2020 – A Photo Retrospective

Well what a year it’s been! Raging bushfires along the east coast of Australia during December and January; those harrowing videos of the outbreak of COVID in China in February; the global spread of the disease to Spain and Italy during March and its escalation into a global pandemic; the curtailing of international travel and the lockdown of entire nations; working from home and endless Zoom meetings; and of course it’s still on-going!

One response I’ve had to the new reality of life in a pandemic over the last twelve months has been to immerse myself more in photography as a creative outlet. So it was an interesting experience going through my Lightroom catalog this week and searching through my favourite photos from 2020.

The year started well for us. During December and January we embarked on a family holiday to Spain and Italy. We travelled to Barcelona, Valencia, Granada and Seville over Christmas and New Years and visited centuries-old churches, cobblestoned streets, art galleries and museums. We then flew to Italy and spent several weeks in Venice, Rome and Florence. In short, photo heaven!

Europe provided so many photographic possibilities, and in truth I’m still working through the backlog of hundreds of unprocessed shots! I’m planning to write a fuller post about this trip and some of the photographic and technical insights I gleaned, but I’ve put together some of my favourite shots here and the larger catalog is available on my photo site.

Back in Sydney in February it was back to work and with the move into a pandemic lockdown during March and April, much of my photography focused more and more on local vistas. I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of the world, on Sydney’s northern beaches with seascapes, headlands and national parks within walking distance of my home. So as Sydney moved between hard lockdowns and more open periods, I concentrated on my landscape photography with sunrise and sunset shoots a particular focus.

I also sought out more drone photography opportunities and again the local headlands and beaches have proved to be my favourite locations given their unique form and close proximity.

As the year wore on and with Sydney opening up more, I searched other locations around Sydney Harbour, as well as photographing waterfalls in Sydney’s north and the Blue Mountains (which have become something of a passion for me especially now we’ve had some decent rain!). These are not necessarily original locations (following in the footsteps of other photographers on Instagram and 500px), but it’s been a lot of fun exploring new vistas. A highlight here was a trip to the Warrumbungles National Park in November photographing its other-worldly volcanic spyres (which I’ve written about here).

So as this strange pandemic year of 2020 comes to an end, photography has become an increasing focus for me. Beyond actually getting out and taking photos, I’ve taken numerous online courses on post-processing techniques in Photoshop and Lightroom, and starting this photo site has been part of this process too. I’ve also enjoyed interacting with other photographers on social media and at photo locations – always fun to swap notes on gear and technique as you always learn something new! So here’s hoping things improve in 2021 and look forward to exploring new photographic vistas!

Sunset at Long Reef at the end of a very tough, strange year! (📷 OM-D E-M1 II, M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/5 1/40sec ISO200)

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