Let the record show that the first, and quite possibly the last, photo that I will take in 2021 has already occurred. In fact it happened several months ago.

On a cold January day, with a camera in one hand and my oldest son, Caleb, at my side I ventured outside following the ice storm in the hope I would be able to snap a photo that I was envisioning.

In the corner of my yard there is a flower hanger that features the form of a hummingbird at its top. In the wake of the ice storm an impressively long icicle formed and was hanging from the bill of the metal bird. I knew that because of the icicle's weight and a slowly rising temperature the photo would need to be taken sooner than later.

Although Caleb accompanied me with the intent of keeping me upright, he turned out playing a key role in the taking of the photo. Either because of my Parkinson's or the cold temperature my hands were shaking such that I could not hold the camera stationary long enough to take the photo. Consequently Caleb wound up holding the camera while I attempted to look through the viewfinder and press the shutter release.

Thanks to Caleb I wound up with a photo, although it was not what I had hoped for since the background was as much in focus as the intended focal point of the picture. I had also failed to zoom in on the bill as tightly as I need to to make the photo pop.

A retake proved impossible since a short time later the icicle as expected was gone.

With the exception of early January's ice for the most part I have not felt as if I have missed very many prime photo opportunities thus far in 2021. Fairly early on in the lightning shooting season there was a night when bolts were racing through the southern sky that I would have enjoyed shooting. I also believe there was some "finger" lightning that followed on the heels of the severe storm that marched through Hannibal on Aug. 12.

There were also some moon photography opportunities I would have pursued if I could have. There were a few nights this summer when the moon was up and the sky was unusually haze free. Then there was the night approximately a month ago that the moon looked blood red because of smoke in the upper levels of the atmosphere that was generated by fires out west.

And then there were was last Thursday's sunset.

Following an afternoon thundershower the cloud cover in the western sky began to break up just before the sun dipped below the horizon. As the sky began to turn orange even a rookie sky watcher would have realized something spectacular was about to happen. Sure enough after becoming orange it transitioned to red. What helped make this sunset so awesome was not just the richness of the color, but how long it remained visible on the underside of the remaining clouds after the sun had disappeared.

It was that linger-longer sunset that helped remind me how much I am still missing taking photographs.

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