Walking in the mud

A few months back I attended a photo workshop. We had some classroom training, and then were sent out into the forest with tasks to complete. The first assignment was “Mud”. After a few “safe shots” just to have something to show for my efforts, I started working on what I had visualized in my mind: A dirty, gritty photo of a boot walking in the mud.

The first couple of tries didn’t go to well:

Another early attempt
An early attempt
An early attempt
Another early attempt

I was not happy with the look nor the composition of these two (and all the others), so I decided to try something else.

Yet another try
Yet another try

Here, I was more happy with the composition, and decided to work on something else until we started post-production.

After some more photography in the nearby stream we went back and started working with the post production. My first action was to convert it to black and white:

Converted to black and white
Converted to black and white

I still wasn’t really happy with it, so I left it alone for a while and worked on some other photos. As I was working on my unexpected cricket, I came across this multi-exposure I had taken down by the river:

6 images of a stone in the river merged into one in camera.
6 images of a stone in the river merged into one in the camera.

And this is where I have difficulty explaining my thought process. From somewhere deep in the back of my mind, I recognized that if I converted this to black and white and rotated it, it could make a nice enhancement to my mud-photo above.

Converted to black and white and given a blue tint
Converted to black and white and given a blue tint

I opened them in Photoshop and merged them, and voila!! Just the gritty, rough photo I had in mind when I started…

Walking in mud
Walking in mud

The process took quite a few unexpected turns along the way, and had I not kept an open mind, I doubt that I would have found the final result… Especially since this was not a preplanned process, but more of a experimentation.

And in case you were wondering what my “safe shot” was, I took some photos of a “valley” in the mud, knowing that if I converted to black and white and gave it some depth of field, it would look somewhat similar to a fjord with a beach…

A miniatyre fjord
A miniature fjord

 

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