I have a new catchphrase: "Don't be like Leigh". This is why...

There's a picture that I've been working away at on and off for a few months now.  I shot it back in the summer with the lovely Roswell Ivory, who joined me for a shoot while she was up in Edinburgh.  It was a beautiful, bright sunny day, perfect for drinking Pimms in the garden, but really shitty for the kind of work I do.  Mid-day sun is not the most flattering of light photographically.  Luckily Joe Gibson kindly joined us for the day and I don't think I could have gotten the shots I did without his awesome reflector-holding and smoke-wafting skills!  

But back to this picture.  It's been a tough one for me in terms of editing because I just wasn't quite sure where to go.  Roswell hand-crafted an amazing golden breastplate, nicknamed "Helga", and in my mind I saw her standing in an open field like a resplendent Sun-Goddess with beams of golden sunlight enveloping her.  Of course, reality was rather more mundane, if one could call this look "mundane"; it sure wasn't something the dog-walkers saw everyday judging by the glances our way!

                     This is part-way into the editing, after I had replaced some of the background and dropped a new sky in. 

                     This is part-way into the editing, after I had replaced some of the background and dropped a new sky in. 


When I got into Photoshop nothing felt right.  So I'd pick away at it now and then but I never really had the time to really sit down and get into it the way I needed to for something more creative.  Well, at last, yesterday I had the time and the inspiration.  I was all geared up and raring to go.  I spent hours working on it doing lots of detail work and subtle colour corrections, and I liked the direction it was going in.  I reckon I'd put in a solid 4+hrs of work at this point.  I thought to myself "You know, I don't think I've saved this in a while, I should do that."  I pressed ⌘S, sat back and watched as Photoshop disappeared from my screen leaving a crash report in its wake.  I literally gasped.  My hands went up to my head as my brain cried (and I do mean cried) "Nooooooooooooo.." and I sat there completely frozen while I had a conversation with myself in my head. 


"No, really...FUCK" 
"What should I do?"
"What can you do?  You've gotta click the "Re-open" Photoshop button, right?"
"Yes but....I don't want to.  It's gonna re-open and all my work will be lost.  Hours and hours and hours...."
"But you don't know that until you look.  Go on, just press the button.  There is literally nothing else you can do at this point."


Photoshop re-opened.  There was no document there.  The file was not even in the Recent Files list.  I opened my Finder folder to look at the file and see when it was last saved.  Yup, over 4hrs ago.  I opened it up just in case my Finder was playing a joke on me and really I did save it since then, but Finder just wanted to fuck with me.  No joy.  I recalled that Photoshop has an Auto-save feature.  I also recalled that, "I think I turned it off because it was slowing Photoshop down..."  But you know, just in case Photoshop has magical powers to ignore user settings and autosave work anyway, I went and looked in the Auto-save folder, which was obviously empty.  So because I can be as much of an idiot as anyone else sometimes, it was back to the drawing board.  I took a few deep breaths, drank a glass of wine and let it go.  I also immediately turned the Auto-save feature back on, because I'm not that stupid.  

Lesson learned the hard way.  Don't be like Leigh: Save your work, and make sure you don't turn off the Auto-save feature. Even if you really want to because it makes Photoshop go slowly when you are working on a really big file and you know you'll manually save it all the time anyway so it's no big deal.  Even if you are sure you'll remember to turn it back on again.   Just leave it alone.  

All that being said,  I found a silver lining.  Yup, I know how that sounds, but you really can usually find one.  If I'm honest, I wasn't loving the image I'd been making.  I liked where it was headed, and I was using it to practice some new things to learn, but it wasn't love and I felt a bit "meh" about it as a whole.  However, as I laid in bed last night, an idea popped into my head.  Fire! It would definitely be better with fire.  So I took a fresh stab at it today and yes, it looks bloody awesome with fire, if I do say so myself.  Like a phoenix rising form the ashes of my stupidity, this awesomeness emerged:              

I hope you guys like it too!