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Looking back at 2020 and Ahead to 2021

a glass of winePhoto by Sherryl Belinsky

Like many others in the tourism and hospitality business, Washington Photo Safari took a big hit starting in March, with dozens of planned safaris cancelled due to COVID-19, including all of our popular cherry blossoms photo tours!

Reflecting Pool at Sunrise


However, we sought to make lemonade out of lemons, by using the COVID-19 downtime to come up with innovative solutions, such as:

Publishing Our first Ebook: “Washington Photo Safari’s Guide for Amateur Photographers,” a 130 page compilation of tips in 29 different areas of photography written by 11 of our professional photographer instructors and covering such topics as street, flower, abstract, fireworks, event, snow, architecture, food, sports, portrait, travel, nighttime, sunrise, wedding, nature and pet photography;

Conducting online Photo Safaris on Zoom in such areas as Photoshop Elements 2020, F stops and shutter speeds, turning photography into a second career, Elements of Composition, the use of Samsung Galaxy smartphone cameras, and the 20 Most Frequently Asked Photography Questions;

Providing one-on-one photo critiques online to 58 clients who each submitted 10 photographs for review;

Welcoming 520 new clients to Washington Photo Safari who found us by answering photography quiz questions on our Facebook page;

Conducting online private tutoring to 27 clients in such areas as camera settings and lens usage;

Receiving 1,459 safari sign-ups this year, (about 4 per day) 58% of whom were new clients and 42% were returning repeat customers. They came this year from as far away as Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Texas, Hawaii, Oklahoma and Florida;

Conducting 292 unique Photo Safaris during the year (almost 6 per week)

Including sessions at the National Zoo and a class in pet photography by Julie Gould, 2 safaris at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3 safaris at the Tidal Basin at Night, an Adobe PhotoShop session taught by Elody Crimi of Davanti Workshops, and three safaris to capture the Sunrise On the National Mall;

Training 16 clients on new restaurant and foodPhotos, Food, and Fun” Safaris at 3 upper northwest DC restaurants: Rosemary Bistro Café, Acacia Food and Wine bar, and Uptown Market;

Training 47 clients on moonrise safaris conducted at the Netherlands Carillon, the Top of the Town building, and from the Sky Dome of the DoubleTree Hotel in Arlington;

Moonrise over Washington, DC from Arlington, VAFull Moonrise Over DC from Sky Dome in Arlington, by WPS Client Keith Hans

Enabling 45 clients to photograph the beautiful indoor colors of Washington National Cathedral during a pre-pandemic special lighting function put on by the cathedral, and also in exclusive access early-morning winter hour visits to capture the light projected by the stained glass windows onto the walls of the East Nave. One of these safaris was conducted in cooperation with our colleagues at Capital Photography Center;

Space, Light & Sound at the National Cathedral

Conducting a week-long workshop at Jackson Hole, WY
led by nature photographer Sean Quintilian;

Conducting our annual safari at the Reading Room of the Library of Congress;

Training 19 staff members of the American Physiological Society in camera use and composition

Conducting (pre-pandemic) our first Safari inside the beautiful United States Institute of Peace building near the National Mall;

Institute of Peace

Conducting our third street photography Safari in Cuba
in cooperation with Thru Alain’s Eyes and led by Cuban photographer Alain Gutierrez;

Enabling our Washington Photo Safari Meetup Group to grow to 1,624 members in the DC area.

We are cautiously optimistic about 2021, much of which will depend on our nation’s recovery from COVID-19. In the meantime, we will continue to offer many of the same small-group outdoor and indoor photo safaris we conducted in 2020, with strict adherence to masking and social distancing, plus online photography teaching opportunities.

Budapest at night
And for 2022, we are still planning to offer a special photo safari with 6 days in Budapest and Vienna, led by local professional photographers in each city, dates to be announced!

Our thanks go to all of our clients and friends of Washington Photo Safari, along with our best wishes to all for a Happier New Year in 2021!

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