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16 December 2020

Every December we wander the city looking for photos to print for our holiday greeting cards. We usually end up with a selection of four to six urban images giving the theme a contemporary spin.

Demise. Nikon D200 with 43-86mm Nikkor at f8, 1/125 second and ISO 200. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw.

The prints go out to family. And to everyone else we like to wish the very best, we send an HTML email with one of the other images from our excursion.

This year promised to make that a little more challenging. And it has.

It started with inventory. We dug through our stationery only to find we were short of the Strathmore Photo Cards we use to present our prints.

The prudent thing to do was obvious: order them online. But deliveries are so delayed we wouldn't have received them in time (best case).

We didn't want to hazard a trip downtown to Dick Blick's art supply store, where they were in stock at a good price (about 50 cents for a card and envelope when you buy 50). But we weren't terribly worried about driving to Fort Mason where Flax art supplies has set up shop.

So on a dark and windy day, we drove over there, parked in the Marina and walked over to Fort Mason, taking snapshots along the way.

This particular image charmed us. Not only was it colorful but it was a heron (they nest nearby at the Palace of Fine Arts). A rather defiant one. It was signed @TheGreatDemise, which is the brand name Steve Belale has established for himself (as well as his Instagram account).

He was born and raised in San Francisco, graduating from San Francisco State University with a degree in Industrial Art/Visual Communication.

We took two shots of his painting on this rusting container. One crops out the world, the other includes a slice.

This year we've often wondered if we weren't living through a great demise. To our democracy, to our health, to our families.

This defiant heron embodies a spirit that will not be overwhelmed.

After we took the photos we marched right into Flax and bought some blank cards. We wish we could afford enough for the entire world, but this will have to do.

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