Public Footpath

Public Footpath

The sign points the way along the footpath from Littleworth Wood to Snowshill. I caught it at a good time, with a low October sun to add some shape and form to the landscape.

It is lovely walking country, around Snowshill and Broadway, and well worth a visit. If I lived closer I’d probably be wandering around here every day.

Edit: So – how did I get this shot? You need…

  • Camera (I know – stating the obvious!)
  • Tripod (the tripod needs to be extendable to a decent height because these signs are usually high up)
  • Remote shutter release (cable or wireless remote)
  • HDR software

The HDR software is not absolutely necessary, but in the view above there was a great deal of contrast between the bright sky and the shadows, and I knew my camera just did not have the dynamic range to cope with that. To get the image exposed correctly, I had to be able to get the right exposure for both the sign, and the sky and clouds. Therefore I decided to do a 5 image HDR set, each one stop apart, and merge in my HDR software.

The hard part was finding and selecting the right viewpoint, but I found this sign on a slope, allowing me to get the tripod high and reasonably close, meaning I could get both sign and background landscape in the frame. Most public footpath signs are not as conveniently sited, so you’ll really have to hunt around.

  • Set up the tripod, attach the camera, and frame your image.
  • To get both sign and landscape in focus you’ll need a small aperture (in order to give a large depth of field). I set the camera to Aperture Priority and set the aperture to f/22.
  • If you can get good exposure throughout your image with one take, then do so.
  • I wanted to do a 5 image HDR set, so I took five images at different exposures, +2 EV, +1, 0, -1, and -2
  • Merging the 5 images was easy – I use Nik Software HDR EFX Pro2 – a very easy to use application.

That’s really all there is to it. The hardest part really is finding the right viewpoint. On my travels, I’ll keep an eye out for a few more. I had probably walked past this particular sign well over thirty times, before I suddenly ealised the photographic possibilities.

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