Cloudflare TV

Creatives in Lockdown: Photographers

Presented by Val Vesa, Raju Bhupatiraju, Zanoni Harris
Originally aired on 

Since the COVID-19 crisis started, creatives had to start finding inspiration to continue to keep creating, even in lockdown. This episode will describe the experience of three passionate photographers and the way they coped with lockdown, with the help of their hobby.


Transcript (Beta)

Good morning, good evening, depending on where you're joining us from. Welcome to the Creators in Lockdown series and the first episode we are going with photographers as the topic.

Today, if you are watching this recorded session, today is July 8th, 9 30 a.m pacific.

I'm, my name is Raju, I'm a business systems manager here at Cloudflare and I'm here today joined by my colleagues and my photographer friends in our own little cocoon here at Cloudflare.

Val, Zanoni, you want to just go ahead and introduce yourself.

Thanks Raju, my name is Zanoni, I'm with Cloudflare as IT operations manager and I'm happy to be here to talk about creatives in kind of a bigger sense.

In this session it's, you know, photography and kind of how we've, you know, taken that hobby and that passion to, you know, to keep us, I think, motivated and going through our time in lockdown.

So that's kind of what we're talking about Val. Yeah, hey everyone, I'm Val, I'm coming live from Romania, so my local time now is 7 30 p.m.

If you're watching this live, if you're watching this recording, doesn't really matter what time it is.

I'm a community manager here at Cloudflare, very big passionate about photography, like Raju said, we even have our secret room inside Cloudflare's Gchat channels just for photographers and actually the idea, Raju is very humble now, he doesn't want to say it himself, but the idea came from him when we were just watching people do on Cloudflare TV all sorts of segments, he said, why don't we do something about creatives in lockdown?

I mean, mid-March, I think, started, right?

And we're like three, four months in and all of these creatives, photographers, videographers, musicians, you know, all sorts of categories are at home, in-house, or slightly outside the house and we need to cope.

Every one of us needs to cope and we decided to talk today about photographers specifically.

So thank you for joining us and if you have any questions throughout the show, please submit them to livestudio at Cloudflare .tv, we'll be happy to take any questions or, you know, any feedback you have.

That's great, thanks Val. Yeah, and just to add to what, you know, Val is saying is, you know, creatives is such a large umbrella of different hobbies, different things that people do to keep them, you know, provide some meaning in their life and purpose.

Definitely, we all need something other than work and with the current situation of, you know, what's happening today, we have some different things that we have to, you know, address in these challenges.

So I'm glad to be here and it's great to have Raju and Val. So I guess we're going to start with Raju, your pictures.

All right, sure. All right, I think the way since the pandemic kind of started, the categories of things, food, the luxury of getting, stepping out for groceries and stuff like that.

And then at least here in California, the seasonal wise, it is kind of spring and such.

So the picture I try to make more sort of, it used to be prior to pandemic, it used to be, hey, every weekend I kind of take time to get out and then just shoot some pictures and kind of unwind from work and then get into that hobby related activities.

But with the pandemic, the movement definitely is kind of severely restricted.

So I try to make most out of what we can do and how I could stay in touch, staying home.

I did venture a little bit outside once things kind of gotten used to the new mode.

The picture that you're looking at here is just inside my house, just spring kind of nature doing its thing.

Is it a flower, Raju? Yeah, it is.

It is a zucchini flower. Zucchini flower, okay. I was about to say it's a Superman flower because you see an S in the middle.

Yeah, there you go. Or it could say stay safe.

So that's true. Stay home, stay safe. Yeah. And again, what you see most of it, I mean, I always used to do this, just roam around with my camera kind of pretty much every time I step out.

Now at home, it is just walking around with my phone and most of these pictures are from the phone camera, just from iPhone.

The best camera is the one you have on you, right? That's right. Yeah. Yeah.

I think it's important for everyone to realize you don't need a fancy camera to take great pictures.

I think the most important thing is to get out and do it. Obviously during COVID, you want to get out safely, wear your mask, socially distance and just make sure you're following the local laws and policies and guidelines.

Yeah. And this one is a blueberry plant doing its thing. Badly morning dew, a little bit.

