The Greensboro Dairy Barn

September 4, 2016

Dairy Barn in the Summer
This Trek was a little different from ones that I've done in the past in a couple of respects.  First of all, I was wanting to go out and really try a new workflow with my image processing.  Second of all, I wanted to go and have the goal of getting one good picture instead of trying for volume.  In a lot of respects, I have succeeded with both of these goals with this Trek.  I'm hoping to fine tune what I've learned on this one, and apply it to others, while still tweaking what my intentions are for pictures.

Let's look at the first goal.  After a recent computer crash, I have been getting used to a new version of Photoshop, which is now referred to as simply "CC" for Creative Cloud.  With this program, I am no longer purchasing the software, but subscribing to the service each year.  With the subscription comes quite a few other Adobe Programs, most of which I am not planning on using.  However, it was the first time I have been able to use Lightroom which is a program I have been hearing a lot of great things about over the years.  Since I now had it, I wanted to use it.  This was primarily because it was more dedicated to photography, while Photoshop was getting into much more than just photography, and has become rather complex over the years.

I have been reading about Lightroom, and watching many videos on the subject trying to get my work flow ironed out.  Over the past two or three Treks, I have played around with Lightroom, but ultimately ended up processing in Camera RAW and Photoshop.  This is not to say that I am doing a lot of editing in software, because I still feel strongly about capturing the scene as it is, and not manipulating nature.  What I am doing is starting from a relatively flat RAW file (digital negative) that has very little contrast and saturation in the interest of capturing as much information in the digital file as possible.  From this, I am processing it to bring out that detail and bring the saturation and contrast back into the final image.  There is no slight of hand in what I am doing, and even when I am doing a lot of tweaking of the image, I am still nowhere near the "photo manipulation" end of the spectrum....but I digress.

This Trek marks the first time I have been able to come back, and actually import the RAW files into Lightroom, and start to work on them from that program.  It took a little trial and error in some of the windows, but I actually made a final image that I was happy with on a first try.  I then imported it into Photoshop for just a little bit of polishing because I was used to how that worked with my printer.  I also made a B&W conversion of the above picture that I really liked from this shoot.

Dairy Barn in the Summer in B&W
Of course, the subject here is a barn that I have visited many times in the past.  I have shot it under stormy skies, blue skies, and even in the dead of night under starry skies.  Each time, I have captured a different feeling with the images.  This time, I wanted something a little different.  I have been wanting to get this barn with the white fence of the neighboring yard for some time.  My previous attempts have been rather blah because of my compositions.  Either I have been too far away and the fence was a bigger element than I wanted, or I had come in close, with a wide angle lens which has had the same result.  In my attempts to stay away from a "normal" view, which is what I usually end up with when I shoot with my 24-70mm, I decided to use my 70-200mm for some scaling properties.  With this lens, I would be able to keep the visual scale similar between the barn and the fence, and I had decided that I was only going to include a small portion of the fence to keep the balance in place.

It took a bit of time to set up a good point of view where the fence made sense, and the barn was still dominant.  This was part of my second goal.  I was no longer worried about making as many good pictures as I could.  I wanted to capture just one image that represented what I was thinking at the time.  I think that the images above (still only one image) captures that very well.  The clouds work nicely to keep the sky visually interesting, and the fence works with the barn instead of against it as it has in the past.  The rolling grassy field keeps the foreground interesting and feeds into the fence, helping it to make sense, and not look like an added in element.

As I was trying to perfect the composition, I shot from far away all the way up to a point where my 70mm focal length would not capture the entire barn.  This actually turned into an interesting view where I cropped out the long side of the barn, for a more intimate view.  It is this view that Toni enjoyed the most, and I also like how it presents.

Bricks and Boards
As you can see, the clouds are less of an element in this image because there is so little sky above included in the frame.  I was lucky that there was a cloud formation directly above so that the sky wasn't rendered as a stark blue void.  While I like this composition, I think I am still partial to the openness of the other composition.  Either way, I have finally done a full photo shoot, start to finish with a new workflow in place.  It took a little bit longer, but I can see some promise to using Lightroom, and plan on tweaking this workflow over the coming Treks.

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