Using an infrared camera with a 20-40mm lens produced this interesting river composition. (John Enman photo)

Using an infrared camera with a 20-40mm lens produced this interesting river composition. (John Enman photo)

Enjoy photography outings during social distancing

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

I looked up some definitions. ‘Distance’ is, “interval, space, span, gap, length, width, breadth, depth, range, reach, remoteness, closeness.” And ‘social’ is, “community, collective, group, general, popular, civil, public.”

Okay, I am fine with those definitions. Most governments are demanding that we practice “social distancing”. So when my friend Jo and I were exchanging texts about some close to home areas we wanted to photograph now that the weather is changing we had no problem figuring out how we could both stay safe and do photography together while still abiding by the current rules.

We would each drive our own car. And for the past two days we have enjoyed going out to the same nearby locations at the same time. Gosh, other than being in different vehicles not much has changed. Stop the car because there is something good to photograph, ignoring everything but the subject, jump out of the car with camera in hand, rush to a good personal vantage point and excitedly talk loud. Everything is the same as usual. Landscape photography is not a shoulder-to-shoulder activity and keeping to the “six-foot-distance” rule isn’t even a conscious action, it’s what we usually do.

We slowly drove down a dusty rural road. Our first stop was to photograph a church built in the 1800’s. Then, in just a short distance we walked through a large culvert that passed under the highway to the river. I used my flash to photograph Jo at the other end of the underpass, and then went down to the river.

This is a good time to wander with a camera along the river. The spring runoff hasn’t started yet so there are lots of photo opportunities because the river is so low.

Jo brought two cameras. One with a 70-200mm attached and the other was the old infrared converted Nikon D100 I am no longer using. She had a 14-24mm on that.

Until the frozen pond thaws so I can again attempt to photograph the ever-illusive geese nesting there I have been using the infrared converted camera I got to replace that old D100. On my new camera I had a 20-40mm lens. I like using a wide-angle lens when I shoot infrared. I have tried longer focal lengths, but the exaggeration I can get with a wide-angle lens compliments the creative look of infrared.

The first day of spring has passed. Where I live there still is snow in the shade, but where the sun shines the plants are really starting to bud.

When the trees on the mountainside start to grow leaves they will show up as a stronger yellow in my colour infrared images and whiter in the B&W infrared images. However, it is the growing garden right out my front door that will get my photographic attention. Soon I’ll be out with a black backdrop and an off-camera flash setting up with a macro lens on my camera to get creative with the first spring blooms.

I sometimes wonder at my continuing excitement with photography after all these years. It has been, as my friend Jo says, “A long story”.

Here is a quote I found by Peruvian photographer Mario Testino, “My favourite words are possibilities, opportunities and curiosity. If you are curious, you create opportunities, and if you open the doors, you create possibilities.”

Stay safe and be creative.

These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at or

Barriere Star Journal