My Favorites at 2020


It was the last time I traveled by airplane. I visited city of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas. The most impressive thing I saw during the trip was Seven Magic Mountains.

They are formed by seven columns make of colorful rocks, with the height over 35 feet, standing in deserts surrounded by Red Rock Canyon. The exhibition was originally opened on May 11, 2016, and was scheduled to be on view for two years.  Due to the incredible success since opening, the artist Ugo Rondinone expressed a strong desire to keep the artworks at its current site through the end of 2021.


By February of 2020 we had already gone through New Year and Lunar New Year without much concerns on coronavirus, which was originated from other side of the earth.  The water at Mississippi River was already mostly open, various kinds of birds started their work to cultivate new lives.  People have begun to enjoy exploring the natural beauty, boating and fishing.

life was overall as good as usual by then.


Lockdown started throughout the country. The used to be crowed railway station became nearly barren. People had learned to wear face mask if they had to get out of their houses. By then I could see the worrisome showing on people’s face.

But I still naively believed we would get over the pandemic very soon.


There was a last snowfall in this winter. Deers and other wild animals stopped by our backyard searching for foods as they had been always doing.

Being not able to go out as before I felt isolated and depressed. Only by looking at those bright innocent eyes could I gain some strength and hope.


Weather was getting warmer and ice was melting. With full protective gears and my camera I finally went to a nearby lake to feel a breath of fresh air in spring.

Regardless what was happening in human’s world, mother nature was still running as it had been. The new lives were cultivated and growing under the protective wings of their parents.


After being in pajamas every day since middle of March, I jumped into my favorite yellow dress. We drove to a farmland with couple of old abandoned barns scattered on it. I danced under the sunset to release the stresses and get rid of adversities inside me.


In the last week of June, a robin couple built a nest under our roof, and laid 4 eggs there.  I believe that they brought us with something good before we were about to complete the turbulent first half of 2020.

The eggs were hatched to 4 robin chicks in the first week of July.  I had chance to photograph them growing day by day until they left their nest after another two weeks. Robin’s lifespan is only two years, I wish those young birds have been truly enjoying every minute on the earth!


At this time of every year the galaxy turns to be vertical to the earth. In order to capture any decent milky way photos, an area without any light pollution was required.  In addition high ISO (~ 2,000), high exposure (~ f2.8) and low shutter speed (~ 30 seconds) were also considered.  I got my first milky way photo on our family farm located in norther Wisconsin.  

Around midnight the surround was completed dark and milky way became visible above field.  I set up a tripod to snap the magnificent galaxy.


One of the advantages by living at Minnesota is that there are four distinct seasons!  But the length of the season are different, four months for summer, six months for winter, and only one month each for spring and fall.

Starting from middle of September I usually take one day each week away from work only to go around enjoying what autumn has to offer.  The warm colors from autumn can be seen everywhere, even besides an unknown road. The golden hue from various plants once again inspired me.


The fall color became even richer in October. One of my favorite subjects are waterfalls surrounded by colorful plants.

Minneopa Creek flows 11-miles through farmland over two waterfalls. The creek cascades about 6 or 7 feet over the upper falls and flows 66 feet before dropping over the 39-foot lower falls. The name is a shortening of Minneinneopa, which is translated from the Dakota language as “water falling twice.”

The water is flowing over the same course for many years, while witnessing the changes in people’s lives along its shorelines. I am sure it can tell many stories if it can talk, especially the stories behind the pandemic.


The migration of sandhill cranes started in the middle of October until the middle of November to avoid brutal cold winter up north. In their flight they usually stopped by some places for foods and resting. Sherbourne National Wildlife Refuge, with large range of meadow, became one of their temporary hideaway places.

There I saw them flying out on sunrise, landing on nearby fields for foods and flying back on sunset. They stay together in big groups during all actions, which forms magnificent view on the sky and fields.

Watching the sunset and rise again next day I believed that regardless what the situation is, the Sun would certainly come out tomorrow to bring us with its warmth.


So far we had been through a lot, around 1.6 millions lives worldwide have been taken by COVID-19.

As a result this holiday season was difference from any previous ones, since many of us have to be home alone or meeting with friends or families virtually. There might not be as much laughs on dinner table, as much as storytelling in front of fireplace, as much as hugs and greetings among friends and families. But we can feel there are something connecting us in this cold winter, virtually we are still celebrating together.

After we see 2020 off, we welcome year 2021 with more compassion, love and confidence!

My favorite image from 2020

7 thoughts on “My Favorites at 2020

  1. Beautiful post Yan, with wonderful images filled with warm color. An emotional walk down the memory lane of Covid 19 as well. Around the world I think we all went through the same emotional roller coaster as the months went by. let us hope the vaccines help us to turn the tide and put us back on the road to recovery. Wishing you good health and many joyful moments in 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

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