Back to Work!?

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How are you doing with your “pandemic recovery?”  I have been considering getting back to work – but here’s what I’ve found.  First, it’s a lot of two-steps-forward-one-step-back.  Yes you can travel, but the airlines are having staffing issues and not all places are managing the pandemic the same way.  Some require masks, for example, and some do not.  Of course you must have a good, comfortable mask for traveling because you have to wear it the entire trip – in the airports, on the plane – so hours of travel time.

Recently, I took a trip to Flagstaff, Arizona to shoot with a friend who is a professional model.  She was traveling through the area, so she picked me up in Albuquerque and dropped me off in Phoenix.  It was a great trip.  Flagstaff did require masks in restaurants – but at least the restaurants were open!  I do lots of planning for these trips – and I was glad that I had done so for this trip.  I am very good about setting alarms for flight check in.  On my return flight it was overbooked.  We had seven people on the wait list – and only two cleared.  That’s five people sitting n the ground in Phoenix watching the plane take off without them….  In these times of uncertain travel, it’s good to be extra careful about the rules – make sure you are checked in, you have a mask, etc.

That trip was a month ago.  Today, I couldn’t make the same trip.  By the end of June they had closed many of the National Forests in the area due to dry weather conditions and the related fire danger.  By the time I am writing this there are dozens of fires in Arizona alone – with around 95 fires across the Western US.  The temps in the last month out west are far hotter than they are in Houston – like 20 degrees hotter and those folks in the Western US and the Pacific Northwest are just not prepared for that heat.  Some of the locations you might want to use for photography are just not available or just not safe.

If you’re reading my blog you might have noticed that I do a lot of European travel.  This update’s Places portfolio is all Paris.  However, Europeans and US authorities are struggling to normalize travel between Europe and the US.  Airlines are selling you COVID test kits so you can come home – and an airline is the last place I’d buy medical anything….   We spend most of our time in Europe in France, and some of that time in major cities like Paris and Lyon.  However, we rent canal boats – the topic of my next blog – and travel through many smaller towns in France.  Those areas are subject to all kinds of pandemic restrictions – and at this point we don’t feel they are consistently reliable enough to venture out to yet.

So, am I back?  Well, I am back to shooting.  I have some projects that I am shooting locally and I do work on those on a regular basis.  I would like to travel to shoot – but right now even the airlines are a bit unreliable and many of the locations I have an interest in are just not in good shape.  I think my recent trip was snuck in between the rules coming loose and everything going to hell.  I am pleased I went but not likely to repeat the experience for a few months.  If you’re going to travel – for photography or any other reason – stay safe an plan well.

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