|The Lonely Road|
The plan was to wake up with Toni at 4am when she was getting up to go to work. That would put me on the road in time for a sunrise at Rough Ridge. Well...we know what happens when I plan. Toni's alarm went off at 4am, I remember it well. The next thing I remember was her saying it was 5...in a not so calm voice. I hate when that happens, but she was able to hurry and still made it to work on time. For me, the time had passed to make it worth going to the mountains. I had to step back and punt with my plans. I still wanted to go out and do some picture, but I was going to need something relatively close at this point. Since my plans were now up in the air, I decided to throw caution to the wind and act on a whim.
The last time I went to Old Salem was back in the Fall, and I came back with some really good pictures. The best I have taken there...ever. Well, it was Spring now, and I was hoping to follow up with the same luck. I wasn't sure what the weather was going to do, but I figured I would start the day out at God's Acre Cemetery. The idea was to try and find something that I could use in case of a good sunrise. The other plan was to take advantage of what I was expecting to be some Spring colors.
|The Circle of Life|
Well, I got my wish...the colors started to light up in the sky, and they were ever so soft. That was good because my histogram showed me that I had a nearly perfect spread of tones across the spectrum. This was going to be a piece of cake to process when I got home. Everything worked out so nicely. Had I known the sky was going to be so nice, I would have found a little something different to put under it, but I have to admit, these turned out better than I expected. I shot a lot of different compositions as the sky changed, and moved around to pick out different ground features. I'm really happy that I decided to risk shooting a blooming tree which was going to be back lit. I wasn't sure how it was going to come out, but the blooms really came through in the photograph.
|Life From Lifelessness|
|The Heavy Door|
|Walk of the Ancestors|
|White Picket Walkway|
But wait...I found some trees right where I was shooting the fence that had some...shall we say, interesting growths on them. I swear, it looks like somebody came and made sculptures out of the trees. I don't remember seeing these trees in quite this way before, but I do remember trying to do some macro photography on the bark back in my Sony days. I'm pretty sure I would have noticed this though because of how utterly cool it looked. I still had my long lens attached, so I worked with it, and picked out the elements of the tree that caught my eye. This first one was just too cool for words. I could see eyes and a mustache below. It looked like an old man right there at the base of the tree. Maybe he was related to Tree Beard (those who have watched Lord of the Rings will catch that). Regardless, I though it was the coolest thing, not quite door cool, but pretty cool nonetheless. But wait...there's more....
I have to admit, I did a little enhancing on this image in the form of some dodging and burning. There was no manipulation though. I just used the old film technique to really bring out the shapes and textures. I also deepened the shadow beneath the head. It was there, but for the image I wanted to express, I needed it darker. Maybe I was having a zombie moment. Do squirrel zombies still want nuts, or do they go for brains? I've got to get out of this cemetery!
|How My Garden Grows|
Off in the distance, I saw an old barn with a long white picket fence leading to it. Unfortunately, there was a modern day pickup truck parked next to the fence. Well crap, can't really use that in my picture now can I? I would have passed up on the picture, but there was a really grand tree behind the barn that was framed by new growth on other trees. The scene was too good to pass up. I worked on several different compositions in an attempt to eliminate the truck, and finally found this simple portrait orientation that worked well. I wished that the face of the barn was visible, but the weathered wood on the primary side was a nice tradeoff. There were a lot of great textures there with the barn, fence, tree, and leaves. It was a simple, yet effective image. But there were no doors to be seen.
|Reflections of History|
With that shot, I found that there were just too many people walking around Old Salem, and I was starting to get a bit tired. Hey, I had been out here for four hours, and had shot 105 images. I should be a bit tired. I wasn't sure how things would turn out. I'm always hesitant to count my eggs before they hatch. I wanted to believe that I had gotten some good images. I did know that I have found a new love for doors, and was excited to see how they turned out. I was also very hopeful over my tree sculptures, especially since Toni likes interesting trees. I wanted them to turn out good for her.
When I got home, I did a rough edit of the pictures and got them down to 18, which I then processed. In about two hours, the initial edit was done on all 18 images, and it was time to go out and wash the truck, and smell the neighbors cooking out, and see folks out walking, and listening to yards being mowed. Hey, it was a wonderful day to be outside. But as far as photography goes...well, Stephen King and I had a great time, and I'm still diggin' the doors!