All right. This one's again- Is this champagne or water? By the way, for folks watching this live, Raju is celebrating one year today, right?

Hey, happy anniversary, Val, you too.

Congratulations, Raju. We are from the same class.

Same class. Yeah. Yeah. That's cool. This one is just a garden hose. Kids, you see somewhere in the background, kids just spraying at me and then I was about to take a picture and then this happened.

This was by accident that I had water droplets showing up.

It was cool. And this was a new reality. I mean, you don't usually go out and get groceries and then just dump them in water and then cleanse them.

It's not that level of rigor, you know, but- It's cool. Yeah. I love that picture when all the vegetables are doing their own happy dance in the water.

Again- Oh, awesome reflections here. Yeah. Yeah. Morning, not so much dew, just spray of the water.

Is this also inside your house? Yeah. It's just in the backyard.

Yeah. So, these are fully locked down photos. These are. Literally, they are.

Yeah. And comes the category, I think, Val and I kind of inspired us with photography.

So, now since the lockdown has started, it has become a habit. Before you do it, take a picture.

Is this banana bread? Yeah. I think it is. Yeah. Banana bread.

Banana bread. Yeah. Banana walnut to be precise for me. Yeah. I mean, this is another good point.

Creatives isn't only photography, but anything you're doing, whether it's food or painting or clothing, all those have a creative element.

And so, we're hoping that the show can expand on those other areas that creatives are doing as well.

Yeah. A lot of the fact that we've gotten more into home cooking, pretty much make everything from scratch, spend more time with family.

Nobody's getting out anywhere in a hurry.

That's right. This looks like it's a part of a series.

I want to see the first photo before this one and one after it and maybe the empty plate.

But I understand you just picked one from the series. But we got more episodes to go.

So, keep it for them. Fresh produce from the garden. These are fresh peas.

Yeah. So, there you go. That's a full on Indian meal. All those calories that we see, don't know how to burn them off.

Designing the plate. Yeah. This one, this was my first adventure, just stepping out during the pandemic.

One of my family members who is into photography as well.

Remember what day this was? This was in... Still in March?

No, this is May. So, I mean... When things started to get more relaxed.

Yeah. I mean, at least we're getting used to the new mode of things. I saw this picture on one of the internal channels that, hey, someone posted a picture of a very busy California Stockton street and this is in San Francisco.

That was a beautiful picture and said, oh, I lived in and around San Francisco and never been to this road.

Looks like you're near Chinatown and then you're facing the Bay Bridge.

That's right. Yeah. Yeah. That was cool. There will be one more picture. This, I love this picture because on a normal day, in a non-pandemic day...

This is full.

...time frame, you wouldn't see the road this empty on the middle of the day.

Yeah. That was pretty cool and then it so happens that someone is walking in the middle of the road.

Unique lockdown opportunities for photographers. Yeah. Yeah.

In a way. This was just a close crop. What's this? 70, 200, 70, 300? This is 100, 400 that I have that I use for my...

Nice. So you were far away. Oh, way far.

Yeah. Yeah. Now comes my passion. That's right. Birds. This was the same day when I went to that California street and taking those pictures.

We ventured into the bison paddock in San Francisco.

Just so happened that this is a seasonal bird, Allen's hummingbird.

How much time did you have to actually take the photo? Like, do they usually just stay there and wait to be...

No, no. They're super fast, just move around super quick.

So I had to kind of stake out maybe roughly about 35 minutes sitting in one place.

Just wait for it to land. So you're a very patient man, Roger.

Only when it comes to photography, yes. Yeah. I was about to continue, but I wanted to let you do that.

Yeah. That was cool. Beautiful. Beautiful. It's one of my favorite bird from a sparrow species.

White-crowned sparrow. Love the bouquet.

Yeah. That's the key in bird photography. And just coming to this, probably not the greatest pictures, but the kind of resilience, just flowing it through.

This is one of those bison paddock. Holding on. Is this at a park or a zoo?

Yeah. It is called bison paddock in Golden Gate Park. Oh, okay. Yeah. They actually just keep some of these kind of thing.

Yeah. They have a bunch of them there.

Nice. And finally, that's having fun on the sidewalk. Well, thank you. This is great.

