The Best of 2022
2022. The year when the world began to truly reopen - for better or worse. 
As pandemic restrictions lifted and people cautiously - or excitedly - returned to the office, started gathering together socially - heck, even just going to the movies - I went out more with my camera. 
Granted, for 6 months of the year we spend many extended weekends at the cottage (aka #fortressofmoderatesolitude), so I was kinda out a few times a month. 
This curated collection includes up to 4 images from each month of the year, captured with either my iPhone, Nikon or Olympus cameras. Sometimes, picking four was easy. Other times, like the last quarter of the year, it was much more challenging. I tried to narrow it down to only one per month, but I was not hard enough on myself to do that. The closest I got was the collage you see above.
My approach was a combination of initial visual impact, followed by emotional impact.
January 2022
I made an effort to get outside often in January - even if it was just in my backyard to set up a stock photo shot of my snowshoes, or photograph the cardinal.
February 2022
A winter wellness check on the cottage also made for a couple great shots on Villiers Line. While a bit hard to see in the grid above, I have photographed those two silos several times over the years. As the corn grows, the silos become totally obscured from this angle, but they are visible in the spring, after harvest and during the winter - unless the snow is VERY deep.
March 2022
Spring was definitely in the air by March. I was chomping at the bit to return to the cottage (AKA the #fortressofModerateSolitude), but that was still two months away. I entertained myself with other projects, like the Easter still life shot at our fireplace hearth, and creating a silhouette collage. Cardinals may seem like a bit of a recurring them at this point, but it's hard NOT to photograph them. The males especially, seem willing to sit a little longer so I can get my focus tack sharp.
April 2022
The beautiful yet shrill mating call of the red winged blackbirds could be heard as I wandered along the edge of the wetland at the mouth of the Rouge River. A little further west (and much higher in elevation) I spied more than one downy woodpecker foraging through the recently exposed leaf litter, and flitting from tree to tree. As I am fond of saying, good photographs are everywhere; you just need to take the time to see them. Such was the case of with this overhead shot taken in my backyard. The bright green of the cedar branch against the mossy gray/green of the flagstone created an interesting contrast in color and texture.
May 2022
The month of May signals the beginning of cottage season for us. The resort where the #fortressofModerateSolitude is located is open for use from May to the end of October, and we take every advantage we can to spend time there.
June 2022
A couple significant events occurred in June; we spent time in larger groups - twice - for the first time in more than 2 years! My cousin Stephanie had an outdoor, bird themed birthday party and we had a great time on a beautiful sunny day celebrating her new year. We also attended our first indoor concert (Jann Arden). We remained masked for the entire show as a precaution, as did many (but certainly not all) others. It was so great to see and hear Jann live again. Not only is she a talented singer/songwriter, she has a wicked sense of humour. We laughed as much as we swayed to her music.
July 2022
High summer gave me many opportunities to capture beautiful sunrises on Rice lake, but also to photograph that early morning magic elsewhere, like the textured wheatfields of a local farm. I chose to make this image in black and white to further emphasize the lines created by farm equipment and the texture of the wheat, enhanced by the low sun. 
July also signalled a return to work travel; I spent about a week in Seattle, participating and mentoring at a photo educators event sponsored by Adobe. The day before the workshops were to start, the teaching team did some location scouting for an upcoming photo walk, from the hotel to the Space Needle and then back towards Pike Place Market. It was a great walk. Despite the fact I seriously gashed my leg early into the walk on a randomly parked scooter (I was looking up, not ahead), I came away with some great images, but above all fave is the shot of Mount Rainier framed inside the Great Wheel. It was the only time during my entire stay that the mountain was visible to me, and I'm grateful for having my camera at the ready.
August 2022
After a two-year hiatus, the Excellent Adventure was back on. My friend Tom offered to host me and our other Adventure partner, Doug, for the week. We took him around to all the touristy locations: Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, the Toronto waterfront, even the Hockey Hall of Fame, which Doug absolutely loved.
I also ended up travelling for work again in August back to - you guessed it - Seattle! This time though it was for internal team meetings and professional development. And that was the last time I had to board a plane for work in 2022. Yay!
September 2022
We started our fall drives in September, checking out new locations and new events, including a sunflower farm and a sideroad near Apsley that treated us to views of three beautiful lakes (Loon Call Lake, Wolfe Lake and Anstruther Lake). We spent all our time on this drive at Loon Call, but returned to this area later October.
Bonus image! I did not take this photo (obviously) but when my son and (new) daughter-in-law came to visit, we went to Elmhirst's Resort for breakfast before they headed back to Ottawa. Joe had been raving to Stephanie about the food at Elmhirst's for the longest time and I'm happy (and a bit relieved) to say that, as a pretty serious foodie, Steph was quite impressed with the meal. Check her out on Instagram.
October 2022
October 2022 was very significant as I had booked my work sabbatical for the entire month and the first week of November. Every 5 years at Adobe, you are awarded an extended sabbatical - with full pay.  It begins with 4 weeks, and every 5 years, an extra week gets added. What an unbelievable benefit. We spent a lot of time at the cottage, but also spent a few days in Prince Edward County - a late anniversary gift to each other.
November 2022
The first week of November was very rough. After 18 years, we had to say goodbye to our dear, sweet Hunny. I brought her in from the cold on a bitter winter's day all those years ago. She was shivering and so small she fit in my cupped hands. We were instantly bonded, forever family. This photo of her was from her last day. It was a very warm November day and we let her rest in her favorite spot - on the deck in the sun. Losing her was gut-wrenching and guilt-ridden, but keeping her would have been selfish.
I miss you so, my sweet, sweet girl.
Three of the four November images are from the backyard. I do love the reflections and colours in the leaf-filled birdbath. The yellow-gold maple leaves (NOT the backyard) symbolized to me the end of autumn, color draining from the world.
December 2022
The final month of 2022...the month of magic for many...but not for all. I lost a good friend to cancer in December. He was a photographic inspiration to me. 

