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Stepping into the unknown - in praise of bloggers everywhere

I like taking photographs of steps. Steps are so important in our lives yet do we ever give them a second thought? Do we ever wonder how many feet have skipped, trudged, bound up and down steps to reach their various destinations? I like seeing steps from different angles, from top down or from bottom up. I love old steps yet modern steps also have their story. Stone steps can show their age and wear, wooden steps and metal steps display the powers of imagination and construction that went into their creation. Steps are often alive with people coming and going while some steps are waiting silently for people to arrive.

Steps also have great symbolism in our world. We use ‘step’ phrases in a variety of situations, often in an inspirational sense. We talk of stepping out from the crowd, stepping up to the plate, taking the first step, taking a step in the right direction, taking steps to improve, taking one step at a time. We speak of being a step ahead, of marching in step. Sometimes we might step aside or even take a step backwards. We use the terms pacing ourselves, putting one foot in front of the other, taking things in our stride, putting our best foot forward. Most of us have experienced the anxiety of stepping out into the unknown or the anticipation of taking our first steps in a new direction.

For me, blogging has been an exercise in taking steps in a new direction and it has also been very much a step into the unknown.

I had been interested in starting my own blog for some time but didn’t really know where to start. I looked at some blogging examples for inspiration but in some ways that was counter-productive as I didn’t want to be too influenced by other bloggers. In the end I just took the first steps – decided what the blog would be about – and it went from there. There are so many good blogs out there that deciding on a topic that appealed to me, would give me ample room for development and that might also appeal to others, wasn’t easy. There are countless fashion, health and lifestyle blogs, lots of food, personal development and techie blogs, numerous blogs appealing specifically to certain interest groups, and plenty of blogs giving advice and tips on all manner of topics. I don’t feel that I am particularly knowledgeable in any specific area that would be of interest to others so I decided to go for something personal, to chart the journey of my own experience of reviving an old passion, photography. My blog does not aim to teach photography to anyone, nor to give advice, but hopefully by sharing my own learning experiences I can help someone else find their inspiration. I have also found blogging to be an extremely enjoyable pursuit. Even though I may not have many readers, I enjoy writing and sharing my own ideas and attempts at creativity, as well as having a springboard for developing my photography skills. Already I have made some contacts on the online blogging platforms and I hope that as the blog grows it will help me connect with other people who share my interests and that it will enable me to become a better writer.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...(Robert Frost)

I was recently given a gift of the book ‘The Photographer’s Playbook’. It is a treasure trove of ideas for photography assignments, some interesting but impractical but which have still sparked an idea, many that led to new thoughts, new ways of seeing, new ideas for projects. In my own case I have to move away from taking variations of the same photograph and begin to think creatively to develop my own ‘style’. No photography class or photography teacher can do this for me. In fact, through my lifetime’s work as an educator I have come to realise that most of us learn best in our own time and in our own way. If we stay open to learning we never know when a ‘gem’ will appear or a seed will be planted that will inspire us to take a step in a new direction. Hopefully some of the projects I have chosen to follow will inspire others to take further steps along their own path.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao Tzu


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