When the easing of lockdown rules came into play in the UK I was concerned. I didn’t want the nation to rush things and for cases of Covid-19 to increase again. On the other hand though, I was also thankful that it would mean I was free to venture further afield if I chose to.
For me, venturing further afield is still something to be performed with caution, so no heading to tourist honeypots, or areas of outstanding national beauty which I would expect to become quickly crowded. That wasn’t a problem though, the UK has thousands of miles of public footpaths, many of which are less travelled but nonetheless full of interest, and there are many within easy reach of my home, both on foot, or even a short 5-10 minute drive away. It’s easy to walk these paths and socially distance, and often you will meet no one else at all.
My usual process is to open a map – the UK’s Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer maps are the perfect tool for this, clearly showing the routes possible as well as points of interest along the way – or, often in my case, the map app on my phone. From there I look for a likely footpath and trace its route.
This allows me to plan my own route and calculate the distance, expected time (although adding photography to the mix means I can usually double this!), and even the elevation that the route will require – sometimes it can be easy to forget just how steep some routes are when looking at a 2D map!
Then it’s just a matter of heading out, following the route, and seeing what photographs are to be made.
The five frames shown here are from a walk I took in late May based on a route planned using the above process. It was a relatively short hike of around 3 miles through small areas of woodland, farmland, and connecting tracks and lanes. I took my Yashica Mat-124G with a roll of Ilford Pan F Plus that has been rattling around in a freezer drawer for ages, a travel tripod, and my Sekonic l-208 light meter.
The day was bright and, although I headed out early, warm. While the light might be considered harsh, and the empty blue skies a little lifeless, I think it captures the feel of a hot pre-summer’s morning nicely.
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