I'm about to head over to London for a short break and the hustle and bustle is going to be a shock to the system. Especially with this being my first time leaving Ireland since 2020. It got me thinking about the Pandemic, it's from that point in time that I got back into taking my camera everywhere with me, as a way to settle my mind.
In February 2020 we had our last pre pandemic break. A Hotel in Dublin for the weekend. Things were already getting tense. Hand sanitiser as we checked in, cleaners in PPE on rotation, scrubbing the bannisters. During our stay the news that Ireland had it's first case of Covid. We nervously joked that there were worse places we could end up locked down than a nice Hotel.
We got away from Dublin just in time. The drive back home and more cases. Still, things were normal enough. A couple of weeks watching cases rise and then it happened - Lockdown.
Do you remember the silence, the empty roads? Even the sky seemed to take a breather, no contrails. Maybe coincidence, but it was the best Spring that Ireland seemed to have had in years. Blue sky. It's a rarity at the best of times.
Then a rush to get a home office setup for me and home schooling for my daughter. Amazon made a small fortune from me.
We could leave the home for exercise a couple times a day and within 3 miles of the house. I looked at Belfast Lough and my local park with fresh eyes. In a way I guess we looked at the world around us again. A pandemic positive. I have two very vivid memories from the early days of lockdown. One walking down the Newtownards Road at what shoild have been rush hour. The sound of birds and nothing else. It was beautiful. Another was an evening going to take the bins out, catching a glimpse of the stars and it stopped me in my tracks. They were so bright, sparkling.
That lack of both light and noise pollution gave a glimpse at a world seemingly lost to us.
I started taking my camera everywhere with me again. I have always enjoyed photography but I needed something now to help ease myself from the anxiety and fears of the pandemic.
I began to look at the landscapes that were so familiar to me but I'd never really examined because of that familiarity. There is something comforting to me in the unchanging lines of the hills and rocks on the shore. Unchanging yet ever changing based on the elements. The tide, wind, light or lack of it.
I've come to realise just how rooted to this place I am. Home. I'm more than comfortable with that notion so have been spending the past couple of years content and with no real desire any more to "see the world". This small part of it does me just fine.
Also, I don't head out to take photos. I go for the walk and to clear the head. There is something though about the process of pausing and raising the viewfinder to your eye. That pause. I have come to really appreciate it again.
Then getting home and opening Lightroom. Another process. In the past I loved my darkroom and it's great getting lost in developing the images I take to capture the mood, both external and internal, of the day.
So here we are. Me attempting a blog again but this time with something to share. My pauses. I hope you enjoy them and pause with me for a bit. The world has changed. It always does though. I hope we do take the positives forward.
It's a process.