We’ve all been living through one heck of a year. What in the world do we do today as photographers in this new, upside down world we find ourselves living in? I took a glance back at my resolutions for 2020 this morning (mistake), and I can’t do anything but shake my head… My expectations are different today and I definitely need to evaluate how the last 364 days went based on the new mid-March reality and onward.
Exactly one year ago I had grand expectations for the turn of the decade. As a primarily landscape photographer, I am blessed in that “social distancing” is the expectation, really. I can count on one hand the number of times in the last two years that I’ve gone shooting with anyone other than my girlfriend. Despite this year being, well, 2020… there was a lot of great things to happen. I thought I’d run through my resolutions and figure out exactly what went well, and what will be lost to the 201x’s.
Resolution #1: Run 2,400 miles and bike 1,500 miles.
Result: I’ve been an athlete for as long as I can remember, truly peaking in 2019 as I crossed the finish line of Ironman Boulder. As a kid, I thought I couldn’t even run a mile, and here I stood 15 years later completing 140.6 of them, competitively. It was one of those days that completely surpassed my own expectations of what I thought was possible for me.
Then this year, something changed. I had planned to step back to mentally and physically recover, but frankly neither did. I had signed up ahead of time for 10 half marathon races throughout the year to get the best deal and stay motivated, but only one actually happened before COVID. The rest were cancelled, with many not issuing refunds. I was already still mentally struggling, and this was a death blow. Physically, I am still dealing with nagging injuries. Let’s just say this didn’t come close to happening, and I’m going to finish with just 650 miles run and 925 miles biked – my lowest totals since I started tracking them in 2006.
Resolution #2: Visit one new state (AK, HI, SD, ND, LA, NH, ME)
Result: After a dismal attempt at my running goals, at least I can get some momentum with travel goals. I wasn’t able to check out places that I really wanted to see like Alaska, Yosemite, the White Mountains, or the Badlands, but I did get a chance to pass through Caddo Lake in Louisiana on my drive home for the holidays. Will take the +1 here for visiting Louisiana.
Resolution #4: Visit 3 New National/State Parks: (White Sands, Redwoods, Big Sur, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier)
Result: This resolution was a solid success, as I managed to visit White Sands, Big Basin, and Yosemite in 2020. All were in driving distance or on the way of a road trip, so social distancing was respected and I got to check this goal as complete. Nice.
Resolution #5: Travel internationally
Resolution #6: Make $ through photography
Result: Due to the limitations of travel in 2020 and my athletic pursuits drying up like the desert, my main focus went into dramatically improving my photography, including composition, web presence, launching a YouTube channel, editing, and printing. As a result, I’ve sold at least 15 prints in 2020, which is 15+ more than I ever had before. Cool.
Resolution #7: Pay off student loans
So I’d say 2020 ended up being a bit of a mixed bag for me. Both me and my friends and family have remained COVID free (thoughts to those of you who haven’t been as fortunate), and I’ve made strides in photography that I am definitely thankful for. Below are a few videos by one of my favorite, most “real” photographers, Thomas Heaton, sharing thoughts on how to embrace the rough days we’ve experienced and learning to accept the reality of 2020. I know that in 2021 we can get back on our feet again and make up some ground lost amidst a strange, strange year.
Thanks for stopping by, and cheers to 2021! I look forward to reconnecting after the calendar flip and learning and connecting with you more with a fresh slate. Tomorrow I will be releasing my Top Ten images of 2020, and then will be toasting to another 365 days.
Happy New Year!