A Seasonal Barn

April 28, 2014

Aging Gracefully
The last two days that I have had off were full of sunshine which makes for a great day for most people, but not so much for a photographer.  Today was different though.  There were storms scheduled to move through the area most of the day, but that meant that there would be clouds in the sky.  As luck would have it though, I had an eye appointment first thing in the morning, followed by another appointment later in day.  That meant that I would have very little time to go out and take full advantage of the clouds.  Since I was going out though, I decided to take my camera...just in case.

At the end of my first appointment, I found out that my second appointment had been rescheduled for later in the day and that meant that I had a little bit of time to play around.  A few weeks ago, I had spotted an old tow truck in a shed that I wanted to photograph and the lighting was perfect for it today.  It was also close by.  I set out to see what I could do with it on short notice.  When I arrived, I surveyed the scene and found that it was just as good as I had imagined.  The only problem was I was going to have to enter the property to shoot it properly.  There was a house just to the side and I figured they owned the old tow truck.

I knocked and rang the bell, but nobody came to the door.  After waiting for a couple of minutes, I decided to abandon that subject for the day and told myself that I would try again another day.  I got back in my truck and started down the road to find something else I could photograph.  There were a lot of old barns out in this section of Walkertown, but none of them really spoke to me.  The cloudy sky was preventing many compositions from working because these were not the good clouds, just a featureless whitewash across the sky.

I happened by an old abandoned house with a few old structures to the rear and one of them caught my eye.  There was a small barn sitting just in the tree line that had a wonderful reddish tone to the wood paneling and was set in a patch of trees that were in full spring color.  This was going to be my subject for the day.  It took me just a moment to get the camera set up with the 24-70mm lens using an intensifying polarizer to bring out the tones in the wood.

I tried many different compositions from all sides which was made possible by the cloud cover.  There was no directional light here, just a wonderfully diffused glow all around the barn.  I shot close in, and far out, from the left and from the right.  When I was all finished, I had a total of 14 frames.  I was excited to get home and see what I had.  While editing the pictures, I found it difficult to cull the images below about 8.  At that point I had to get very cut throat about it, and make the very hard choices about what stayed and what went.  When it was all said and done, I found that the image taken from the left turned out better because there was not the distraction of a whitewall tire on the old wagon under the awning.  This composition just flowed better, but I hated that I was missing out on a freshly greened tree to the left.  Sure, I got a little bit of it, but not as much as I could get from the other side.

Whitewall Wagon
After processing the favorite image, I came back to my second favorite and gave it another critical look.  That tire was still a sticking point for me in full color, but I figured that I would give it a quick review as a monochrome conversion.  It started out a little bit blah and evenly toned.  However, I could see some potential in it because of the different color tones present.  I started to play with the tonal relationships using colored filters and started to see something very interesting happening.  First of all, the whitewall tire on the wagon started to share a tonal quality with the wooden bed and therefore really made the wagon stick out as a unit, and not just a tire.  The tree to the left that had the very light green color to it, literally erupted from image!!  In doing so, the larger tree trunks to the rear became very visible and added a sense of depth that this "postcard" shot really needed.  The final vote on it was when I showed both pictures to Toni and she liked the mono shot the best.  it was a keeper.

So, with both a color and black and white image from today's quick trek, I have ended up with about a 15% hit rate which is still very good considering I was shooting only one subject.  Not bad for about 30 minutes of work behind the camera.

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