As I write this on the summer solstice, I am wondering where this year has gone. Lockdown has started to ease up, and it feels like we are now starting to accept, albeit reluctantly to the "new normal". These past months since lockdown began have been completely unproductive. Even if I could go out, unfortunately I have had a number of health issues which have prevented me from being active. I have therefore consumed more content than I've created. And what I've seen, especially on You Tube is some of the big name Landscape Photographers moving towards minimalistic images. This isn't anything new to me. In fact, being located in the heart of Benelux, I do not have the big vistas that many other locations are lucky enough to have. I often have to look at minimalistic, or intimate landscape scenes. This is something that I've been using to drive both my creativity and push my camera craft, especially on composition. Last year I went to the Dutch coast on a mission to visit a nature reserve that had a population of foxes. Before I embarked on this mission, the evening before in dull light, I went for a walk with my Lumix G9 and a lightweight tripod. Now I don't want to be disparaging about the Dutch coastline, but...there isn't a lot to it. Sea, sand and sky. Almost no interesting features, piers, sea brakes...nothing. But I decided I would work with what I had and create a minimalist landscape with just three elements; the sea, the sky and 4 small pieces of driftwood. Using a Lee circular polariser and a little stopper, I used a 4 second exposure at f5.6 to create a moody, ethereal seascape. The key was timing the shutter at the moment the wave would break to get an interesting pattern with the white sea streaking backwards. But the effect worked very well. It is a simple composition, and lacks vibrance, but that is due to the light conditions I had on that evening. The G9 is a camera I love to use in these circumstances. With the inbuilt time I just set it to 2 or 10 seconds and I don't have to worry about camera shake impacting focus. And I don't need to worry about an intravoltemer - the less kit you carry on the beach the better.
During lockdown I reflected on what I was going to do when I eventually got back out into the field. With limited travel, it feels like there are very slim pickings. But...
When life gives you lemons, you have to make lemonade.
Now is the time to challenge yourself. 2020 as a year might be a write off. But why not try some new things, fail, and learn from them? You might have to shoot local, and that might not be what you want to do. It might not be what inspires you. But it might push your photography to a new level, but making you see a scene differently, and photographing it differently.
Above all, have fun, and stay safe...!