What ‘Lockdown’ has done for me is to avoid anything on Twitter that is political or controversial, angry or full of swearing. I think there is enough to contend with at the moment. I am a big fan of the work of photographers, whose work can transport me out of my back garden into another world. It got me thinking: if your love is photography, travelling the countryside for that elusive shot, exploring new areas, what does ‘Lockdown’ mean to you. Why not ask someone? Which is exactly what I have done.
David Oxtaby (@Dave3072 if you’re on Twitter or discovering light.co.uk if you are interested in his website) posts his photos on Twitter; his main area of work is Yorkshire (hence the tea towels), Wales and the Isle of Wight. This is his story:
Covid-19 and Photography
“With the recent restrictions on travel due to Covid-19 and, of course, the Lockdown, it has a big effect on all our ability to travel. As a photographer I’m used to traveling all over Yorkshire, and beyond, at early and late hours, to capture images. However now, with having to stay local, I have had to reconsider my photography and how it fits in with the restrictions in place.
With this I have been forced to stay in the immediate local area to capture my images. Firstly, I bought myself an Ordnance Survey map so I could see all the footpaths around my area and plan circular routes to explore them. With camera in hand, and walking these routes, I’ve been able to see so many wonders of nature from my own doorstep. It’s also forced me to photograph different subjects, not just the landscape ones I normally take but also nature such as animals I’ve seen on my travels: like sheep with their lambs, squirrels, rabbits, birds, ducks and herons. I’ve been also able to take photos of some of the beautiful houses and buildings in the area (in relation to the law, if you are in a public space you are allowed to photograph anything, though discretion is certainly needed! For example, take a photo of someone’s house but avoid shooting their into their house and, of course, not trespassing on their property).
My photography has changed as a result. No longer do I take for granted what is in my local area. I post images, daily, of my walks and those sights I took for granted. I realised that so many aren’t as fortunate, whether they are unable to get out at all for health reasons, or live in a very heavily populated area, or in tower block. So many people have been appreciative of what I considered humble little photos of my walks and actually, they have helped others at this time. So, not only am I still able to enjoy my passion, and love of capturing the world through my lens, but able to use photography to help others see the world.
I’ve seen my area differently and from different angles, been able to enjoy new sights and new challenges in photography. I would recommend to you, wander around your area, walk slow, look around, explore the footpath you may have walked past and never been down, you will be very surprised at what you find you never knew you had!
Finally, take a camera with you when you go out. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, the camera on your phone will take very good photos and a phone photo is much better than no photo. The person behind the lens makes the photo, not the expense of the equipment. Don’t fear taking too many photos, you can easily delete the ones you don’t want. If you get home and find the photos haven’t come out quite right, use it as an excuse to go back again and try again, you may find something different you didn’t see the first time. Go back to the same places at different times of the day as the light has a huge bearing on the imageAs for me? I am heading out now on a local series of footpaths and, with camera in hand, I will see what I find to capture!”
Thank you David for a very reflective piece, with practical suggestions and some inspirational ideas. The world will be a very different place for us all when we come out of Lockdown but let’s hope we learn something from it. Thank you also for sharing some photos.