The first step is the hardest

An image today that could be described as Allegorical on one level. On another level it’s about rescuing success from the jaws of failure. But ultimately it is about having a clear idea of what you want to do with an image before you shoot it.

This image was not taken, it was assembled back home when I checked through the day’s pictures and saw a possibility that heat, a pint of beer and a bit of a hurry had failed to spot at the time.

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How often do you shoot something with the simple thought: ‘I quite like that’, or ‘that’s worth a shot’ without any clear idea of what it is exactly that you like and how that ‘like’ translates into a worthwhile image? We all do it. This is a case in point.

I saw the arrow (it was there to direct walkers round the gardens of Woburn Abbey). To get a picture of it I had to hold the Canon G10 in front of me at chest height pointing straight down. Positioned like that I couldn’t see the viewfinder to line up the shot and the bright light made it difficult to even view what I had captured. I had quite a few attempts. In some I got my feet in the view (I really didn’t intend that), in some the arrow was crooked, and in some I lost the point of the arrow. I gave up.

Back home I discovered I quite liked my feet (please note that presciently I had cut my toe nails a few days earlier!). But when my feet were in the shot, the arrow’s point wasn’t. Aaarrgghh!

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Nothing for it but a spell of hard work. You can see from the pair of images below that I faced a few problems. Both shots were crooked but differently crooked, and not of the same magnification. But determination set in and I arrived at the final composition.

It wasn’t until I had the final composition, that the penny finally dropped as to the potential hidden allegorical meaning and consequently a stab at a meaningful title.

There was then the final work to create a little bit of contrast between the dowdy feet and the brighter green-rimmed landscape around the arrow pointing the way forward.

And in case you are wondering: I’m not at a crossroads in life – the biggest decisions to make this weekend are whether to try and squeeze my ice axe and crampons into my suitcase, or hire them in the Alps.

And finally, apologies to those of you of a sensitive nature, for putting my feet on display in sandals. Actually these are hiking sandals and damn comfortable and I will be doing a lot of my Alpine walking in these. Excellent grippy soles, and cool feet with no blisters. It’s all about the acquired art of not shipping too many bits of grit between the sole and the sandal.

Have a good weekend. We are still enjoying a mini heat-wave here in the UK.

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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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22 Responses to The first step is the hardest

  1. oneowner says:

    I like the inclusion of the feet in the photo. It sort of puts the viewer into the picture and that’s a good thing. An excellent choice.

    I can’t wear sandals but I do have very good boots and they’re lightweight,waterproof and I can wear them all day..

  2. vastlycurious.com says:

    All of my photos are composed in advance. Love the photo, feet or not : )

  3. I agree with Ken – your feet put ALL of us into the shot. And that’s a nice place to be!

  4. Wonderful post Andy and you did a great job in post. The final image came out great.

  5. The hard work was worth the effort and I’m sure you spent quite some time to make the final edit. Great stuff. Maybe you could do a second version with a third leg added into the edit. That would really make people do a double take! Maybe the heat is getting to me? 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Nigel. It was about 90mins work altogether. A third leg? I’ll work on it. Is it the heat or the alcohol? I think we will all end up alcoholics if this heat carries on for another month as one paper today predicts.

      • Definitely the heat! I tend to refrain from alcohol particularly in hot weather. Hot weather and alcohol is a bad combination when it comes to keeping hydrated but I’m sure that professionally you know far more about that than I. Right now I have a mad very loud party going off in a neighbours garden. Lots of lads chanting and girls screaming. They have clearly had far too much alcohol and sun and I’m sure it will all end in tears! I hope you have a peaceful weekend. Best wishes, 🙂

  6. You are Clever with a perfect “C” for clever…nice work

  7. seekraz says:

    Yes, I would say it’s very clever how you salvaged/rescued the photo, Andy…would have never known. And I cannot fathom hiking in sandals! 😉 Is it that time already? Heading toward the Alps this week? Good for you……

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Scott. Climbing boots or even mountain trainers can make your feet so hot in summer. Getting air to your feet, in sandals, is so refreshing. Sure, you have to be a bit careful – no ankle protection, and you don’t want to stub a toe – but for walking on most paths they are fine. They do have an excellent vibram sole, as good as any mountain trainer.

  8. ehpem says:

    I like seeing how you edit and put together your shots. This is a great example of salvage, and salvage worth attempting.
    Have a great time walking, and good luck with that grit!

  9. Digital nail clippers. Now that’s a thought from ehpem. You’re better at splicing photos than I am! I like it.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks George. You really wouldn’t want to see my nails before clipping! I’ve only just recovered from a badly stubbed (and lost) toe nail sustained last summer. This was a real test of patience to splice these two images together. I nearly gave up!

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