By Sunday, I was really wanting to go to the mountains and do some landscapes, but the weather was nowhere near where I would have wanted it. It wasn't worth the drive out to the mountains, so I decided to stay at home. As the afternoon started to tick by, I noticed that the clouds were starting to move into the area. not much, but enough. I started going through my memory to think of places that were close by that I could hit around golden hour, just before sunset. For some reason, this old piece of yard art came to mind in Yadkin County.
I have driven, and ridden my bike past this old blue race car numerous times. I have even pulled over and tried to photograph it before. It was never the right time, or the right conditions. I'm not sure why, but I was unable to shake the vision of this old track car. That usually means I need to go out and photograph what I'm locked on because my subconscious is telling me that something great is about to happen. At least that is how it seems. I didn't have much hope for this car, and in fact I was already thinking about plan B's when I got to the car and decided it wasn't a good candidate.
|Sponsors in B&W|
When I drove past the car, the lighting actually looked really good and the sun was in the perfect position to light the car like I had always wanted. The parking lot seemed very small, and very much like an extension of the house. I drove by, not really wanting to face a armed homeowner this evening. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to give it a try. I turned around, and pulled into that small parking lot. I walked over to the house and rang the doorbell.
No answer. I went back over to the garage and knocked on the door. No answer there either. At this point, I went back to the car with the intention of leaving. However, I looked around, and saw that I was in the wide open. There was even a neighbor across the street mowing. Nobody seemed to care that I was there. What I was wanting to photograph was right off of the road, and I was comfortable with that.
I brought the camera out slowly giving ample time for anyone to voice their displeasure at my presence. That never came, and I was able to mount my 24-70 lens with a polarizer with no issues. I went and set the tripod up and started to make compositions. I started high, and worked lower, and the lower I went, the closer I went. Still nobody was paying me a bit of attention. I was very careful not to get too close to give anyone the indication that I might be up to no good. After about ten frames, I decided it was time to call it a day. I had pressed my luck long enough, and felt that I had a great picture in there somewhere.
Hmmm, only ten frames thus far. The sun was still up, and my shutter finger was itching for more action. I decided to continue off into the sunset in search of...well, a sunset. I wasn't in the mountains, but this was farm land, and I was hoping to find something with a barn, or open lands that would work under the sky that was developing. It wasn't the best sky I had ever seen, but it was developing into a decent potential for a sunset.
|John Deere Green|
I pulled over and got my camera out. I started with a 70-200mm lens, but quickly found that I wanted to get a little bit wider, so I swapped my 24-70mm back on. Since the compositions I was looking at were facing North, I decided that I would go ahead and add an intensifying polarizer to help with the sky. In a couple of minutes I was back at making compositions. This lens was working out much better. The sky was looking really cool, and I was thinking that I could deal with the contrast difference by processing the RAW file with a little care. I opted not to add an ND Grad since my compositions kept the combine well into the horizon.
I think what drew me to this rather simple composition was that it was full of primarily horizontal lines that repeated through the picture. The clouds, the boom,the yellow stripe, the very shape of the combine, and the rows in the field. They all repeated the same pattern. It was a relaxing scene, and one that told a story.
|End of the Work Day|
As I was getting things ready to go into the blog, I remembered that I actually had taken a series of images of that scene with the intention of experimenting with HDR photography. I went back into Lightroom, and found the three images. I did a quick merge and looked at the final product. I wasn't a fan. It was washed out, and didn't really look all that great. But I had never done this before, and knew that I would need to do a little polishing of the image. Well, as I started to move the sliders around, I started to see a lot of potential. I completed the process and decided that this one could work. There was no noise in it, and the colors were pretty great. I was wishing that the combine was something different, but beggars can't be choosers. The picture worked, and captured the scene that Toni liked better than my first pick. So, in a way, I did say yes after all.
It was a quick trek, but at least I got out of the house with the camera. I also photographed two different scenes that I had never pulled a camera on before. I was ecstatic about the old race car when I started the processing. it turned out better than I had envisioned it. Showing me once again, when that inner voice says "go", I had better listen to it. I also did my first even HDR photograph, and found that I actually like the effect. I didn't over process it, and it doesn't have that grunge look to it. It is actually quite natural, and appears as my eyes saw it. That is always the goal with my processing. I want it to appear natural, the way I saw it at the time of the capture. This fit the bill, and I was quite happy with the outcome. in fact, I am happy with all three of the shots that I decided to keep, and the one black and white conversion turned out very good as well.