Thanks, Roger. Great. Thank you so much. So I'll go through mine. I kind of picked ones that I thought were interesting during lockdown.

So I don't have too many, but I thought they were interesting.

The first one here is I was just trying to figure out what to do as far as photography.

And so I tried to focus on portrait and lighting.

Obviously, the mask was sign of the times. The hood was red.

I was really trying to practice a very dark background to kind of just focus on lighting.

So that's what I was doing here. This is fantastic. Especially the key light.

Oh, I love that. Yeah. Another one. You know, different. You know, I was wearing a hat, but different pose.

Again, working on portrait. And the lights master here.

Is this a flash, Zanoni? Or what's the equipment like? Yeah, no, it's a single flash on a stand.

And then obviously the settings you need for your camera.

And yeah, I mean, it's pretty simple once you get dialed in. And then you can focus on, you know, really the composition.

Yeah, cool. So this was when I was trying to explore near where I live in Vallejo.

So on top of this hill in my area, you know, there's a lot of people walking around, at least during this time, because everyone was staying home.

This is sunset time? During sunset. So you're facing west towards the Pacific Ocean.

I love that post line though. And yeah. I like how you see the layers, you know, coming to you.

Yeah, that's another one. Kind of working on foreground and background and trying to get that right.

So, you know, it's just a matter of taking pictures and getting better with every round.

So we have a bit of an area around here.

It's a park. And you can kind of go up there.

It's a lot of mountain bikers or hikers, at least in the normal days. It's not as busy anymore.

But once you get to the top, you know, California, these hills have a very kind of a golden feel to it.

So you have a lot of this grass. So I thought it's a great time to do some landscaping, which is kind of my primary focus.

Although, you know, being at home, I don't get out as much as I want to. I'm starting to get out more, but there's a lot more things, you know, kind of keep in mind when you're going and venturing to new places.

Looks like you have the place all to yourself.

Yeah, well, there's actually a trail off to the left. And, you know, a lot of people, or not a lot, but people usually are hiking or, you know, they have their dogs and do some hiking.

Majority of people are wearing masks. But, you know, for me, I was wearing masks and making sure that I was keeping, you know, a safe distance from people.

This is close to San Francisco? This is about maybe 45 minutes drive northeast of San Francisco.

I like the composition. Yeah, it's like autumn almost.

This is, you know, kind of playing around with exposure. And this was in Washington, or actually in Mount Hood, Oregon.

So this was a recent trip I made. Again, you know, flying on the plane around this time was kind of scary.

But wearing a mask and a lot of the things you have to do to kind of prepare for any plane flight anywhere, no matter how short, you know, was kind of a challenge for me.

But, you know, it was cool. A lot of the places and parks in Oregon, just like in California, were kind of closed down.

So, you know, we really had to, me and my friend had to make the most of, you know, exploring other roads and, you know, behind the scenes and places where you probably wouldn't normally go.

And sometimes you find things.

So this waterfall was one of those. This looks like it's almost lunch because the light comes straight from the top.

Yeah, yeah. I actually had to hike back into it, which was, you know, there was some canyons.

I would say bring some hiking shoes, which I didn't have.

Make sure you are prepared. What is this?

Five, ten seconds exposure? This was at five to five second exposure. Maybe ten.

In the middle of the day, though. Yeah. This is just something, you know, I was coming back with my friend and we stopped in a small town in Oregon.

And they had a railway area that was really kind of old and closed down.

And next to it were all these crates or these towers and, you know, just all these crates for charities.

So I thought it was kind of cool. Are these plastic or wooden? Plastic.

Plastic. Plastic cherry crates. So right now it's cherry season. So everyone's taking cherries, I guess.

So you have a color version of this one somewhere, right?

I do. It's white, you know, they're white crates. This was what they call the Bridge of the Gods.

It's on the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington.

I have a, this is kind of a crop picture. I got a bigger picture, which, I don't know, didn't really do too much for me.

So I cropped it down to really kind of focus on that architecture aspect of the bridge.

Thought it was interesting.

This could easily go into a wallpaper if you have the big picture.

Yeah. I really like it. So this one was earlier on, actually, you know, on Fridays, typically my team goes in to handle new hire computer shipments and making sure that we're, you know, getting equipment out to our users so they can work effectively every day.

