In a matter of days life has been turned upside down, how we once lived and worked has been drastically changed and everybody, everywhere is coming to terms with the word’s lock down and COVID-19. Almost overnight my freelance video work has completely dried up.
On Saturday the 14th March I was meant to be boarding a plane headed for Cape Verde filming a surf video but it was cancelled. All of my filming trips to the Maldives, Japan and Hamburg that were scheduled for the weeks that followed have all been cancelled. The world was brought to a halt. We have all been asked to commit to the greatest challenge of staying at home and social distancing. Two items which are very difficult for photographers or cinematographers to achieve while still trying to work.
Lucky for me I have still been able to been able to carry on with my work for the local BBC TV and Radio but for many this virus has had very serious implications. I had bought the SIGMA fp Camera back in February for my trip to Cape Verde. It has not been used for its intended purpose but I have to say that it has been my one shining light in these dark times. I live in a small country village in Suffolk with the beautiful river Stour running through it. I’m fortunate to be able to leave my house and spot some amazing wildlife, all within a short walk. In my daily hour exercise, I have been able to get to grips with the new mirrorless camera and all it has to offer whilst photographing and videoing kingfishers, barn owls and trying but failing, so far, to capture a water vole.
I bought the camera because it was small, lightweight, sturdy and I could travel with it. Never had I expected that the furthest distance I would travel with this camera would be three miles from my house but it has already proved to be a rewarding investment. My normal life has been turned upside down, working from home a lot and not being able to go out and have the freedom that we’re all so used to. Being able to go out with my camera literally in my pocket has been the one thing that has let me escape from the worries of this terrible virus. Before I would’ve had to go out with my rucksack and tripod with me which aren’t so portable. Being free for an hour and capture some of the best wildlife photographs I have ever been able to, has provided comfort that life will get back to normal and life does carry on even in the darkest times. Being able to watch a barn owl hunt in the last light of the day or a pied wagtail bathing in the morning sun lets my mind focus on something that this virus doesn’t have control over and that’s our beautiful UK Wildlife.
I hope that we get through this virus quickly and healthily but in a round-a-bout way it has open up new avenues of opportunity and made me realise what is important in life. I hope everybody is keeping as well as they can be during these life changing times.
If you want to see more images, you can follow Stewart Howell on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/paddlestu/