Winner Announcement

SouthPoint Abstract © jj raia

In a recent post, an offer was made for a free, limited edition print simply by entering your name and selected image in the form at the bottom of that post, with the winner’s name picked from a hat today in a video during the inauguration of our new president. However, since readers can determine the number of applicants by simply looking at the image above, that selection became unnecessary.

Intimate Encounters — 2020

Ridgelines – Cowee Overlook — BRP, NC © jj raia

There is a general feeling throughout the country, and I’m sure throughout the world, of some measure of relief and joy that 2020 is finally behind us, and looking forward with hope and anticipation to improving circumstances as we progress through this year. It’s a time for us to reflect on these past 12 months, identify and give thanks for our blessings, and do all we can to make this year healthy for not just ourselves, but for everyone.

I hope that this final video of photos taken this year will encourage folks to take notice of the under appreciated people and little things in our daily lives, and realize they are more deserving of our thoughts and attention. I also hope that, after watching through to the end, and listening to the music, your spirit might be lightened a bit from the darkness we have endured for what seems like such a long time, that you will feel as uplifted and joyful as I did when making these photographs, and that it might serve as a few moments of escape from time to time when needed. Even the simple exercise of putting it together has helped me feel encouraged about the prospects the future holds for us. I pray it will bring that same feeling to you…

j.j. raia

Click the photo to go to the video

Final Vision vs. Final Version

Rain-Soaked Forest — Chatham County, NC © jj raia

The image above was not what I had in mind when I tripped the shutter. What was there was something completely different from the final vision I wanted it to become; the frame is simply how it appeared to the camera.

On the day in December I went out, it was supposed to be a foggy morning, and there was fog around after some pretty heavy rains the previous day and through the night. But the fog never really reached ground level, remaining just above the treetops when viewed from a long distance. So I drove around, searching for a location where there was thick fog at ground level, but just never came across any. So that idea was a bust.

2020 — A Tough Year

Rothko — Blazing Sunset – Isle of Palms, SC © jj raia

Outside times of world and civil wars, Twenty-Twenty has probably been one of the most difficult years experienced not only in America, but across the planet. The continuing assault on our health and health care systems has wreaked havoc on the world’s economies as well. So it seems a bit frivolous trying to reflect back on the year excluding the effects of COVID-19, and merely focusing in on photography.

Because of the virus and limits for safe travel, no major photographic trips were scheduled during the year, and the annual trip to New Jersey to visit family for the holidays was cancelled due to a major surge of infections beginning late October/early November. But a short, spur of the moment, two-night camping fall color trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway did make it into the year, along with a pre-virus reservation for an early fall week in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Each was met with a bit of anxiety; casual conversations with other folks were curtailed, and dining out was certainly out of the question.

Other than those excursions, all the other photography for the year centered around nearby Jordan Lake, Raleigh, and my kitchen for a few still life images. But the isolating circumstances caused many to focus inward, to learn new post processing skills or looking back through our files to reconsider images that languished in the netherworld of computer memory. Experimentation also found its way into some photos this year with some successes and some abject failures. Hopefully it was time well spent.

As we enter the next few months, with high expectations that vaccines will pave the way forward out of this dark year, a new government administration, and a deep hope for a return of some semblance of “normal life”, I wish everyone Peace, Health and Happiness for the coming year!!