|Honeysuckle and Dew|
Wait a minute.........
You have old trucks on your property??????
Uhhhhhhh, can I get a location and permission?
Of course, she was happy to let me know where the trucks were. She said that one was under a tarp deep in the property and the other one was about 75 feet from a utility right of way. I looked at things on Google Maps and figured out that I would have a pretty good chance at photographing the truck that wasn't under cover in the early morning light. As it turned out, the conditions would be decent the very next day.
I was familiar with the area as I used to ride my bike on the road I was heading to several times a month. I couldn't place the exact location I was going to, but knew that I had passed it many times on the bike, and quite a few more times driving (most of which looking for subjects to photograph). I didn't know how far I was going to have to go off of the main road to get to the truck, but I had a good idea where to look, and the morning lighting was nearly perfect! It was going to be a good day!
I got close to the area and as I passed through looking for a place to park my truck I saw the blue Chevy sitting in the tree line, visible from the road! How in the world had I missed this? In fact I was just out here a few days ago looking for barns. There was a nice gravel construction entrance leading right to the truck so parking was not an issue at all. I got out and built up my camera. Since I have become rather fond of the wide angle shots with these old vehicles, I decided to leave my walkaround 24-70mm lens attached and added a polarizer to control any glare on the truck.
When I first started shooting, the light was a little splotchy because of the trees at my back, but it was nice and warm and the truck couldn't have been positioned more perfectly to catch the morning light. I made use of the shadows at first and composed the shot above to give a visual balance between the light grille and the dark trees. These white grills are always difficult to photograph when the sun is shining on them, but with the shadows falling on the grill, it all worked out perfectly.
|Sweating it Out|
|Eclipsed by Progress|
As I was working the photo, I realized what had hit me about this picture and why I was putting so much importance into it. The two things that I don't particularly care for in a picture were representing modern technology, and progress. The truck obviously represented a simpler time in life which was where the juxtaposition comes in. With the lighting, it all came together. Everything new was in full light, and easy to see, while the majority of the truck had fallen into the shadows. The only thing that was left fully visible was the well worn face of this American Icon.
After deciding that the lighting was getting a bit too harsh to work with on the truck I decided to go deeper back into the property to check out the other truck that was supposed to be under a tarp. This was the truck that was going to be restored, and had a deep meaning to the owner. I was quite excited about the possibility of shooting this truck some day and wanted to get a sneak peak. As I walked down the long construction driveway I found the house that was getting built, but couldn't find any more old trucks. Well, its not often that I get free reign to just walk around and explore, so I took advantage of it and kept on going beyond the house. I found, not a truck, but an old silver Ford tractor. It was the right era, and in the right state for me photographically, but the color did nothing at all for me. Just beyond the tractor, I could see some things in the wood line, and based on the shape, one of those items was the missing red truck. It was completely covered so I wasn't able to get that sneak peak I was hoping for which was a little disappointing. However, the sky was looking rather pretty over the trees, and I did have that old tractor sitting there with weeds growing up through the mechanicals. I decided it was worth another look.
|But Not Forgotten|
Nope, that bottle was there to keep the rain out of the exhaust and engine. My first thought was to remove it for the picture (and return it afterwards, of course). I even started to walk that way, but the little voice inside of my head that prompts me to photograph things as I find them without any manipulations started to scream at me. I was torn because this was not trash that I could remove guilt free, this was actually a part of the scene as dictated by the owner of the tractor. It also showed in intention to fire this old tractor up again someday...maybe soon. All of a sudden, the scene made sense to me, and this became a very important piece. The weeds and rust told one story, but that simple plastic bottle told another one entirely. The tractor was neglected, and left out in the elements, but it wasn't entirely forgotten either. That bottle was the hinge pin of the story behind this picture that led me to the emotion it evoked. The bottle was important, and it was going to stay right where it was!
Ironically, the harsh light also provided a bit of visual tension to the image that added some much needed drama to a color that had very little punch. It was still a grab shot, but when I saw it on the monitor when I got home, my pulse quickened, and I found myself getting very excited over what I was seeing. To me, this was a very powerful image, and after all the ink was applied to the proof paper, this turned out to be my favorite from the day! And it wasn't even the reason I drove out here today.
When I was finished with the tractor, I figured that it was time to call it a day. I walked back out to my truck and started to put my camera up. I made one last look at the Chevy before I pulled the camera off of the tripod though. What I saw was, even though the sun was well up in the sky now, the Chevy was very well lit and the quality of the light appeared to just as good as it was earlier. Having had some difficulty getting a close in wide angle shot due to my own shadow in the frame, I thought I might have better luck now that the sun was higher, so I went back and gave it another try.
|Just Off the Beaten Path|
All in all, I shot 60 frames in about an hour and a half worth of work. After culling them down, I was surprised to have a total of eight images that I think were significant from the morning, and stood on their own. Of course, I am still just tickled about finding that old tractor, and that I had the foresight to try and shoot it when my first response was lackluster at best. Even a trained photographic eye can miss things at first sight. fortunately, my mind was thinking beyond what my eyes were seeing with several of these shots.
Now, how in the world have I missed this location for so long??? I really want to know!