A lot of my photographer friends have been stuck at home, not getting out as much to practice their photography.
For sure, it’s a frightening time for many. Restaurants and bars are closed. We need to keep a safe distance from people and wear a mask. Many of us know people who have caught COVID-19. “Every time I took a breath, it felt like I was swallowing toothpicks,” one friend has described.
But I have been doing night photography, and hopefully without being reckless. Here’s what I’ve been doing so far, and how I’m staying safe.
I’ve stayed in Airbnbs and motels so far. I especially like Airbnbs because I don’t come in contact with anyone. When I get to the location, I take Clorox Wipes and immediately swab down the entire place.
Is this excessive? I don’t know. Does it make me feel better? Absolutely. Although COVID-19 does not appear to be transmitted primarily through surfaces, why take chances?
Staying away from people
I like people. I don’t want to stay away from them. But stay away I should. I travel with my wife or sometimes alone.
I gas up at night when there’s no one around. I don’t eat in restaurants. I bring my own food as much as is possible. I go on much shorter trips.
Bending the rules of staying away from people
I have “bent the rules” a little bit by sort of traveling with other people once. I traveled to an exceedingly remote area of the Mojave Desert with two other night photographers. We drove in separate cars and then hiked to the location.
Outdoors is much safer, and we generally kept our distance. We slept outdoors at least 50 feet away from each other … although that may have been because two of the three of us were prolific snorers.
Night photographers might have an advantage here. Night photography generally involves getting away from people and going to darker areas, with the exception of night street photography and fireworks.
But even during the day, it’s still relatively easy to avoid people by going into the wilderness.
Should we do this?
We all have our own levels of concern. I feel that I’ve been cautious. I avoid public places as much as possible. I bring a mask with a PM2.5 filter when I walk around my neighborhood, which I do every day to get out of the house, putting it on if people get within 25 feet of me. I wipe down my car if I go in a grocery store or business. The few times I have guests at my house, we hang out outside, keeping our distance.
But creating night photos or recording weird music is like breathing to me. I want to create. My feeling is that if I can get outside while taking proper precautions, I can stay reasonably sane. And that’s a good thing for not only me but everyone who needs to deal with me.
Should everyone do this? Probably not. We all have our own health issues and responsibilities. But for now, this is how I have been doing it. And hopefully I can stay safe, and keep the few people I see safe as well.