2021 started much the same way as most of 2020 went — the pandemic hampering any sense of normalcy, restrictions around the country and work from home orders.
Looking back, I realize I did not see my work colleagues very much until after the April-July lockdown in Ontario. It was a lonely time for all of us as we hunkered down to protect our most vulnerable and our healthcare systems, something I feel is reflected in this storyline. I have been fortunate to have a front-row seat to history.
None of what I share is vetted by my office, and I am grateful they trust me enough to tell the story as I see it. So here we go, a (slightly longer than I hoped for) look back on what my year was like working alongside Prime Minister Trudeau during an unprecedented time.
In an interview with Mercedes Stephenson, Global News, the PM spoke of this moment:
But that one moment that touched me perhaps more than anything else was when Michael Kovrig turned to me and said “thank you for getting me home, but thank you also for staying true to what Canada is and stands for as one of the good guys while you were doing everything you could to get us home.”
It was surprisingly emotional on a personal level, because as a leader, as a Prime Minister, you want to do the right thing. You know what the right thing is, but there’s a human cost. These two Canadians were stuck in terrible conditions, totally arbitrarily, and there was at least a theoretical way of me taking shortcuts and backroom deals to get them home…… but I knew… I felt that you had to do the right thing, and we stayed the course on the right thing, and to hear one of the Michaels say to me, you did the right thing was satisfying on a personal level in ways that surprised even me.
From my side of things, this was truly a once-in-a-career moment to be part of and to capture. Coupled with the exhaustion from the campaign ending less than a week prior, the years of watching my mother deal with consular cases as a government official, knowing how much work led to this moment, and to know what these two men had gone through — it was very special for all involved.
AND I needed it to wrap up so I could make it home for my former colleague and somewhat-friend Tommy’s wedding. I had one job: be a witness and sign a paper. Thankfully I made it just five minutes into the ceremony AND they understood the ridiculousness this job sometimes demands.
I made a big switch going from Canon to Sony this year. The ability to shoot completely silent with no concern for light flicker was life-changing for me, and I did not want to wait around for Canon or Nikon to potentially catch up.
My regular equipment is as follows: 2 Sony a9ii, Sony 16–35 f2.8, Sony 24–70 f2.8, Sony 70–200 f2.8.
During the campaign I used the Sony a7rIV and it was fun — but the files are just too large given the associated storage and backup costs.
Two memory card slots are essential because photographers live in fear of something messing up. Raw files to the SD card, lower res jpegs to the other.
As for archiving and what have you, I went into detail for that in my 2020 retrospective.