2020 Favorite Fotos

This was going to be a top ten. But then it became impossible to keep to just that figure. Choosing 30 even required a bit of restraint.

In a year that it can be easy to assert nothing happened because of the pandemic, I was able to still find adventure. It is clear my thematic focus this year has been what is happening on the street, conflict, drone, art, and sometimes the mixing thereof.

Madison

The Wisconsin State Capitol Building is a central focus because this is my neighborhood. The building is located on a geographically unique natural feature for a state capitol in that it is on an isthmus. The square nestled in between two lakes has many moods.

The Wisconsin State Capitol Building and State Street
Sunset on an otherwise drab winter day.
This was not planned. I just happened to be in the right place.
The Wisconsin statue above the Capitol Building.
Such is love.

The streets surrounding the Capitol Building, specifically State Street, offer a daily human carnival if you keep your eyes open. I use a Tamron 18-400mm lens to keep my distance in order to not be seen. It allows me to watch these tiny dramas unfold without disrupting their unrehearsed performances.

There is great wealth disparity in my neighborhood, and I feel wedged in the middle.
This is by far one of my favorite favorites.
Biking under the Monona Terrace.
Sunset at James Madison Park.

Conflict

The unjust killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other African-Americans sparked national protests. Madison traffic was frequently shut down as massive crowds marched for justice. Living across the street from the police station meant that sometimes, at all hours, the protests were literally on my doorstep.

Black Lives Matter protests rocked Madison.
The mist is tear gas. It is not a pleasant experience.
Shows of force have an ugly history in Madison. They were called off the next night.

Peaceful protests sometimes devolved into street violence. Early on the Wisconsin State Troopers clashed with protesters. One night the statues of representing Women’s suffrage and noted anti-slavery activist were torn down and dragged through the streets. I had the unfortunate experience of being tear gassed several times during the chaos. But I also got to meet the sweetest, kindest, and most generous people in this area. When I was hungry they fed me. When I was in pain they came to my aid. When I was in danger they protected me.

The Fire Deparment respond to a literal dumpster fire set by BLM activists.
An LGBTQ rights supporter heckles a pro-Trump protest.
Military cosplayers providing “safety” to a protest already protected by Capitol Police.

In stark contrast to the BLM protests were the anti-mask and election protests staged by Trump supporters. In principle they wanted the same thing, a better America. Where they starkly continue to differ is for whom; on the one side everyone regardless of race, color, orientation or creed and on the opposing side protection from “them” by returning to a time when America was great. I’ll let you infer which side brought guns to back up their arguments.

I must admit the sheer distain in these people’s faces is gratifying.

Light Painting

Even in these unprecedentedly dark times I found the time to work with a favored artistic brush, light. Long exposures require the cover of darkness to work in, and I feel most alive at night. Life on the isthmus isn’t always so kinetic, so it takes a bit of forethought to imagine how to these will look beforehand. The lights captured on the street are merely short snapshots of time. Put them together and they seem to come alive.

State Street and Forward provide an outline for traffic.
Notice the heart outline in the hotel’s windows?
I’m actually moving around in pitch blackness for this multiple long exposure.
Experiment with LED lights, sparklers, gravity, and apartment fire suppression.

Nature

While the pandemic prevented me from wandering too far from home I was able to escape to South Dakota’s badlands. Traveling with me can be an exercise in frustration for those who like to plan, because I intentionally do very little research beforehand. Around every corner is adventure when you know little about what will come next. I am also a fan of the drama that inclement weather can provide.

I discovered South Dakota is actually quite breathtaking.
One of the last sights I took in at Badlands National Park.
Trundling along on Lake Monona.
This shot proved a lot more popular than I thought it would.

The Red Sessions

On Thursday nights I host a live show on State Street where I can peacock. There are also various venues around Madison that cater to those who like to show off. But those things are shut down until further notice, so I decided to focus on documenting a select few of those outfits. A trio of them became known as “The Red Sessions.”

Yeg’dr√§kken the Bloodthirsty seeks the Blood Orb to lay waste to the Southern Kingdoms.
The Preacher says there is no need for forgiveness, if sin is but a silly little illusion.
The pandemic beard intensified my natural grizzle.

Laura

The cutest button in our family.

The last photo I have decided to highlight is merely a personal favorite.

Here is hoping 2021 brings all new adventures.

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