• Daniel Wretham

Landscape Photography Blog March 2021

March was shaping up to be an interesting month, there was due to be several moments of hope given out with the easing of restrictions.

March the 8th saw the first with kids going back to school and a bit more normality but the big one that would effect landscape photography was going to be on March 29th when the long awaited removal of the "Stay at home" message would be lifted, and I couldn't wait.

I had done a couple of sunrise trips during lockdown, all to very local areas and keeping within the rules but in truth I was bored of the "doorstep challenge" and really wanted to go further afield and have a bit more freedom.

The roadmap had been published back in January so everyone was eagerly awaiting the 29th but this is where it all became a bit more complicated as usual.

Once again there were blurred lines on the rules, some said that "Stay Local" would replace the "stay at home rule" while others said travel in the UK was allowed.

There seemed to be only one very clear rule which was that overnight stays were not permitted so this would govern the distance to a degree as you had to be able to get there and back in one day, no problem within Dorset but a trip to the lake district for example just wouldn't be feasible or even perhaps sensible.

To be fair I was ok with this as Dorset is a big county with plenty to go and shoot and just to have enough freedom to move around it would be nice enough frankly so i was pretty much focusing all my thoughts of the 29th as THE day.

I was starting to feel incredibly restricted with landscape photography on the doorstep, I took it as a good challenge to start with but the reality was it had really taken its toll on my and stifled my creativity quite a bit, I just couldn't find my groove and to a degree, wasn't sure if I even wanted too.

I've always considered myself a very mentally strong person, very few things bother me and I take everything in my stride. The first & second lockdowns had been a breeze for me, inconvenient but a breeze and I wasn't too fussed about staying home, sure I missed my landscape photography but was happy to give it up in order to do my bit and keep others safe, the second lockdown wasn't really much of a lockdown to be fair but equally I got through it without any real issues.

The third lockdown however had been a different animal altogether and I had really struggled with it, I felt very withdrawn and didn't even want to go out locally at all, I was pretty much forcing myself to go and that's never a good thing.

The toll it had taken on my mental health had been a big one and I hadn't really seen it coming to be fair so it caught me by surprise, a double whammy.

I felt my fitness had suffered too, I was used to long walks every day and when I went on photography trips I would take a mountain of gear for the Vlogs as well as the pictures and I thought nothing of carrying this up a mountain or on a long walk, it was not even a consideration but now I was finding that just going on a decent walk without the gear was an effort and Ive never had that before so again it was a bit of a shock and just seemed to come out of nowhere.

I was now starting to get worried about how I was going to get back into the swing of things which made it all the more worse, but I had a trump card to play. April would be bluebell season and I absolutely love that ! And I had missed it last year along with everyone else due to the first lockdown so I felt it would be the motivation to pull me out of my situation, That was however a month away and right now I needed to get it together and deal with this month first.

I made a couple of half hearted local trips to see if I could find anything suitable to shoot but it had all returned a blank, then there was the weather to contend with, rain...

March was just non stop either with rain or with high wind and frankly it was rubbish.

I decided my best plan would be to wait for a day with some decent big clouds and some light breaking through.

Towards the end of the month that's exactly what happened and I took myself down to Horton tower to try and get my eye in at a familiar venue.

Conditions were looking pretty tasty to be fair, there were some beautiful large weather systems moving around and clear sky behind them allowing light to move onto the subject, my kind of shot !

It was raining a little on and off and I was starting to think that a rainbow was a good possibility, I had to keep moving around to track the weather systems as they moved past the tower in order to get them in shot as the tower on its own is pretty boring to be fair, it needed drama in the background.

A monster cloud system came into view and I could see rain trails snaking off it like the head of Medusa and it was going to hit any minute.

I felt the first drops of rain which quickly got harder and I covered the camera gear with the constant supply of dog poo bags that I seem to accumulate in every pocket of every jacket and waited, the rain changed to hail !

I got pelted by large chucks of ice and hail as the monster cloud through its best at me but I stood firm and waited, cause I knew what was coming.

Then it appeared, like an apparition would've appeared as an oasis in a desert to a thirsty traveller, A rainbow arcing across the sky, small at first but unfolding bit by bit as mother nature did a striptease.