Covid-19 and Creativity- A Photographic Lookback

Calgary owl photographer
A gloriously timed shot of the Cold Moon and a Snowy Owl. Dec 2020
Covid-19 changed our world immensely, and in many ways, certainly forever. The impact it had on the creatives of the world was unprecedented, but not all of it was negative! 
As an artist (who works in IT full time), I had the additional challenge of  going through this pandemic as someone living alone. Being a social butterfly, I wither up without constant human contact and interaction. Never have I been more grateful for living in the beautiful province of Alberta- with all her lush and varied amenities accessible all over the province. Being able to jump into my car, and search for raptors, or photograph canola, or tour the mountain roads has been instrumental in maintaining my mental health through all of this. In spite of the precarious times, I also traveled a bit this year (safely, with masks!). Some of my travels included Vancouver to ride bikes around Stanley Park for a blissful day, Tampa, Florida for some family business to attend to, and Montreal, Quebec to photograph the beautiful sights of Canada’s Europe. Having a flight attendant girlfriend has it’s perks. (Watch for a future blog post about Covid-19 pandemic travel! )
 
 Accomplishment-wise, ironically, 2020 has been one of my biggest years of personal growth in photography. With one photo going semi-viral, being featured in a national photo magazine for my astrophotography (including a cover!), 2 photo essays published nationally, a photo story published in another magazine about Aurora Chasing, and many other varied and interesting opportunities that came my way, I feel I used the downtime wisely. Thrillingly, my work was also curated and featured in a gallery show in Philadelphia, USA (“Magic Body” Gallery of Contemporary Art)
 A second co-author credit came my way for my photos of STEVE  in the Journal of Geophysical Science, Space Physics, when the article got approved in February. Working with the esteemed space researcher Dr. Stephen Mende of UC Berkeley is a huge honour, and one of my proudest achievements! 

In November I launched an Etsy store, which I will be adding to considerably this year. There I will have calenders, cards, prints available along with other items made from my photos.

Stay tuned for my new series of photo Editing video tutorials I am launching in 2021 as well!

 
I wrapped up the last day of the year with another photo op that was truly incredible and has garnered a fair bit of attention– a snowy owl posed against the Cold Moon! I can truly say I did not waste a single photo op, and I also made many new friendships with photographers in Alberta.
 
My single status did allow me to be in my parent’s bubble, and sadly, the only one amongst my siblings to be able to hug my mother and stepfather this Christmas. I waved to my nieces from inside, when gifts were dropped off. It was “off” without my brother, sister, in-laws and kids around, and as every day with our parents is a gift-  I savored each moment. Below is a short summary photographically of some of 2020’s highlights! A big thank you to my followers and friends on all social media platforms- I truly appreciate your feedback and comments! Happy New Year! – Christy
Covid Christmas 2020
Christmas was entirely different, gifts were dropped off.
Share Nature photo contest
Our Canada Readers Digest Christy Turner
Readers Digest/Our Canada Photo Essay- Chasing Aurora in Canada!

Photographically, my year started off with a very posh wedding of 200 people,12-person wedding party at the Fairmont Palliser, where I covered the groomsmen for the first time ever. I really love how my photos came out from this session, these guys were so cool!

I was able to try out a few photoshop tricks at the time. It was great to be able to use some of my new editing skills from my Advanced Photoshop course. I also studied Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe User Experience Design , sharpening my graphic arts skills.

 
I took 4 courses this year towards a certificate from the University of Calgary in Integrated Digital Media. I expect to have this completed in 2021!

A Year of Extremes

Calgary wedding photographer, Fairmont Palliser, yyc weddings
Expert commended by Nikon
Calgary wedding photographer

Covid-19 "Porchtraits" #frontporchproject

Seniors Covid-19 portraits
Covid 19 Porchtraits
Calgary Porchtraits Covid 19

Like many photographers, when the lockdown began, we all wondered how our creativity could still be expressed, how we could connect with others in this new Covid-19 environment.

I think the idea of Portraits on the Porch (Porchtraits) occured to many of us creatives all at once, in some fashion. However, I was inspired by a prominent Calgary photographer and personal mentor, Neil Zeller to do my own. Neil published a wonderful book called “Porchtraits” and it is well worth a look. 

My lockdown Porchtraits effort raised nearly $1k for the Calgary Food bank. I also volunteered portraits for Mount Pleasant community at Christmas, to wrap up my year of family photos on the front step!

A City Gone to Sleep

Lockdown started for Calgarians in March, and living downtown made it especially strange and surreal. Living in the heart of restaurants, bars and clubs, suddenly the din of revelers was gone, music was silent, and it was as quiet as the country at night. 

