Bye Bye 2020 Photo Challenge

Long haired cow with horns (Highland cattle)

HeyJude has been running a photo challenge throughout 2020. Her last suggestion is that we think back over the year and choose our favourite picture from those submitted. Mine is the very simple picture of a hellebore in this post (the last one). I can well imagine not everyone would be quite so thrilled with it, so instead of repeating it here, I’m sharing this new picture. I’m contending that I could have used it for Identify your subject, or An object that seems interesting because of its volume, or Rough texture (ignoring the instruction to get up as close as you can!)

2020 has been a photo challenge in itself. I’ve travelled less and taken fewer pictures. My main subject matter has been local woods, fields, trees, wildflowers, northern skies. And lots of painted rainbows on walls, windows, rocks, and pavements, although I’ve not been sharing those.

I’ve paced the local streets, sometimes in joy, sometimes in resignation. I moved on from the inclination to make myself feel down by comparing the small gardens I pass on my for-exercise walks unfavourably with major gardens. Name me a flower and there’s a good chance I’ll know where to find it locally: the fact that its surroundings may not be 100% photogenic no longer limits the pleasure I take in seeing it.

I now know four places within a mile of my home where I can hope to see a kestrel sitting on the wind, hunting movement, as I walk. I can think back to the miracle of seeing the first wild daisy of the year flowering as if nothing unusual was happening.

I can take you to a place where a viola was in bloom for months in a crack in the pavement outside a terrace house with no garden, as if determined that the householder should have some garden, no matter how tiny. Passers-by respected it so nobody trod on it – I had very similar pictures from May, June, July and August to choose from.

Viola growing in a crack in the pavement

During the year we’ve had, that pansy flowering on came to mean more than any of the finest, fanciest gardens I saw in 2019. So while the 2020PhotoChallenge and the year in general may not have made me a more considered photographer or a better one, I am a more grateful one.

Although I skipped too many of the weekly exercises, I read them all and enjoyed seeing other bloggers’ submissions in my Reader. Hosting challenges is a commitment to community and I’m joining everyone in thanking HeyJude who achieved her goal of being a thought-provoking host.

Her challenges made me realise that there are things that interest me about photography and things that don’t and that’s OK. I never think of taking black and white pictures, because I love colour, so it was good news to discover that Life In Colour has just been announced as Travel World’s new theme for 2021.

This final 2020 challenge did set me thinking, not for the first time, about why I take pictures. I’ve always liked pressing the shutter: the idea of each picture as a new chance. Often I want to capture something that makes my heart beat faster or makes me smile. I am a joyful photographer, and an optimistic one, taking many pictures when I know they’ve next to no chance of working out well. A deer, a few hundred yards away, late afternoon in the north, in December, with an iPhone? You’ve got to give it a try, haven’t you?

Very distant deer in the snow

And I truly believe my best skill is in knowing which pictures not to share. Usually.

I’m writing as I wait to welcome the new year in. There will be no fireworks around the London Eye and I find myself needing to draw on every vestige of optimism.

Thank you for calling in to see me here in these tricky times. Together you’ve brought me laughter and comfort with your kind, wise, reassuring and witty words. I’m sending my heartfelt wishes that 2021 will be a better, healthier, happier year for us all.

42 Replies to “Bye Bye 2020 Photo Challenge”

  1. ‘And I truly believe my best skill is in knowing which pictures not to share’. I love this, and thought that this was a delightful, thoughtful post, celebrating the small pleasures that did much to salvage a generally awful year, into something where joy was sometimes possible. I certainly learnt to appreciate small pleasures, such as a shaft of early sunlight piercing the river mist early one morning. Keep right on blogging, Susan. We need you!

    1. Thanks, Margaret. We all need each other! The sunlight and the river mist sounds wonderful. It is funny how we remember those moments as if they are still happening.

  2. Thank you for all your kind and thoughtful words. I am glad that my challenge gave you something to consider this year. Your photography is always stunning and your posts always interesting and I love reading your analysis. I look forward to joining you in your explorations this year!

    1. Thank you! I am always grateful to challenges for switching things up a bit. If we only wrote/shared what we were inclined to, blogging would be less fun.

  3. I do love your hellebore photos, and indeed all of your flower photos, but the wee coo at the top of this post has won my heart! Thanks for sharing your many gifts with us. Happy New Year!

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