It’s time to wake up after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic. How is everyone?
I have experienced so much over the last two years. You may remember that the
last trip we took was to the Serengeti and we arrived back home in late February
2020 and then the lockdown happened. I remember looking at my camera and
saying to myself, what do I do now? No more exotic locations to experience for the
foreseeable future. I knew I needed my photography for my mental health and
decided that my camera was now more important than ever. The question was
how to reinvent myself and expand my creativity. We have spent the last fifteen
summers on the South Fork of Long Island and I decided that I would start there.
That area is known as a great location for local and migratory birds. I had never
concentrated on birds and always considered them to be part of the habitat during
my travels. I started by going to locations that I had previously visited or thought
that there might be some bird activity. I first brought only my beach chair and
studied the behavior of the local birds such as seagulls, ospreys, terns,
cormorants and egrets. They are subjects that most of us sort of take for granted.
The challenge was to be able to get them to trust me and create unique and
interesting pictures of their behavior. I spent the early summer of 2020 studying
their behavior and thinking up ways I could attempt to get closer to them. I also
read and searched the internet to learn about their behavior. This opened up a
whole new world for me. I would get to a location and spread a blanket out and
wait for the birds to approach me. By developing lots of patience, sometimes I was
able to enter their world. Seagulls would come up to me to show me their catch
and egrets started to mimic my motions. I made it a habit to go out almost every
morning to take pictures and hone my skills. I also studied the different settings on
my camera and learned how to use them in pursuit of my creativity. The summer
and fall of 2020 and 2021 were spent pursuing and expanding my photography
creativity. Eventually I became convinced that it is so much harder to create
unique and interesting pictures of local subjects than the amazing subjects I was
used to before the pandemic.
In February of 2021 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and decided to have
surgery and that surgery took place on April 22. How would I handle cancer and
will it change my life? I decided to fight back and handle it as a minor bump in the
road of life. This minor detour was not going to change me, but I would use it to
make me a better person. I decided that you have no control over what life throws
at you, but you are remembered for how you react to those situations.
Photography helped me get through this tough time. My camera has always taken me into another world and my world slows down. I tend to forget, no matter how
short of a time, all the other pressures of my life and only see the beauty that is all
around us. Moving forward, I had right hand surgery on November 4 to fix some
nerve damage that was getting worse and then at the end of November my right
hip started to give me problems. Fifteen years ago, I had my left hip replaced and
the surgeon only gave my right hip five more years. What a time for this to
happen? I had signed up for African photo trip in 2019 that was supposed to take
place in June 2020. Of course, that never happened and it was rescheduled for
March of 2022. Half was in Kenya and the other half was in Uganda seeing the
mountain gorillas. I decided, in October, that I needed this trip more than ever and
booked my flights. I needed to experience the raw beauty of Africa and it seemed
like she was luring me back after seven trips. My soul was yearning for her and she
was calling for me. I decided to have the hip replaced on January 6 and the healing process was rough and is still going on. If cancer could not stop me, then a new
hip would not.
I am writing this sitting on my flight to Nairobi to start this adventure. I always
believed that I would make this trip and never gave up hope even though my wife
and family wanted me to cancel the trip. We arrive late Saturday morning, spend
the night in Nairobi and then, on Sunday, fly via bush plane to Amboseli. Amboseli
is known for its large herds of huge elephants. This trip is not about the wildlife,
but about the lure of Africa and what she means to me. I have missed her so much
and am looking for her to heal me from within.
Like the other trips, I will write my blog every day, but not start posting until I
arrive back home at a later date.
Hope you enjoy