007 Coronavirus and Photography

We are now into week three (or is it four) of the “lockdown” for the Coronavirus or Covid-19. Right now, we are living in a world that hasn’t been seen since the Spanish Flu in 1918/20, only a few people alive today would have been thru that. Around the world there has now  been over 2 million cases, with over 134,000 people sadly dying from the virus. A virus that started in China and has now spread worldwide. This virus doesn’t care who you are, everyone is at risk. Boris the UK PM has been in the ITU with the virus, thankfully out and recovering tho. 

The UK lockdown has meant that businesses have closed their doors with the staff furloughed. (The new job I was supposed to be starting two weeks ago is now an uncertainty.) No pubs or restaurants are open. Schools have closed and the kids are being schooled at home. We are only supposed to be going out for essential supplies and once a day for exercise, we are to keep 2M apart from other people. There are queues to get into all the shops with a limit on the numbers inside and a one in one out system (thankfully they have managed to catch up following the ridiculous panic buying at the start of this virus, tho toilet rolls and hand sanitisers are still a rare find) We can’t meet up with people outside our houses and the over 70’s are being told to lockdown as they are at most risk. The police are (rightly so) moving people along who are not following the instructions given. If it carries on the way it is then we could be in full lockdown, in France that is meaning that you must send a text message to request permission to go out. I hope it doesn’t get to that level here. When you do go out there are people wearing face masks and gloves. People are dying without family with them as the family are not allowed to be with them in the hospitals. Funerals are being held with only a couple of family members there. Weddings are cancelled, sports cancelled, holidays cancelled. It’s like some dystopian novel is being played out in real time.

You might be asking yourself, what has this got to do with photography?... Well I’m getting to that, just wanted to lay the backstory out, some people might be reading this in a few years and be thinking what’s that’s COVID-19 thing… tho this will be getting taught in history lessons forever! Hopefully lessons will be learned about how things like this need to be actioned!


The photos below are from my favourite place in Glencoe, the Glencoe Lochan. One of the most stunning places I have ever visited. There is a story behind this place... 

The landowner Donald Alexander Smith, who had been born is Scotland but lived and married in Canada. When he and his Canadian wife moved to the land he had acquired she became homesick for her homeland. He planted the Lochan with seeds and trees from the Pacific Northwest of Canada for her to have as a refuge.

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I like nothing better than jumping in my car, driving to a favourite or new location and spending from a few hours to a day there just walking about taking everything in and taking photos, oh and seeing ALL the dogs out for walks. But with these restrictions in place that’s just not possible. Through my photography trips to Scotland especially, I have really learnt to see, not just look. When I am out I basically take everything as an opportunity for a photo, I might have a final destination for the shoot, but the journey there should never be taken for granted or you might miss something really special on the way. 

Even on my one daily allowance of walking/exercise I am loathed to take my camera with me as that is just continuing as normal in very not normal circumstances, which just doesn't seem right to me. And like I said the police are rightly stopping people to make sure that they are observing the lockdown rules.

It’s strange, yes I do like having my own place, but being locked down you realise how much of a difference the little bits of human contact make, you know just bumping into people on walks. It can get quite lonely when you are not able to just pop out for a wander, a quick pint in the local, a friend popping round for a drink of a coffee,  just those simple things you really take for granted. (and the dogs, did I mention meeting the dogs??)

Bees doing bee things and a play with the light coming thru the tree in the garden.

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So, what am I doing…? Well I am so glad that I have my photography and creativity to keep my mind occupied and me sane. It’s times like this that you realise just what something means to you. Yes when I am out (usually) I will always have my camera gear, tripod, filters with me because you just don't know. But these last few weeks have shown that I am at my happiest when I am composing the shot thru the eyepiece, getting the exposure how I want it, waiting for "the" moment, pressing the shutter button and then loading the RAW images to my computer and making the photo come alive on my computer screen. Honestly if I didn't have my photography I think I would be really feeling the isolation over the last few weeks. It's made me realise more than ever that this what I should be doing as a full time job, so that I can bring happiness to me for doing a job I love, and smiles to other people when they see the moments in time that I have frozen for them, to add an image to their memories. 

To get my fix of photography I am making the most of what I have in my garden. Trying out new ideas and then taking the photos into the digital darkroom to process them. Happy to say I have now finally got my styles for photos down, depending on the photo or the emotion I am trying to show depends on the style applied. It makes the processing of photos a lot quicker, more consistent and unique to me. I really find it amazing how different you can make a photo look just with a few clicks and a tweak on a slider.

I’ve also tried out some new fun editing processes to make some very different abstract art. The twirls or swirls below are taken from a couple of motorsport photos and one from Glencoe. There really is always something to learn either in camera or in the processing stage. As with everything to do with photography not every thing can make the cut, but its fun trying anyway. I have a few more things I am going to try, one of those being digital painting of a photo. Some of the results I have seen are amazing!

