My COVID-19 Backyard Boredom Project

Backyard Boredom Project

This post is a bit different than I would normally write here; it is about my photography. I am writing it here instead of my photography blog (shameless plug, Exploring Photography with Joe Valencia) because the photography was inspired by the lock down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I have written a companion piece titled, Backyard Discoveries on my other blog.

Working from Home

It was some time around mid-March that my company announced that anyone who wished to do so could work from home. I chose to do so; about two weeks later the office was shut down completely. As a programmer I have the luxury of being able to do my job anywhere I have an internet connection so I have been impacted far less than millions of others. What has been a big change is my choice of locations for photo excursions. When I am at the office I can walk to Monmouth Battlefield for a nice hike or drive a few minutes to a few different other locations. If I just need to get some air, I can find things to shoot right around the office. I will also detour some some of my favorite locations on the way home from the office if I need some "shutter time" or the conditions are just right. The lock down took away the parks and I no longer go to the office so detours no longer exist.

The Project

So, what do you do when you can't go anywhere but you just have to point the camera at something? I have seen a lot of people talking about using the time to work on their studio work - still life, arranged macro, water drops, etc... - but that has never really been my "thing." I have been wanting to do more of that type of work but it takes preparation and most of the time I pick up the camera is when I need a release. So, while others have turned to their kitchen tables, I turned to my back (side and front) yard.

It started out with the daffodils blooming and a (near) windless day. I try to capture daffodils during each stage of their growth every spring but this year I didn't get out until they were in full bloom. Due to not having to fight the wind I was able to set up my tripod and deliberately set up my composition. The flip screen on my camera meant I didn't have to get down on the ground - I don't mind getting dirty, I just didn't have anyone around to help me get up. 😊

As a creative exercise I like to sit on my back steps, or front porch, with my camera and one lens. I see what I can capture without moving from my seat. Most often I look upward to see if there are any birds or maybe the light is hitting a tree nicely. Lately I have been looking down, how fortunate for me. I was on the front porch looked to my side and saw the Lily of the Valley shown here. They have been there for as long as I can remember but I never captured a single image. I spent several hours over multiple days shooting these wonderfully delicate plants. You can see other images from those days here - Lily of the Valley

That same exercise, done on the back porch, led to the image of the bee shown here. No, I wasn't sitting on the steps when I made this image but I was pointing the camera that way capturing a few others. I saw so many bees, I put on my Macrofier and decided to see how close I could get.

Not all excursions take place outside, though. This last image, pink wild rose, was actually taken from the window next to where my computer is. I took the screen out so that I can get some clear shots if anything exciting is going on. I had seen a gray catbird in a tree, grabbed the camera and opened the window just in time to watch it fly away. As the window was being closed I noticed this blossom and played around with a few compositions. There are times great compositions are, literally, right under your nose!

That's it.... for now.

This seems to be a good time to wrap things up and let you get back to whatever you were doing. If there is a silver lining in all of this it is that I have come to see things in a new way. I read a quote the other day that struck me as rather interesting:
The goal is not to change your subjects, but for the subject to change the photographer. - Unknown
The pandemic has taught me the meaning of this and I think it has made me a better photographer. It has certainly taught me to slow down, look around and appreciate everything that Mother Nature has to offer. We could probably even expand a bit and say that if an ugly weed can look beautiful if looked at the right way, maybe we should afford a closer look at our fellow citizens.

Until next time! Thanks for stopping by - would love to hear what you have been doing to keep busy during the pandemic. New projects? Hobbies? What have you been binge-watching? Drop a comment down below!


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