“A BLAZING FIRE MAKES FLAMES AND BRIGHTENS OUT OF EVERYTHING THAT IS THROWN INTO IT”-Marcus Aurelius
HEART LAKE ~ ADK 2020
First of all I as I write this I would like to wish everyone a better year filled with love, peace and joy as we transition from a year of pain, uncertainty and fear from the hell of a year that was 2020 to 2021. Thank you for subscribing to my blog as well. It is my greatest wish that we can find ourselves again and grow as a civilization and human race. I wish we can learn from our mistakes, our pain and suffering and be better human beings to one other. I wish we can all take time to slow down, listen more, talk less, love more, share kindness, caring, compassion and creativity with each other. At the end of the day, what do we want to be remembered for? What kind of legacy do we want to leave? What are the lessons we want to teach our children?
I for one have not been immune from the wild uncertain and scary year that 2020 was. Although I thankfully was able to retain employment engaged in a profession I love, bringing hope, acceptance and support to those suffering, It was not an easy ride. We all had to keep an open mind to a new way of learning how to bring support to those struggling. Tele-health and remote therapy became the standard. Personal accountability, which is an amazing thing, started to emerge all around. We all had to learn new ways of providing therapy, education, support and social connection via ZOOM, messaging or phone sessions while learning new ways to creatively connect with others and keep others engaged and interested in improving through this new, not so warm and cozy platform. We all have had to learn to social distance, wear our masks, yet work to help those in need feel accepted and connected rather than isolated and alone. Covid-19 has tried in vain to steal our social connections, keep us isolated, lost , scared and confused. We have and must continue to adapt as we have for thousands of years to whatever comes our way and threatens our humanity, compassion and creativity. We can overcome
Personally, like most, 2020 impacted me in many ways some worse than others. However I do not want to focus on what 2020 has robbed me of, rather I would like to share what 2020 has pushed me to realize. Despite the fact 2020 all but took away live music, concerts, sports and so many other events it pushed me to focus on and re-examine why those things are important to me and how I could adapt and keep the spirit of live music and sporting events alive within me.
2020 has shown me that it is ok to be alone and that being alone and loneliness are separate things. It was during my time alone that I ignited my passion for music with dusting off the old guitars again and really digging into learning some different styles of playing. I was able to study and learn from some amazing musicians using online platforms all while in the comfort of my living room. I also recently became re-interested in classic vinyl and collecting some vintage albums. I have watched some amazing live performances online as we all try to adapt and bring our music and arts to the fans. Many local as well as nationally known bands have and continue to provide online live performances through social media. Although its not the same, we adapt. I remember last fall sitting at home watching a live performance of a local musician with my teenage daughter. Although it was not in person and there were no photo passes or anything like that which we all miss, It was a great bonding experience with my daughter. We connected talking about music, reminisced about our last concert together at the end of 2019 and talked about songs and different genres. Is it the same, no. But we can take any situation, adapt and change our perspective to make it memorable and lasting.
Alas, I still hope live music and concerts return in 2021. I do miss many things about the experience of live music. Whether it be the entire ritual of attending a concert from buying tickets, looking for a cool new T-shirt, having a beer or two, maybe meeting the band or having the opportunity to photograph the band, provide press coverage. Whatever, I hope it makes a kick ass comeback. Here are a few of the last concerts I had the amazing opportunity to cover for New York State Music.
JOHNNY RZEZNIK ~ GOO GOO DOLLS 2019
JORDAN ZIFF ~ RATT 2019
PATRICK MONAHAN ~ TRAIN 2019
2020 has also provided with me with the opportunity to get out and re-ignite my passion for the great outdoors, adventure and fresh air. I found some cool hiking trails and really started getting interested in exploring and waterfalling. I found some cool trails near the Barclay Area of Bradford County near my home and discovered some waterfalls that I had been searching for for many years. Although the trail was not hard to find, it was not well trodden path. I found myself climbing over large rocks, under logs and crossing the stream in several spots. It was late March 202o so there was lots of mud to contend with as well. This led me to realize if i was to get serious about getting my hike on in 2020 I would need some actual hiking gear. Thankfully, not long after that, for my birthday, my amazing daughter bought me some killer hiking boots and poles which have been a life saver literally during some more intense hikes in the Adirondacks this past fall. Nature gives me time to reflect on me. I understand how small I am compared to the the world, yet mother nature remains kind enough to share her beauty with me and others as long as we respect her. I hope 2021 provides opportunities to get out and explore some new places, new adventures, new waterfalls and new hope for all of us. Here are a few photos from some of my favorite 2020 hiking adventures.
FALLS CREEK ~ BRADFORD COUNTY, PA 2020
FALLS CREEK ~ BRADFORD COUNTY, PA 2020
DUTCHMAN FALLS ~ SULLIVAN COUNTY, PA 2020
RICKETTS GLEN ~ BENTON, PA 2020
MOUNT JO and HEART LAKE ~ ADIRONDACKS, NY
SPLIT ROCK FALLS ~ ADIRONDACKS, NY
Sports, both and small, also took a hard hit from the unrelenting Covid-19 pandemic. I began my photographic creative journey largely because of sporting events. I began shooting sports way back around 2007 for local news papers just out of a hobby that I had shooting my children’s local sporting events and that grew into shooting high school events in PA and NY as well as larger events, including NCAA, PIAA State playoff games. I took quite a hiatus from shooting sports to focus on music and concerts however when my youngest super talented daughter began playing Volleyball and Softball a few years ago I dusted off my sports lenses and began shooting a few games here and there as I was always at her events anyway. So just as I got used to enjoying her high school games with camera in hand along came Covid-19 and destroyed most of her junior year season. I know so many other local athletes who struggled with not being able to play and I felt especially bad for all the seniors being their last opportunity to play. I turned again to creativity and figured I would try to at least create something from a dismal season. I began creating more digital composite sports pieces for my daughter and some of her friends as well as other local athletes and took the time to try to improve my skill level since I was sitting home most of the time either missing out on games or watching them via live stream. I was able to create some of my own personal digital templates as well as, for the first time, purchasing some other killer templates from some amazing other digital artists and photographers. My favorite I think right now is the Loft Template by Shirk Photography. Here are a few examples of that.
Although I am not a big New Years Resolution guy, if 2020 has done anything positive for me, it has helped be decide to be a better human being. Understand what i can and cannot control, accept challenges and difficulties as opportunities to learn and grow, Appreciate small things and not take any day for granted. Help and share with others. Create and help others find their purpose or at least the start of a journey. I would like to pursue a spiritual awakening. I want to live a life of Stoicism and continue to learn daily. I want to read more, meditate more, enjoy nature more. I want to be aware of what I put in my body and focus on clean living, food, drink, thought, perspective and energy. It is in my control. Thanks to all my subscribers. This has been my first rant of 2021, It was probability filled with rambling jargon and may have been choppy. But I did it. I wanted to share with you. Thank you. I hope you have amazing adventures in 2021 !!