Just Down the Road

August 25,2014

I was hoping that this entry would contain some nice scenic landscapes from Rough Ridge along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but things didn't quite work out that way.  I made it to the mountains yesterday and drove around for a few hours but found that the constant rain and low level clouds were making any photography near impossible.  With the hourly forecast not really showing any significant rain at all, I was a bit confused, and had no idea when things would change.  Not wanting to waste the whole day just waiting for the rain to stop, I decided to cut my losses and head home.

As they say, my batteries were all charged, but there had been no need for them.  I was determined to find a need for them at some point on these days off.  As luck would have it, I had to return to the mountains again in order to deliver some framed prints to a client.  The weather was actually pretty good for a trek, but the forecast has not called for these conditions so my equipment was at home.  It was just as well, since I was on a little bit of a time crunch.  Shortly after getting home, the same clouds graced our skies and gave me the idea to try photographing an old house that was nearby.

By nearby, I am talking about a mile away, 1.09 miles to be exact.  This was much too close to worry about driving to, so I made it simple and walked out to the house.  Yeah, I probably looked kind of strange walking through the neighborhood with a large backpack and carrying a tripod, but oh well...its what I was going to do.  It didn't take long at all to get out to the house, and find that the clouds which had been overhead were now gone, save for a handful here and there.

You know, I'm really starting to hate weather changes.  It always seems to work against me these days.

At any rate, I was here, the lighting was good, I was just missing a little visual interest in the sky, and also had some power lines to deal with which ran very close to the overhang over the porch.  I'm never fond of power lines in a photograph, unless they add a geometric quality that helps to lead the eyes into the picture.  In this situation, they didn't really help anything on that end, and were just a visual distraction.  What this meant was I was going to have to get creative with the compositions I chose.

If Walls Could Talk
My first thought was to get in close and shoot a wide angle shot of the house.  This was able to successfully camouflage the power lines in the tree to the left which you can make out if you look closely.  They are there, but do not prove to be distracting at all.  This vantage point allowed me to highlight the chimney and the wall around it which was going to be my focal point for this picture.  The trees in the background followed the visual rules set forth by the shape of the house which was a very nice plus to the composition.  I was hoping for a few clouds in the sea of blue to the top left, but that just never did materialize.  With the polarizer attached to the front of the 24-70mm I was able to deepen the blue in the sky sufficiently enough to set a mood, and to add to the visual pop of the siding.

I tried many other compositions which I liked to varying degrees, but none were quite as good as this original one, and another one that incorporated a large tree to the right of the property.  The tree provided some nice visual balance to the whole image and allowed for a bit more scene coverage.  The house became a little less predominant, and more of a supporting element instead of the full feature.

Summer Home
 Honestly, I'm kind of torn between these two images.  Neither is exactly what I originally had in mind, but They turned out pretty good anyway.  Its the lighting on the scene that is the real story here.  Without the sun hitting the siding at this angle, there is just no visual pop at all.  I've watched the house in different lighting over the years and oddly enough it seems to be most favored by the sun a few hours before sunset.  If I were to have waited for the golden hour, the house would be in the shadows from the landscape to the left.  Any earlier, and there is too much contrast.  Of course, at the beginning of the day, it is severely backlit and lacks any real detail at all.

I still have a picture in my mind that I would like to create with this house.  I don't know if the conditions will ever present themselves to make it happen the way that I am seeing it, but I will continue to try and make it happen from time to time.  The nice thing is this house is very close to me, and I can go out to it just about any time.

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