This farm is located on Shottower Rd, which leads to the Shot Tower State Park, just off I-77 near Austinville and Ft. Chiswell, Viriginia. A local farmer told me this abandoned farm once belonged to a relative of the famous Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. It was foreclosed on and now stands mostly abandoned. The property is currently used to store rolls of hay, as seen in the previous post in this series.
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Winter 2018’s last stand has finally come and gone. The same could be said for this old southern barn and surrounding fields, currently being cleared for residential housing.
Most of the exterior wood of this old barn has already been removed and “upcycled” for use in rustic home furnishings and decor. I blogged about this last July in my Vanishing American Barns post, and featured this barn in a composition.
By keeping my POV out of the direct wind, my lens shade was able to keep the snow off my front lens element. Shooting at 1/320th just about froze the jumbo snowflakes greater than 10 feet (3 meters) out. As snowflakes got closer to the lens, more and more of a slight motion blur was introduced.
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My typical route to work takes me by a large weathered barn, relatively close to the road. Early this week, as I approached the barn in my car, I noticed a large group of Turkey Vultures on top of the barn. I pulled off, turned around and came back to hopefully get some shots without scaring them off. I moved slowly, while keeping an eye out for traffic on the busy road.
During my processing workflow, I noticed some birds had red heads and others were black. At first I thought this was a gender distinction; while researching the Turkey Vulture, I learned the black head vultures are actually the Black Vulture. The Turkey Vulture has a strong sense of smell, which helps them locate decaying animal flesh – carrion. The Black Vulture has no sense of smell and therefore usually hangs close to the Turkey Vulture.
In these photos you can see several birds with spread-wing postures. This serves to dry wings and for thermoregulation. At night these birds maintain a lower body temperature – morning wing spreading helps raise their body temperature by absorbing solar energy. As in this case, they typically face the back of their wings to the rising sun.
With a maximum wingspan of up to 6 ft (183 cm), vultures are quite beautiful in flight. But, not so much up-close, on the ground. The vulture serves a vital environmental role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. They not only eat and clear decaying animal matter, but they’re digestive systems also kill harmful bacteria associated with carrion.
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Reclaimed barn wood is quite popular these days. It’s used in custom furniture, wall coverings, framing and general décor. It is valued for its rough-hewn texture and antique character. One could say it’s better to reclaim used wood than cutting down a living tree. Generally I agree. However, the higher demand for antique barn wood has accelerated the decline of rustic American barns from the countryside. I’m somewhat conflicted on the matter.
This post features a composition study of an old barn and corn crib on display at the New River Trail State Park, Foster Fall section. My Boy Scout Troop camped, canoed and biked here this past weekend. Such a beautiful destination!
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Three more compositions from my visit to the Hezekiah Alexander Homestead in Charlotte, North Carolina. I hope you enjoy.
The Hezekiah Alexander House built in 1774 is the oldest surviving homestead in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The property is part of the Charlotte Museum of History and sits adjacent to Altersgate, a retirement community where my parents lived for about a year. I found the old barns much more interesting than the house. After returning from my shoot, I showed my in camera pictures to my parents. They ask me why I didn’t get any overall shots of the house and barns. I replied, “that was not what as I was after”.
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