I wish I had known him longer.

Both Karen and I still feel deep pangs of loss over Hunny. Sometimes it just hits us like a hammer. Each Christmas, after I set up the tree, she could always be found curled up underneath it. Sometimes, she push presents out of the way to get just the right spot for a nap. 

Never again.

However, there is still magic even in the midst of loss. There is the chance to look forward more and behind a little less. There is the thrill of mysterious packages under the tree and promise of what the new year will bring.

And we had a chance to gather as a family the week before Christmas. It was so good to see my mom and sister and several of my nieces and grand-nieces.

I even managed a few captures of the very timid Mrs. Cardinal. My long lens and teleconverter combination (equivalent to an 1000mm focal length) came in VERY handy. That image is cropped perhaps 10 percent at most.

While I did not create a Christmas video this year as I have the past couple years, I did  some set up shots of our holiday decor, captured in hi-res mode on my Olympus EM5 Mark III, not just casual grabs with my phone. I plan to add some of them to my Adobe Stock portfolio next autumn, in time for winter buyers.

And, speaking of Adobe Stock, I'm closing the year off with a record-breaking (for me) number of licensed downloads: 301! It may not sound like much, but considering the fact that my total for 2021 was only 134 downloads, I'm pretty stoked.
In Closing...
Well, that was the year it was - in pictures, at least. Feel free to browse my Behance site to see other projects from the year, or read about my sabbatical adventures (well, pretty tame, to be honest).

I know everyone has had ups and downs in 2022. I've shared a couple of mine, here in this article. I genuinely hope that that you had more ups than downs, that you had much joy and growth in your year. I wish you all more happiness, wonder, joy and fulfillment in the year to come. 

Keep living life, laugh like you mean it, tell those close to you that you love them, even - especially - if you think they already know. Tell them anyway.

And don't ever stop.

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