Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #129: Favorite Images of 2020

Kiawah emerging light of sunrise sams

What a year it has been, this 2020! So happy to see it pass by and usher in a new year full of hope and expectations for better times ahead. My favorite photos of 2020 are not necessarily the best quality, as a photographer would judge them; they are simply reminders of moments we to captured that help us to remember moments in time.

In the spring of 2020, when we knew we would be quarantined for an indefinite time, we took to the outdoors whenever we could to remind ourselves that nature goes on even in tough times. My obsession with white springtime flowers continued as I snapped White Star White Magnolias and white Southern Magnolias right on our property.

I worked on projects at home, finishing a needlepoint piece of five women in swimsuits (only took me about 14 years!) that reminded me of my growing-up days with four sisters.

A trip to the Great Smoky Mountains netted us an accidental photo that has become a favorite. As Bert drove through the tunnels, I put my iPhone on Burst mode, snapping away. And if one photo could be representative of high hopes after a year like this, then this one of the light at the end of the tunnel would be the one.

Light at end of tunnel, Great Smoky Mountains

Once we felt safe to travel (just the two of us interacting as little as possible with other tourists), we found ourselves headed to Gettysburg where other favorite photos took shape. Like this home in Gettysburg that made me realize that being quarantined in Knoxville while ordering online, staying connected via the internet, etc., was nothing compared to what people had to endure during the War Between the States.

House with water pump, Gettysburg PA

A Sunday afternoon pass-through in Amish country left me with a glimpse of two little boys returning home from church in their Sunday best. Not a great shot, of course, but a look inside another culture, another manner of living, during 2020.

Amish Children in buggy, Intercourse, PA

On the Eastern shore, Freedom’s Figurehead in St. Michaels, Maryland, represented what all of us have now integrated into our daily lives: the wearing of masks, a lifestyle change for 2020.

Freedom's Figurehead, St. Michael's Maryland

And because I ate crabmeat every single night for a week from Annapolis to Onancock, this photo represents the people who make travel so wonderful. Where would we be without fishermen, restaurant workers, tour guides, and bed-and-breakfast hosts?

Pulling out the crabs at The Crab Claw, St. Michaels MD

Most recently, our trip to Huntington Beach State Park, SC with photographer Bill Angell renewed my enthusiasm for photography. Although I have much to learn about taking pictures, my appreciation for creatures in their natural environments couldn’t be higher.

Great Blue Heron, Huntington Beach State Park, SC

Of all the photos on our blog, however, we receive more comments on sunrises and sunsets than on anything else. At the top of this post is an early morning shot taken at Kiawah, but our most frequented beach is Pawleys Island, SC, where you can find us “up and at ’em” early. This past summer, three kids joined me for their first-ever sunrise experience. It remains one of my all-time favorite mornings and thus a favorite shot.

First sunrise, Pawleys Island SC

And I can’t neglect our other best time of day: sundown. Whether we were at Mallory’s on the Wharf in Onancock, VA . . .

Sundown on Onancock Creek, VA

or on the marsh at Pawleys Island, SC, we cherished that time before sundown and then right after when the sky turns pink.

Maybe after perusing our photos for 2020, we need to rethink our estimation of the past year. It was a a confining and limiting year, of course, but also a time to explore places near and dear. We worked at finding new things around us as we looked with “new eyes” at what we had been seeing, but not really seeing, all along. The year 2020 was a time to live simply, but nonetheless, richly.

Car quilt at Sewing Bee, Jonesborough TN

Best wishes for exploring what’s near as well as what becomes a destination for you in 2021.

Rusha & Bert

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.


33 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #129: Favorite Images of 2020

  1. Amy

    I love your needlepoint piece is precious, only 14 years… A beautiful series, Rusha.
    Yes, the light at the end of the tunnel would be the one!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much. It took me years to finish the needlepoint but there were long periods of inactivity. I just lost interest. But when we’re quarantined, I found time and a desire to finish!!! There was light at the end of the tunnel!!

  2. Tina Schell

    Hi Rusha – Sheetal Bravon was unable to leave a comment on your post so she left one for you on mine: 16m ago
    “What a beautiful post ! For some reason I am unable to either log in or comments but I had to let you know how much I enjoyed your post . The photos of your incredible needlework, the Amish boys , the beach were all outstanding and I loved your closing image of the red car . Super !”

  3. Tina Schell

    Loved your post as always Rusha – and your closing thought about seeing with new eyes and life not having been so bad after all is spot on! Hindsight really is 20-20. I cannot believe you never told me you were on Kiawah! I knew you were in Pawley’s Island but not here. Next time we must meet for sure!!! Happy 2021 to you, here’s to better days ahead.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I’d love a return trip to Kiawah and the opportunity to meet. We may be in the area soon. Unfortunately we have a close friend in John’s Island who has very little time remaining. If we come for the funeral, I’ll see if we can connect.

  4. gallivance.net

    Rusha, what a fantastic roundup of your 2020 experiences, thoughts, and photos! Like you, I have an obsession with white flowers and your crisp, but dreamy photos brought me joy. Your beautiful needlepoint piece reminded me of my sisters, and your masked Lady Liberty conveys so much about this past year. But for me the real showstopper is your tunnel shot. I’m not a fan of driving through tunnels, so I’m always anticipating the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.” Your photo reminds me to keep moving toward that light. Wishing you and Bert a fabulous 2021. <3 Terri & James

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I have a whole series of those tunnel shots with varying bits of light coming through. Sometimes an unplanned shot brings as much joy as one we work hard to set up. Move toward the light, James. I’ve heard it brings us happiness, especially in winter. 😊

      1. gallivance.net

        Rusha, you’re so right about the unplanned shots. Your tunnel shot is wonderful. I captured a series of photos of a little girl playing in a puddle just after the rain on St. Simons Island – and they’re priceless – and totally unplanned. 🙂 ~Terri

      2. Oh, the Places We See

        It’s fun just to see just what becomes a fun shot. This one is a keeper for me. And it was all accidental! Thanks for all you share through your blog. You’ve set the gold standard.

  5. Toonsarah

    It’s funny how when we look at what we thought was a bad time we start to see that it wasn’t all bad. Distance brings perspective and like you I’m conscious that we did have some good times last year – even though I’m glad to see the back of it!

  6. maristravels

    Crab every night? You were lucky not to develop an allergy. But I would be tempted also. I live in an area where the local fishermen catch the crab and I’m apt to overdo it when I visit them but I’ve never eaten it for a week. Your sunsets are very special, aren’t they?

  7. Curt Mekemson

    It was fun to relive your year of blogging, Rusha. Always interesting and often with something new to learn. I am looking forward to sharing 2021 with you and Bert! –Curt

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