Working From Home

The ninth instalment of my #LivingInLockdown series: The world that we live in has changed in many ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has touched everyone’s lives in one way or another. One of these many changes was to the way that most people work. The UK Government advised employers to enable their employees to work from home where possible in order to try to curb the spread of the virus. Since March 2020 a high percentage of the UK workforce has now moved to working from home.

Working from home has been a major change for many people, having to adapt to a completely new way of working. Have you joined the ranks of working from home? Some people love it, some people hate it, how have you adapted?

Since this journey began both my wife and I have been working from home, we have made some adjustments along the way to adapt to our new way of working. Mainly the move of our workspace away from the dining room table to one our spare rooms that we have converted into a office. It is important to have a defined workspace that is separate from your living space so although you may be working from home, your home remains home and not your workplace.

This pandemic and lockdowns may have brought many hardships, but for me working from home has not been one of them. I quite enjoy working from home, it allows me to get on with work with less distractions from my team. Maybe it’s because I’m a little socially awkward that I enjoy the space on my own to work, while still being part of a team. The increased frequency of coffee runs, a more relaxed work atmosphere, and more flexible working hours and definitely created a better work / life balance.

#StaySafe

Winter In Lockdown

The eighth instalment of my #LivingInLockdown series. Who could have imagined that 10 months after the first national COVID-19 lockdown that we would find ourselves in yet another national lockdown.

Now we find ourselves in Winter (which inspired this post), a new year (“hello 2021”) and our 3rd national lockdown since this pandemic began 10 months ago.

This selection of lockdown photos was impromptu compared to my earlier #LivingInLockdown posts (sorry for the lack of photos). As since Autumn, due to work commitments and if I’m honest just sheer lack of motivation. I have not spent as much time recording lockdown as I did in the first lockdown back in Spring. So I took a brief moment out from working to capture the beauty of the recent snowfall from our windows.

Although I am not a fan of being cold I was quite pleased to see the snow (helped by the fact that I did not HAVE to go out in it). As it motivated me to go outside for exercise & take photos (socially distanced of course). Some of which I have already shared on a previous post “Snowfall”, I still have a few more to share when I get around to it. Part of me would be happy if it snowed for the duration of this latest lockdown.

It’s safe to say that I have found lockdown during the Autumn & Winter months harder to stay motivated. Is it because the weather is colder? Is it because lockdown/pandemic is wearing me down? Is it a combination of both of these? The colder weather has definitely made me less motivated to go outside for our allowed exercise. So as a result I have not spent as much time on outdoor photo walks as I did during Spring & Summer. I am not complaining though, we have been very lucky compared to some. Thankfully to my knowledge we have not contracted COVID-19 and are healthy, our family and friends are healthy, and we have been able to work consistently thus far during the pandemic, which I think has helped us keep a level of routine and sanity.

#StaySafe

Snowfall

The first snow of 2021 has fallen, just to confirm that Winter is definitely here, in case we didn’t realise that already. So now here in the UK we find ourselves in a frozen COVID lockdown, I guess the snow confirms that we now have had every season during the various COVID pandemic lockdowns.

As of 5th January 2021 here in the UK we find ourselves in our 3rd national COVID lockdown (although in lot of ways it feels like the lockdown has been ongoing since the initial lockdown in March 2020). As you may have seen from my lack of posts recently (due to work commitments and lack of motivation) I’ve not been out much with my camera to take new shots. Autumn pretty much passed me by, then suddenly Winter was here.

Although I hate being cold, weirdly it was the snow that motivated me to get outside for a walk and take some photos of the snow. We are still allowed to go outside for daily exercise (adhering to the COVID guidelines of course). Thankfully these snowy scenes were only just a few meters from our house. So I was able to enjoy the great frozen outdoors without venturing too far.

Instagram & Photography

I have had a mixed experience with social media with regards to sharing my photography. My photography & my initial website was born long before the creation of the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) that we know today.

When I first began to use Instagram (October 2010) it appeared to be a platform for photographers & photography lovers (which is what I liked about it), sharing mobile-phone-photography shots. Trying to make creative mobile photography shots. Although I loved this new style of photography I have to admit I was a bit snobbish back then and didn’t deem mobile phone photography as “real photography”, strange how the world & your opinions change.

One of my first shots on Instagram

In my early days of using Instagram I wouldn’t include any of my Insta shots on my website/portfolio. As I’ve mentioned although I liked the medium of mobile phone photography there was a snobbish feeling that if it wasn’t taken by a “proper camera” then it wasn’t “real photography”. I’m sure I was not alone in this mindset. I’m also sure that there are many people who felt the same way about the switch from analogue to digital cameras. As people we are always suspicious of change.

Another early Insta shot (Nov’ 2010)

My generation are probably in a bit of weird time, born in between the analogue & the digital age, but hopefully are able to appreciate both. It’s safe to say I have definitely embraced digital photography and over time I have left behind the idea that mobile photography is not “real photography”. Although I do still prefer my DSLR over my phone camera.

Alcohol Art (Jan 2011)

I tend to save Instagram for my mobile photography, although I have been known from time to share some of my DSLR work on Instagram or even edit them with Instagram filters.

A more recent Instagram shot (2020)

In 2020 it feels as though Instagram has evolved more in to a platform that is open to anyone who wishes to photo-blog their day to day life (which is now a trap that I have fell in to after recently creating a personal account separate from my photography) rather than sharing the art of photography. I do feel it has lost some of the artistic flair as it’s now been diluted by life bloggers photo blogging their day to day.

That being said there are still some amazing photographers who use the service to share their work. I think my biggest bug bear of Instagram is the multitude of accounts that seem to exist purely to share other people’s work. This frustrates me, I want to follow the original creator. Although I guess they have led me to find some amazing creatives, so maybe they have their place and my point is a mute point.

Winter frost (Jan 2021)

I have come to realise that art is in the eye of the beholder, it’s open to interpretation. We can all see the same thing differently, it’s about creating something that we as the creator love, and hopefully others will like as well. How we all share and view art is also changing.

If there are any other photographers reading my post I’d be interested in your views on Instagram? Do you have accounts? If anyone wants to check out my Instagram photography account you can find it at:

www.instagram.com/ryangardenphotography

2021: Year of Hope

No one can deny that 2020 was a challenging for everyone in one way or another due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter 2021 were are still far from seeing the end of this pandemic that has gripped the world. That being said 2021 is being herald as the “Year of Hope”, after the last 10 months I’m sure we could all use a little hope.

With the idea of hope in mind it reminded me of some photos that I had taken back in October, of the “The Leaves of the Trees” a memorial exhibit by sculptor Peter Walker. The exhibit was created to honour those who have passed during the COVID pandemic.

When I heard about Peter Walker’s exhibit, and that it was coming to Sheffield Cathedral I wanted to be able to see it. These may not be not be my best shots but I thought it fitted perfectly with my #LivingInLockdown series. The exhibit was remarkable, I can’t imagine how long it must have taken to make all of the 5000 individual leaves of hope. It’s a simple yet thought provoking and humble memorial.

Related links: Sheffield Cathedral (The Leaves of the Trees) | Peter Walker (The Leaves of the Trees)

Bumblebee

Bees may not bee (pun very much intended) everyone’s favourite insect. However they are very important to the life-cycle of our planet, and how can you not love these little pollinators? They may not be the easiest subject to photograph (patience is definitely required to get the perfect shot) but when you get that perfect clear shot they are interesting subjects. Its not always easy to see them in full detail with the naked eye, but armed with my trusted zoom/macro lens I can capture them in all their glory.

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