The Human Touch

Until humans are wiped out by a nuclear war or climate change, they will always find their way into your photos, and your life, even if you don’t want them to. But they don’t have to ruin them. In fact, they can vastly improve them.

Picture the scene: it’s a gorgeous afternoon, you’re standing in a valley, and the sun is gleaming through the heavens creating that beautiful ray effect and lightly dashing the foliage with a golden, sun-kissed touch. The birds are singing their final songs and you’re just brimming with inspiration and high hopes for your next snapshot. And then… an innocent yet highly resented person walks right in the centre of the pristine landscaped photo you were about to take. Well, it doesn’t have to end here.

As I mentioned previously, a sense of awe is good for your photos. If those bastards invading your shot are small, then the landscape will dominate over them, creating a new perspective, and you’ll end up with this:

Walking Hand in Hand

Yeah, yeah. You really are the picture perfect couple aren’t you. Oh well, at least you’ve given this capture a sense of emotion.

Whilst out walking, I have to actively strike a balance between keeping to myself and personal contemplation, and having other humans invade my space. That’s not to say I greatly enjoy walking as the one solitary person in the landscape, I find that lonely. I enjoy having others in the vicinity, but when I’m hiking up a beautiful mountain, I think a lot. I think about where I’m walking, but my mind also wanders around. Walking ignites the neurons in the farthest regions of my brain which aren’t initiated on a regular basis. The ones which contemplate life and ask stupid questions like, “Just what the hell are we doing here anyway?” Sometimes I would rather let my thoughts wander undisturbed than have a generic university conversation about degree subjects, exams, societies, and student accommodation.

Ribblehead Viaduct

“I’m just going to stroll into your shot and ruin it.”
No. You made it better.

The next photo is obviously massively cropped. The entire foreground is missing as my entire walking group was in the way. The people nearest me were too large to give any worthwhile sense of perspective. This unfortunately meant getting rid of some excellent ice encrusted jagged rocks, and it’s far from a perfect shot, but it still turned out okay because of the unusual nature of the shot, and the miniscule hikers in such a vast open landscape:

Even if your landscape isn’t that overbearing, people can still give your photos some context. While the mountain below is already pretty chilly looking, the people make it look even colder because of their thick mountaineering coats. In my photos I prefer the backs of people when they’re in the landscape, but that might just be down to personal preference:


“I’m cold. And there’s a guy following us.”
“Just ignore him. He won’t publish this shot anyway, we’ve ruined it.”

Sometimes it’s just not safe to go out on your own, be it walking, cycling, or whatever. On these occasions I feel much happier with company. And they make for better shots as well. That’s why the walking club is one of the best experiences I have had at university. And whether or not you talk to people while you’re walking, a walk usually ends by the time the sun goes down, so you have plenty of time to chat about The Walking Dead and Celebrity Masterchef over dinner and a nice ale.


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