The Challenges

We have all had our challenges this past year. For me, it was the recognition of how much I took for granted, especially the freedom of travel. Last year I quoted Hans Christian Andersen in my post, “To Travel is to Live.” My passion is traveling and then capturing my experiences through the camera lens. The inability to travel hit me in so many ways. It was my biggest challenge. 

Early on in the pandemic, we “lost a big fan“. Jeff’s mom passed in March. I found it especially difficult to not fly back east to be with Ronni in her final days or after she passed to celebrate her life with family. It feels like an empty chapter in my life. 

And then there was the heat, unrelenting. If you are a fan of ours from Arizona, you’ll not quickly forget our record breaking heat this past summer. If you are not from Arizona, this may put it in perspective.  The previous record was 33 days at or over 110 degrees. This summer we had over 53 days (and 14 of those days at or over 115 degrees). It was inescapable. Normally we would be traveling, visiting cooler locations. With Covid restrictions we were stuck at home.  I fought hard not to sink into a deep depression or to go stir crazy. 

Even with these challenges, I count myself blessed in so many ways that I wonder how the rest of you maintained your sanity.

The Blessings

In March we began a project called, “It’s Beautiful Where We Live”.  Focusing closer to home and challenging ourselves to be more creative, we came up with a set of rules to guide us in safe, but fun photography.

Missed the Neowise Comet, but captured this sunrise in its place

Claret Cup

Claret Cup Cactus Flowers [photo by Jeff Dannay]

We became more involved in our camera club, and our images were recognized in the monthly competitions.

“Driving the Old Ford Pickup”, took first place in the August theme “Abandon” competition.

This photo of the Vancouver skyline took first place October Travel category. [photo by Jeff]

We also joined the camera club  for a short camping trip to Toroweap (a remote area of the Grand Canyon) and White Pocket in Northern Arizona.

Toroweap: A remote viewpoint on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Just before sunrise or just after sunset White Pocket becomes a photographer’s paradise. [photo by Jeff]

We acquired a few new tools – Jeff a long lens (200mm-500mm) in anticipation of our summer trip to Africa (postponed to August 2021), and the MIOPS for lightning and star shooting. (The MIOPs is hands down the best device we’ve come across for long exposure, lightning, and time lapse exposures.)

Distant Storm at Arches National Park


After postponing twice, we were able to do a night photography workshop with Joshua Snow in Moab, Utah.

This image is a collaborative effort between myself ad Josh Snow. I did the hard part :). [Photo by Jeff]

One of Arches National Park’s iconic scenes, accentuated by the Milky Way. [photo be Jeff]

Applying our night photography lessons.

Milky Way Over White Pocket

Milky Way over White Pocket [Photo by Jeff]

The Milky Way captured between two Ancient Bristlecone Pine Trees

If we’d been traveling, we would never have gone stir crazy in our new condo. But it happened and it was costly. We sold our condo and moved to a beautiful new home with plenty of room for indoor and outdoor playing, our own pool, and room for guests (safe social distancing easily accommodated). If you find yourself in the Phoenix area in the new year, please stop by for a visit.

Home Sweet Home

What’s next

Until we can safety travel, we will continue work on our project, “It’s Beautiful Where We Live”.  

When the vaccine becomes available to us, we’ll be first in line.  Then look out world, here we come. 

We love sharing our adventures with you and especially appreciate when you share your comments. This has been especially uplifting over this past year. 

We hope you’ll continue to join us, and we hope to see you in person in the this new year!