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Life during lockdown - the positives for my photography

My own method for dealing with lockdown anxiety is to acknowledge that it's there but to put it to one side, neither thinking about it nor trying to avoid thinking about it. So I'm finding ways to enjoy photography while confined to my local area.

Cheshire doesn't have any mountains. My own locality doesn't even have hills, not even small ones. It's mostly fields, fences, hedgerows and houses. With plenty of power lines, pylons, cars and tractors scattered about. It's mostly green. In short it isn't my usual style of landscape. In the five years I've lived here I've taken very few pictures of my own back yard.

So what have I done to find inspiration and how has it worked?

The first thing was to switch lenses. Out with the zoom lens and on with a manual focus prime, either a 24 or 50mm, which I've spoken about before. Second, shoot with an almost wide open aperture to get very shallow depth of focus. Third, get close.

The result is that I've been taking hundreds of shots. 648 in fact in the last calendar month, 486 of those in the last two weeks. These aren't desperation shots, these are full-on being enthusiastic about photographing. Using a fixed lens with shallow depth of focus is a new thing for me and I'm really enjoying it. I'm finding local subjects I've never considered before. Mostly flowers, I'll admit, but even wider compositions are being done in a different style.

I don't know what I'll do with all these shots. They're so different to my usual style that it might be hard to put them in my sales stock alongside my more usual stuff. Certainly they'll make it to the blog (and already have done) but I'm thinking already of making one or two (or several) special lockdown portfolios to put up on the web site as special exhibits, or perhaps making a downloadable PDF eBook of them.

Far from being driven insane by the lockdown I'm letting it drive my creativity. I've long thought you can get more creative impulse from restriction than from freedom. Restricting your choice of lens, your choice of colour palette, choosing a deliberately restricted camera (e,.g. Polaroid or Holga), fixing on square format, any kind of deliberately imposed restriction can help give you a vision. The lockdown is turning out to be no different, for me. I hope you can manage to find something positive from this period.

PS: One thing that is proving difficult is that my wife, who is working at home,. is using my big calibrated monitor so I'm having to do photo edits on my laptop screen, which is much less than optimal.


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