Where has the time gone? Didn't I just write about spring? Even when the world stops - literally, time still flies by. In the past 12 months, I have taken more wildlife shots than I have ever taken in my life. Easily. Last summer, when I first became fixated on nature photography, I was lucky enough to travel north in Ontario and south to Virginia and North Carolina. While there I photographed all the different species I saw along the way. Many are the same, but not always as easy to find as in other areas. I had a blast and thought that I would likely not out-do that experience. This year, those travels could not happen - Covid 19 made sure of that. This was disappointing. Not only because traveling to take pictures would be more difficult, but also because seeing family was the reason for those trips last year. Not being able to go this year meant we did not get to see those familiar faces and hug our loved ones. My heart holds out hope that we will still be able to make those trips before too long.
As for wildlife photography, it meant looking for everything I could find at home, or close by. There has been plenty to keep me busy, and I have learned so much about our local critters that I am weeks behind with processing all my pictures. Never before did I think I would get close up pictures of coyotes, foxes, eagles, hawks, hummingbirds, owls, raccoons, etc all in one summer. It has been amazing. I feel a whole new appreciation for what my local area has in terms of natural areas and wildlife. I still want to travel, but I am much more content at home than I used to be. It's the people I still miss.
I have made some friends in the animal kingdom in the meantime. Like this little chipmonk. He climbed my pants up to my chest looking for peanuts. He sat on my lap and ate from my hand. He was so cute. I probably shouldn't feed the animals...at least not so closely. But honestly, the need to connect is real and I had a wonderful time hanging out with this little dude (or dudette, I don't know). My family thought I was nuts and they kept getting the stares from my little friend as he thought they might have treats for him also.
The summer has been stressful for so many who are simply trying to survive, including those who have jobs on the front lines and cannot take a break. Those who are worried about vulnerable loved ones who are scared of getting sick, stay locked in at home or see virtually no one except those who help take care of them, or bring them what they need day to day. Teachers, parents and kids are anxious about the new school year ahead and how that will play out. I feel it. The weight hanging over us all. My own worries about my daughter's school experience and missing her friends and some family all summer have taken a toll. I just feel incredibly grateful for what this photography outlet has meant for my mental health. I don't know what I can do for others. I know that a few dollars here and there to the folks in need isn't really enough. I don't have a job where I get to help people every day. I wish I could do more. All I have right now is photography to offer. I hope in some way the pictures I post on various platforms can give a smile or help someone forget their troubles, even if only for a few minutes. Contact me if you have more ideas for me to make a positive contribution to someone you know.
When I sat down to write this post, I thought I had a point to discuss. Not sure what it was anymore as I just started typing. I guess I will remember next time. I'm going for a walk. I hope you enjoy some of my favorite pics from the summer. Take care and be safe. I hope to see you soon.
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