An Early Morning in Yadkin County

February 1, 2016
Yadkin Valley Mill in B&W
I had been watching the weather for several days before this morning hit.  There were going to be clouds over Yadkinville, and they were going to be low clouds.  That normally means lots of texture in the sky.  It also happened that I was going into work late, so I had time to drive out there to give the old feed mill another try.  I keep seeing it from the highway every time I drive down US 421, and it has always captured my attention.  With the large booms, the composition kind of makes itself, but it leaves a lot of open area that can only be filled with the sky.  This means that the sky I choose to photograph under is the most important part of this particular image.  I have tried a lot of different skies, but I haven't quite found the one that I like the best.  This morning was promising to be pretty good!

I woke up early and headed out to the mill in time to photograph the blue hour just in case the clouds would cooperate with me prior to sunrise.  I wasn't sure exactly what would unfold before me, but I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything since I would be working on a rather tight schedule in order to make it to work on time.  I got there about an hour before sunrise, and got my camera built.  I found my first spot to shoot from and fired off a test exposure at 30 seconds.  It wasn't quite there, so I went ahead and switched to Bulb mode, and tried a few exposures in the 90 and 120 second range.  These were working pretty well, but the clouds were much thicker than I had anticipated.

Yadkin Valley Mill
While I was getting some definition in the clouds, the long shutter speed blurred most of it.  This one exposure actually showed some promise with the swash of light blue against the deeper blue.  The faint reflection of the sun reflecting off of the clouds to the left added just the right amount of complementary color to the sky.  Even the textures were working out pretty well.  It wasn't until I got home and did a monochrome conversion that I found the real personality of this image.  It almost became sinister in appearance, and I liked it!

As the sun came up, I realized that I was going to be hard pressed to get the shot that I was after.  Instead of giving up, I decided to pick out intimate details on the old mill and photograph them instead.  I started along the front of the building where all of the windows were.  It took a little work, but I finally came upon a composition that I liked, so I got it framed up and shot the picture.

Looking Within
This had a lot of things working for it.  First of all, there was the snow at teh base of the window.  This matched nicely with the white in the window frame.  The tin siding is not normally my favorite thing to photograph, so I was very fortunate to have a tree right next to the window, and some errant branches moving into the frame.  This gave me the texture of wood that I love so much in these images.  The color of the trees also helped to balance out the siding and overall neutral tones.

I continued around the building looking for some other subjects to photograph.  I came upon the loading area and found a lot of little odds and ends to play with.  There was a lot going on in here, so I decided to look at things as a graphical design more than anything else.  That was when I started to be able to frame up some different compositions that otherwise would have made no sense.

Of these, this one was my favorite.  The colors work very well together, and I liked the fact that the wooden planks work nicely as leading lines into the image.  The rust gives a wonderful texture that compliments the textures of the wood and tin.  The vines encroaching all over give a sense of time passing and lack of use.  This image really does exemplify the "Rustic" theme for me.

While working on these little details, I happened to see that the clouds were starting to break up a little bit.  There was a tree at the corner of the lot that I had been working on with little success that I thought would benefit from the current lighting.  I grabbed my gear and went out to the tree and started to set up some of the compositions I had worked out previously.

The Story
The branches of the tree were so haphazard that I couldn't help but be drawn into it.  The band of blue sky in the background helped to break up the expanse of white in the clouds.  The morning light was still very warm and diffused.  The exposure was simple, it was the composition that was difficult.  I had to avoid a power pole, minimize a shelter, and time the shot so as not to include traffic on the highway to the rear.  That was a lot to consider, but the picture came out as I had visualized despite all of the potential pitfalls.

When I was going through the pictures, Toni saw the tree and told me that I had to name it "Story".  I'm not sure why she came up with that, but since I did shoot the tree primarily because of her little voice in my head, I decided to honor her wish.  This picture is all her!

The morning came to a close much sooner than I had wanted, but it was time to head to work.  I was happy that I had the chance to get out and do a little shooting this morning, and look forward to other chances like this on days I go in late.

1 comment:

  1. Your photography never ceases to amaze me! You have not lost your fact, you just keep getting better! I wish I had more room on my walls to display your art!!