The easy answer would be to lay the blame on the Parkinson’s disease with which I am dealing. To be sure shaky hands and a loss of balance do not help an old fellow who believes every photo outing should yield at least one “Kodak moment” that is worthy of being hung somewhere prominent in the Henley hacienda.
Truth be told I cannot attribute my diminished desire to take photos entirely on the Parkinson’s. Just last spring I proved to myself that I could still hand hold a camera and take a decent photo. Plus I can always use a tripod to stabilize a camera on days when my hands will simply not cooperate.
Upon more serious consideration I believe my choice of things to photograph is partly to blame. This past fall, when trees were at their most colorful time, I left my cameras in the camera bag because I had shot fall colors in years past. Because I have shot the full moon previously, I do not feel inclined to shoot it again from the same locations as before.
While I am still a sucker when it comes to colorful sunrises and sunsets, it seems like there have not been many to warrant going out for. However, last Wednesday was an exception.
Following an unseasonably warm and blustery day an approaching cold front started pushing in some broken mid-level clouds, which offered the possibility of catching enough light from the setting sun to provide some wonderful color.
Initially the western sky turned orange, but as the sun slipped further below the horizon the clouds turned pink and then dark red. Making the scene even more beautiful was the texture of the cloud deck.
When I saw the potential for a colorful sunset taking shape I mentioned it to Caleb, who appreciates a good sunset as much as I do. He broke out his phone and captured some nice images.
As for me, I did not even try to take any photos. I figured by the time I got a camera ready, attached it to a tripod, put on a coat, got outside and set up, the beautiful sunset would be nothing more than a memory.
If there is one thing I have learned from years of photography it’s that a sunset waits for no man, especially this one.