But near our office in San Francisco, I thought this was kind of a cool, you know, in the morning shot with the buildings that are so close together in San Francisco, you get some really good kind of perspectives.


Nice. All right. Off to Val and your photos. Yeah, well, Zanoni is going to help me with the slides because he's controlling today.

This was one of the first shots I took once I flew back from UK to Romania.

I'm in Romania now, but I flew out from London where we have our offices in, I think, March 13th.

Almost the last flight out.

And you usually don't see snails, or at least I haven't seen snails so high above the ground.

And I posted this to my Facebook and I said, hold on, this too shall pass.

Because you can see both of them, like, almost like, I don't know, brothers, spouses, friends, whatever.

But it could go as meaning or significance for anybody, right?

Just hold on, you know, hang in there. We're going to pass through this as well.

So that's the meaning of this one. And this is outside my London apartment, just sort of watching the sunset.

That's what I did every day in lockdown, take photos of sunset from any possible angles you get from the window, from actually going outside the balcony, like here.

And this, I took one, I think about a week into, you know, like mid lockdown, let's say in London.

I just took a walk outside and I was just impressed. This is one of those areas like Raju was saying in San Francisco, where usually it's so crowded that there's no way you can get a photo.

And if you look here, just this one lady there taking a photo of the same phone booth that I took a photo of.

And practically nobody there for like hundreds of meters away, maybe after that car, you know, some folks there.

But basically pretty much empty street. And I use now this one as my phone wallpaper.

And, you know, just clouds kind of speaking. This is, this is taken with my phone.

Yeah. With my iPhone. With iPhone, yeah. Yeah. Also iPhone photo.

This is taken outside our cloth fair offices in London, overlooking the Westminster Bridge.

You can see the Parliament House. You can see the big band, which I think they renamed it now into, I don't remember what, how, what's the name now, but they're still building on it or rebuilding, you know, fixing it.

They wait. Hopefully it's going to be ready next year or so. This is super dramatic with the clouds and the reflection.

Yeah. It was about 6 p.m. Like right, right at the almost sunset, but like finishing the shift in the office.

And then you can see almost no cars and just some people crossing the street.

But this was still, you know, in the beginning of the whole COVID stuff.

So there's still a lot of people outside.

We can move along. Again, playing, that's in the same day.

So just perfectly get out of the office after I took the first shot. And then once outside, I play with this crystal ball and just sort of, you know, try to get the London eye inside of it.

You are the guy with the crystal ball then.

Yeah. Yeah. I wish I knew the future. And then this is already back in Romania with my family.

So we're just trying either in our apartment or if we go to the countryside, we try to just stay safe and just be us, like just the family, not to interact with more people.

And there's, you know, eat fresh fruit as much as possible.

This is on a background of the actual country house.

That's a traditional Transylvania house. Wow. I love the contrast.

Yeah. Colors, right? Again, iPhone photo, this one also. This is night mode on iPhone 11.

So you can see the light in there. It's not electrical. They have like gas lamps inside the house.

And I think you can even distinguish some of the features of like, you know, the furniture on the left faces of my kids, stuff like that.

But this is after sunset. Super tight composition. Same place, but now switching 180 degrees.

And then you see sunset. This is on secondary lens on the iPhone.

Also, all of these are iPhone photos. All of them. Makes us want to visit Romania.

Again, like Raju mentioned in San Francisco, this street, this is taken 7.02am in Romania.

This is one of the busiest streets in Cluj, my city. And that there in the middle, you see one car.

After I posted this photo on Facebook, there was one guy who came on the wall saying, you know, I was the one because he was going fishing.

So people started sharing the photo like on local groups. And then somehow it got to the actual person inside the car saying, sorry, I was out because you were not supposed to be out because it was locked down.

So, or if you were out, you have to have like a very, you know, I'm going for groceries, going for medicines, going to help a friend that is in need or sick.

So most likely he wouldn't want to be stopped by cops to explain why he's going fishing.

That's not like, and this is Easter, you know, in the very modern COVID crisis situation that we were trying to join our family.

So we couldn't be with them physically, but they were on Zoom.

So that's why the laptop is there for the extra seat.

