• Daniel Wretham

Landscape Photography Blog, May 2020

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

May was going to be an uncertain month, we know at the moment that we will be locked down till the 7th at the least, but it was exceptionally likely that it would be till the end of the month before lockdown was lifted.

The 1st of May brought with it some very changeable weather, beautiful sunshine, rain, rainbows, thunder & lightning, basically everything a landscape photographer could ever dream of, the catch, well you all know it, we couldn't go out.

I went so far as to get my camera set up to shoot out of the upstairs window as the lightning went over but it was a brief weather system and sadly I didn't get anything but it did remind me just how good it felt to have the camera out again and gave me hope that maybe this month we might, just might see a relaxing of the lockdown rules so we could all finally get out and shoot something.

Sunday the 10th was finally here and there had been so much chatter in the news that there was going to be a relaxation of the rules which could possibly mean getting out with the camera again could be a very real possibility.

All week people had been talking about it and what the Prime Ministers speech might say, would it just be a light relaxation or a fairly hefty one ? the suspense was indeed brutal but also very exciting.

I had seen many landscape photographers who had ignored the lockdown rules and been out and this was very frustrating for me as I was desperate to get out.

It was a double edged sword though as I wanted to stay safe and keep others safe which meant not going out, but if the government said we could then I wanted to, but morally I wasn't sure if I could justify it.

On the one hand I knew if I went out I would be on my own, chances of seeing anyone in the very early hours would be extremely unlikely and if I were to see someone then I would actively avoid them and keep a distance, so I could actually justify it to myself IF we were given the green light.

The same could be said if I went out anyway, I could simply use it as my daily exercise but morally it wouldn't be right to do so and it didn't sit well with me.

The other question was if they would relax lockdown did it mean you could drive to a venue, if you couldn't then it would potentially be back to square one unless you lived somewhere close to a great location ?

Everything hinged on todays speech and I was tense, 7 pm couldn't come fast enough where all would be revealed.

7 pm finally arrived and landscape photographers everywhere sat with baited breath, you could feel the tension and then it happened, Boris said subject to the traffic light system being in the lower range we could drive and take unlimited exercise, I felt this was a green light for photography and after discussing it with many others we all shared the same view.

The date was set, Wednesday the 13th of May would see the chance to get out again finally come round as long as you observed the social distancing rules which wouldn't be a problem as I generally shoot on my own anyway.

The one thing that was very unclear was if there was a distance that was permitted for travel as an acceptable one ? I mean its one thing to nip down to your local hot spot but quite another to drive hundreds of miles to Scotland ?

Again I felt this was down to common sense and public interpretation to a degree, for me going outside of Dorset wasn't really acceptable.

I also felt that shooting sunrise was going to be the favoured tactic as you were going to be very unlikely to see anyone else provided you weren't going to the honey pot locations.

Sunset for me was going to remain off the cards for a while as I felt many more people would be out and about so social distancing would be much harder unless you went to places that weren't really known or saw heavy traffic.

My biggest concern was everyone would be treating this as a holiday and would go rushing off to the beaches as soon as they opened so again I decided I would be avoiding these where possible and sticking to inland areas that saw little or no traffic, with the possible exception of a sunrise beach shoot if they looked like being clear of people in the early hours.

I was just elated to have the chance to shoot again frankly and ideas were going through my head left, right and centre of where to go ?

Would there be a possibility of any bluebells left ? Would there be nice conditions ? Could I rescue the year ? All questions that would reveal the answer on the first trip out and frankly I didn't care what the outcome would be, I was going out and all of a sudden I was beyond happy again and looking forward to being in the great outdoors, hearing the early morning chorus of a thousand birds, seeing light streaking through woodland, mist rising over flood plains, all in wonderful isolation.

The buzz was real and everyone could feel it as plans were talked about between people the length and breadth of the country.

The gear had been cleaned and maintained to within an inch of its life but I decided to go over it all again just to be sure, I didn't want anything to ruin my first day out, three more sleeps needed to happen before the big day and I couldn't wait, but that was exactly what I had to do.

I told myself I've just waited nearly 2 months so I can wait three more sleeps easily, and it would give me a chance to plan everything with military precision.