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Close to Home

With travel severely curtailed due to the pandemic, finding nearby photographic subjects deepens our understanding of and appreciation for the region we now call home.

Western red cedar trees in a local campground surrounded by changing vine maples in autumn. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

Nancy and I have been very cautious about traveling during the coronavirus pandemic. After moving to the northwest corner of Washington, we had planned to spend a lot of this summer in neighboring British Columbia. Unfortunately, the border closed in March 2020. It has remained closed all spring and summer and is likely to remain closed through the winter.

Utah is also a favorite destination. This year, two separate photographic workshops in Grand Staircase - Escalante were cancelled as a precaution. And while we still have three months left in 2020, this may be the first year in over three decades I did not photograph there.

I know we are not alone in cancelling travel plans. In most circumstances, it is simply the prudent thing to do. But like everyone else, we get a bit restless staying at home and miss being out with our cameras—not to mention being with family and friends, and going to restaurants .

Our solution was to concentrate on photographing local scenes.

The sun sets through hazy western skies due to this summer's extensive wildfires in Oregon and California. The light was unusually red during the day and—probably unrelated—the sea seemed more viscous than usual. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

We drew an arbitrary circle on the map, with a radius of 100 miles, and decided to focus our attention in that area. The thought was that we could probably get anywhere in that area and back within one day and avoid a stay at a motel. Of course, with B.C closed, ours was—at least for now—merely half a circle,

But that was enough to start. That would include the northern Washington coast, the northern Cascades, and a number of the San Juan islands, We would also spend more time looking at our local neighborhoods and parks.

The corrugated aluminum siding and wood planks of an old cannery building at the sea's edge are accumulating rust and yellow algae. It is a perfect local photographic subject. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

If (when!) we collected enough good photos, we would create a new gallery in the Rommes Arts website called Close to Home. Meanwhile, blogs like this one will give more information on where and what we are photographing, and I'll use this time to work on my video and video editing skills.

Stay tuned!

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