I’m back!

Hi everyone.

I know I’ve not been regularly writing on my blog like I used to and I just wanted to let you all know that I’m ok.

At the beginning of 2020 I was hoping to have lots of film photography content for my blog this year, including getting to grips with using a large format camera and building my own darkroom but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be….

My photo content all looked promising at the beginning of the year when I visited Madrid and I was really happy with the black and white photos I had taken and blogged about at the time. Then COVID-19 struck in the UK around mid March.

I was fortunate enough to still find myself in full time employment and busier than ever with work which ended up taking up most of my time this year.

I’m also currently in the process of setting up a new online craft business which has taken up a lot of my spare time.

The darkroom space I had planned to kit out that my husband had at his work ended up being converted into a staff canteen as he had to review his work space to keep within the COVID-19 regulations, so I now need to look at a new space. I may even consider joining the Brighton Community Darkroom again next year because even if I only get there once a month, it’s still better than not developing any of my photos at all. I have really missed not using a darkroom this year!

I certainly haven’t taken as many photos this year like I would normally do and I’ve really missed going on photo walks and meeting up with other photographers.

I had originally planned pre-Covid to host an instant photo walk in Brighton in September but I’ve now postponed this for next year to review when hopefully the whole COVID situation would have improved and it’s safer for groups of people to meet up.

I was hoping to get some fun new photos for my photo blog when I went on holiday to Albufeira, Portugal back at the beginning of September.

My husband and I had originally planned to go to Greece but then saw the Islands being shut down and Portugal being put on the safe list so thought it would be better to go there.

We flew from Luton airport as we could easily park our car there. I was apprehensive about the airport and flight in view of the current COVID situation. However, it was nice and quiet at the airport and flying was actually quite relaxing and prompt with no delays.

When we arrived in Portugal, it was really hot! I had brought both my SX-70 Polaroid Camera and also my Leica M6 TTL, all loaded and ready to take some photos of my trip!

I was quite excited about finally getting somewhere new to take some photos, which wasn’t in my local area.

The locals were lovely and really happy to have the tourists back. They had only re-opened the beach about two weeks prior to us arriving.

They actually had more stricter rules than the UK in relation to COVID-19 and wearing masks, using hand sanitisers etc so it felt very safe out there.

During the first couple of days I didn’t take my camera’s out with me as I knew we’d be out in the sun most of the day and I was worried about the heat effecting them and their mechanics since they’re vintage cameras so I kept them inside the cool hotel room.

On Day 3 of our trip, we decided to go on a sunset jeep safari. It was a Thursday and the day that Boris Johnson would be announcing the countries that would no longer be classed as a safe zone which included Portugal being put back on the list. We were completely oblivious of this information whilst on the safari until we received a phone call from a friend who was meant to be coming to Portugal the following week.

If we had stayed in Portugal for the remainder of our holiday, it would have meant self-isolating for 14 days when back in the UK and due to both mine and my husband’s work commitments, we couldn’t do this.

We had a deadline of early hours Saturday to be back in the UK before we’d have to self-isolate.

On Thursday evening once we got back to our hotel, we booked a flight back to the UK for Friday afternoon. Thankfully, British Airways had put on some extra flights so we were able to get on one of those.

It was always going to be a risk going abroad, but all I can say is the three days we had there in the hot, glorious sunshine, were really lovely and just getting away after the best part of a year of hard slog with work, we really felt like we had been there much longer! We had some amazing fresh, local seafood meals alfresco, a nice walk around the local marina and loved seeing the old village in Albufeira.

I did manage to take one photo on my SX-70 with some SX-70 colour film from my hotel room balcony before we left:

Here are a couple I managed to take during the jeep safari on my Leica M6 TTL using Kodak Ektachrome E100 film:

The morning before we flew back to the UK, I managed to visit the local cemetery around the corner from where we were staying and take some photos with the same camera and film:

Here is the last photo taken at the end of our brief trip to Portugal (taken on my husband’s iPhone) coming out of Luton Airport with added face mask!

There is another reason this year why I have not had as much time for my photography as I would have liked and it’s quite exciting and hopefully going forward, there will be much more photos!

I’ll be blogging about my other exciting adventure I’ve managed to have around COVID-19 recently over the next few weeks!

Instagram: natalie_smart_photography

9 thoughts on “I’m back!

  1. I wondered what had happened to you, but I figured that you had been able to get out for photos. I’m glad that you’re back with your stories and photographs. I’m looking forward to reading about the adventure you hinted at today.
    I’d like to get to Portugal someday. It looks like a fabulous place to make some photographs and I have a pen friend there I’d like to visit.
    Luton Airport! Puts me in mind of the Monty Python sketch where the terrorist hijacks a plane on its way to Cuba and tells the pilot to fly it to Luton.
    On another unrelated note, I really like the beautiful dress in the first photograph. Your own design? Off the rack?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice to see you again! We are very lucky here in New Zealand to be COVID free at the moment, so able to get about within the country. Of course that could very easily change again – we will get through this to the other side, if we all play our part to keep ourselves and others safe. We had our lockdown during our winter, and even though it seemed hard at the time we are grateful for it now! Looking forward to seeing some large format photos sometime 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Glad you’ve been able to get abroad at some point! I’ve gone through periods of total photographic drought this year… and then other periods where it’s all I’ve done. It’s been a yo-yo with the various lockdowns. Sorry to hear that you’ve had a similar experience, though you are obviously much more careful with your cameras than I am, by the sounds of things, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s