If 2020 had a theme, it was to stay home. So we did. We never could have imagined when we moved into our new house at the end of 2019 that we would soon be spending so much of 2020 within it. I had worried about whether moving when we did was the right decision, especially since it was so spontaneous. And although living in a new community during a pandemic has certainly had its challenges, we were both very grateful that we had more space in which we could work and keep ourselves entertained. Overall, I think we ended up in a better position to endure what was about to come at us. One nice thing about where we live now is that we are much closer to nature. There are endless forest trails to explore and several beautiful beaches nearby. This is where I took the majority of my pictures over the course of the year. Regrettably, I did not take my camera out of the house with me—not even once. The camera on my phone is decent, and that is what I used for all of the pictures shown below. However, the images are nowhere near as good as those I could have taken even with my little point-and-shoot, especially since Google Photos stopped saving images in high quality after July. Live and learn! So if I were to make a photography-related resolution for 2021, it would be to bring that point-and-shoot with me more often and to dig out my DSLR for at least one or two photography-specific excursions. Good photos can still be found, even when staying close to home: a necessary thing to remember, as our 2021 will look very similar to 2020 until at least a few weeks after we are able to get vaccinated. In the meantime, if I want to rekindle my passion for photography, I need to at least use a better camera.
- I took my favourite photo of the year in the middle of October while we were walking through a nearby nature sanctuary. We were exploring the aptly-named “Maple Trail.”
2. At the beginning of last February, we met up with a local hiking group for a wintery ascent up a steep local mountain. It was challenging, but also very pretty! My next two photos are from that hike. What looks like a creek in the first photo was actually the trail we followed upwards. Good thing I was wearing waterproof boots!
3. The view as we were getting near the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, the cloud cover was so thick at the peak that I was unable to get a photo of the surrounding countryside. But the Christmas-card scene below was also really special!
4. One week after the wintery hike shown above, we opted for a shorter mountain with a less difficult trail. Luckily there was also less cloud cover, which allowed for a great view from the top.
5. I liked the look of this old log and the grass growing all over it, with the sun lighting it up perfectly.
6. I took this picture while out for a walk on the very last day of 2020. We had a lot of rain over the holidays, and I took advantage of a short lapse to get some fresh air. The rain drops still coating the needles of this evergreen were really pretty.
7. In late September we took a day trip out to this old trestle bridge. It was constructed in 1920 and refurbished in 2011. I would love to go back there next summer or fall, perhaps with a picnic lunch and a real camera!
8. At the beginning of 2020, I wondered whether there would be any cherry trees blooming in my new community. They’re my favourite part of spring on the west coast, and I would have been sad if there hadn’t been any in my new home. I needn’t have worried; there were lots! However, while on the topic of cherry trees, I did learn an important thing about them recently. In 1937, Victoria’s Japanese community donated over 1,000 flowering trees to the city using the money it had won in the Victoria Day parade. Five years later this same community, along with thousands of other Japanese Canadians living in BC, were forcibly relocated and interned. Why mention this here? Because, shamefully, I did not know during the time I previously lived in Victoria that one of the things I loved best about the city, the presence of its beautiful cherry trees, was the legacy of a gift from a community that was marginalized and treated so horrifically. Sure, I knew about the internment in an abstract, “it happened a long time ago” kind of way. But I had not yet considered how this injustice was enacted on the very streets I was currently walking, not so very long ago after all. And that is a privilege I have, because non-white Canadians do not have the luxury I do of taking their position in the community for granted. All of that to say that now, every spring, I will continue to enjoy the blooming cherry trees. But I will also make sure to remember that they are the legacy of a loving and generous group of people who were not treated with the same love, generosity, and respect that they deserved. And that the racist attitudes that led to their mistreatment are still very much alive.
9. I spent many early mornings walking around this lake during the summer. I loved hitting this part of the trail at exactly the right time, when the sun cast everything with this perfect, golden light.
10. I couldn’t resist including this picture. Caramel loves hiding under the Christmas tree, and occasionally darts out to “tag” our ankles as we walk by. It’s really cute. All month long I kept trying to get a good picture of her beneath the branches, but she would inevitably move whenever I got too close. She finally sat still long enough for me to take this shot on Christmas morning.
Those are my top pictures from 2020! While writing this, I joked that if I had a picture of a dumpster fire, I would have included it. Instead, I have a shot of a deep, mysterious crack in the earth. It’s not known for sure what caused it, but it’s likely the result of either an earthquake or the ground collapsing into old mine tunnels located below. I did spend some time staring into this abyss, but did not see anything staring back. Probably just as well.
Here’s one more picture, just for fun, to share with you my working-from-home view for most of 2020. Coincidentally, I’m wearing that same pair of socks today. The cat is once more resting on my lap but is somewhat differently situated, currently in a full-out napping sprawl. Here’s to a more photographically-adventurous 2021!