architecture, art, cityscape, culture, landscape, leisure, night, people, photo-of-the-day, star, street, urbex, work, world

Throwback Thursday: 2020 – what a year!

December 31st, the last day of the year! Time for a look back. I guess all of you are happy, this wired year finally came to an end. All of us are tired of the regulations, limitations, and lockdowns we were faced this past year and had to follow even if we didn’t want to.

Right before Christmas, I got my 2020 yearbook. During the lockdown in March-May, I feared, my 2020 yearbook would be quite thin, there was no possibility to go out and take photographs. But, I was wrong. I even had to work very hard, to reduce the number of images to fit in a book. So, I want to name the major topics now:

March      - forest animals
April      - blue forest
May        - birding + stars
June       - Iceland
July       - comet Neowise
August     - birding (bee-eater)
September  - heathland
October    - fall

In the end, I created 4 books this year Iceland, Iceland monochrome, Iceland wildlife, and my yearbook. So, 2020 was a very productive year and without the limitations, it wouldn’t have been possible to have all my 2020 images developed up to now.

But, there were also a couple of downsides this year. Our vacation at the sea in April was canceled because of the lockdown. Our family vacation in May was also canceled because of the lockdown. The extended weekend trip end of September for visiting my brother in Switzerland was also canceled. But this time for bad weather (first heavy snowfalls and closed streets).  Our plan was to make a trip to a wine-growing area in October. But, because of the increasing number of infections. We didn’t book a hotel in advance to be able to react short-term to the weather conditions. So, we stayed home instead. Around the first of Advent, my wife wanted to visit a couple of Christmas markets. You guess it: canceled – no Christmas markets were planned or set-up. Visits for Christmas with my parents or our moved-out children??? Very distributed and no gathering.

When looking at my job, it came out, I’m not affected by the lockdown and the limitations to go out for work. I can do my work perfectly from home. All I need, is my company notebook, a headset to telephone, and a connection to the internet. Lucky me! My wife is working at a pension home to keep the inhabitants mentally active. So, she’s working in a secure place.

All in all, it’s good to know, the first vaccines are already approved, and also the pop-up vaccination centers are ready. So, the most endangered people are getting their vaccines now (if they want) and all others will follow during the next months following a priority plan.

 

In my personal life, there were also a couple of changes. I started a completely new job. I changed from being a project manager for IT projects to vendor management. Instead of reporting to clients, I now get the reports from our vendors. A very interesting change of view.

My daughter also started working again in February. Back in 2016, she started getting educated in nursing but had to quit because of her baby. Despite being a single mum, she’s working shifts (early and late, but no nights) as a nurse in a pension home. She got employed in March after 4 weeks of working voluntarily in that pension home. For 2021 she’s planning to start again to get educated in nursing so that she will be able to earn a bit more money. She also moved to a new apartment in June (after living again with us for about 9 months, because of some problems with her apartment and since February because of her work). Now, she lives only 300m away from us, so that we can take care of her son when he’s not in kindergarten.

Our older son was able to convert his fixed-term contract into an unlimited one and our youngest wasn’t limited too much by the lockdowns to learn for his job. By the end of 2021, he has to pass the written exam and in January 2022 he has to pass the oral examination.

My wife is currently recuperating from the lung inflammation she got surprisingly early December.

So, 2020 was a bad year in many perspectives, but it wasn’t a complete disaster. There is always some light in the dark.

This is the sun at noon on Dec. 24th. That’s a very typical winter sky here in my region. You can see, how low the sun is in the sky. It’s taken from your bathroom window on the second floor. From the street, I would be unable to see the sun at all. The trees are not that large and are about 100m away from our house. But the sun is standing so low during winter.

The image above is also a good illustration of my year 2020: there was a lot of struggling and complicated situations. We were pained by strict regulations to fight against SARS2-CoV. But, there was still some light. Think about your past 12 months. I guess you are also able to find some enlightening memories. Keep them well and let them carry you through the remaining time of the pandemic.

See you next year! Happy New Year!

art, culture, photo-of-the-day, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 120: “What a treat”

Many, many people complaining these days about how bad they are treated by the government to obey the simplest rules for finally defeating SARS2-CoV, the source for the COVID19 pandemic. Despite the majority works hard to defeat the virus, many people, unfortunately, do everything they can to ignore the rules just for their own enjoyment.

In this situation, I received the notification from Tina about the topic for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: What a treat!

Her own post is about a safari in Africa and how valuable a training session with a photographer from the US via Zoom was for her and her local photo club. I can understand that very well. When you’re feeling alone in this situation, give me a note, I guess we can organize an online meeting to talk a bit.

When I saw the notification from Tina and thought about it for some time, my brain changed a few letters and made “treat” to “treasure”. I know, both words are different in their meaning. However, they have a few connections besides the fact of sharing 4 letters. Both can mean something valuable, sweet, and personal among others. Family, health, a job, a house, someone to talk with can also be such a treat.

I’m organizing my photos of each year in a folder that contains subfolders for each event, trip, or photo session. When we were in lockdown, a thought came up to my mind, it could be difficult to assemble a calendar for 2021 with my own photos taken in 2020, as usual. We’re reaching the end of the year (yes, I know, 2 more months ’til 2021), so it was time to assemble the calendar for 2021. Therefore I had to check my 2020 folder and I was kind of surprised about what I found. So, each of the trips I did with my camera was such a treat. And the biggest treasure was the trip to Iceland in June. I’m so thankful, happy, and fortunate that the trip was possible in general, the COVID19 test at immigration was negative, and with great weather (don’t get this one wrong) to see everything we had planned.

Last week, my calendar for 2021 arrived. Here you can see all the images I included in the calendar. Each of them is a gem, a treat, and bears a valuable memory.

As you can see, 8 of the 12 images are from Iceland. I was also considering, to create an Iceland-only calendar for 2021, but when I was checking the 2020 folder on my disk, I got aware of a few other folders also containing treats. So, I made my preselection, which summed up to 50 images from the whole year. My youngest son and his girlfriend helped me reducing it to 12. For such a calendar I prefer landscape images over wildlife. Therefore the top wildlife images were printed out to hang them on my wall.

The next project is creating the yearbook. About 100 pages are waiting to be filled. That’s a job I usually do in December. The yearbook is a photobook containing the best images of the year. The most valuable memories. The treats of the year.

There’s a kid’s tale about a group of mice. All of them were working hard during summer and fall to collect food for the winter. But, one of them was not working that hard as the others did. Instead, he was looking around for the sun, the green grass, the colorful leaves in fall, and listened to the wind and the birds. The other mice were complaining to get the one mouse to help them. I do, the one mouse said. I’m collecting memories. And when the dark and cold winter days came, he was able to cheer the other up by telling them about the warmer days. He told them, how the wind sounded and smelled. Which colors the leaves have had and how the sun rays felt on their backs. That way all of them survived the hard winter.

That’s what I do, I’m collecting memories.

Although not planned that way, this post is kind of a review of 2020. I hope you don’t mind.

Stay safe and healthy!