Lockdown photo walks

It’s five am, the first morning of the second three week lockdown, but my intention is to make full use of my exercise walk today.

With an early morning chill in the air, I am hoping to capture the mist on the River, before the sun’s rays reach out to melt its ethereal shroud.

My relatively short walk to the river path is barely interrupted by the roar of normal weekday traffic, in the words of the Morrissey song, ‘Every day is like Sunday’.
On reaching the footpath, the nearby playing fields have a coating of low cloud suspended above the grass, floating islands of mist, with a subtle pink tinge in the sky above, the first image of the day is bagged.

As the sun begins its dawn ascent, hues of orange light the underbelly of the clouds above with its fiery palette.
Watching the sun rise has always been a pleasure and a privilege I have treasured, under current circumstances, my joy in watching the day unfold is seen with a new appreciation.

The River has dropped somewhat from my last walk here in early February, it is possible to take picture from the waters edge in places, taking shots from previously inaccessible viewpoints.

From my new vantage point, I watch the mist slowly fade in the embrace of the sun’s warmth but not before I have a few more photos in the bank.

From these all too brief moments of perfect solitude, I am joined along the path by the few early morning runners, each of us respecting the other’s space, while exchanging polite ‘Good mornings’ ‘and thank you’s’.

My route home takes me back towards the quayside of the River Exe, the water lies still, with reflections of the riverside residences providing more camera fodder for yours truly.

 

Being creative

If this were a normal Easter weekend, I would look forward to a long walk at dawn to capture the sunrise, as I have done over the last few years, however, 2020 is far from a normal year.

With lockdown approaching its third week, I have resisted the temptation to take a camera with me on my daily walk, but have thought of alternative ways of being creative with the camera, while staying at home.

In one of my recent decluttering exercises, I found a few odds and sods that may enable me to make a rudimentary light box for some close up photography, that little seed of an idea was put into practice today, where I fashioned my basic cube from some sturdy packaging, and made good use of the black fabric of an old sports hold allĀ  to make a simple backdrop for inside the box, with other coloured fabrics bought cheaply online.

For the light source, I have used two LED strips that were being thrown away, part of another light box that had broken but the LED’s still worked.

While I was happy with my fabric background, for the dandelion shots, I used the screen of a long since dead tablet, the glass offering a certain amount of reflection.

Above are the results of an hour of finding things from around the house and garden, no doubt there will be more to come.

From the archives

This is the sort of blog I would normally write during those dark winter days, a reminiscence of previous outings, a looking forward to the seasons to come, this however, could be the first of many ‘staying home’ entries during the unwelcome presence of the Covid – 19 virus.

I am using this time to catch up on those jobs that have been left for too long on the bottom rung of the task ladder, to read that book I bought last year and to have another attempt at sorting through terabytes of images taken over the last 5 years.

It was while I going through this process, a trip to Buckfastleigh steam railway, jumped out as being one of my best days out in the last 2 years.
It was not the most inspiring of days in terms of weather, a grey misty day with drizzle hanging in the air, but a trip to a steam railway could offer something out of seemingly nothing, in the back of my mind, I had the thoughts of some ‘film noir’ style images to create some interest.

Steam railways are places I could spend hours exploring, with platforms often furnished with vintage luggage trucks, old suitcases and coloured signs of the products of the time.
Old rolling stock often lies abandoned on sidings, not always accessible to the public but Buckfastleigh has little that is not accessible.

I enjoy the chats I have with the many volunteers that help keep these railways open, their love of keeping the steam heritage alive is evident, one of the reasons for my frequent visits here.

For those that are interested, these were taken with a Lumix G80 m43 camera with 25mm 1.4 lens (50mm in full frame terms)

When time allows, there will be many places to revisit, in the meantime, I had better crack on with the sorting ….

Strange times

Finally spring arrives, bringing with it a few days of sun, normally these would be days I would take full advantage of, heading out on a days photography but the current situation with Covid – 19 and the latest governmental decree, sees us all being told stay at home where possible.

Of course, the inner photographer would love to get out there and document the empty streets, hardly what would be called a necessary journey, so it is through these strange times that I must find other diversions to satisfy my low boredom threshold.

For the first time in years, I have rekindled my interest in the game of chess, probably the most used app on my mobile phone or tablet, in an attempt to shake the ring rust off my already below par ability, yet enjoying whole re-learning process as I do so.

As I have not had a television for over 4 years, my book cases are healthily fed with an array of different subjects, where once I was a fan of horror and science fiction, the shelves are mainly travel books or biographies, with a sprinkling of WWII and Roman history for good measure.

My enjoyment of the written word leads to my enjoyment of cryptic crosswords, thereĀ  is something very pleasurable in attempting to crack the enigmatic minds of setters such as ‘Portia’, ‘Aquila’, ‘Aelred’ and ‘Lucifer’ to name just a few, while listening to music and of course a cup of tea to lubricate the ‘little grey cells’ as Hercule Poirot would say.

More recently there has been an explosion of Japanese number logic puzzles featured in the daily press, starting with the standard Sudoku puzzles, there is also killer sudoku and kakuro (a numerical crossword of sorts), which I have begun to master over a period of time.

Finally, my interest in food has been retained, years after I came out of the catering industry, working as a chef, I still like to experiment flavours and try foods I have not eaten before.

Once these days of social distancing can safely come to a close, I will appreciate so much more, the days when I may amble at will across beach and moorland once more, until then, I shall keep trying to crack the Saturday Times cryptic in one sitting…