Long time no speak. Sorry about that and I hope it’s never this long again. My world got rocked at the end of August and just now finding the time to sit down and be thoughtful of my life in the past few months.
To sum things up, I had my baby almost 2 months premature. What started out as a regular visit to my doctors, ended up being a 10-day stay in the hospital and delivering at 33 weeks and 1 day. Little baby Tony spent 3 weeks in the NICU but we’re all doing great now. Bringing him home was the happiest but also one of the scariest days of my life. How am I responsible for this little baby?
In general, motherhood has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Everything in my life changed immediately and my priorities shifted massively. For the first two months, every week seemed like it brought a new challenge or something I was not aware of. Whether it’s questioning if he’s getting enough to eat, if he’s sleeping enough, or even if he’s sleeping too much? I was not prepared for how much I’d love this little boy but how much I’d worry about him all at the same time. My life turned into doomsday scrolling on google at 3 am all while looking at pictures of him on my phone missing him and crying about how much I loved him. The emotions after labor are nuts!
After a while, I started to feel like I was losing myself. I hadn’t picked up the camera in weeks and I missed being able to wander without having to worry about anything else.
Then one day I got a message that my friend, Andy was leaving DC. A group of people was getting together for one last sunrise with him. As soon as I read it, I knew I had to go. It was a clear sky but it still brought all kinds of drama with the sky column and fog. I’m grateful for this outing because it made me realize that it is still possible to go out to shoot, even with a baby. So from that point on, I told myself that I would try my best to go out at least once a week to shoot.
Virginia was issued the initial stay at home order on March 30th, 2020 due to the Coronavirus. It didn’t come as a surprise but it was still something that I had to mentally prepare for. Honestly, one of my first thoughts about it all was, “How am I going to go and take pictures?” Not only is photography fun for me, but it is my way of exploring places, finding stories, and expressing myself. In the past, the longest I had ever gone without taking pictures was a week. I already knew the stay at home order was going to be tough.
The world was a rapidly changing place and I was craving to capture it. Here’s are the images I created in the first two months:
Covid-19 really started being a concern in the Washington DC area just before the cherry blossom season. We had an unusually mild, dry winter that allowed the cherry blossoms to bloom a bit earlier in the year than they usually do. So I was excited to be able to visit the Tidal Basin with a bit less of a crowd since travel was in the process of slowing down and social distancing was starting to become a new term. I tried to go as much as I could until it started to get too crowded. When it got to be too much, I decided to just stay home and be happy with the images I was able to create. My logic was to take as many pictures as I could until it got to be unsafe and then spend quarantine editing them.
Weekdays at sunrise are really the best times to visit the Tidal Basin during cherry blossom season, Coronavirus or not.
The last day I was at the Tidal Basin when it started to get a little too crowded
The cherry blossom trees are smaller at the Washington Monument, but still just as beautiful. I tried capturing a few images from there since it’s a larger area to roam.
Cherry blossom trees are seen from the George Mason Memorial
Mt Vernon Trail/Georgetown
That weekend, Andrew and I decided that we should try to get out “one last time” before we had to stay home. We decided that the Mount Vernon trail would be a good place to go and stretch our legs. Andrew walked Frankie on the trail which allowed me to take my camera and capture a few images as well.
At the cherry blossom peak bloom, but the pink flowers came out a little hazy in the fog.
(L) A quick stop in Georgetown along the Key Bridge. (R) Views of the Washington Memorials are seen all along the Mount Vernon Trail.
So this is where my real pandemic images begin. It had been about 1.5-2 weeks since our walk on the Mount Vernon trail and I was going crazy. I had never purposely taken such a long break from taking pictures, and it was not making me feel good. I was really craving creativity, seeing what this new world looked like, and just to walk around with my camera. So I started locally. I mean really local since I live within a few blocks from the metro. I figured with public transportation being at an all-time low, it was probably the safest and most isolated I would ever see it.
It’s been 15 days since the first confirmed case of the coronavirus hitting Washington DC and I’m still a little speechless. I know everyone around the world is dealing with Covid-19 in their own way so I just wanted to take a second to say Hello. How are you doing? I hope all is well.
Magnolia and Forsythias
Like many others, I’ve been feeling unsettled and worried. With so much information and rumors being spread around, it’s hard to know what to believe. I’m constantly checking news sites for updates but unintentionally getting information flashed before me on social media and by friends and family sharing links. There have been times where I’ve felt so overwhelmed that I needed to turn off my phone.
All of my photography walks, talks and events have been canceled for this month and next. I’ve never mentioned this before, but I was in the middle of working on a coffee table book with a book publisher that was expected to be released in 2022 and that has even been canceled. This whole situation has been disappointing, to say the least.
View of the Washington Monument from the Enid A Haupt Garden
So I did what I thought was best. I found myself seeking more spiritual advice and journaling my feelings. I tried to look on the bright side of things:
I have a home where I can stay comfortably and safely with everything I need right here.
I’ve been reconnecting with old friends since everyone seems to have a little more time on their hands.
The sense of community and working together has never felt so warming and needed.
But even more so, the sense of gratitude has uplifted me through the times where I’ve felt helpless:
People all over the world are risking their own health to save others.
Thank you, doctors and other health care professionals, food delivery men and women, news reporters, government officials, and everyone in between who is doing their best to make the world a safer and easier place to live.
People who are on the internet spreading the good word and encouraging everyone to stay mentally and physically healthy by offering advice has made me smile every day.
Acts of generosity that have come from unexpected places have filled my heart.
Washington Monument is seen from the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial
With all these new feelings of confusion, worry but also gratitude, I keep coming back to the fact that I am very lucky. I’m lucky that my family and I are healthy and safe. There are people dealing with far more pressing issues than getting bored at home all the time. I am fine. Andrew’s fine. My parents, brother and distant relatives are fine. Frankie’s fine. *thank you.
But before all of this happened, I was writing a spring guide to DC flowers which I will probably finish at a later time. It just doesn’t feel right or natural to keep on working on it right now. But what’s most natural to me, is going out and photographing the city. The days leading up to the craziness of the Coronavirus, I was busy photographing the saucer magnolias that were peaking around the city. I knew we would be quarantined or on lockdown soon so I tried my best to go out and capture them so I had some images to edit while I was home.
Magnolias in peak bloom around Washington DC
Now that cherry blossoms are peaking and we’re told to practice social distancing, I have been going out this past week to take pictures, but by myself. I’m usually out there in the mornings when there aren’t as many people around. It’s so weird when a popular event like the cherry blossoms peaking at the Tidal Basin is usually shoulder to shoulder crowded but this year is a lot less crowded and everyone is cautious avoiding each other.
Stone lantern at the Tidal Basin in Washington DC
Bur from here on out, I’ll be self-quarantining only leaving my house to walk Frankie around the neighborhood or if we need groceries. Everything else will have to wait. Expect a “best places to find spring in DC” post soon. But for now, I just thought I’d drop in and tell you that you are loved and I hope you are safe.