Hurricane Irma was a monster. After a non-event Matthew last year (for us in Orlando), this was our first hurricane of take-this-seriously proportions. We were glued to the news for almost a straight week. We had food and water stocked (bread machine to the rescue! stores were totally out), breakables and my “office” relocated to the safest room in our house, my closet. No basements here in Florida. We had no impending flood warnings, but tornadoes were coming. They were indeed monsters. I decided photojournalism of our family experience would be significant, and I was prepared to photograph things crashing through our house. Luckily, we didn’t get such a violent event. Our home was sturdy and safe, and all our neighborhood got were some broken fences, uprooted trees (none on homes) and broken palms all over the place. The trees and street signs are all still leaning along a number of major streets.
This is lifestyle photography, which more intricately shows that you don’t always need a manufactured portrait to show the best in your family. I’m so proud of mine. My son was on top of Irma’s movement like a weather man, doodling his own sketches of the storm’s movement and updating me with what he learned that day about the storm’s path. My husband approached protecting our home like a meteorologist, researching maps, radars and wind patterns, and using a compass to determine which side of our home needed the highest focus for protection (windy.com, it’s amazing!). We tarped the calculated windows of impact, plotting out explosion/projectile zones. During the earlier reports I was seriously unsure I wanted to stay in Florida during Irmageddon, but my husband, as always, grounded me. I’m glad he did. We were never mandated to evacuate. We never lost power. But we were lucky. From the experience I realized, if you’re not in obvious peril there’s no need to flee from an opportunity to learn and gain experience. With the world at its current stage, everybody needs survival skills now. (Start small, stop glamping and start camping.) With our modern conveniences and options, people expect things to be easy and comfortable, but you won’t survive a catastrophic event with those expectations. Face the fear if it’s faceable. Plan ahead. Take science seriously. And in the meantime, camp more!