Capital Photography Center | Photography Classes in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia and Online

Shutdown Silver Linings

July 22, 2020 by Marie Joabar

Curious about what we were doing with our time during the shutdown? Read on and discover how many of our instructors and staff kept themselves busy and motivated with their photography these past few months. Learn what they found as a Silver Lining in all of this.

Beth Haubach

"The shutdown gave me an opportunity to focus on my photography in a way that my normally jam-packed life usually didn’t.  However, the reopening has seen my return to interfacing with Capital Photography Center class participants.  I love getting to view images taken at the various classes….it gives me a chance to live vicariously through their experience!

I “need” to do photography regularly to take a break from the demands and routines of daily life.  Photography takes me to my “happy place” where it’s just me, my thoughts and the chance to create something.  Recently I made an early morning visit to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to photograph the lotus and lily flowers.  I literally spent the morning “lost” amongst the lotus; one flower more beautiful than the last.  It definitely helped me recharge.  This past weekend a photographer friend and I visited an old woolen mill in Pennsylvania.  We spent four hours rummaging through four floors of old equipment, looms and spider webs!  It was good for the soul!  The next adventure may just be to my garden but the distance from the house is not important.  What is important is that I put down any “work”, pick up the camera and take the time to do something that is just for me.

One of my favorite sayings; “Just do it!” Whether it’s simply a trip to your backyard or a planned destination: JUST DO IT!  Things are starting to open up so do a little Google search on your favorite places to see if they are open or venture out to a place you’ve been wanting to visit.  Keep your camera bag packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice so you’ll never miss an opportunity to grab the shot!"

Corey Hilz

"Explore close to home! You don’t have to travel far to find fabulous photo opportunities. Check out somewhere you’ve heard about, but have never been to. Or challenge yourself and find somewhere completely new to you!"

Marie Joabar

"From mid March thru mid June I was buried at my desk but I was thankful to have the work;  from building the Online site, creating my own online courses to teach, planning for the reopening, and scheduling summer and fall in-person classes. Whew it was a busy time!!

While I was not able to get out and shoot myself, I would look at the exciting images on Instagram, thankful for the view of the world beyond my office!

Finally in July I was able to venture out with my camera for the first time since February. I managed 2 different shoots and it was like therapy! I loved getting lost in it and focusing only on my current environment. I’m hopeful you too will get out and photograph even if it is only in your backyard. There is something about seeing a slice of life thru your lens that can give some much needed pleasure right now."

Michael Koren

"One positive as a result of the shutdown is time to scan and add my older negatives and slides to my Lightroom catalog. 
The reopening and leading live classes again helps one appreciate and notice the smile in a student’s eyes." 

Lori Lankford

"As spring came with Covid, I knew I needed a project. As I walked each day to take a break from Zoom calls I started to really notice the light, colors, textures around the homes in my neighborhood. I started taking my camera and capturing the sights around me and then creatively editing the scenes to add emotion to the images. It has been so rewarding to look at things that I see each day and really focus on the details. I have been printing the images to share with each home’s owners as a way to give back and add some joy during this time. 

While Covid has impacted my ability to travel and shoot grand landscapes or the Milky Way, I have used this time to expand my macro skills. Macro allows me to focus on the small details around me, which has a calming effect. I have also poured through old images, finding nuggets to edit or refresh. Learning new skills as an artist has also been a focus. I have taken a course in learning about light through a review of artwork. While this time with COVID has been limiting, it has also allowed me time to expand my knowledge and skills in a new way.

This is a great time to try something new in your photography, stepping out of the norm to explore and expand your skills. A great activity is a themed photo walk of your neighborhood or local area. Walking and shooting with a theme can help you focus on something different, explore different styles of photography, and take a break from the routine.
Ideas for a quick photo walk: 
  - Walk and look for textures
  - Focus on a color and only shoot that color
  - Walk and shoot the alphabet—find images for each letter
  - Shoot in black and white
  - Walk and shoot reflections or shadows. " 

E. David Luria

"With all the extra time on my hands,
I reviewed 3,600 family slides going back to the 1960's, picked 800 of them and scanned them into flickr sites for my children.

I also wrote and edited a 130-page ebook on photography entitled "Washington Photo Safari's Guide For Amateur Photographers."

Emily Carter Mitchell

"As a nature and wildlife photography, the pandemic has presented new opportunities for me. With the quieting of the world, nature has begun to reclaim its surroundings and springtime was migration season. It was refreshing to enjoy quieter natural areas that were lesser known to rekindle my creativity and to refresh the spirit. Now with the hot summer I’m enjoying the indoors and spending my time honing my artistic skills and creating new photo projects. The newly found free time has allowed me to rest, refresh and return with an inspired eye for creativity behind the lens."

Roy Sewall

"The COVID-19 situation has been exasperating and creepy for all of us. But there have been some real silver linings. Since I found myself with much more available time, I decided to look into photos that I had never gotten around to processing. It was a treasure trove. I started processing like crazy and posting the best photos on my website. Between lots of shooting last summer and fall, and all the processing this spring and summer, I have had my most productive photography year since 2006 when I was shooting for my second book. When would I have done this if it hadn’t been for the pandemic – maybe never?"

Catherine Simmons

"Covid is changing the landscape of the entire globe. This change reaches into every facet of our lives, photography included. Social distancing has demanded new ways of thinking about portraiture. Shutdowns have caused otherwise travel photographers and portrait photographers like myself to stay home and focus on creating new kinds of art with accessible tools on hand. Branching out into new ideas and experimenting within different genres of photographic arts is inspiring and will certainly expand your creative and aesthetic bandwidth. Keep making pictures and always stay curious. 

Because photography is my weapon against boredom as well as my creative outlet through which I process life, I've enjoyed creating a visual narrative of Covid through socially distanced, masked portraits. I've also begun shooting ornamental chickens for fun as they can't get me sick! The world may crumble, but as long as I have my gear, I'll be just fine."

We hope these words inspire you to get out and shoot. As Roy Sewall often says, "Shoot often, shoot well!"