Indoor Activities for Photographers Amid the Unfolding Zombie Apocalypse
To varying degrees depending on your location and circumstances, all of us have had our lives upended in recent weeks. Yet life goes on, and there's still plenty we photographers can do while remaining safely at home.
It's an odd situation. There's nothing that says "social distancing" like spending time in the wilderness with your camera gear, but you would still need to get there to do so. Admittedly, reasonable care and attention to detail should help you navigate through or around crowds, doorknobs and other hazards of living in the opening motion picture reels of our collective zombie blockbuster. But at least until we know more, the safest option for many could be to just stay close to home, self-isolating to avoid the whole thing as much as possible. Hunkering down at home though doesn't have to mean stopping everything. This could be a great time to explore new opportunities or get work done you've been putting off. Even if you aren't personally worried about the virus, you can still use it as justification for getting things done at home.
At first glance, photographic subjects at home may seem limited. While I can see the Cascade Range here in Washington State from my window, the view is much better closer up. But even lacking readily available mountains, lakes and waterfalls, there are a surprising number of subjects possible if you slow down and look for them. I recently got a fossilized ammonite shell that has provided hours of fun taking pictures of. I'm betting if you look around your house, you can find things to shoot as well. The nice thing about macro photography is that even a small object can provide big fun.
Macro photography presents challenges beyond those generally encountered when shooting bigger objects. Depth of field shrinks as magnification increases as can working distance. Focusing gets more difficult. Lighting can be complicated. There's no better way to take your attention off the unfolding chaos in the wider world than to focus it on tiny macro subjects at home. It is said that there are good images to be made anywhere. Now's your chance to find out if that holds true. Look more deeply if you're not yet convinced.
If you're feeling up to venturing as far as your own backyard, you'll probably find plants blooming. The first day of Spring this year falls on March 19, just a few days from now as I write this. Especially if you have a backyard garden, you should be able to find plenty to shoot. Have a seat, relax, and have some fun. You can always come back inside if you hear your neighbors sneezing and coughing too loudly.
Or you could use this time to go back to basics with your photography. Play with shooting the same subject at varying apertures to see the effect and learn how it looks. Then do the same with varying shutter speeds. It's one thing to understand the relationship conceptually. It's something more to understand it from experience.
If you're like me, you're probably behind on cataloging your recent images. But if you find yourself more homebound than usual, why not use that time to get caught up on tagging and cataloging your images? Or, organized or not, dig a little deeper into your pile of images to find ones with potential. Open them in the application of your choice and work on them to see what develops (pardon the pun). If you've worked on it before, your editing skills and likely the software version itself have probably improved since then. Now and then, I come across an image I completely overlooked the first time around. It's almost like I got to revisit that location without ever leaving home, the perfect thing for a time like this.
Nobody likes cleaning, but this just might be the time to clean your camera gear thoroughly, including your camera bag. Given enough time, the nooks and crannies of your bag will begin to collect dust and dirt. I dump the whole thing out and use a small vacuum to get in the corners. Dirt in your camera bag might eventually find its way into your camera body and onto your sensor. All it takes is a careless lens change for your camera to become infected with this virus ... sorry, I mean "dust and dirt." Caution: don't clean your camera lenses with bleach. That would not be a good thing. Not all cleaning is created equal.
To the extent that you and yours make it through this okay, it makes sense to use whatever time you have available to best advantage. Health and safety concerns clearly come first, but in those idle moments between hand washings, why not get a few things done you've been putting off?
And if you're looking for reading matter at home, thankfully we have the internet these days. You can find almost anything online, including helpful photography blogs like this one.