Quarantining a photographer

So you’re a photographer and pretty much everything around you is under quarantine – what do you do?

CoronaVirus

Well, lets first back track. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, by now you have heard about the Covid-19 outbreak, commonly referred to as coronavirus. This fatal disease has caused many countries around the world to go into a quarantine or complete lockdown. What this means is businesses are forced to close and the gathering of people in large groups is prohibited. You’re also supposed to keep your distance from others, known as social distancing.

What you can’t do

Well, some states have shut down all businesses except those who qualify under the “essential” category, like grocery stores and gas stations, etc.. You being a photographer, while no matter how amazing of images you produce, are not considered essential. Yes, this hurts our feelings as well! So, if you have a studio you most likely will have to shut it down. If you’re just freelancing and doing portraits here and there, well, technically you shouldn’t be doing that either. We’ve been seeing stories on photographers using long lenses (zoom lenses) to “distance” themselves from the models – that is not how it works folks! No photo session is worth your or your client’s health so please keep that in mind. Also, you could even get fined or arrested in some states with stricter quarantine rules.

What you can do

Being a photographer that usually means a person is creative, right? We tend to see things from a different perspective and make a boring snapshot look like an amazing photograph. Now, this all depends on where you live and what’s around you but the general idea still applies. If allowed, you can go for a walk and bring your camera with you. Not only will you be getting exercise and fresh air, but you’ll also be able to play with your camera. Take images of things you’ve never photographed before. If you’ve never done landscape, here’s your chance. You can try architecture, nature, animals, birds specifically, patterns – the list goes on and on. Use this time to practice and try new things.

Total lockdown

If you live in an area that’s on total lockdown, meaning you can’t even go out side for a walk, then you might be a bit limited but definitely not defeated. Believe it or not, there are still things you can do to keep your mind busy and even be productive. One activity you could do is finally go through your folders and clean out and delete unnecessary images taking up space on your computer. After you make some room on your computer then you can do task number two: transferring newer images off your memory cards to your computer. Another task you could do is organize and properly name all your files and folders. If that’s something that’s already taken care of then you can start processing your images, getting them ready to share on your website and/or social media. If all of those have been checked off by now, then you can work on your website and write blogs – it’s exactly what we’re doing right now!

Summary

  • Know your local rules and laws
  • Explore away from others
  • Try new photography methods
  • Delete old images
  • Transfer new images
  • Organize files and folders
  • Process images for social media
  • Write blogs

We hope you found this article helpful and informational. Share it with your photographer friends and keep them out of trouble. Stay healthy and safe everyone!

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St Patrick's Day Parade in Rockford, Illinois

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Rockford, Illinois

St Patrick's Day Parade in Rockford, Illinois
St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Rockford, Illinois

Going green

For the first time ever, the Rock River will be green for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. While Chicago was the one who made this trend famous globally, Rockford doesn’t mind joining in on the fun. The Irish Marching Society of Rockford will dye the river green for this year’s event to celebrate the popular holiday.

St Patrick's Day Parade in Rockford, Illinois
St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Rockford, Illinois

The floats are…

Every year we see such a wide variety of floats in the parade. As you’ll see in the picture on this page, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone’s taste of entertainment. While we are not exactly sure of this year’s parade line-up we can name some of the past ones: Ghost Busters, pirate bicycle ship, Rockford Police Department, Mayor Tom McNamara, classic cars, and elegant horses.

St Patrick's Day Parade in Rockford, Illinois
St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Rockford, Illinois

Feeling lucky

They say that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day… and with the tradition comes four-leaf clovers, leprechauns and lots of luck. Then again, this all depends on how superstitious you are. KB Digital will be in downtown Rockford for the parade and hopefully we’ll be lucky enough to capture some amazing images this year as well. Below you will see more images from the 2017 parade – you might just spot yourself or a friend.

Gallery

Groundhog by KB Digital

Groundhog Day with a photographer

Groundhog by KB Digital

How to shoot groundhogs

Okay, before everyone starts panicking, we do not mean shoot as in kill but instead shoot it with a camera. You know, take a picture. Sorry for the confusion, but that’s just photography slang. Alright, now let’s get into it. First thing you’re going to need is a long lens, preferably a zoom lens so it gives you a little flexibility as the groundhog could move closer to you at any given point in time. Another reason is, well, you kind of might want to keep your distance from them. Now, we’re no animal experts but it’s safe to say that wild animals can be… wild.

Groundhog by KB Digital

What you’ll need

Well, obviously a camera! Also, depending on the distance your shooting and your lens length as well as your stability, you might want to bring a monopod. If you’re thinking “I don’t have one, I’ll just bring my tripod”, don’t! Groundhogs are very active and you’ll need to be mobile if you want to get some good photographs. In that case, just increase your shutter speed to cancel out as much motion blur as possible. Another important thing you’ll need is patience. Lots of it! As mentioned, they are very active creatures but they also like to hide, especially when they sense people. So be kind and just keep you finger on the shutter button at all times. One thing we suggest, and this all depends where you live and what time of the year you go, is to bring something long sleeve to wear. This is just personal preference but usually there’s bugs out and you don’t want them annoying you and it could also serve as an added protective layer if somehow the groundhog gets close enough to you or even worse, attacks you.

Groundhog by KB Digital

Did you get it?

We’re not just talking about the instructions here either. Did you really shoot a groundhog? What do we mean by that? Well, groundhogs are often confused with beavers and vice-versa. They both look very similar to each other and act the same as well but there’s one sure way to tell what it is. The tail! Groundhogs have short, fluffy tails while beavers on the other hand have wide, flat tails. Also, if it’s in the water it’s most likely a beaver since they love to build dams. This is another reason why groundhogs are sometimes refereed to as “land beavers”.

Groundhog by KB Digital

What you won’t see

This is really simple. You most likely won’t see Bill Murray or Punxsutawney Phil. If you’ve never seen Groundhog Day the movie… this would be the time. Also, Punxsutawney is a little town in the state of Pennsylvania but the movie itself was filmed in another tiny town, just a few hundred miles west called Woodstock, Illinois.

Snow sculpting competition 2020 begins in Rockford, Illinois.

Snow sculptures in Rockford

Snow sculpting competition 2020 begins in Rockford, Illinois.
Snow sculpting competition in Rockford, Illinois.

Not all sculptures require metals or cement and not all are meant to last forever. The Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition proves just that as all the sculptures are made entirely out of snow; just in case the name didn’t give it away. That means no interior support beams or any other structural help can be applied.

Snow sculpting competition 2020 begins in Rockford, Illinois.
Snow sculpting competition in Rockford, Illinois.

Teams of 3 have just three days to turn a 6’x6’x10′ block of snow into a work of art. Easy, right? Well drawing a concept might be easy but since support beams aren’t allowed that means that the design has to be able to support itself. In a sense, they’re not just playing with snow but also applying physics and architectural principles into these sculptures.

Snow sculpting competition 2020 begins in Rockford, Illinois.
Snow sculpting competition in Rockford, Illinois.

Every team has different approach on how to begin sculpting their masterpiece. Some dive right into it, some will first draw it out on the snow, and some even make miniature clay models to have right next to the snow blocks as a visual reference. There is no rules to the process, it’s whatever floats their boat… or in this case whatever shapes their snow.

Snow sculpting competition 2020 begins in Rockford, Illinois.
Snow sculpting competition in Rockford, Illinois.

As previously mentioned, the snow blocks are 10 feet tall so you’ll see plenty of ladders around the park as work is being done. This does not mean that the sculpture has to be 10 feet tall, some teams actually trim off a foot or two on the top because their design might not need all that height. Great, standing on an 8-foot ladder in the snow and cold temperatures, as if snow sculpting wasn’t challenging enough already.

Snow sculpting competition 2020 begins in Rockford, Illinois.
Snow sculpting competition in Rockford, Illinois.

Make a game out of it! Go see the sculptures in its early stages and see if you can guess what it will be. The colored outlines on the snow might help you a little bit, almost like a help line. Or you could do what we did and cheat, just look at the clay 3D model. Somebody make us a clay KB Digital sign, please and thank you.

Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital

Winter wonderland in Rockford

Rockford, Illinois sure knows how to go all out for the holidays. While Chicago may get a lot of the national publicity being that it is a world-class city, Rockford puts on its own impressive showcase during the winter months. While Stroll on State is usually hailed as the major event, the light displays throughout the town last much longer and are a sight to see – oh and did we mentioned that they are completely FREE.

Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital
Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital

For this article, we’re concentrating solely on the light displays at the Nicholas Conservatory Gardens which sits on the Rock River just a couple miles north from the downtown area. Pulling into the parking lot you will see lots of lights and beautifully decorated trees but the real magic is behind the big glass building. On your way to the back is a path with lights arching above (pictured above) it and it sort of reminds us of those cartoon sketches where they go to a different universe through a portal covered by neon lights.

Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital
Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital

Once you make it through the portal path you will see the lagoon and the rest of the light displays. At this moment you are at a split and have to go either to the left or the right of the lagoon. Unfortunately, the path does not make a full circle (yet) around the lagoon but we hope this happens soon. We made our way to the right and captured the beautiful blue and violet colors, as seen in the picture above, reflecting on the frozen water. One section turned red right as we took the shot but we don’t mind it at all.

Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital
Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital

If you are to go to the left side (technically it’s more of a straight shot) the path leads you up the longer path alongside the lagoon. Again, beautiful colors follow the path as you make your way to the north side of the park. The picture above was taken at about a half way point and we did have to wait at least 10 minutes for the area to clear as hundreds of people were visiting that night.

So the only thing missing in this winter wonderland is the snow. Did you even notice that? However, we are definitely not complaining because being able to enjoy the beautiful displays without freezing temperatures definitely felt good. Also, we wouldn’t have gotten the amazing reflections off the frozen lagoon if it was covered with snow.

We’d love to hear from you! Have you ever been here or have we inspired you to visit it next year? Let us know in the comments below.