And then, you know, we're just like talking, eating and having Easter dinner.

The reality of family get -togethers in lockdown. Yeah. And this is church time again, because we couldn't go inside to worship.

And because of COVID situation, this is communion time.

And yeah, electronically Zoom like COVID pandemic, whatever you want to call it, just shifting life from offline to online.

I took this selfie because there was an initiative in Romania.

And I think a lot of the countries had it to have people wear masks on their profile photos, just to show as, you know, an example and sort of encourage people to wear masks and be socially distanced and, you know, take care and be safe.

So that's why I took this one.

And it's still on my profile right now. So anybody looking out by social profiles will still see it.

It's going to be there until, God help, we're going to go past, you know, this thing.

We still have five minutes to go. So this is a photo I took after buying groceries, literally getting outside.

And then I feel this sort of a shade of light on my right cheek.

And then my wife sees me turning away.

And she's like, oh, okay, this is going to take some time. And then she went with the car to the car because she knew I'm going to stop and frame and take a photo.

And this is just, you know, over the city sun setting. Again, sunset, I'm big, big, big fan of sunsets.

This is behind our building where we live. What, any of these with your regular camera gear or all of these for?

Everything you see here is iPhone only.

Unfortunately, I left such in a hurry from London that my actual camera and all the gear is still there.

So I only have my iPhone. This is me driving towards the mall to buy, I don't know, food.

And then it's just three cars here. So you can see even the cars are socially distancing.

And this photo was picked up from Facebook by the local police authority, Inclusion, our county.

And they used it as an example.

Please make sure you keep your distance, even if you're driving.

That was a very fun thing to find out, you know. And love is in the air, right?

Everywhere you watch, everywhere you see. I was just sort of peeking outside the window and boom, I see these two, love.

And I was like, okay, I'm going to take this shot.

It's not the best shot ever, but. Hey, it's a pandemic lockdown shot.

And of course, bees are never resting. They always, always produce honey, which by the way, if you're in lockdown, you should eat a lot of honey.

It's very healthy.

We can move along. And of course, some of our most favorite time is watching videos, watching movies at home.

And this is one of those movie nights in the family.

I think this is like the 17th time we're watching the same movie.

It's just like Harry Potter. Yeah, Harry Potter. This is. You pretty soon, certainly you pretty soon run out of all your movies and not coming out as regular, so.

Pretty soon the TVs will be sort of already used up. And again, practicing sort of a safely going outside in nature.

So this is me and my son sort of outside, totally, you know, not very close to any other people.

And it's really easy when you're in the forest or out hiking because you can hear people from far away.

And then we were just shouting, stay away.

OK, so just to make sure that nobody gets too close, you know, so that you can sort of somehow touch or be in the same very close space.

Is this near close to? Yeah, this is all in Transylvania. And this one is actually very interesting because we went to the mall again to do some shopping.

And this is in the parking lot.

And this is one of those times where I would say to my wife, can you please just go ahead and I'll follow because I see the sun.

And if I start explaining it, I'm afraid that the actual shot will go away and fade.

And, you know, I can't get the shot.

And she's like, we've been married 17 years already. And she knows like, OK, I'm not going to say anything.

And then I literally put my iPhone on the hood of the car.

I just washed the car. So used it as a mirror against the sunset and just took the shot.

It's a cool shot though. Yeah, thank you. All right, that brings us to the end.

Yeah, but actually for all of you watching live or if you're watching this as a recording, if you would like to have your photos showcased on Cloudflare TV, there are some steps that you can do.

And we invite you to send your photos to livestudio at

But make sure the photo is not more than 25 megabytes per file attachment.

That's just because that's how much Google can handle one attachment, one file.

Please add a title or description to your photo.

Tell us where you took it, when, you know, what the circumstance is, if it's a special meaning for you and so on.

And also please include this line.

I certify this picture is of me, by me, or that I have explicit permission to display the picture on Cloudflare TV.

This is just the legal bit. So we have the right to actually showcase it on TV.

I think we're out of time. Yeah, I think we're already done.

Most likely we're already offline, but the Zoom will still record and then we'll have a recording at the end.

Thank you so much guys for doing this.

Great, thanks guys. Yeah, bye everyone.