Happy New Year (and what a year it was!)

Tips & Techniques

With the year 2020 finally behind us, I wanted to wish a very Happy New 2021 Year to our readers all around the world. Thank you for being our readers, and for continuing to come back to Photography Life. It is an honor to write for such an amazing group of people, many of whom have become my friends over the years. I wish you the very best, and I hope you and your family have lots of health, love, stability, and prosperity in 2021 and beyond.

Christmas Tree

Without a doubt, 2020 was a tough and turbulent year for many of us, including our team here at PL. When we got kicked out of Jordan at the start of the lockdown back in March, I had no idea that I would be spending the rest of the year sitting tight at home. Borders were closed, people were getting sick and dying, and the pandemic was ravaging the whole world. The US was hit real hard.

As I was on my way home through Turkey, it was devastating to see Istanbul so empty and lifeless. In fact, arriving at the Istanbul Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, was an eerie experience. It was practically empty, with most departure flights cancelled due to lockdowns:

Istanbul Airport Departures
Cancelled departure flights at Istanbul Airport

I had never seen anything like this before. Pages and pages of departure screens showing their “Cancelled” status. People rushed to the safety of their homes. Suddenly, the world became very different. My flight home was quite uneventful but worrisome. While I was boarding my flight to Denver, my wife was telling me about the empty shelves in stores and the problem with toilet paper shortages. I still can’t figure that one out…

The departure gate only had a few people, and when I boarded the plane, I realized that the plane was basically empty:

Empty Flight
I had a few rows all to myself…

I was exhausted and I wanted to rest, so I laid down and fell asleep, hoping that this was all just a dream.

Except it wasn’t. I got home, isolated myself in my basement for the next 3 weeks. I could not risk bringing the virus home when my mom is hooked up to the dialysis machine, battling two cancers. After two days, I got sick. I don’t know with what – it could have been COVID-19, could have been something else. My temperature stayed below 38C, but I had severe body aches. It lasted for a few days, but I thankfully recovered.

After I got out of quarantine, the world was in an even bigger mess. Record numbers of infections and deaths. The devastation to the economy, with the whole travel, food, and airline industries basically collapsing in a matter of months was rough for so many families. Some of my classmates passed away. COVID-19 was ruthless to anyone with health issues, especially the older folks.

It just kept on coming: The 5G Conspiracy Theory, BLM, murder hornets, wildfires, camera industry collapse… In short, 2020 had more than a few “are you kidding me?!” moments for many of us.

One could look at all the events of 2020 and label it as a very bad year. Some news outlets even named it the “year from hell”. Yet, there is always hope. Perhaps this was a way for our planet to say “enough is enough”. With fewer planes and cars on the roads, plants and wildlife took a breather. We learned the value of close family relationships, the value of being able to see each other face-to-face. The value of hugs and kisses with our siblings and closest friends. The value of being able to stand together and turn up in record numbers to let our voices be heard.


I am looking forward to a more positive and productive 2021. I believe in our humanity, kindness, love and care for each other.

Happy New Year dear friends.

With Love and Respect,

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