07.24.16: Rocky steps

Steps on a trail in Carter Caves State Park, Olive Hill, Ky. 


Technical information

Aug. 7, 2010,
8:46 a.m.

38°22’22” N,
83°6'56" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 7D

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L (22mm) 


1/25th second


In January I posted a featured gallery that included photos of steps. At that time I said I hadn’t realized I had unintentionally gathered photos showing stairs or steps. But there were several dozen photos in my collection, some that I’ve liked and used in galleries on other subjects and some that were rather unimpressive and filed away. But when viewed as a group it was obvious that I had a lot of photos of this subject.

I guess I photograph steps because the linear repetition and patterns created by the individual steps provide an interesting geometric focal point that links surround objects. The eye is drawn to the pattern and follows the lines.

That was definitely the case with these rocky steps in Carter Caves State Park near Olive Hill, Ky. I was hiking a trail along the base of rocky cliffs when the trail split. One option continued through the valley. The other followed the steps to higher ground.

I took the third option: set up a tripod and photograph the steps.

When I was setting up the shot I thought it would work best in black and white, or possibly in color with saturation reduced to created muted, moody atmosphere. The only thing I knew for certain at that time is that a traditional, saturated color treatment wasn’t best for a photo of worn, weathered, rocky steps.

I have both this black-and-white treatment and a muted color treatment of this scene in my files. I tend to favor the black and white.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.