I generally don’t share of lot of my personal life and events on this site or my photography social media sites. I also am not one, usually, to do the anual “year in review” that many people do either in December or January. In this post, however, I am doing exactly that. So it goes.
2022 was a year with lots of change and extreme events, both good and bad, for Susan and me. These events had a massive impact on our photography as life often does. Ansel Adams said that one brings to photography “all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” 2022 proved that to be true.
Foreshadowing our year, one of my first images of 2022 was of a Western Gull feeding on the carcass of a dead Salmon. The cycle of life, the mixture of passing and beginning, of survival displayed before me.
And there was also peace present on the beach.
The year began as so many others with Susan and I out for a shoot along the Oregon Coast. We had big plans for the year begining with our 18th nearly annual trip to the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake Wildlife Refuges. We talked of a return to Mexico and of spending more time along the central or northern oregon coast.
Our trip to Klamath was the first heart break of the year. As I have posted in an earlier blog, the impact of seeing the refuges dry and nearly dead can not be over stated. We were both shaken to our core. The video below is a simple 28 second clip of what Tule Lake looked like.
Cracks in our belief that the reservation would always be there for us.
A body of water that used to be home to thousands of water fowl has little sign that they were ever there.
Susan working it.
As we returned from Klamath we stopped to visit my parents. We made a few more trips ovr to see him and my mother but this one would be the last visit with my Step-father in which he was cogent. His health had been poor for a while but he swore he would not die before my nephews wedding because he did not wish to be a dark cloud over such a happy event. He passed one day after the wedding.
On one of our drives over the mountain to visit, we came into a fog that was freezing and coating everything in crystal. It was a bitter and yet beautiful sight. It seemed to be fitting for our trip and reminded me of how death is both bitter and beautiful at once.
Fog and bitter cold combined to create ice crystals that cover everything creating a bitter beauty.
The juxtoposition of new life and death seemed to fill us. Shortly after my nephews wedding and step-fathers passing, Susan was called back to her mom’s and before the month was out, she too had passed. I flew back shortly after and joined Susan in a celebration of her nieces wedding. It probably goes without saying that we were feeiling a bit over whelmed with two weddings and two deaths in two months. 2022 was not starting out good.
Life returned to normal for a little over a month. Then, in May, we picked up a new member of our family, Charley. Initially we had planned on having two puppies but soon found that was not a good idea (litter mate syndrom) and oour son adopted Augie.
The week we picked our puppies up, we learned that the manager of our motel had a stroke and we found ourselves living back in Bandon. The pattern of one good one bad seemed to be continuing.
A bright side was that, while motel life is not ideal for a dog, the Oregon Coast is a fabulous place for a dog. Charley was in heaven and so was Susan.
I had a wonderful time photographing Susan and Charley as they played on the beach, both filled with joy.
Charley found that he likes water.
Over the next few months I found myself taking fewer and fewer images of wildlife and landscapes and taking, instead, puppy pictures. Last year more than half of my images were of dogs, mostly Charley. I was quickly becoming a puparazzi.
It was about this time that we recieved a phone call from our neighbor in Beaverton. She said it looked like something was leaning against the window and wanted to go into our house and check it out. What she reported back was not good. A water pipe had cracked and had been spraying water for about a month. It was in an upstairs bathroom so we had damage on two levels.
The clean-up ended up tearing our walls, floors, and ceilings in our garage, laundry, dinning room, kitchen, 2 bathrooms and bedroom. In the end, we would be out of the house for 8 months as restoration occured.
Rather than Photography, our focus became one of working with insurance companies and contractors and of searching for a new manager. Still, we took our daily outing to run Charley and puparazzi work continued.
In August we found a new manager and moved to a motel in Yachats while we waited for a house to become available. however, in just a few weeks we found ourselves without a manger once again and back in Bandon. A couple more weeks of searching and a new manager was in the motel, we were back in Yachats and things were looking hopeful.
The next 5 months were spent living in a vacation rental in Yachats. We were fortunate to be within a few hundred feet of the ocean and each day walked out the door to create images.
A Killdeer on the rocky shors of Yachats.
Welcome to Yachats, a bit different beach from Bandon.
We had some fabulous sunrises on the beach.
Through the winter the sky can be amazingly dramatic.
We had a few return trips to Bandon. Most notably, in September for Susan workshop (she has one space left for 2023 www.susandimockphotography.com) and a couple of trips to Central Oregon and the Painted Hills.
Steven Michaels took us out to the Cape Blanco Light to practice getting bands of light.
The workshop crew preparing for a wonderful night of images.
The abstract nature of the Painted Hills keeps drawing us back.
Durring the last few months in Yachats, we spent much of our time shooting directly in from of our vacation rental (We can highly recommend Changing Tides as a vacation rental). and hitting a couple of the parks up and down the coast. We explored shooting waves and birds feeding in the surf and learning our new equipment.
A sunset from just outside our vacation rental in Yachats. We had a few great low tides.
Gulls feeding in the froth make for some very challenging shooting.
flow across the muscle bed
In all, it was a wild ride in 2022. Like a rodeo bronc we were up and down and all over the arena. Yet, it was a good year .
We close out the year with some camera changes but that is a subject for my next post.