Many of us reflect on 2020 as the year that could have been. For someone who loves taking pictures while travelling the reality of a worldwide lock-down was disappointing. I reside in Canada where travelling has been strongly discouraged. With no idea when travel would be safe again, how was I going to keep my interest in photography going?
I am a member of a very active local photography club. As a member of the executive we looked at ways in which we could continue in a “locked down” world. Pre-pandemic, we would meet monthly to discuss new techniques, chatter about the latest in camera equipment and view photographic work by members. In addition, each month the club members would meet at some location to take pictures. As the number of cases increased in my country the local government was forced to introduce more stringent measures in order to “flatten the curve”. Photographic outings went from meeting at a set location while keeping 2m apart, to suggesting a shooting location with no set time period of meeting, to no outings at all. For safety reasons normal club activities had to be suspended and the club changed to an on-line state. The club continued to give monthly challenges but members were on their own to complete them. Photographic subjects became more in tune with the current situation. For example, one challenge involved a “scavenger hunt” where a number of subjects had to be located and photographed all within the local community. Another challenge required members to improve their digital processing skills with specific manipulation requirements. I believe these new restrictions forced club members to be more creative and to think more outside the box when constructing images.
The pandemic has given many of us more “free time” since we are locked down within our homes. I have taken this opportunity to revisit old photographs with a renewed interest. Digital imaging software is constantly making improvements in manipulation quality as well as offering a larger variety of tools to work with. Images that I took back in 2007 with my 10mpx DSLR have been reworked with new software with good results. One could even use this extra time to scan and process old film negatives.
Since my travel has been restricted I have taken the opportunity to revisit nearby locations that I may have previously photographed. I am fortunate to live in a rural environment which gives me plenty of interesting landscapes to photograph. One of my favourite spots overlooks a point with large willows. This scenic view constantly changes as a result of weather and lighting conditions. I have photographed this view hundreds of times and each photograph is unique. This is a technique that Ansel Adams would practice often.
If you live in a city, perhaps you can practice street photography or architectural subjects that will not put you or others in danger of covid-19. For those of us that are truly house bound, we can setup a small studio and photographic subjects under controlled lighting. This activity will give us a better understanding of working with light.
During this downtime, you could expand your photographic arsenal. Maybe get that new macro lens which will enhance your indoor shooting sessions. How about one of the new lens adapters which allow you to mount non-FX mount lens onto Fujifilm bodies? Fringer has adapters that allow you to mount Canon and Nikon Lens onto Fujifilm bodies with full automatic focus support. I personally have a low cost lens adapter that allows me to mount my 60 year old Leica lens onto my Fujifilm bodies. Although my Leica lenses have lost most of their exterior lens coating they produce some very interesting results. For something truly unusual, get a Kipon Tilt/Shift adapter to give your Fujifilm camera more depth control when shooting studio stills.
As we head into 2021, things are starting to look up and we may get to a point that we can begin to return to some form of normalcy. With any luck we can leave our lockdown conditions and stretch out beyond our borders with newly found skills acquired during our restricted 2020.