2020 is nearing the end and it’s been a year dominated by a word few people had heard of; Coronavirus. It is also a year where being creative and making pictures was so important.

When lockdown started late in March there was a sense of ok, so we have to stay at home, but soon a week or two turned in to months and I was really missing the creativity of making photos with other people. As lockdown eased in June, the possibility of a socially distant photoshoot outside became a reality. It’s been more than eighteen months since me and Emma had done a shoot together, since I’m not counting the half dozen shots I’d take of her during a group workshop late in 2019. You might say we’ve been looking for a chance to work together again for a while. A bright sunny afternoon, some local trails I’d found during lockdown walks and Emma made a perfect combination for my first post-lockdown shoot.

“Photo therapy”

In reality the shoot with Emma was just amazing, as we talked about what we’d shot at the end it was clear that getting out, being creative, making pictures, was more photo therapy than photography for both of us. We both felt it was a huge mental uplift after months of confinement. Given me and Emma have worked together often, it’s an easy working relationship and even if the pictures hadn’t been successful that didn’t actually matter. Fortunately we both enjoyed the shoot and made some great shots too.

  • EOS R
  • EF 135mm f/2L USM
  • 1/320s, f/2.2, ISO 50

It was a bright day, but even on a wide country path there were hedges and patches of shade to be found. I wanted Emma to stand out and that meant additional light. Time for the Lastolite Ezybox Speed Lite 2 and single Speedlite 600EX-RT to do their magic. The light stand was in the shot, it goes up on the left side of the frame about halfway between Emma’s below and the left edge of the shot, but it soon disappeared with the spot removal tool. Bright light meant high speed sync to get the ambient under control, and I selected the low / ISO 50 setting to reduce the shutter speed.

This first image stood out when I was reviewing the shots from our shoot, but I wanted to move it beyond the green summer tones of the footpath in June. Using Lightroom I applied a teal and orange effect with split toning, colour calibration to move the green grass a foliage to browns and for me it worked.

  • EOS R
  • EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
  • 1/2000s, f/2, ISO 100

  • EOS R
  • EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
  • 1/640s, f/5.6, ISO 500

Switching to another found location – a field of purple flowers – I put the diffuser capabilities of the Lastolite Halo Compact diffuser to use, blocking the sun and evenly illuminating Emma’s face. Fortunately it wasn’t that windy and my camera bag was enough to keep the “sail” from falling over.

Bot these shots are from almost the same spot, the difference is the camera position. For the first one it’s close to my eye level, the second one I’ve held it up over my head and tilted the LCD so I’m looking up to frame my shot. This makes the field the background of the shot.

This was just a fabulous way to exit the spring lockdown, and even if we’d actually created nothing, it was so good to be making photos again.

Lockdown 2 arrived in early November, just as I had managed to coincide a short term loan of an RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM lens and schedule another shoot in a studio with Emma. Unfortunately the shoot was a victim of lockdown 2, but we still have that idea to shoot in 2021 and I cannot wait to do so.

See you tomorrow…

About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag