Archive for the ‘barn’ Tag

Weathered Barn Door   9 comments


Weathered Barn Door

It was a beautiful autumn day in New Hampshire. After finishing a hike with Susan and my ol’ college friend, Tom, we were hanging around the truck having some lunch. No need to go anywhere else, as we warmed the bones in the sun.

A woman came down the road walking her dog, and as often happens in New England, we wound up having a nice conversation with her. I had my eye on an old, weathered barn across the street. The woman knew the owner of the barn, and suggested that the owner would have no problem if I moved in close for some pictures.

I loved how, in addition to the weathered wood, shadows from a nearby tree were playing across the doorway. This is the kind of rustic scene that, sadly, we don’t see too much of these days.

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Deere Prudence   10 comments


Deere Prudence

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It’s prudent to be mindful of your surroundings when you’re out exploring.

Always on the lookout for good locations, we passed by this scene and I couldn’t help but note the John Deere tractor parked next to an old shed. The placement looked idyllic – a perfect setup.

We turned around in a driveway down the street and came back for the shot. The tractor and sheds were set back from the road quite a ways, and I wanted to get closer. But, a small, abandoned house was just to the right, and there was a prominent, hand-painted sign hung on an old tree that conveyed a clear message: “No Trespassing.” The driveway where we had just turned around was for a newer house, and as is often the case, the newer digs are built off to the side while these old beauties dissolve into the landscape.

The whole setup was just creepy enough that I didn’t choose to find the owner for permission, and I sure didn’t think it was a good idea to go any further onto the property. People can get ornery around here when you mess with their stuff.

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Processed as an HDR image with texture overlay and sepia toning via Silver Efex Pro. I wanted to create deep, mysterious shadows on the edges while maintaining a lighted path for the eye to travel to the tractor. Hopefully, the overall effect gives the viewer the same trepidatious feeling I had when taking the shot.

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Oh, No… I’m Getting Happy Feet!   12 comments


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Oh, No... I'm Getting Happy Feet!
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With apologies to Steve Martin for the comedic reference…

On our 2010 trip to New Hampshire, I finally bought a long-desired pair of Limmer hiking boots. Peter Limmer & Sons are fifth generation Austrian bootmakers, and a pair of custom Limmers are pretty much the Holy Grail of footwear for hikers.

Based on the popularity of last year’s images “The Bootmaker”, “They Never Call”, and “Homeless”, Peter once again kindly allowed me to bring my camera and tripod into the shop, but this time, he pointed me to the attic of the old barn building that houses the business. (With customers in the shop, maybe he wanted me out from underfoot, or was trying to figure out just how creeped out I could get…)

Built in 1758, the barn was once used as a dance hall. Geez… That’s over 250 years old! Today, the outer wings and attic of the barn are used mainly for storage, and in this case, for storage of old lasts used in the bootmaking process. Peter assures me that there’s no real system to the arrangement, although they are sorted by size, and are sometimes used as firewood.

I spent about an hour up in the attic. Susan, for some reason, chose to stay downstairs most of the time, chatting with some of the customers.

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Under the First Layer   4 comments


Under the First Layer
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To the same location where Molasses and I Fought the Lawn… were shot, I returned the other day with prints in hand to give to the elder Mr. Riggs, who owns the granary and feed store on the property. It was my way of getting him to allow unfettered access to the remainder of the property… and it worked. Well, he wouldn’t let me inside any of the buildings, but there was much to be seen as I worked my way through the woods and fields.

There’s nothing modern about this place. All the barns, silos, and tin buildings are worn and weathered, with some close to collapse.

I worked my way around one large building and found this vignette on the back and propped my tripod between the building and a large pecan tree that had fallen thanks to Hurricane Irene. I marveled at the slow collapse of the wooden siding, boards holding on by just a few nails here and there, and the weathered look of old tar paper and wood being revealed bit-by-bit over time.

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This is a 9-frame HDR processed using both Photomatix Pro and HDR Express/32 Float. Also of note is that post-processing in Photoshop was done with the brandy-new Color Efex Pro 4 from Nik Software, now in beta. We’ve just been released to speak of the new program, and lemme tell you… it’s a great update!

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Serviceable   12 comments


Serviceable
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In the description for my recent image What, Did You Miss Me?, I mentioned that an issue with summer photography in North Carolina is that a lot of the good targets are inundated with weeds, vines, and other foliage. This not only presents a problem in approaching a subject — think tall, itchy weeds on bare, sweaty legs — but the subject itself might be all but invisible under the new growth of summer.

On a recent cruise through the more rural areas of Pamlico County, NC, we managed to find one old barn that had an exposed, northern side, and also happened to be close to the road. Perfect… I’m not sure who owns it — there was a planted field just across the street — but unlike some barns around here, this one was still in service. I would have loved to take a look inside, but the decrepit door was held closed by the leaning 2×4 seen on the right.

I love the character of these old buildings. The rust and the weathered wood always seem to make an interesting subject for HDR processing. I only hope I’ve done this old beauty some justice.

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Early American Screen Door   11 comments


An Early American Screen Door

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Just one of the many fun things about photography is that in researching your subjects, you can learn new things. I can’t suggest the number of times I’ve taken a picture of something interesting, only to find out more about it when I got home and cruised the internet looking for more information.

When I first developed this image, I decided to call it ‘Early American Screen Door.’ I figured that the wood slats on this shed door had deteriorated to the point that you could see through, and the wind would whistle through.

I showed the finished image to my neighbor — the one whose family farm is featured in GOAL!!, Cooning Boat, and Put Me In, Coach! The neighbor said, “The door is made that way deliberately in order to ventilate the corn crib.”

Call me a city boy, but I never knew that. Now it makes perfect sense.

I seem to always be pleasantly surprised at the ingenuity of previous generations during a time when there weren’t the amenities and conveniences that today we take too much for granted.

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Put Me In, Coach!   11 comments


Put Me In, Coach

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On the same coastal farm where GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! and Cooning Boat were found sits this old John Deere tractor, one that has surely seen better days.

With his position at the door of the barn, the eager face, and his helmet off to the side, he reminds me of a benched player who wants just one more chance to go in and win the game.

Seven exposures from Promote Control, f/6.3 at 23mm, tonemapped in Photomatix Pro with extra layers from HDR Express, Nik Color Efex Pro filters.

 

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Dominance   Leave a comment


Image of old barn overgrown with weeds and vines, North Carolina

Dominance

Click here for a larger version from my Landscape gallery. Opens in new window.

One of the best things about living in North Carolina is that you can drive down rural roads and pretty much guarantee that you’ll find interesting old barns, houses, or tractors to shoot.  When I once complained that this sort of agricultural scene seemed to be the only interesting stuff around here, a photographer friend told me, “Shoot what you have available and make the best of it.”  Wise words.

Sometimes in post-processing, you have to return to the basics.  Although I often (read: usually) process with HDR, it’s not always called for, requiring a fallback to another strategy. The fact that it’s time-tested is just a bonus.

In this situation, there are two elements that did not allow this image to be processed with the usual HDR programs.  First, the wind was blowing very hard, so any HDR program had a problem with ghosting on the foreground tree branches as well as on some of the background foliage. (I’ve heard that the next release of Photomatix Pro will address this.  Yay!)  Second, this was taken with a Nikkor 70-300mm lens, so the amount of fine detail (leaves, pine needles, grasses) caused a microcontrast nightmare due to compression of the scene.

This image started out with Adobe Camera Raw in order to make it look as good as possible going into Photoshop.  Once in Photoshop, I applied a basic curves adjustment layer and a few Hue/Saturation layers to tone down or bring up some color. Layering on two different textures in Multiply mode added an interesting element, particularly to the sky, but also brought a bit of sepia tone to the subject area. Finally, I used NIK Color Efex Pro to adjust color contrast, and to add a darken/lighten center adjustment, bringing the eye to the building.

I don’t think this could have been done better with HDR, but then again, it isn’t a very high-contrast scene.

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