We’re all in it together – apart!
I live in Scotland where the current advice for people who do not have any Covid-19 symptoms is to practice social distancing. Briefly, and quoting from NHS Inform Scotland, that advice is to:
- Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) – these symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport – when possible, alter your travel times to avoid rush hour
- Work from home, where possible – your employer should support you to do this
- Avoid large gatherings
- Avoid gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars and clubs
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family – keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
- Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
So, yesterday, feeling hale and hearty, I decided I should follow this advice but also get some fresh air and do some photography in the great outdoors. A fine activity when my commercial work is somewhat slowing down in the current climate.
So, I got in the car (2 – tick) and set off for the picturesque East Neuk of Fife, very near where I live. I was never within less than about 3 metres from anyone and all of this was outdoors (1- tick). I moved between the great outdoors and the car (4, 5 – tick) and used a hand gel each time I entered or left the car (bonus tick). I think, therefore, I managed to have some good and productive time out whilst keeping on the right side of the social distancing guidance.
I ventured round Elie, Pittenweem and Anstruther and bagged a whole series of shots much of which I broadly had in mind before I set out but the one that speaks most to me is the one that was opportunistic and which I have titled “soiltude”.
As I was walking uphill on the coastal path I spotted this lone kayaker out on the Firth of Forth. It just seemed to capture for me, something of the sense of “self-isolating” which is the phrase of the day. At the same time, it also looked like a peaceful and serene way to spend some time alone. There’s already talk in the media that perhaps the phrase “self-isolating” is portraying negatively which is partly why I titled the photograph “solitude”. This sounds more like a positive sense of being alone and having time and space to reflect.
I like the negative space* in this photo which represents not only the physical space around the kayaker but also the space to be and to think. Space we often desire away from the madding crowd.
This photo doesn’t need pin sharp detail – it’s all about conveying a mood or feeling. Consequently the processing was fairly light and I’ll take you through what I did. First, here’s a before and after comparison:
I wanted a slightly brighter, slightly bluer image so here’s a quick run-down of the editing which was all done in Lightroom:
- First up – apply lens correction and remove chromatic aberration
- exposure +0.5
- clarity +9
- dehaze +14
- vibrance +15
- white balance customised to 5855 (temp) – slightly cooling from as shot
- applied a medium contrast tone curve
- Aqua hue +12; saturation +12
- Blue hue -9; saturation +20
- detail – heavy masking (94) to isolate the outline of the kayaker then:
- sharpening amount 82
- radius 0.5
- noise reduction – luminance 31
And that’s it.
The image was captured on a Canon EOS 7D with a 55-200mm lens shooting at 200mm and the settings were:
- ISO 250
- 1/1000 sec
*Negative space, in art, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image.