This urban stillness inspired me to do a photographic project on the Silent City, and it was published as a photo essay with PhotoNews Canada.

#here4yyc, #covidyyc #christyturnerphotography, yyc,
#here4yyc, #covidyyc #christyturnerphotography, Calgary_central_library
#here4yyc, #covidyyc #christyturnerphotography, yyc, Peace_bridge
A City Gone Silent Photo Essay- PhotoNews Canada

Black Lives Matter- Peaceful George Floyd Protest

On June 4th, the Black Lives Matter movement hit Calgary, and a peaceful protest in support of George Floyd took place.

At the height of the Covid-19 outbreak, there was concern over gatherings of any kind. Many of the protestors walking down 17th Avenue in Calgary were masked. It was a powerful, inspiring day and I was indeed proud of the peaceful nature it held. It brought racism and police brutality to light for the better, and this has been a transformational year opening society’s eyes to the racism prevalent amongst our law enforcement.

Black Lives Matter George Floyd
Black Lives Matter George Floyd

Spring brought bright flowers, vibrant colours and scents around the province. One of my favourite times is photographing during Canola season in the prairies. It’s a common sight to see deer antlers poking out of canola crops, and the Great Grey  owl was an unexpected surprise during a canola quest.

 
Calgary’s ever-changing skies never disappoint, and I was treated to some very beautiful skies from the comfort of my balcony.
Calgary's amazing sky
Calgary's stormy skies
Calgary skies
canola, Alberta canola, prairies

Comet Neowise, Noctilucent Clouds, Aurora Borealis and STEVE

In Calgary, Alberta we were so incredibly fortunate to get many nights of perfectly clear skies to photograph Comet Neowise. On the one magical night that I call the Trifecta+1, it was possible in one night to photograph noctilucent clouds, aurora borealis, Comet Neowise and STEVE. 

 

I appeared in a short TV interview on Global-TV about photographing the Comet.

My Comet Neowise blog post

 
 

During 2020, I joined the cast  doing some promotional work online for the documentary “Chasing Steve” with the cast, where past screenings included the Jasper Dark Sky Festival 2019.  You can view the Telus documentary here!

View Chasing Steve

Calgary commercial photographer, Comet Neowise
Comet Neowise
Comet Neowise, space weather, Alberta aurora chasers, Christy Turner
Comet Neowise, space weather, Alberta aurora chasers, Christy Turner
Comet Neowise, space weather, Alberta aurora chasers, Christy Turner

The Graduation Photo that went Viral!

When my work colleague and friend Deanne asked me to cover her daughter’s graduation day, I was happy to be going out onto a farm to do the photoshoot. As we drove out there, a torrential rainstorm was happening, and I was less than optimistic we’d be able to go through with the session. However, as Cheyann got the horse ready, I saw the storm begin to retreat, and leaving in its wake mammatus clouds. As an avid storm chaser, I knew the setting sun would magnify these bulbous structures, so I quickly got Cheyann into place under the beautiful display. Touching the rainbow was an added bonus! The photo got a lot of attention and became one of my most viral photos- below are some of the publications it appeared in, including Hello Magazine Canada.

Appeared in PetaPixel

Business Insider

Accuweather

EarthSky

Calgary portrait photographer
hello magazine Canada girl on horse

After almost 8 years of Astrophotography, I finally achieved a dream shot I’ve been wanting all this time- a Fireball! 

During a long exposure shot of the Milky Way, this incredible Perseids fireball slammed into my shot. I subsequently reported it to the American Meteor Society as an event and it is now a record of that year. 

We also got a beautiful Aurora show in early September, which I captured near Madden, Alberta.

https://www.amsmeteors.org/2020/11/meteor-activity-outlook-for-november-28-december-4-2020/

 
 
 
Milky Way Alberta
Fireball over Barrier Lake, Christy Turner
Fireball over Barrier Lake, Alberta
Aurora borealis Aurora chaser

Weddings during the Covid-19 Pandemic

DSC_1201
Dancing at night
Same sex weddings calgary LGBTQ+
Congratulations to Paris and Sonya!
Christy Turner weddings
A beautiful mother-of-the-groom portrait

It was truly a year of extremes for me with weddings. Before the Covid-19 lockdown, I photographed a very extravagent 200 person wedding, and at the end of the season, I photographed many small, downsized  intimate affairs. I definitely feel that the forced downsizing ended up giving these special days even more meaning.

Calgary wedding photographer, Fairmont Palliser, yyc weddings
The beautiful and extravagant wedding of Brittney and Jay!
Heritage park calgary wedding
Kerry and Russ tied the knot in an intimate ceremony
Christy Turner weddings
I covered my own sister's wedding too!
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