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I’m also lucky to have a garden, and one that attracts wildlife, I have a squirrel that has visited for the last 18 months to 2 years. I know it’s the same one as he has a unique cut in his ear (Fork ear). He also has a mate, hoping its his girlfriend so there might be some baby squirrels visiting.  As I can’t get to the shops for the peanuts I usually feed him I have had to search online for squirrel food. I found what looked like a decent on on Amazon so had to give it a try. Safe to say it has gone down well with the squirrels, maybe too well! Now I just need to get them to realise that I am the one feeding them and they don't have to run from me, I just want to take their photos without them hiding in the trees. I have found one interesting fact, they like apples and can easily climb a tree with the core on their mouths... Who knew... well not me anyway.

The bees have also been busy doing bee stuff, they have been the soundtrack to my morning coffee in the garden. The whole tree is alive with them, it will be a shame when the blossom as gone and they move on to find another source for their honey making. 

I also get a huge variety of birds dropping by for a snack, from the little tits to the magpies oh and the clumsy wood pigeons. Of all of these the magpies are the most vocal, there really is no need for all their shouting. Add to that I have been making the most of the blossom on the tree while it lasts, and the trees themselves I have a variety of subjects, tho I am running out of new ideas.


In the middle photo below you can see the forked ear of Fork Ear the squirrel. The photo on the right is just after he climbed the tree with the apple core, looking at me to say this is my apple so back off. 

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Tho it’s not all about the wildlife and trees, I took my old RC car and a LEGO car out to do a static shoot to then edit to create a sense of motion in the photos. Doing this by copying the photo layer, blurring the back layer to create the motion and then masking out the car so that it appears I have panned with the camera, who says the camera never lies... maybe it doesn't but the editing can tell some tales...  Photography fun can be had with the most unexpected items, you just need to look for that bit of inspiration. I am thinking Yoda might be the next model, he’s a leftover from my childhood and still going strong. And I am looking at everything in my flat to see what might make a good subject and how to use it what lighting I want.

If I was better at cooking, I might be able to do some food photography, but there’s no amount of photoshop that could make my cooking look good. Haha. But I might try some of the fancy booze photography, the issue there is trying not to drink it before the photos are taken. 

It was fun editing the photos below. I can't wait to be doing these sorts of edits on proper cars when were are freed! For the flames on the Lego car I used the flames from a photo of an RS200 that I took at Lydden Hill. 

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I have also been thinking about my photography business. As I said it’s strange times like this that make you realise what things mean to you and my photography has been all important to me. To be able to express myself in the images I take and to capture and preserve those moments in time means so much to me. But then to have others like the photos I take means the world to me, the fact that someone else likes the final result I had in mind when I pressed the shutter button, well that's pretty decent! I always engage with the people who leave comments on my photos when I post them on social media. if someone has taken the time to make a nice comment then I feel it's only polite to thank them, after all they could've just scrolled on by. 

The photos below are of my neighbours cat who has been stopping by occasionally to say hello. A bit of a poser that's for sure. He likes to sit at the end of my little garden for ages just listening, waiting, stalking... but never finding anything. I would love to know what he is thinking when he just sits there staring at me. 

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It has saddened me reading about, and seeing the events that have passed, like birthdays and anniversaries where for some people they are on their own to celebrate them. I have friends who have had to postpone their wedding to next year (that’s going to be a huge celebration that one!) But while seeing all these events being mentioned on social media, it got me to thinking. My tagline with my photography is “Creating Memories” and if this virus and lockdown has shown me one thing it’s how much those memories mean. I have some photos printed and hung  on my wall that I have taken on some of my trips, and with my website galleries I can always look back on the times and places that have made me happy. When I am out of lockdown and we are free of this arse of a virus I am going to be creating some more memories for me, visiting my favourite places, hopefully getting a holiday booked to my favourite place in the world, the Isle of Skye.

The photos below are new styles applied to old photos, I am so looking forward to escaping over the northern border when this is over. I love wandering in the highlands and on the Isle of Skye. Taking a drive to the favourite locations takes so much longer than the sat-nav tells you because there are so many stops you have to make on the way because the whole of the highlands is just a photographers paradise. Tho sometimes I just stop and take in the amazing surroundings. Even just standing looking down the roads as seeing them just disappear into the mountains, like they have been swallowed up. When you get the location, the walk to the destination are some of the most amazing walks you could imagine. It really doesn't matter what the weather is like, you can do do the same walk two days running and see different things. 

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While my business is based around Pet and Automotive photography, you can see from my galleries with I am happy when I am behind the camera with most subjects in front of it. So, when we are free of the shackles of the coronavirus, I am wanting to get you all smiling with memories on your walls or your desks. So, if this is something that is of interest to you, please get in touch with me through the contact me on my website, or find me on social media (look for “Son of Leod Photography”) and we can have a chat about creating some awesome memories for you. Get those pets groomed, those cars shined and if you’ve been cutting your own hair in lockdown, get to the salon and then give me a shout.


But for now, stay at home, stay safe, and tell those around you what they mean to you, if you can give them a hug.


Below are a selection of photos that I have been working on in the lockdown, some old with new styles applied to them and some new.. Motorsport. automotive, wildlife, landscapes, pets.. In my galleries you will find a huge selection of images that you will not find anywhere else, and all of them are available as prints on a variety of media. 

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