Archive for the ‘trees’ Tag

Back Whence It Came   6 comments


Back Whence It Came

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Tree. Wood. Ore. Metal. A wagon forged by the hand of a man. All will decay. Nothing lasts forever.

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We descended to the bottom of the trail shortly before 5PM, knowing our target. Placed near the equipment shed for the old Stone House, these wagons have been in place and deteriorating beautifully for years.

Unfortunately, since it was 5 o’clock, a few maintenance people were converging on the shed, parking their trucks in all the good spots. Problem. I didn’t think twice before walking up to one of them and jocularly saying, “You know, I traveled over 1,000 miles just to shoot these wagons.” Oh… you’ll move your truck? Why, thanks!

The guys were talking together, but surely also sizing up these people from ‘Away.’ One of them, an older gentleman in bright red suspenders who looked like a cross between Albert Einstein and Kris Kringle, was Frank. I know this because he had a huge sign made of welded pipe running across the back window of his pickup truck – his “Office”.

The sign said, “F – R – A – N – K

I asked him, “Are you Frank?”

“Nope. I’m Ernest,” he replied in a deep New England accent.

“Somehow I doubt that,” I said as we shared a knowing laugh.

And with that, we were introduced to Frank Eastman, a colorful local who has tended the grounds of the Stone House for several decades. After the other guys went home, we chatted with Frank for quite a while. He had worked with the Maine DOT for many years. We talked about how someone had once offered to restore the wagons for display, but Frank had declined, preferring to see them decay in their natural form. After a time, he felt comfortable enough to let us in on a local trail secret — a waterfall that most people don’t know about — and he asked if I could shoot it for him someday.

That’s for next year, when I’ll likely meet up with Frank again. Some people you just want to keep in touch with.

Okay, Next Time YOU Drive…   4 comments


Okay, Next Time YOU Drive...
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While visiting coastal Maine recently, we went for a nice day hike in the Blagden Preserve, a little-known spot on the ‘quiet side’ of Mount Desert Island. The area, now owned by the Nature Conservancy, features a loop hike that leads out to some beautiful water views.

On the return through maritime forest, we were more than a bit surprised to see the remains of an old Dodge sitting just off the trail. With no roads nearby, it was a curiosity. Apparently, there either used to be a road or driveway here, or the old beast had been hauled off into the woods. Either way, it made for an interesting, almost spooky scene.

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Primordiality   2 comments


A primordial landscape photo of cypress trees and knees on the Neuse River near New Bern, North Carolina

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Not long ago, in early December, we were walking Amy, Kelli, and Macy down by the Neuse River near New Bern, NC. It was one of those gray, overcast winter days that reminds me of a different time, perhaps the beginning of time. Looking at a scene like this, I doubt much has changed over the years.

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You can see a larger view of this scene by clicking on the image.

I was definitely going for a more surrealistic look on this, while still retaining all the great details in the scene. Nine exposures +/-1EV merged in Photomatix Pro4, with lots of love from Nik Software Color Efex Pro and DeFine 2.

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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