The World in Times of Social Distancing

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.

Fallen log in the pond

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.

Primordial creature

The sun is low on mornings in early spring and creates strong contrast with the bare trees and fallen logs.

The sun in early spring

Trees know no lockdown

At the beginning of the lockdown in March trees were still bare without leaves. The silhouttes contrast nicely with clouds.

Bare trees in March

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.

Dandelions and dead oak tree

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.

First leaves on the trees

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.

My favourite tree with leaves

Evening clouds

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.

Feathery clouds

And with the low evening sun even ordinary-looking farming scenery will get a magic look.

Low evening sun

The low sun and sunstars make a particularly nice subject in spring.

Low sun 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.

Puddles after a couple of rainy days

Winds can be strong in spring in northern Germany. And will blow away the rain clouds quickly.

Strong winds in spring

I particularly like an evening walk when the rain is clearing and some last rays of evening sun will show shortly before dusk.

Clearing up in the evening

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *