Apocalypse Now?

The effects of the global coronavirus pandemic appear to have finally reached my little corner of the world. But with my business all but wiped out what will I now do with my time?

Chris Sale on Gummers How

Monday 16th March 2020

Another one of those boring days in the office.

They’re not actually boring at all. I really enjoy responding to comments, replying to emails and editing video.

However, I am getting bored of writing about them.

Tuesday 17th

This morning I had a 1-2-1 with Eva Parks on the River Brathay near Elterwater.

Eva is typical of the women that I have worked with so far. She has a wonderful eye for an image but lacks confidence when it comes to operating her camera.

We spent some time going over my workflow. I explained that with practice it will soon become second nature, much like driving a car.

Eva Parks at the Skelwith Force waterfalls
Eva Parks at the top of the Skelwith Force on the River Brathay. I had a wonderful morning with Eva who has one of the best ‘eyes for a photo’ of the people that I have worked with so far.

Wednesday 18th

I spent the morning exploring an area of Derwent Water that I had never visited before. I wanted to see if I could find any new compositions along the stretch of shoreline that runs from High Brandelhow to Great Bay.

It was a very overcast morning with little in the way of light. Perfect conditions for scouting a new area allowing me to shoot in all directions without having to worry about the position of the sun.

The area that proved most promising was Manesty Park. Here the duck boards created a strong line that leads the eye up to the Jaws of Borrowdale in the background.

The Duck Boards at Manesty Park near Derwent Water
There is a lot of potential here. The duck boards that run through Manesty Park create a strong leading line in the direction of the Jaws of Borrowdale.

Thursday 19th

This morning I spent some time at Haweswater trying to determine my preferred composition for the reservoir.

I spent a good few hours working my way up the Old Corpse Road exploring different takes on the view of Rough Crag, which rise up out of the depths of the reservoir and leads up to the summit of High Street.

It is an image that will feature in my Hand of Man project so it is important for me to get it right.

Haweswater Reservoir from the Old Corpse Road
Featuring the lower of the 2 derelict cottages close to the Old Corpse Road I think this is my preferred composition for the Haweswater Reservoir.

In the afternoon I had to finally face up to the inevitabilities concerning the global coronavirus pandemic.

Having delayed the decision for as long as possible I was finally forced to postpone most of the workshops that I had planned for the spring, cancelling the rest.

Whilst it was a bitter pill to swallow I feel that I am relatively lucky. My business is only a few months old. How many people will loose businesses that they have spent years building?

Friday 20th

In light of what is happening in the world at the moment I wanted to help spread a little joy in the only way I know how.

I decided to postpone my planned video (my 6 month update) and headed to Gummers How to film something a little more upbeat. It was a glorious morning. Not great for photography but wonderful for the soul.

Chris Sale on Gummers How
The Gummers How selfie – my attempt to lift people’s spirits (if only a little) in these dark times.

It was the first time that I have ever filmed, edited and released a video in a single day. Given the less than favourable conditions for landscape photography and the time pressures I don’t think it was half bad!

Saturday 21st

Was at Ullswater this morning. As conditions where pretty flat I decided on the spur of the moment to film a video about black and white photography.

I think the video would have been a good one. However, the images were poor and so it will be another one that does not see the light of day.

We all have good days and bad. I am putting this one down to the coronavirus.

Sunday 22nd

I have been feeling a bit down today. I expect it is down to the uncertainty that we all face. It caused me to think hard about how I want to spend the next 12 weeks.

I am extremely lucky to be in a position where I can keep my distance from other people by escaping up into the fells.

I feel that I have a responsibility to continue to get out with my camera and to share my adventures with those that cannot.

I hope that I am able to provide a little light relief and to transport people to a faraway land, if only for a few minutes at a time.

The coronavirus has thwarted my plans for the spring and I find myself with more time on my hands than I expected.

I cannot think of a better way to spend my time than to continue creating videos in the hope that they provide a little distraction from the global events that are set to impact all of our lives.

33 thoughts on “Apocalypse Now?”

  1. Chris, I feel for you. Having just got into steady trot with the business, it is brought to an enforced halt. Hopefully things will calm down and you can re-launch with your exhibition in July, if we all survive. I am confused by the mixed messages of ‘stay at home’ but ‘get out and be healthy’ and self-catering holidays being open for business, when the authorities are saying ‘stay away’. I am pretty sure my planned trip to the Langdale Valley in May will be knocked on the head. I expect we will all be in lock-down by then. We went for a walk in the New Forest yesterday and it was lovely. The few folk we saw all maintained a good distance when passing and were all in good spirits. Seeing a 100+ strong herd of deer was a real treat too. Most of my work is from home and with a batch of MSc dissertations due in two weeks time, I am not going to be bored, but the usual escapes are looking less and less likely. Stay safe and healthy and let’s hope we get a decent summer in the garden!

    1. Just watching the PM now Steve. Looks like we are all in for a difficult few weeks. I will do my best to keep myself busy and share with you all how I am spending my time.

  2. It has had a big impact on everyone Chris, I’m really feeling for you as everything was going along well for you and the amount of work you have done to get to where you are at the moment is a great achievement. Will look forward to seeing your videos whenever you can get one out.
    Stay safe

    1. Hi Ross – yeah, it’s a bummer but what can you do? Things have escalated further today and it looks like we are heading towards lock down quicker than I expected. But I will fill my time getting ready for when this is all over and sharing what I am up to with all of you. Stay well mate.

  3. Hi Chris,
    I may have not been in touch with you before but I have been a fan of yours since shortly after you started your YouTube channel. Absolutely love the content and style of your video’s. I also live in a beautiful area (Moray Firth coastal town Nairn) my snag is being mid sixties and suffering from arthritis and having had a stroke, I can’t get out and about as much as I would like but with the encouragement of yourself and a certain Mr Burns I have purchased a Nikon Z6 and a couple of lens and joined my local camera club (now shut down because of you know what!). Your channel gives me the chance to learn from a safe distance. Thank you and keep up the good work and even if it’s a subject or skill you have done before please do it again to reinforce the message how about more of your garden type and close up videos.
    Thanks again and keep your pecker up.
    Dave Freeman

    1. Hi Dave – thanks so much for your comment, it is great to hear from you. I am so pleased to hear that you have been able to get out with your camera and have been enjoying your photography. Today I have had to face up to the inevitable but have already started planning some new videos. I need something to keep me busy!

  4. Last week I often had to think about how your business can now suffer if all social contacts are to be cut off. I also thought about how I might react and I write a few key words that came to my mind:
    -Contact publishers regarding a report for newspaper or magazine
    – use the time to write a book about the lake district
    – 1-2-1 over skype
    — Q&A
    — construction website
    — landscape photography
    — post processing …
    I enjoyed watching how you grew in your project and how much joy you had in it. But I am confident that you will get through this and maybe the number of participants will double when everyone can move freely again.

    1. Hi Jorg, I have plenty to keep me busy, keen not to waste the time I have but to make the most of it. It had crossed my mind that the demand for my services will be high once this is all over, whenever that will be. For the time being I am going to concentrate on producing the best content that I can in order to make things a little more bearable for everyone else.

  5. Hi Chris, Consider yourself fortunate that at least you can get out and about, but for how long ? Here in France we’re permitted to leave home for essentials, medical needs and exercise (provided that’s within 500m of your home). I would love to be able to get up into the mountains but they have police monitoring all of the known locations and a fine will be imposed. Oh the “good old days” when we were free to roam…

    1. Hi Garry – I think it is inevitable that we in the UK are heading for lock down. I have spent this afternoon planning what I am going to do when that happens. I am excited about some of the ideas that I have had. The most important thing for me is to make the most of a bad situation.

  6. I feel gutted for you Chris. You have put in a phenomenal effort and it is heartbreaking to have this spanner thrown into your works.

    We just have to hope that as many people as possible make it through to the other side in good health, and the world economy picks up sooner rather than later. A life-changing experience for the globe.

    1. You are so right Daniel, this is going to impact everyone in some way or another. For me the most important thing is to keep busy and to make the most of the time. I have been planning some of the things I want to get done and am feeling pretty optimistic. We’ll see how long that lasts! 🙂

  7. Well done Chris. Indeed, we’re all in this together. There are many who have it much worse than we do at the moment and a bit of perspective helps ease the blow. I anticipate your business will roar back once this global challenge passes. Again, appreciate the shout out on the video – and look forward to reading and viewing how you manage this unexpected challenge. Be well.

    1. Hi Mate – how is everything in NY at the moment? We are expecting to have to go into lock down any day now. I have been busy planning what I will do with the time. For me the most important thing is to make the most of a bad situation.

      1. We’re still not in a total “lock down” and we are allowed to go out and exercise, which I do at my local woodland with a camera in hand. Parks and preserves are still open (at least in Upstate NY) but anticipate they won’t be much longer in the City where things are dire. Hoping for the best here and there.

  8. Chris it is difficult times for all and none of us will escape without any negative impact – but we will recover and life will get better although we will all have to adapt our plans for the next few weeks. I wish you and Mrs Sale the very best and look forward to staying in touch through your postings.

    1. Hi Stephen – you are spot on there. I am already planning how I am going to make the most of the time. I have a few ideas and am keen to get started. Send my love to Barbara and I hope to speak to you soon.

  9. One of the attributes I note in your personality is that you think outside of the box. Since it does not look like I will be flying over anytime soon, or possibly even in the fall, maybe it is time to purchase some wall art. You might consider putting a book together of your prints.

    I like the suggestion from Jörg Terhart of a 1-2-1 on Skype or possibly a group tutorial on Skype. Give it some thought. Only a five-hour time difference for me.

    Keep well.

    1. Hi John – 1-2-1s on Skype is a great idea and I actually launched my Skype mentoring service last week. I have been working with a few photographers in different countries for a while now and want to expand that side of the business. This seems to be the perfect time to do just that.

    1. I have no idea Ian, but the PM’s has just made the announcement that we are all to stay at home for the next 3 weeks so I expect them to be pretty quiet from now on.

  10. It may take sometime to come out the other side of this virus, and hopefully all our friend and loved ones will make it through safe and sound. I am sure your business will pick up very quickly and be back to your workshops, one to ones etc. Chris as people who have been cooped up for weeks on end will be eager to get back to there photography.

  11. Hey Chris,
    With so much going on around the world, it’s important to be thankful for the things that we do have. I can vouch that you, Mrs. Sale, Teddy, and Buttons should be just fine for a few weeks in your idyllic little corner of the world. It’s a shame for you and anyone else who has just launched a new business–it just slows the momentum, but I trust that your creative mind will take full advantage of the downtime. I just saw a headline that the UK is now on lockdown, but I haven’t read the details yet. We have been isolated at home for just over a week. Many projects to tend to, and Theresa is teleworking from home, so it’s just a matter of staying patient. Unfortunately, I’m not sure when things will get back to normal–whatever that is anymore! I think it will be quite some time though, so we all have to learn how to adapt. I’ve only had my camera out of the bag once since I last saw you and I am anxious to point and shoot at something. I may resort to birds and any other wildlife that ventures into our garden. Not my usual cup of tea, but better than nothing! Take care mate!

    1. Hi Jeff, it is worrying times mate but we are all in it together. I will keep myself busy and make sure that when this is all over I am in as strong a position to relaunch my business as possible. In the meantime today I shall be recording and releasing a video all about how we as photographers can make the most of our time while in lock down. I look forward to seeing you in the comments! 🙂 Love to Theresa and let’s make time for a Skype catch up at some point this week.

  12. Hi Chris
    I really feel for your having just taken the plunge to go self-employed. However, if you can survive this (and you will) you will survive anything else that’s thrown at you. I had a similar situation myself just after going self-employed, which I can tell you about when we next meet up.
    You and I are very fortunate that we live in rural parts of the country and can still get out & about without travelling very far, so we should take advantage of this whilst we can. So keep your spirits up, keep active and busy and we’ll all get through this.
    Take care & look after yourselves.

    1. Hi Gordon, I look forward to hearing about it mate. Now that we are in lockdown my photography is limited to when I can get out for my “1 form of exercise a day”. I am thankful that I live in the countryside. I can still see the fells when out for my daily walk, I just can’t get to them. 🙁

  13. Hi Chris
    You are lucky you can get out. Here in NZ we are in “house arrest” with a good excuse needed to leave home eg supermarket, chemist with those places limiting the numbers who can be inside. Still there is macro photography and getting to know Photoshop better (I’ve never used Lightroom). Thomas Heaton put up a good Vlog the other day on that subject – thankfully most of NZ is on Fibre Broadband and there is heaps of good tutorials out there although some of them go a bit fast for us old folk 🙂
    Very bad news for you as you seemed to just be getting some traction in the bill paying department, I’m sure things will come right for you in time. At least its going to be your summer !! Cheers Chris H

    1. Stay safe Chris, I have lots of plans to keep myself busy while this virus thing runs it’s course. We are in lockdown here in the UK at the moment but can still get out to exercise so I am making sure that I take my camera with me each time.

  14. Get up every day with a purpose. Remember success is one step at a time. Give the one you love a hug every evening so you stay focused on why you will in the end succeed. None of these will guarantee success but they will prevent you from feeling you failed. If you can avoid being caught in that negative feeling you are in the path to make the best of whatever comes your way. At 72 and a bit of an old man that’s what I’ve learned. You are a good man with a solid plan. Just like in photography — stay steady, stay focused.


    1. Thanks Marvin, now that I am over the initial shock of being put in lock down I am determined to turn this from a negative to a positive. I shall heed your advice and hope to learn what I can from the experience. Stay safe and well my friend.

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