The global spread of the Covid-19 virus and the subsequent measures like lockdowns and social distancing regulations have affected the life of every single human on earth in one way or another. If I look at my personal situation, I think I have been fortunate. Neither me or my family got sick, the company I work for was able to run its business all the time, I could do my work from home and lockdown and safety measures in Germany have not been too hard and have worked well.
Nevertheless, it has been a time with lots of uncertainty, confusion, restriction of movement and rapid unexpected developments for me, especially at the beginning of the first wave in March and April 2020. To cope with that stressful situation, I made it a habit to go for a daily walk in the neighbourhood, through park landscape and a nature preserve nearby. And I took my camera with me on many of these daily walks, to capture nature, landscape and the mood of the day. The result is a series of images that I have labeled “The World in Times of Social Distancing”.
If one looks at the pictures from this series there are no hints of lockdown, stress, confusion or suffering. Nature and landscape were simply not affected by this global human crisis and kept to their regular course from early spring to early summer. I find this reassuring. And it puts our human focus into a humbling perspective. Nature can survive without humans.
A morning on the pond
There is a peaceful-looking pond called Kupferteich within walking distance. Peaceful-looking but not actually quiet: in normal times there will be noisy airplanes flying in at low altitude every couple of minutes. Not so in Covid-19 times at the beginning of the lockdown. Air traffic got to an almost complete halt, and the pond was actually as quiet as it looks on these photographs.
Along the shore of the pond I will always find unique subjects for long exposure photography. Fallen logs and dead wood look like primordial and ghostly creatures against the silhouettes of bare trees in early spring.
The sun is low on mornings in early spring and creates strong contrast with the bare trees and fallen logs.
Trees know no lockdown
At the beginning of the lockdown in March trees were still bare without leaves. The silhouttes contrast nicely with clouds.
When March turned to April, everything started to blossom and the landscape looked different again on each of my daily walks. Trees just know no lockdown.
When dandelions show I know that spring is almost over and summer is not far away.
And when spring turns to summer, leaves will grow on the trees. First there are just a few and trees still look like sharply defined silhouettes.
But just a couple of weeks later, well into May, everything is green and organic. I watched my favourite tree photo model on many of my daily camera trips.
When the air is still cold in early spring, you can see icy feathery clouds at high altitude on clear days. They form a nice contrast with the dark blue sky.
And with the low evening sun even ordinary-looking farming scenery will get a magic look.
The low sun and sunstars make a particularly nice subject in spring.
Windy and rainy days
Of course some days of social distancing in spring were windy, cold and rainy. This did not stop me from my daily walks. And between rain showers there is always a chance for a good long exposure photograph.
Winds can be strong in spring in northern Germany. And will blow away the rain clouds quickly.
I particularly like an evening walk when the rain is clearing and some last rays of evening sun will show shortly before dusk.