At the top of the steps

Today’s image is of the pedestrian footbridge that crosses the railway line at Heyford station. We stopped here actually to take a look at the Marina on the side of the Oxford Canal that runs directly alongside the railway.

The bridge was painted a rather unremarkable blue with yellow painted handrails. It was the geometric lines that attracted me so I fired off a few shots, eventually widening out to 16mm – but without a clear idea of how this could make a decent image.

In fact I fully expected to take one look back home and delete them. But…In situations like this, there seems to be a subconscious part of my mind that sees something my conscious part doesn’t. Well, that’s a fancy way of describingt it, maybe in reality it’s just the stubborn part of me that wants to struggle to extract/rescue something from a rubbish initial capture!

Anyway, back home up on the big screen, I took one look and thought – B&W, high contrast, and maybe I’ll solarize it too. Ten minutes or less and I had the image I wanted. This was the one shot that had my wife at the top step. It needed that small human touch. The others, without her, are empty. A similar concept applied to Chalk Track Walker except in that one I had to find an appropriate figure to add. But in today’s case it really was my wife in the frame – I didn’t have to import her!

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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29 Responses to At the top of the steps

  1. Oh yes! This works really well…just shows what can be done with a little imagination!

  2. Some shots just shout B&W. Great stuff.

  3. beautiful image and post processing. Very impressive work!!!

  4. rigmover says:

    Great processing, also the fact that the shot is off centre makes a big difference, I would have shot this dead centre and then binned it.

  5. oneowner says:

    The processing gives this so much more drama that a normal shot would. Excellent choice.

  6. ehpem says:

    I really like the processing on this as well. And the sky sure helps.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you. The sky wasn’t up to much in the original but solarizing the image in Photoshop added a huge amount of contrast to the sky. The shot needed that.

      • ehpem says:

        Works really well. It sure is nice to extract this kind of detail out of an otherwise mundane part of a picture. One of the real pleasures of “darkroom” work.

  7. Really excellent job here Andy. I’m so glad you didn’t hit the delete button. Your POV and the B&W treatment really makes this an excellent image and adding your wife at the top of the stair was perfect.

  8. andybeel says:

    Hi Andy an interesting picture – thanks. Andy

  9. Hi!

    I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Check out my post for more info:

  10. Fabulous work, Andy! That sky is totally awesome there, and I love the tension that your wife introduces naturally into the frame there!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Toad. I still find the effects of Solarization difficult to predict when I employ that filter. The sky in the original was bland and uninteresting and I was really surprised by the result but the image needed it. You’ll be interested to learn that my wife is capable of introducing ‘tension’ into other areas of life when the occasion requires it. She rather liked the idea that she could now add Photography to the list of areas where this attribute had its uses. LOL!

  11. Wonderful perspective and processing Andy!

  12. munchow says:

    A really powerful photo. Such dynamic tonality and composition. Wonderfully post-processed, too, and yes, it only shows strong pictures may appear out of nowhere – or even when you don’t think you have a picture (and that’s why I never delete anything I capture. I am amazed that you seem to do so with the pictures you are not happy with?). I think it’s great that you didn’t overdo the solarization, in fact I am not sure you did in the final picture. It’s hard to detect at least. Besides you are right. Without you wife in the picture, it would have been nothing. She is perfect.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks very much for your comments Otto. The image is actually solarized fully – no blending to reduce it’s effect. The results of solarization are quite unpredictable in Photoshop, I find. The clue that the image is solarized is seen in the top rails on the left of the image and some rim lighting of trees seen between the rails. I cloned out solarized trees above the rails on the left side. It is a very easy filter to apply and undo, but probably in 50% of cases where I try it, I don’t like the effect.

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