I’ve delayed my best of 2020 blog way too long so here I go.
If someone would have told me that in 2020, I would have work cancelled because of a global pandemic and that one of my last jobs of the year would be documenting the distribution of the first boxes of vaccine for the pandemic virus, I would have said you’re nuts…but that’s exactly what happened.
Beyond staying healthy, safe and sane, one of my biggest challenges of 2020 was staying creative as I navigated my business around the limitations of Covid. As I look back on the year, I have to say that my wife Judy and I were incredibly lucky compared to so many others. Judy was able to work successfully from home and while my business got a kick in the groin from Covid, I wasn’t hit nearly as hard as many others.
In early March when things started closing down, I – along with most people – didn’t have any idea it would affect our lives as much as it did and continues to do. On the night of March 5th, I was sitting at a table with a group of fellow journalists having dinner at a sporting venue. I brought up the topic of Covid and if they considered how it might impact sports. Everyone blew it off and said no way would the leagues let that happen because too much money was on the line. Less than a week later, sports for the most part shut down.
The only sporting events I’ve shot in the era of Covid is Packers games at Lambeau Field. We aren’t allowed to shoot from field level, so we roam the mostly fan-less stands looking for creative angles. One advantage is my knees are very happy they aren’t plopped down on the frozen tundra, but I sure miss the excitement that a stadium packed with fans brings.
My New Years resolution for 2019 was to get my commercial drone license and to get a professional quality drone. Little did I know how much that skill would help me deal with a Covid. As things shut down and my segment of photography was ruled an unnecessary business, I was basically shut down. My calendar, normally dotted with sporting events, multi day out of state commercial shoots and various other jobs I do ever year, cleared out. I filled my days figuring out how to navigate a life with little face to face contact with the outside world, how to get my parents groceries delivered to their Florida home and how to utilize the support systems set up to help small businesses. I was very fortunate to have other supports in place like an amazing accountant, an awesome banker and a very calming financial advisor to help me get through the days, as well as an amazing wife to help me keep things in perspective as we chatted during our meet-ups in the “company cafeteria”, formerly known as our kitchen.
I found drone photography a great way to stay creative and as I look back upon my images from the year, it’s filled with drone images. I would just grab the drone and head out to find things to shoot. I also visited some of the local farms I had visited in previous years to shoot images; the drone was a great way to shoot and keep that all important physical distance.
In years past, my best of collection would be full of Packers images, but not this year. I do a lot of industrial photography and one thing I need to keep in mind while doing those shoots is making sure people are wearing the proper protective equipment, PPE. This year, I needed to add making sure the subjects in my shoots wore face masks appropriately and kept a proper physical distance from co-workers. Trust me – I’m so ready to go back to concentrating on capturing story telling moments and not being the PPE police.
Even though 2020 is behind us, the Covid crisis is still here and will continue to affect my business. These next few months, I plan to learn some new photography and videography skills for winter photo projects I want to work on. Hopefully we as a country can turn the corner on Covid and return to some type of normal.
A photo that jumps out to me as one of my favorite photos is one I took of my wife, Judy, on one of our few getaways in 2020. She and I took a long weekend and headed to Duluth, Minnesota to check out that area along the north shore of Lake Superior. We checked out some cool places like the Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls State Park. The favorite photo came on our way back when we stopped at Amnicon Falls just over the border in to Wisconsin. Judy looks great amongst the scenic beauty of the park and it symbolizes the adventure and exploring that we both love and our hope that we can do more of that in 2021 and beyond.
Hopefully I can soon get back to researching Class B RVs while I drink my morning coffee instead of reading about Covid and politics.
Here’s to a much better 2021 for everyone!