My Favourite 50 Photos of 2020

The South Coast of New South Wales is a sleepy sort of a place. There’s no heavy industry here, no mining and no big cities. What it does have is amazing scenery – lovely pristine beaches, enormous untouched national parks. It has been a popular holiday destination for a long time and, assuming climate change doesn’t further devastate this area, will continue to attract holidaymakers southwards.

Back at the start of the year this part of the world was enduring the worst bushfire season in a generation and, as we all watched the daily updates from the amazing members of the RFS, we thought that fire was going to be the worst of it. But the only constant in life is change and those of us lucky enough to live in wealthy countries were about to get a taste of the sort of upheaveal that everyone else has been dealing with all along …

An RFS appliance speeds south down the Princes Highway at Berry towards the fire engulfing the Morton National Park - January 4

With so much of the Shoalhaven region burning, tourists who would have flocked to the area during the summer school holidays, were told to stay away. Some parts of the region were cut off completely by the fires meaning that supply trucks could not make their regular drops to the shops and supermarkets. This meant that there was considerable acrimony towards tourists that decided to visit anyway and ended up fighting for the limited resources of water and food in the stores. As a consequence of the fires, the beaches were uncommonly quiet for that time of the year.
January 22

This is Callala Beach in Jervis Bay. Normally this beautiful stretch of white-sand would be packed with tourists, but in late January 2020 it was extremely quiet - January 28
Then in early February we had floods which was actually really good news because all that heavy rain put the end to many of the bushfires. It’s not uncommon at all for this land to flood, it happens on a regular basis, but the severity of the floods has been steadily increasing - February 11
As news of the Corona Virus and its spread began dominating the news headlines, Australia closed its borders and began formulating our lockdown. Before we got shut down I headed over to the northern end of the Morton National Park to photograph the aftermath of the bushfires. It was a sobering sight, but even just a few weeks after this area had been decimated, there were signs of regrowth - March 02
Sunset over the Shoalhaven estuary - April 13

I love photographing the seabirds at Gerroa. Pretty often it’s just me and them on the beach, enjoying a vibrant sunset. Seven Mile Beach is a flat and shallow beach with no drop-off at all, which means you can get glassy reflections in the sand as the tide’s going out – April 25 & June 16

Kiama has always been a popular holiday town and is a popular weekend destination for Sydneysiders. The numbers of visitors was slowly increasing by early July and the winter weather was a lovely - July 1
In July I used some of my government stimulus payments to purchase a new camera. This was a big deal because I had been using Canon digital cameras since I rediscovered photography 25 years ago. I bought a Fujifilm X-T4 and lenses and one of the first places I headed to enjoy my new camera was Drawing Room Rocks. When I first visited this location 17 years ago, it was known only to locals and Catherine and I got lost three times on the over-grown track to the top. These days that same track is like a motorway and there is a constant stream of people walking up and down the track through the Barren Grounds National Park to experience the views. I don’t think I have any more right than anyone else to enjoy this sort of a location, but I do miss the way it felt when I first discovered it. Like many photographers who have seen the serenity of their favourite beauty-spots ruined by the Instagram-effect, I now only reveal the location of places that are already well known - August 18
Towards the start of spring I headed down to Jervis Bay for the first time in five months and enjoyed the short bush walk between Greenfield Beach and Chinamans. On the way back I caught sight of this nicely framed view and photographed it with my 50-230mm zoom lens. It seemed to connect with a lot of people and was my most ‘liked’ photo of the year - August 30

These are some of my favourite kinds of shots to take. They’re taken with an extremely low aperture so that the lens is wide open. This creates a very narrow focal plane in which only a small slice of the image is in focus. So if you shoot wide open in front of a rising sun and focus on some dune grass you get this awesome effect. October 4, October 5, October 12.

I’m pretty sure that this is my favourite shot of the year. There’s just a really cool vibe to it. I shot it with my big 400mm zoom lens, at full stretch, looking back across the arc of Seven Mile Beach towards the setting sun. The wind was blowing the tops of the waves and I timed this shot precisely for when the wave broke in front of the rapidly setting sun - October 21.
One of my happy places is the boat ramp at the bottom end of Hay Avenue in Shoalhaven Heads. As you can see, it’s great place to capture the setting sun over water and I’ve captured some of my favourite photos in this exact spot. Sometimes you get lucky with the sky and crepuscular rays light the way – October 5.
My friend the sea eagle. I see this guy regularly on Seven Mile Beach - he or she commutes from the northern end of the beach south towards the river to hunt for salmon and I’m always pleased to see him/her - November 22

As we headed towards the end of the year, restrictions continued to ease here in N.S.W. It’s pretty evident by now that this global pandemic has revealed the very best and the very worst in people. The very best are of course those people working in healthcare who have put their own lives on the line repeatedly caring for people with the illness. And the very worst were those people who bought into the deluded fantasy that the virus was fake and in so-doing endangered the lives of their fellow citizens. If I hope for one thing in 2021, it’s that we find a way of cutting out the cancer of conspiracy fantasies and paranoid bullshit like anti-vaxx, big reset and climate-change denial and, since day-dreams cost nothing, I’d also like a world in which we weren’t governed by the politics of hate on the far-right – December 3.

What the world needs now is less bullshit and more surfing - December 1.
Whatever else happens in 2021, this is where you’ll probably find me most evenings, round-about sunset, if the clouds are behaving themselves. Let’s kick this crappy year into touch and move forwards into the next with our feet on the ground and hope in our hearts - December 12.
For the last 16 years I’ve been photographing, blogging (and more recently vlogging) about everything I find, see and enjoy here in South Coast, New South Wales. This is my blogging site focused on my hobby (and part-time job) of photography. Please enjoy my little writing and my photography and I’d love to hear your feedback.
© 2021 Andy Hutchinson
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