A Ford and a Flag

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Rural America
Sometimes being at work pays off.  I was driving around doing some patrol when I found myself on a road that used to be in my zone.  Something was different though.  I passed by a barn that I had thought about photographing before years and years ago, but never really liked how it looked.  This time there was an addition that I had not seen before.  I was pretty sure that there was a Ford pickup parked in front of the barn, and I'm pretty sure that there was an American Flag on the front of the barn.  I had to turn around to be sure.

Yep, I had seen what I thought I was seeing.  The truck wasn't exactly what I would want to photograph since it was actually in pretty good condition.  The barn wasn't exactly what I wanted to photograph since it seemed a little plain.  However, both of them together, tied in with the flag made for a scene that just screamed Americana.  I drove down the side road to see what was around, and to see if I could figure out where the owner might live.  I couldn't really make out the indication of ownership, but happened to see a man coming from the mailbox near the main road.

I drove up to him and introduced myself.  I explained that I was trying to find the owner of the barn and truck to ask if I could photograph it at some point.  As it turned out, he was the owner and gladly gave me permission to photograph it.  Since I was at work, I told him I would be back at a later time to give it a try.  I was thinking the following weekend, but as luck would have it, I had a community function on Thursday that was going to cause me to work late.

Patriotic Shine
There were supposed to be clouds developing during the mid morning that were going to provide the light that I was most wanting to work with.  However, as the morning progressed, the clouds never really showed.  Before the warm light of early morning went away, I made my way out to Greensboro and got set up at the barn.  The sun was already pretty bright, but it had cleared the trees to the East allowing the truck to get full light and not just patchy highlights.  There was still a little bit of color in the tree above the truck which I thought was important for many of the compositions.  This was why I didn't wait for a better weather day honestly.  I would have all winter to shoot the truck under different skies, but the tree would be rid of all of the leaves by the end of the week.

Looking at the scene, I was able to shoot from anywhere, but since the sky wasn't all that great, I didn't care to go overly wide in focal length.  Instead, I opted to keep my 70-200mm lens on the camera and added a color combo polarizer to bump up the colors and contrast.  I started to frame up different compositions with that combination and found that to be the idea setup for the conditions I was shooting in.  I tried lots of different combinations with the primary elements of the truck, flag, and barn.  The idea was to have them all work in unison.

Colfax Moonshine
One of the compositions that I did worked out the issue of the rather bland sky by omitting it completely.  The barn became a backdrop to the truck, and the flag took care of the negative space.  In that particular composition, I was at the perfect angle for the sun to be reflecting heavily off of the gas cap.  I tried to avoid the reflection, but in the end decided to embrace it.  I dialed in a narrow aperture to get some nicely defined light bursts from the cap.  I figured that would help draw the attention to the door art which somehow really fit this scene.  

I then moved in to look for emblems to photograph.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to come up with many compositions that I really liked.  In fact, I found no emblem pictures with this truck.  The patina wasn't quite aged enough to really make the emblems stick out.  I tried some other isolations with similar results.  It would seem that with the current conditions, I was pretty much left with overall compositions with the three main elements.  Just to round things out, I swapped over to my 24-70mm lens to get a little different perspective on the truck as well.

Considering I had only about an hour and quarter to work the scene, I somehow managed to get 27 images.  Of these, I found these three that I thought had merit to stand on their own.  They are fundamentally different compositions, and I like each of them.  The red, white, and blue theme carries through from the flag to the truck, and then to the sky with the leaves.  Artistically, there is a pretty good balance here with the colors.

Edit 12-02-2017

After having a day to sit on these pictures, I decided to give them a shot as black and white to see how they would turn out.  With the truck being a very dark shade, I didn't hold out much hope, but in the end, I was actually pretty happy with the conversions.

Rural America in B&W
Colfax Moonshine in B&W
Patriotic Shine in B&W

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