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26 September 2017

Sooner or later you'll run across a story that advises you to look in a direction you do not normally look in. This will reveal a compelling view for you to compose and capture. One you would not, by definition, have noticed.

Construction Site. The workers were at lunch, apparently.

The recommended viewing directions are predictable and, being varied, serve to populate a number of stories, used in moderation.

You are always looking ahead, it is assumed, to avoid tripping on a curb or stepping on a snake. So the advice is to look behind you. Look above. Look left. Look right. Look down. Even look around.

You get the idea. Six stories, one idea.

Now who reads advice like that, you may wonder. Who needs advice like that?

We're always looking around, aren't we? Being "aware of your surroundings" is part of being a pedestrian, after all.

Being 'aware of your surroundings' is part of being a pedestrian, after all.

You could get run over if you aren't looking left and right. A pigeon could target you with an unexpected donation if you don't look up. You could fall into a manhole if you aren't looking down. You could get robbed or just miss a bus if you don't look behind you.

Of course we're looking around. All the time.

Nobody needs an advice column to tell them to look around. A reminder, once in a while (and we've done that, certainly). But that's all.

We are, walking around, on the whole, so to speak, too serious as it is.

So when we looked down the other day on our way back to the bunker in oppressive heat, we were glad to stop a minute to admire the earth movers strewn at the foot of the stairs in some garden dirt.

They had been abandoned by their owner. But only temporarily. Called in to lunch, no doubt.

We squatted down and zoomed in but we couldn't get close enough. We struggled with the image for a few days, unhappy with our usual edits, until we decided to make a more radical crop.

The idea wasn't to simulate reality but to suggest play.

A tight crop made the vehicles look more like toys than trucks. You could see detail you might not have lingered over. A simple axel. A painted ladder. The fact that two of the toys had been knocked over, a common hazard for toys.

Play. That's our advice. While you're looking around, avoiding common urban dangers or rural risks, play. You'll see things you otherwise wouldn't have noticed.

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