Mike Wright Photography

20th March 2020


This month's period begins in the middle of February and now that we've just gone past the middle of March it seems an awfully long time ago. Corona virus was a distant threat in China and Storm Dennis (I think) had just gone through. This is where the pictures begin. I thought I' get down to Kingsand in Cornwall with the idea of getting some shots of big waves breaking over the clock tower. I set off at some unearthly hour on a Sunday morning. People had been warned not to travel, so the roads were virtually deserted – and there was no problem with the driving. I got to the car park in Cawsand and walked along the front until I found a slipway with a good view of the clock tower. Unfortunately, the wind had calmed down since the previous day, so the waves weren't huge, but they were still quite spectacular and I felt the trip had been worthwhile, despite getting pretty wet due to the continual drizzle.


The next day was the latest instalment in the Course I'm doing at Community Photographic Studios in Plympton. Our model was Carol, the self-styled 'Punk Granny'. She was brilliant and really brought the studios to life. We all got a lot of good shots and I picked out the ones I liked the best.


For Lesley's birthday, our daughter, Jen, came home and we picked Lesley's mum up and headed off to Charlestown – lunch in 'Wreckers' followed by a stroll down to the sea and then a browse around the unit of small craft and antique shops next to the car park. It's good going at this time of year. I hate to think how difficult parking would be at the height of the season.


The next set of pictures are from the Photography Course – we worked on lighting Mark Lawer's motorbike, which was quite spectacular. Lighting is beginning to lose some off its mystery – although I still wouldn't say I have any sort of confidence when setting up a style of lighting. I was pleased with the pictures I got and had some nice comments when I put some up on the studio Facebook page.


Then it was back to the outdoors for my next set of shots. This was at the beginning of March and Coronavirus had arrived in the country with dire warnings of what was to come in terms of the effect on our way of life. It still didn't feel like it was going to touch us down here in the Westcountry, although was a little hotspot in the Torquay area. That Sunday morning, when the rain had stopped for a day was lovely. I was up fairly early and after a couple of landscape shots, I concentrated on a small herd of Dartmoor ponies. They also were enjoying the sunshine and weren't just heads down and eating, which is their normal pose. They stayed still long enough for me to use the tripod, so I was very pleased with the quality.


For the next instalment of the Photography course, we worked with some of Jonathon Whittaker's work. He is a wood carver (https://carvedbyhand.co.uk) and the pieces we worked with were carved and then covered in a laminate to give them their shine. I had some nice comments from Jonathon himself when I put them up on the studio Facebook page.


Next I went out into the garden. Spring is moving along and the frogspawn had all hatched, so I spent an hour or so lying on a sheet of plastic by the pond, trying to get shots of the tadpoles. Not easy getting them in focus when they are under the surface – and made even more difficult when my macro lens doesn't focus consistently since I fell into the River Plym with it a couple of years ago!


I determined to go out for certain on the following Sunday, no matter what the forecast was. As it happened, it was for showers clearing as the morning progressed and sure enough, when I arrived at Maristowe Quay and parked, I ended up sitting in the car for quarter of an hour as a shower came through. When it had passed I got out and headed off on the walk around the river. I had gone about two hundred yards when another shower came in. I squeezed between two tree trunks for some cover and set to wait it out. I don't know about you, but when I look at a landscape for any length of time, I begin to see patterns and pictures to take. And so it was – the shots of the fences and reflection of reeds, grasses and branches all came at this point.


Walking on I came across a couple of juvenile swans with their parents swimming downriver towards them. I noticed that the cob (male) was swimming in quite an aggressive posture, so I had a feeling there would be a bit of action. Suddenly, the cob began to flap towards the male juvenile. The female skipped out of the way and the pursuit was on. It caught up with the juvenile and got a couple of good pecks on its backside. I don't know if it got the message, but it certainly kept a distance after that.


Then it was back to the Photography where we worked on silhouettes. I had to be the model for my partner, and she modelled for me – neither of us were comfortable having our pictures taken, both of us preferring to be behind the camera. Fortunately, pictures of me were on her camera! I liked the silhouettes where colour was involved best.


The last set of shots for this month was the last time things were normal. Covid19 was spreading across the country and people were dying from it. Not many, but the numbers were going up all the time. So, for our Wednesday day out, we went to have a walk around Polperro in Cornwall. For those of you who don't know it, it is a little fishing village on the south coast, tucked down at the end of a valley, as many of them are along this stretch of coast. Looking back it seems strange that we could just walk into a cafe and have lunch and not have to worry to much about being close to other people, but the sun shone, and it was a very nice day.


So, by the time we get to the middle of April, who knows what will have happened. Cafes, restaurants, bars and leisure centres have been ordered to close. Toilet rolls, bread, flour and many basics are in short supply due to people panic buying and groups offering help and support are being set up in the village – one positive aspect of the virus.


The photography course has now finished, and while the next stage of the course is set to begin in April, I can't see it happening. However, I think I will still be able to get out and take pictures – I will be on my own, getting fresh air and exercise and keeping a distance from other people.


So, wherever you are in the world, stay safe and I hope you manage to avoid the worst of the Corona virus.