Crossing the Boulder Field

The path from the Britannia Hut back to Plattjen above Saas Fee in the Valais Alps is a delightful balcony walk. Narrow in places, it traverses a steep slope, and shortly before it reaches Plattjen the path winds its way through an impressive boulder field.

As always, paths in the Alps are well marked. Alpine paths (as opposed to easier paths) are marked with three flashes – red, white, red – and curiously at one point in this area an old and rather battered tin Swiss flag stands beside the path. You can trace the path on from the flag, past the marker to the skyline over rocks that have been partially levelled to make the route easier to negotiate

45 seconds later a walker passed me, by which time I had moved forwards to the path marker for my second shot

Whenever I look back at these two images I enjoy them individually for their compositional diagonal strengths, but I also curse myself for having not been more aware of a potential image that I failed to catch.

I don’t often include figures in my images but the presence of the figure on the skyline in the second image is critical to its success. If only I had been aware of the approaching walker (when I shot the first image) then I could have waited until he was on the skyline and got the complete picture.

So, as you will see in this third image, I’ve experimented with cloning him in to get the shot I missed. Personally I think he’s a bit out of scale in the combined image but that maybe because I know he should be smaller. Maybe for those seeing the image in isolation, that fact would not be so obvious.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do leave a comment.

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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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13 Responses to Crossing the Boulder Field

  1. rigmover says:

    Stunning, rugged and rough, I like it.

  2. You’ve done a great job with this Andy – the final image works fine, and even knowing the story behind it I would be struggling to find evidence that you cloned the figure.

  3. Len says:

    I think you’ve done a very good job cloning him in Andy. I don’t think he looks out of scale and if you didn’t raise the question, I would have never thought it.

  4. oneowner says:

    I like your composite and I think the scale is fine. It’s a very creative way of combining 2 good photos.

  5. I think you’ve done a fabulous job with it Andy. I wouldn’t have know that the walker was cloned in had you not said anything. Well done.

  6. ehpem says:

    I like the composite too – I suspect it might work a bit better with the figure smaller, maybe even quite a bit smaller. That would fit my impression of the first shot. However, I really like the first shot without the figure and think it stands well on its own with the eye lingering on the flag longer, and then seeking out the faint but visible trail and ultimately arriving where you have put the walker, but with a more careful look along the way – the kind of look one has navigating this kind of terrain. With the walker inserted, my eye just flashes from flag to walker and the middle ground is kind of ignored which is a shame (and which is why a considerably smaller figure might work better, with a weaker pull on the eye). Maybe the shame is how I look at things, or my having seen the first image first and dawdled on it all I needed too.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. Very relevant observations. When I’ve nothing else to do, I think I will have a go at shrinking the figure and reinserting it.

  7. Phillip says:

    Looks like a rugged place. I think that you did a great job Andy. I would have never know if you hadn’t mentioned it.

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