I’d hoped by now to have shifted the bias of that heading to the word achievement but most of my ideas seem to be stuck in the aspirational category.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m as keen as the next person for global control of the pandemic and the release from lockdowns and restrictions. But as we approach a milestone return of our freedoms I’m also feeling unnerved. Not about risks, or that virus thing but the curtailment of my freedom to be at home!

I mean, people will want to actually meet up in person, attempt to hug with all that body warmth and humidity, fill my calendar with person to person socialising events and meals out, make me spend money and get fat (fatter). And they call that freedom! Meeting up with real people means no easy escape, no Zoom chats that can end with “sorry must go… bad connection” or “oops my battery is flat, bye”.

I suppose that when I leave the house I will have to wear decent clothes again. Will they fit? The slothful approach of using that limited amount of clothes that you can count on your fingers, the worn out ones that fit loosely and comfily, will have to end. Can I go out in my slippers? Will I have to get dressed before 10am? You see, with freedoms soon to be gained there are also freedoms to be lost.

I’d like to think I’ve been productive during lockdown but there is an underlying panic as we approach the deadline of unlocking – what have I achieved? An entire year of mostly ‘stay at home’ and what have I got to show for it? Did I finally get around to all those household jobs that were always jobs for tomorrow? Did I achieve all those aspirational projects that have been on hold for decades using the excuse “if only I had more time.” Well, son, those books on the shelf remain unread, no languages have been learned, no novels or plays have been written. The exercise regime and home yoga never got underway either.

Aspirations not achievements… books to read, slides to scan…

Then there are all those thousands of 35mm slides, negatives and photo albums to scan. Vinyl albums and cassettes to digitise. Vacation videos from the 90s to digitise and edit.

So now I feel bad, I mean, I don’t want another lockdown just to give me more time so I can motivate myself to achieve these outstanding aspirations do I? I strongly suspect most will remain in the aspirational wish list forever.

That said, one of the things I have been doing is lots of management work on my photo library. 52,000 of them, which I’m sure by many photographer’s measures is fairly modest. When you take into account that when I find a shot I may take 5 or 6 or more from different angles and perspectives and with different settings of just that one view. Then there are bracketed shots for HDR, focus stacking, panoramas. And once onto the computer there may be processed variants of the same shot. I do my best to keep all these filed, identified, rated, keyworded and geotagged with location but there are entire vacations from a few years back that I just haven’t got around to.

Working through these older images over recent months has also given me the chance to discover photos that I hadn’t processed before or had processed at the time but now disliked the finished result.

Thanks to online experts like Lancashire photographer Robin Whalley who I have been following since my change to Fuji kit in 2018 I have discovered new software and inspiration to tackle a lot of this work. (If you’re interested in Landscape photography and post-processing software check out his excellent tutorials, videos and books at his site here at Lenscraft)

Much of the work here has been carried out over the last month whilst reviewing images taken in 2014 when in Italy, mostly in the Lazio region north of Rome. As I filed and categorised them what was a lengthy job became extremely lengthy as I kept finding images to either process or re-edit. Have a look and see what you think.

Fingers crossed for the Unlockdown and enjoy.

Images mostly taken with a Nikon D700 full frame with the 24-120 f4 apart from the bread shop which was a Fuji X-T2 shot from 2018.

Edited primarily with combinations of Lightroom Classic, Photoshop and the Nik Collection, apart from the Bread shop which was passed through AuroraHDR.

Italy Re-Visited 2014-2018