Covid-19, beauty, and photography

Dave, the father of a good friend of my wife and mine died recently. He was 92. One day he woke up in the morning and said to his daughter “It’s a beautiful day”. It was his last words. Because he was feeling very tired, he lay back down and never woke up again. Yesterday my wife and I were driving around our home city, San Francisco, and the light at sunset was perhaps the most beautiful I have ever seen. Towards the west, the sunset over the ocean was brilliant red and orange. Towards the east the skyline of the city was bathed in rich golden light. The sillhouettes of the buildings were dark but the windows were all reflecting the stunning gold light. It was exquisite. Like many photographers, I had a moment of thinking “I wish I had my camera right now”. Then I thought of Dave. And all my photo trips chasing magic light and wanting to capture it. It’s no wonder I want to grab it and own it. It is utterly transcendent. But I can’t own it. I can just appreciate and love it. I am 71 years old and my wife just a few years younger. The virus is obviously in our community and we are at risk. But since Dave’s death, every day we have been waking up and joking to each other “It’s a beautiful day”. But it’s not a joke. It is a beautiful day.


Lovely sentiments and poignant words Tony.

Sorry for the loss of your friend’s father. I’m guessing it’s true he lived his life to the fullest.

Stay safe as we wait through the malaise…


Thank you, Tony. Our son is now three. Since the middle of last year he has adopted a ritual in which he will open the front door to leave, take his first steps outside and—rain or shine—exclaim:

“It’s amazing out here!”

And he’s right.

This virus has a lot of potential to hurt us financially in the coming months (we’re already seeing the effects), but one thing I can look forward to is spending more time outdoors with family.



Great reflection, Tony. I hope you and your wife stay out of the path. You put a good perspective on that need to always get the shot. Sometimes you have to let a scene get away and just appreciate the moment. Be well!

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Both our son and I have had our chests cracked for heart surgery. He just celebrated his 4th “undead birthday” as he calls it. For both of us every day is a gift to be enjoyed and cherished. As Breaker Morant said,“Live every day as if it was to be your last, for one day you’re sure to be right.”

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Hopefully more people will see things in the same positive “light”. Thinking of your friend making the comment at 92 brought to mind Chief Dan George in the movie “Little Big Man” saying: “it’s a good day to die.”

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Max, I have a 3 year old grandson and I can completely imagine this scene! Thanks for sharing this little joyful scene, something we won’t capture with our still photography but is a picture for the heart!


This is a lovely entry, and it’s so interesting how the things/people we care about all seem more beautiful, more fragile, and more vulnerable than before. And how true that it can’t ,and doesn’t need, to all be captured with a camera.

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Hi Tony,

Stay healthy. One nice thing about nature photography is that you can do this activity by yourself. I’m under quarantine right now so I’m grounded. I will be spending a lot of time editing photos from my previous trip before the exile was put in place. Taking your camera with you on your trips will enable you to capture many ephemeral moments where light, color, and composition make unforgettable images. Life is always too shorty and every day is a beautiful day. Well stated…Jim

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Tony, you captured the beauty of the day sir! I wish you and your wife the best as the Bay Area is literally in “lock down” My thoughts and prayers are with you and the memory of your friend Dave. Every day, is a Beautiful Day.

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Thank you all for your heartfelt responses. It’s still a beautiful day in San Francisco! We are under lock down but are allowed and encouraged to go out walking. We live next to Golden Gate Park in the inner sunset and I just got back from a long walk. Mother Nature is oblivious to the Corona-19 virus. Spring is springing! Cherry and plum trees are blooming, as are rhododendrons and camelias, poppies, and many other flowers. Since Mother Nature always has the last laugh, it seems like much of the US will be blanketed in winter storms again very soon. Be safe and I hope you all stay warm and have enough toilet paper!


Stay home Tony… Just stay home. You guys are in an age group where if you get it it looks like 14% odds you don’t make it. Between the two of you it is 30% basically one of you doesn’t make it. Stay home for another couple of months and you can have 20 more years of shooting. My wife’s parents were talking to us yesterday. They needed some things from the store and were going to venture out. We told them no way in HELL. It is not worth it. We can get their stuff for them. Nothing is worth the odds. I just do not understand why we dont quarantine anyone over 60 until we either have a treatment, a vaccine or herd immunity. A YEAR at home is worth 20 years of time. A quarantine for a year, mass amounts of 5 minute tests from Abbot Labs and infrared temperature scanners at the door of every semi public space… and we can handle this.

Please, just stay home.

Thanks for your concern and advice Drew. Both my wife and I are medical people and were ahead of the country by a couple of weeks. We have totally isolated ourselves since the end of February. We have our groceries delivered, and have had no visits from children or friends. Daily walks are the highpoint of the day!

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Dear Tony, thanks for your words. I feel very close to what you say, and it is now some time I have understood that this attitude is the only way to stay in this world. Sometimes I forget it but… I try to grasp it again! A virtual hug (here in Italy we are in full lock-down since a month and it will probably continue for another month - there certainly is significant worry but we have the luck of having a garden and it changes the perspective a lot).