As a recently retired person, I did not feel the full impact of the Covid restrictions at the beginning of lockdown. Real life changes had already happened and the controls for me were not too much of a hindrance. But, by the arrival of summer of 2020, the isolation began to have an effect on me, as I am sure it has for thousands of others. Planned holidays cancelled, restrictions on seeing friends and family, exacerbated feelings of isolation and helplessness. Simple pleasures, no longer possible.
My photography had become stale, with no fresh ideas to inspire me other than to take anything but boring snap shots. My photography has never had any real direction, no theme, no style, no projects. My pictures are about, me, having fun with a camera. I have done a bit of macro, landscape, still life, nature, urban/street and of course ‘family’, when covid rules have allowed.
Some time ago I had an old DSLR camera converted to record the InfraRed spectrum at 720Nm if I recall correctly. My interest was reignited after attending a zoom meeting organised by RPS with Simon Weir, Beyond Visible Light. So I picked up this old camera and began to play with it again. This, combined with an RPS workshop Your Landscape, Your Way, Dark Nights gave me the idea for a ‘project’. Photograph my local area in infrared, during my one hour of daily exercise. I am lucky to live in a conservation area with potential landscape views in several directions. I set about taking the camera with me and used just one lens, an equally old 10-20mm zoom (full frame equivalent 15 – 30mm).
Uploading the images to the PC highlighted an area where I lacked competence. I use PS Elements and have the plug in, Silver Efex Pro 2. I had tried previously to get tuition but lockdown prevented any one to one sessions and learning from text has always been a problem for me. Using these programmes was a skill I needed to get to grips with. I started looking through the excellent RPS website resources and then I discovered YouTube as a source for learning. I’m sure some people are raising their eyebrows as they read this but for me it was a revelation.
Mostly my photography has been straight out of the camera with maybe a crop and a bit of dodge and burn (a hangover from my analogue days). My early digital manipulations were very crude until I discovered layers and levels. Now I can alter the shadows, highlights, make selective contrast adjustments, wow…. My discovery in no way suggests that I am skilled in post processing and I know I have an awful lot to learn, but for now, I can see a real improvement.