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Quite rightly we are all being told to stay at home and only only go out once a day for daily exercise. We all know that this will save lives and get us through the nightmare that is Coronavirus.

As I have mentioned many times before, photography was my salvation when I was suffering badly with anxiety and was the cure for my severe panic disorder that I developed a few years ago. So during these difficult times, it is important that I look after both my physical and mental health.

From a photography point of view, this means that I need to do even more planning to ensure that I can maximise my time out and I need to think about compositions that I can walk too. It is very easy to take for granted what you have on your doorstep and even become a little board with the location that you live in. I for one have certainly fallen into that trap over the past year or so. However with the current restrictions that are in place, it is really opening my mind up to the beauty that surrounds me and I certainly will never take it for granted anymore.

Take the image above. I have walked past this locations hundreds of time before and have never stopped to look around and think about what compositions could be found. It is also worth mentioning that I didn't end up here by chance this morning. I knew when the sun was going to rise and I also knew to a few meters where I was going to need to stand to get the sunrise above the castle. Likewise I knew the camera settings that I would need to get the sun to cast its rays like it has done. So how did I know? Well there are a number of apps that you can use to work it out. Personally, I use PhotoPills and the Photographer's Ephemeris. These are great apps that allow you to see exactly where and when the sun and moon will rise and set. They use google maps, gps and PhotoPills even has augmented reality built in so you can see the track of the sun and moon as they rise and fall. Once you know that, you can take a huge amount of the guess work out of things. All you then have to concentrate on is composing an image and make sure its correctly exposed.

Getting back to the image above. I bracketed 7 images and then picked the best ones to enable me to bring back the shadows and control the highlights. Camera settings were ISO 100, f16 and 7 images at different shutter speeds. What I didn't take into consideration was the flare that was created by the rising sun. I have done my best to get ride of it all in photoshop but it has caused a couple of issues in the final edit which try as I might, I can fix. The first is the sun ray that is positioned at about 8 o'clock which had a really bright spot in the middle of it, Believe me its about 1000% better than it was but no where near perfect, The second bit of flaring was a large spot on the roof of the first building. Normally this wouldn't have been to hard to remove, however with how the tiles are, trying to clone some other unaffected ones from else where in the image is beyond me as they don't line up. I am sure someone with far better editing skills could do a much better job.

So in these times where we all probably have more time on our hands than we ever have done, think about where you live, plan your daily exercise to take advantage of the conditions that you will have. Remember time, is our most valuable commodity, it is none renewable. During these dark days, use it wise, stay safe and don't travel.

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