This holiday season, besides my family and health, I am grateful for my job. In normal times, it allows me to travel the West, the U.S. and often the world, returning with words, pictures, ideas and cautions for readers planning their own trips.
It’s been kind of slow lately.
But these images help with that. As I’ve been traveling the last several years, I’ve been grabbing a lot of photos with my smartphone in panorama mode. The results are as imperfect as we Americans and our institutions are; look closely and you’ll notice the bending horizon lines and subtle distortions.
Yet as I look at them now, these pictures (none of which has been printed or posted before) remind me what a wide, weird, gorgeous, imperfect and improvable country we have waiting for us on the other side of this pandemic — a place to explore and be grateful for.
Welcome to our comprehensive gift guide for the 2020 holiday season.
For variety’s sake, along with the panorama shots, I’ve thrown in some images I made with a conventional camera, then cropped into the 3-by-1 aspect ratio of the panorama pictures. I think I’ve covered 11 states and one territory here, all from trips since 2015. And no, I’m not going to tally their electoral votes.
For all who are staying close to home this week and helping the country heal, I hope these images help. Someday, this will all be yours again.