A Yadkinville Kind of Morning

February 22, 2014

Based on a tip from a friend, I had managed to locate several old cars and trucks along the side of Hwy 421 in Yadkinville, NC.  I had been looking for the right kind of morning to go out and give them a try.  For the last couple of weeks, I have been fighting with snow and very cold temperatures...neither of which I thought would be good for this particular subject matter.  Looking at the weather for this morning, however, I was pleased to see some early morning clouds with some clearing shortly after sunrise.  I figured that now was as good a time as any to give it a try.

The Forgotten Corner
When I got there, I pulled off on the side of the exit ramp close by the cars.  I took a quick walk over a ridge and found that the cars were fairly close to the roadway.  The only problem was they were well behind a fence.  I'm not one to jump fences for the sake of a picture.  I do respect property much more than that, so I had to work with the compositions that were available to me from this side of the fence.  That was a little problematic because there were small trees and lots of brush along the fence line that made camera placement difficult to say the least.

I found myself poking tripod legs through the openings in the fence and trying to shoot between the trees as best I could.  For this, I enlisted the help of my trusty 70-200mm lens which gave me the reach that I needed.  I wasn't able to get the compositions that I was really after though, but it would have to do, at least for this trip.  As I was fine tuning my compositions, the sun peeked through the clouds and bathed the side of the cars in a wonderful warm light.  I took advantage of this and cranked off a few frames from different locations trying to capture as much as I could with the light before it covered back up.

Fading Memories
The reach of the lens was such an important factor in being able to overcome the fact that there was a fence.  It allowed me to get so close (visually), that I was able to see that the rear window was cracked in several places.  I wasn't able to see that from my location on the opposite side of the fence.  I was really wanting to get a different perspective, but had I attempted to get permission to be on the property, I would have missed the light I was wanting.  As it was, the time spent moving around in the brush kept my shooting time to a minimum as the sun was covered back up, and the lighting changed from what I had envisioned.  It was time to move on and find something else to photograph.

Something that I do just about every time I go and work a location is explore the area and look for anything else that might work for a photograph.  Today wasn't any different and I started to drive around in search of something else.  I tried to find some landscapes, but nothing struck me as particularly special this morning.  I was really wanting to get up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, but so much of it is closed right now for repairs.  Just before I was about to throw in the towel, I noticed an old tractor sitting under the shelter of a small barn just off of the roadway.  I decided to turn around and see what I could do with it.

Looking For Shelter
I'm always happy to see an old barn or house in relation with an old tractor or vehicle.  Its kind of like a bonus find in my book.  This was one of those situations, but it came with some difficulties that I had to work through.  The most problematic was the upright support that was blocking many views of the tractor.  In at attempt to minimize its intrusion into the image, I started by shooting from the barn side, but wasn't overly happy with the resulting compositions.  It just lacked something.  I decided to go over to the other side and give some of those compositions a try.

Command Chair
One of the best tricks of the trade when working in these situations is to isolate detail shots and avoid the distractions.  That is just what I started to do with this tractor.  The seat really stood out to me, and the blues along the transmission tunnel added to that contrasting tone to the rust and background wood.  I framed the shot carefully, watching my perspective, so I could include all that I found interesting.  I was only able to grab a few shots before the lighting changed and it became a bit too harsh for this type of image.

One of my last shots of the tractor again took advantage of the idea of isolation.  The difference was I focused my attention on the front of the tractor.  Much like with a car or truck, the front of the tractor is where most of its personality is.  I really liked this one because the signs of age and lack of use really showed well.  It also showcased the barn against the blue sky in the background.  The deep shadow caused by the sun actually worked very well in my opinion, helping to direct the eyes back to that wonderful blue seat!

My morning came to and end about two hours after I had started.  The light was too strong and the clouds were all fading away.  It was time to head home and show Toni what I had found.  I'm still itching to get out to the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Spring to get the fresh greens of the season of rebirth.  Until then, it seems that I have found my little happy place with the dormant surroundings by photographing these rustic scenes.

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