Photography and Covid-19

Wow – what a click-bait title, obviously designed to create panic purchases of memory cards and lens cleaning wipes. Like it or not, the Corona Virus is now having an impact on many people, and it may be time to think about keeping yourself safe when out taking photos. Obviously, I am not writing as a medical expert, so don’t take anything too seriously!

I’m avoiding this for a while!

My home in Bangalore is now affected and primary schools have been closed. India is obviously not immune and new cases are popping up daily. Looking further afield, Sony has reported that it is struggling to make new sensors. Fujifilm are having issues manufacturing parts for its new camera line up, and Canon are unable to fulfil orders for some of their latest lenses. Finally, numerous photography conventions have been cancelled. It looks like 2020 could be a year not to purchase new gear.

On a personal note

I was due a trip to Bangkok for a convention this month. This has now been cancelled. My plan was to photograph the iconic Central Train Station, which would have been a progression from the Bruce Gilden style of photography I usually practice along Soi Cowboy and the like (getting over that phase now…). At home, the advice has been to avoid crowds, so I will not be heading to the downtown markets for the foreseeable future.

Budha @ Nana Plaza/ Bangkok

Covid-19 is no reason to quash our passion for photography, so without final ado, here are 5 ways we can survive the Corona Virus.

5 Alternative Photography Ideas

  • Work on a home studio.

If you already have a flash for your camera, then it does not cost much to build a home studio. A simple backdrop, light stand, softbox and umbrella will cost less than $100. Stay at home and work on getting photos of your family. The photo below was created using one speedlight and a softbox. When I finish with my studio it all packs away and fits under the bed.

Taeko Page – One of my first home studio family portraits.
  • Head out of town, not into town.

This is my current plan. Heading out of town means less crowds and more space. In Bangalore there are 100’s of locations within an hour drive. My market project is now on hold. The image below is of a Holy Bull Walker. The bull was born in a temple, it will be dressed and decorated, then used to collect offerings.

Rural life has less people and may be a safer location for photography
  • Product and Macro Photography

This has never been on high on my list of priorities. One exception is the classic photo of a piece of fruit splashing into water. I may go for a strawberry splashing into milk if I get quarantined for long enough. This option is for when boredom seriously sets in. I also need to create a new selfie for my social media sites.

  • Enter competitions.

Every cloud has a silver lining, and not going out is going to save lots of money. This money could be spent on competition entries. Is this an opportunity to focus on winning an award or photography grant? F Stop magazine features a comprehensive list of available challenges for various photographic genres.

  • Work on a blog site

I cannot help but notice my own blog site is starting to look dated. In the next few weeks I may get time to delete older, and out of date posts. There are photos in my project collections which need to be re-sized. I still need to move my site from wordpress.com to wordrpess.org (which I tried with Bluehost, who were a huge pain in the bum). Blogging is a rewarding experience, and something I believe all photographers should try. Most sites will have a free, or very cheap option to get you started.

Bonus Idea – Read Books!

Stuck for reading? Here are three books that may get your photographic juices flowing…

  • Photography Masterclass. Creative Techniques of 100 Great Photographers, Paul Lowe, Thames & Hudson
  • Fifty Paths to Creative Photography, Michael Freeman, Octopus Publishing Group
  • Larry Fink, On Composition and Improvisation, Larry Fink, aperture

Are you affected by the Covid-19, and if so, how are you keeping sane? Feel free to drop me a note below.

Take care and keep clicking, Chris

If you enjoy following this blog, then please feel free to head over and buy me a coffee! Blogs take time and money, and your continued support is appreciated.

5 Pieces of Street Photography Advice You Should Ignore.

Street Photographers are not known for their reserve. We are happy to give advice on gear, framing and technique. But I believe the best photographers are those who also seek advice and look to learn from others. But not all advice is equal, and some ideas are outdated, narrow minded, or just plan wrong. In this article I am going to go question some of the advice that has almost become folklore in Street Photography, and pose the question, is it time to move on?

Colour or Black and White?
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Angalamman Festival

A Festival of Pain

The Angalamman Festival is held Kaveripattinam, a smalll town in Tamil Nadu. On the day after Maha Shivratri, the festival sees tens of thousands of people from the town converge to worship the deity Angalamman. Obviously, this was not a festival to be missed, and I knew from the start it would be a special event to photograph. Shiva had one night to sleep, and things were going to get wild when he awoke.

Extreme body piercings are one way to offer pain sacrifices.
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Editing a Photo Collection

For the last few weeks it appears I have been doing nothing but editing photos! But first, let me define what I mean by ‘editing’. What is it you thought of when you read the title to this post?

  • Using Lightroom or similar editing software
  • Photoshop
  • Using a darkroom (v. old school!)
  • Other

If your choice was ‘other’, then full marks to you! When I refer to editing photos, I mean going through our archives and selecting only the best images. There are many reasons you may wish to do this, which include photo books, competitions, upgrading social media feeds, or writing an article. For this blog post I have chosen some of the photos for an article I’m preparing on the Central Flower Market in Bangalore, locally known as KR Market.

View From Above
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Portrait Competition

This month LensCulture is running a portrait photography competition. There are only a few ‘pay to play’ photo competitions I will participate in, but LensCulture is one of the best. At $35 for 5 photo entries, I thought it would be worth delving into the archives and selecting my strongest images. For a photo to be a winner, it really needs to be a little quirky and have that something extra. Today I am going to share the images I shall be entering, and discuss a little of the back story behind each photograph.

The Cobbler

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Street Photography and Rear Curtain Sync.

Colour Splash…
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Three books that aren’t about Photography.

But will help you capture better photos!

I am fortunate to live in India, where books are not taxed and are therefor incredibly cheap. This week I take a look at three books from my shelf. These books are not directly about photography, so are a good break from heavier reads. As photographers we are part of the art world and should look to it for inspiration. Theses books are all quick reads, leaving plenty of time for taking more photos!

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Three New Years Resolutions…

… you may wish to ignore

The booze has worn off and it’s back to work. At this time of year we start thinking about improving our lives and our photography. Once again I find myself promising to eat less and exercise more. But what photography resolutions are there to be made? There is a plethora of advise available on what to do in 2020, but I remain sceptical on some of the ideas published.

I have added three photos to this post, all taken during my last photo walk of 2019.

When life gives you lemons, sell lemons.
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My Favourite Street Photo’s of 2019

Without further ado and very few words, here are my favourite Street Photos of 2019…

Captured in a fishing village (Mumbai).
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Photographic Marinade

Incase you have not noticed, Christmas is approaching fast. This is the time of year when it is good to take a look at the photos captured over the previous 12 months. This task involves deleting an awful lot of rubbish, but also helps uncover a few forgotten, or overlooked gems. This year’s annual cull started over the weekend and I found a batch of photos that had not been published. The images accompanying this article were all captured around the Bangla Road area of Phuket, and yes, I had forgotten about them!

Bangla Road, Phuket
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