• Daniel Wretham

Landscape Photography Blog, January 2021

One word, Lockdown.

Just when we thought we were past all of this it rears its ugly head again and landscape photographers all over the country felt that sinking feeling of despair washing over them once again.

December the 31st saw the UK plunged into yet another soul destroying lockdown and the end of landscape photography for at least the foreseeable future.

Im not going to lie, this hit me hard and it wasn't going to be easy to get through, as it stands I haven't even been out locally in January as I just am stuck in purgatory once again over the rules of can we go out ? If so then how far etc, this viscous circle of wonder that goes round and round in our heads over and over again till it drives you mad.

I had been really enjoying my landscape photography, more than ever in fact. I had got out at every opportunity in 2020 as the lockdowns had really made me see just how much I valued it, not just for the joy of being out and taking pictures but for the effect it had on my mental health and general well being, I needed it.

Lockdown 3 was meant to be a serious one, no going out at all for recreation but then the rules changed and got flexed, well more like bent in two to be fair.

The rules stated we could go out for "exercise" for an unlimited amount of time, but only once a day and it was hinted at that you couldn't drive to a location, it had to start and end on foot.

This presented me with a chance to still go out with the camera to the heath right behind my house, but in truth I didn't want to, I just wasn't fond of the area and not matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get excited about shooting somewhere that is vastly featureless.

I was torn, I wrestled with my mind over and over again but ended up just staying home as had been ordered.

At this point I started to see others were going out, the rule flexing had started.

It soon became clear that your interpretations of the rules would be your pass to get out, or not depending on your view point.

Little by little the cracks appeared and even our own Prime Minister was off on a cycle 8 miles from his house and this was apparently absolutely acceptable.

The NAA announced that they had checked with the government and fishing was allowed.

This raised question after question for me, if they were allowed to drive to a lake or river with a mountain of gear then surely a landscape photographer was allowed to do the same ?

The question of what is a fair distance became the focal point next, 5 miles ? maybe 10 ? what about 15 or 20 ? There were no answers, just your own interpretation and the possibility of meeting a police officer who had a different view on the subject and now the over zealous covid marshals, it was confusing indeed.

I had seen several landscape photographers that had driven distances of over 30 miles for shot and frankly I felt that was taking the piss a bit too far.

I went backwards and forwards with it trying to rationalise and justify things in my own head, I wanted to get out so bad but I didn't want to bring the wrath of other landscape photographers down on me as it seemed this was a hot topic of debate in recent times.

My own personal take on it was if someone wanted to go out on their own with the camera and tripod, not coming into contact with anyone else at a remote location, usually at a time when most others were still in bed then what's the harm ? I really couldn't see any ?

After all they were not only doing their daily exercise but they were preserving their mental health too.

The problem came with the distance, how far could you go ? what was acceptable ? what could you get a fine for ? There was no definitive answer no matter how hard I searched.

The rules simply stated you couldn't go out unless it was for a few select reasons, so it blew my previous theories out of the water, one there were so many contradictions.

Exercise was fine, you could do that but then you read in the news that people were getting fines dished out by police and marshals at a huge rate, I read somewhere that over 42,000 fines were issued for some extremely minor reasons in many case.

Now just to be absolutely clear here I support the police 100% for blatant rule breaking such as gatherings and parties etc, but I did think some of the fines issued were very questionable.

Again this all swirled round inside my head and I didn't know if I could or couldn't go so I stayed home and drove myself crazy, over thinking every last issue.

It was now mid January and I still hadn't even been out to the local heath, I just didn't know what to do.

Most of the general public seemed to be out in force and it seemed business as usual so was I the only one missing out ?

This fuelled more questions and th