It has been two plus years now with our lives being totally dominated by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The impact to my photography has been profound, as many of the places I travel to capture mages of wildlife were suddenly “not available”. I have a bird sanctuary in Canada that offers great opportunity to photograph several species of birds in their natural environment, but that location has not been available due to the closure of the northern border between Canada and United States. In 2020 we made our annual fall trek to Yellowstone National Park with the hopes of photographing the wildlife in all their fall splendor. That was not to happen.
Yellowstone was so full of people, just getting around was time consuming and tiresome. To make matters worse the “behavior” of some visitors was deplorable and you can imagine the difficulties we photographers encountered. With most kids not in school and many adults out of work or working virtually, the park population in late September, 2020 was historic. Add to the excessive park population the fact that the late fall temperatures were higher than normal, one can understand that photographic opportunities were few and far between. Throw in the new social distancing requirement, the mandatory masks, hand sanitizers, and the concern of being infected, and what used to be an enjoyable outing became a definite troubling time in Yellowstone. We left the Park early and traveled back to Washington with minimal images and a bad taste for the experience. Arriving home, I literally put my camera equipment away and have not picked it up until recently. For the first time in more than twelve years we did not make any of our annual spring and fall trips to Yellowstone in 2021.
The Pandemic had an interesting effect on me. No longer was I comfortable with socializing, being with good friends, and venturing out to photograph. I simply quit shooting. I turned to working in my wood shop, learning to become a wood turner, and worked in the yard when the weather allowed. I became somewhat of a recluse. But throughout the time of being reclusive I continued to realize that something was missing. It was my camera and seeking opportunities to shoot
The weather this winter has not been the best for photographing wildlife, so I fired up Lightroom and began reviewing, editing and publishing the myriad of photos that I had acquired over the years. And in doing this, one of my better friends and “shooting buddy” provided me some needed and valuable insight into my photography. He showed me things I was lacking in my images. He showed me techniques that I had never developed or used when editing images. He taught me how to be more artistic in my approach to editing my images. With a little practice on my editing, I began to see a fresh and better perspective of many of my images. With the planned improvements in shooting techniques ready to try, and new editing techniques, I am again getting anxious to hold my camera and begin shooting again. What a gift he gave me.
I think the one important lesson for me through this trying time, is that there are times when adverse conditions and/or constraints may prevent you from being motivated to take camera in hand and go shoot. But with a little motivation from a good friend, I find myself eager to get out and find new shooting opportunities. Yellowstone in winter; here I come.