Back to Business…

I’m not going to lie,…it’s been a struggle!

og photographer Bedfordshire

I last wrote a blog back in March, when probably like a lot of you, I was struggling with the effects of the Covid restrictions placed on all of our lives.  Being a creature of habit, I found it particularly hard not to be able to carry out my daily routines, and not having the structure of my typical day, as well as worrying about the health and safety of those around me, I also worried about my own future, lack of financial stability and my mental health.  It’s been a hard period for so many of us, and we will all have found our own ways to “get through” this difficult period.og photographer BedfordshireInitially, it felt like my life had gone into freefall.  I had no structure to my day, and I had trouble motivating myself to get up early (most unlike me as I am a terrible insomniac and usually I’m up with the birds!).  I missed all my regular diary dates, agility with the dogs, exercising with my run buddies, my local camera club …it felt like the world had shut down.  I missed taking photographs every day, but equally I’d lost any desire to use my camera.  The knock-on effect was losing confidence in my ability.  Instead, my days were spent being “lazy” in the very welcome sunshine, eating whatever I liked (mainly chocolate…my drug of choice!), watching daily (depressing) news briefings, and fighting with the voices in my head telling me to make the most of this time that I would never have again..

…and so the spiral of guilt continued…

og photographer BedfordshireI’m not sure what the turning point for me was (a combination of factors I think – including a formal diagnosis of a mental health illness right in the middle of lockdown!), but I did slowly start to make small changes in my day….for example, my daughter Kayleigh has been brilliant at “forcing me” to get out of bed in time to do a daily PE workout with the amazing Body Coach Joe Wicks  which started at 9 o’clock every morning!  We also started doing regular walks, which was helpful to me, as well as watching less news and reducing my time on social media.  Slowly I made gradual changes each day, until I found the motivation to return to my daily routines…. as much as I could.og photographer BedfordshireThe reason why I’m telling you this (and sorry if I’ve bored anyone!) but it’s to share what I now feel is a sense of achievement when I look back at those “lockdown” months.  A time when I felt pretty hopeless and the future was very uncertain.

Looking again with fresh eyes, I can see that, despite my guilt for “not doing anything” during this period, I did actually manage to :

  1. Achieve my Licentiate Qualification with the MPA (Master Photographer’s Association)og photographer Bedfordshire
  2. Gain one Finalist award and four Merits in the MPA Regional AwardsMPA Regional Awards - Katrina Wilson Dog Photographer BedfordshireMPA Regional Awards - Katrina Wilson Dog Photographer BedfordshireMPA Regional Awards - Katrina Wilson Dog Photographer BedfordshireMPA Regional Awards - Katrina Wilson Cat Photographer BedfordshireMPA Regional Awards - Katrina Wilson Dog Photographer Bedfordshire
  3. Win a competition with my local Camera Club 
  4. Shower every day! (…although this was a struggle at a times!)

So..just to share a little bit behind these “achievements” and what they actually mean…

  1. I am a member of the MPA Master Photographers Association, which is a professional body that works to maintain standards within the photography industry.  I have been working towards achieving my Licentiate qualification with them, which involved producing a panel of 20 professionally printed and mounted images that were due to be judged LIVE at The Photography Show in March this year.  Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus restrictions, The Photography Show was cancelled.  Part of me felt gutted, as I had spent a lot of time and money selecting the right images for my Panel and then getting my amazing printing lab to produce them on high quality paper specifically chosen to compliment my images. The other part of me was massively relieved, as I felt very anxious having my work critiqued by a panel of experienced judges, in front of an audience.  In my typical catastrophizing mind, I had already played out the scene where I would be told that my panel had failed.  Thankfully the latter was all in my head, and I was very pleased to hear that when the judging was done online, my Panel did in fact pass the scores needed to achieve my qualification.  I can officially use the letters LMPA after my name!MPA Photography Award - Katrina Wilson Dog Photography Bedfordshire-1
  2. The MPA Regional Awards also became an online affair during Covid.  Again this suited my introvert personality much more than a fancy awards night presentation, where I would have to dress up!  I was able to watch the judging from the comfort of my living room, in the knowledge that no-one could see my face blush when  i heard the judges critique of my images.  Five of my entries received an award…four Merits and one Finalist.  I was more than happy with these “virtual” awards, but thrilled when I actually received the glass trophies which I will show off with pride! (although as a photographer, dare I say they were a complete nightmare for me to photograph and really capture how beautiful they are – what you see here are mobile phone pictures!!) MPA Photography Award - Katrina Wilson Dog Photography Bedfordshire-1-2MPA Photography Award - Katrina Wilson Dog Photography Bedfordshire-1
  3. As a member of my local camera club, I have missed our weekly meetings and struggled to motivate myself to go out with my camera, but I did take the opportunity of entering a competition last month.  The competition was held via Zoom and judged by an experienced competition judge.  I was so happy to be chosen as the overall winner of the night with an image of my own little rescue cat, Gilly (which also received a Merit award from the MPA).  As usual, there were so many other great photographers’ work to compete with, it really is an honour when the judge comments kindly about your work.
  4. Finally, yes having a shower every day really has been an achievement!  Everything else has been an added bonus!

I feel blessed to have such amazingly supportive people around me.  So many of you have played a part in helping me navigate my life, during the last few months.  No matter how small, that little text message, that short note, that offer to meet for a walk, that “acceptance” when I didn’t feel able to meet up, and the patience and understanding you have all shown during this strange time, is very much appreciated.  Thank you!

I know everyone has had their own challenges during this time, and I don’t want this to be a “woe is me” blog, nor do I want to say “look how amazing I am” – for me, its just about “small wins” and for each of us this will be different.  Maybe I might even have helped you to see your own personal “wins”?

I’m now looking forward to creating more special moments of you and your pets, as lockdown hopefully continues to ease, and as and when you all feel comfortable to venture back out.

Stay safe everyone, and thank you for reading if you made it this far!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my little blog – please feel free to share or comment

For anyone struggling with their own mental health…please reach out to SOMEONE, or if you are in crisis and can’t talk to friends or family members, please call:

Samaritans – FREE 116 123

Mind – 0300 123 3393

CALM (specifically for Men) – 0800 585858

On a personal level, I am always happy to lend an ear to anyone who ever needs it #payitforward

I really look forward to seeing you all when restrictions are lifted, and I can safely meet up with you and your dogs again.

call/text 07967 676131

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