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City Shots: Life in Perth During a Pandemic

I met a mate in the city during my lunch break today. He was lending me his awesome 4k Panasonic video camera for the week.

My iPhone is 4k, just like my GoPro but the lens on smart phones are too small. Time and time again, no matter how slow I pan or if I use my Gimbal, the footage is forever lagging and choppy. Even with every corrective tool on offer in a variety of different video editing software I use doesn't help, including when I use a slow speed effect in my timeline.

Lately I've found myself a nice little bandaid solution, which helps to a degree. By taking multiple screenshots in a video, I can join them all together to make a panoramic and once the panoramic is in my timeline, I can pan it perfectly smooth. I tend to lose some of the quality, particularly if I use the Auto Fill Boundary (PhotoDirector). Occasionally at times, it can be fixed up in Photoshop but at the end of the day, what I notice whilst editing is way too quick for the average viewer to notice.

So now I have my mate's Panasonic and I can go hard collecting stock footage. It's a perfect opportunity with very few people getting in my way and I get to see a whole new side to the city.

My mum, who's been in lock down for about a month in France, was angry that I was walking around the city. She said:

I am very worried that you are still moving around the city and talking to people. A very young nurse working on the frontline of the corona virus in hospital was interviewed on the news. She was crying, very scared to go to work. She couldn’t believe that people go out because they can’t resist a breath of fresh air from their confinement. As she was saying, those people don’t realise that it could be their last stroll if they caught the virus. 

In France, you would be fined for being on the streets without any purpose other than photographing. 

Perhaps my mum doesn't realise that as an, 'essential worker,' I have to go to work.

Our clients tend to have poor health and hygiene, an unacceptable standard of living (by the community's expectations), malnutrition and a history of drug and alcohol abuse etc. Furthermore, it tends to very difficult at times to maintain the 1.5m social distancing rules in our workplace.

US scientists found that the coronavirus can be spread through the air, remain contagious for hours and long after an infected patient has left. The viral particles were also found in the air outside the patient's rooms and is believed to be spread on contaminated surfaces such as toilets, door handles and handrails for as long as three days. It's made worse when people touch their face, come in close contact with other people, kissing, sharing cutlery or utensils.

As many as 25% of people are infected with the coronavirus and may not show symptoms. In the United States, the only people being tested for the disease were those who had travelled to China or were known to have contact with people who had been tested positively.

In Western Australia, any person will be considered for testing if they present with a temperature higher than 38°C, a recent history of a fever or an acute respiratory infection.

Clearly there's no way you can tell who has it and who doesn't. Even the person themself. My workplace is certainly a higher risk, compared to walking the city's malls and keeping an average of 15m distance from other people over the standard 1.5m. Plus, I have no reason to touch any surfaces and I'm out in the fresh, open air.

If it reached a point where I'm unable to work, then certainly, I would avoid the city and stay at home.

It made me realise that at the end of the day, it really feels impossible to avoid a future infection. Coles have suspended their home delivery in order to make food accessible to everyone, although they're in the process of hiring some 5,000 casual staff and will soon be in a position to deliver for eligible vulnerable customers.

So for all those who have no choice but to attend the shops in person, unless you're wearing full eye covering, a high-quality mask and gloves, you're at risk. Then when you return home, you have to shower, wash your clothes, sanitise everything you've bought and the recyclable bags you used to pack them.

But wait, I'm jumping the gun! You might have driven home and unless you've changed your gloves, clothes and shoes between getting into your car at the shops to drive home, your car could be infected. So could your bag, wallet, keys and any other surface you touched from the time you step out of your car and into the shower.

So taking photos of the city suddenly doesn't seem anywhere as big an issue. Perhaps I'll only have a week or two before Stage 3 is implemented here in Perth. Maybe a month longer and it won't even happen. There's a lot of talk about Australia already successfully flattening the curve and we could very well be over the worst.

I'm not buying it. It hasn't hit us yet.

So it's potentially my best opportunity to go hard and capture images of the city like I'll never have another chance to.

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