Stanley County Farmscape

The poultry business is huge in North Carolina, its the top agricultural industry in the state.  Chicken houses have long been seen as a sore spot in some communities.  The odor can be quite unbearable.  Newer farms, like the one picture in this post, have more advanced insulation and air handling technology.  This has led to significant improvements in air quality in and around these farms.  I do like chicken, and also found the shapes and textures in this landscape composition quite interesting.

Stanley County Poultry Farm Scene
Stanley County Poultry Farm Scene

Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate your visit.

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Caswell County Matinee II – 2 pics

Caswell County Clouds
Caswell County Clouds

These two images are from the second show featured during the Caswell County Matinee I introduced you to several weeks ago.  The second show was just a dramatic and spectacular as the first!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Farm Sunset on Hwy 150
Farm Sunset on Hwy 150

Click on an image to see a higher resolution version from my portfolio site.  Thanks for stopping by today.

On Wood On Wood – 3 Pics

This post features the juxtaposition of wood in it’s natural state (trees and shrubs), with wood harvested, shaped and re-purposed by mankind.  Like animals, plants evolved over millions of years to become complex organisms.  Long, elaborate flowing wooden structures extend underground to collect water & nutrients, while similar structures spread out to support a vast canopy of energy processing foliage.

Fallen Tree On Shed
Fallen Tree On Shed

Inside the bark and living tissue layers is the dead xylem, plugged with hardened resins & gum, the remnants of previous years growth.  As the plant grows, this “heartwood” has the structural properties required to support the load of a vast network of branches and foliage.  These same proprieties make tree trunks an excellent building material for man-made structures.

Tree and Shed Composition
Tree and Barn Composition

We’ve learned to cut, shape and treat wood to maximize it’s utility, durability and beauty. We also developed and leveraged principles of structural engineering to further extend the usefulness of wood as a building material.

Shed Frame Composition
Shed Frame Composition

Home design magazines beautifully portray grand wooden structures harmoniously integrated into the natural landscape. Alternatively in this post,  I hope to contrast the regenerative natural landscape with the transience of abandoned man-made wooden structures.   Much effort is required to create & maintain a perceived right-brained order in our modern world.  However, the natural world always uses the laws of nature to govern an inevitable outcome.

All images were processed in Lightroom & Photoshop, and finished with a Agfa APX 100 black & white film emulation in Alien Skin’s Exposure 7.  Click on an image to view a higher resolution image from my portfolio site.

2015 Lost and Found V

Here’s one more image to end this series.  I’m sure there are other forgotten images from 2015, and perhaps beyond.  One rainy weekend afternoon, they will be discovered, processed, published and hopefully appreciated.

Wheat Field Composition
Wheat Field Composition

2015 Lost & Found IV

Willard Farm Rear View
Willard Farm Rear View

I’ve been experimenting with techniques to transform color images into a light painterly effect.  The removal of color in a black & white image enables more attention to texture, shapes, patterns and tonality.  Similarly, by removing detailed information from color images, other aspects of the composition are elevated.  In this image, I believe warm color tonality and the soft architectural shapes contribute most to this composition.

My workflow started with standard processing in Lightroom, and then the addition of a few painterly effects from Filter Forge and Alien Skin Snap Art.  Next, these images, along with the original from Lightroom, we all composited in Photoshop.  The final treatment was the application of a vintage Kodachrome film emulation and final color and contrast tweaks.   You can view a higher resolution version from my portfolio site by clicking on the image.

January 16 Update:  A great photographer I follow, Denise Bush, was curious to see before and after of the processing used in this post.

Here is the original image with some initial processing:

Willard Farm Rear View - Initial Processing

The final image with the additional treatments mentioned above:

Willard Farm Rear View

Ferguson Model TO-20 Tractor Detail – 2 images

Ferguson Tractor Side Detail
Ferguson TO-20 Tractor Side Detail

Born in Ireland, Henry Ferguson produced his first tractor model in 1936.  In 1938 he struck a deal with Henry Ford to produce tractors in America.  The TO-20, shown in this post, began production in 1948 and became one of the most popular tractor models for small farms.  After a troubled break away from Ford, he would later sell his company to Massey Harris, which became the modern day Massey-Ferguson company.

click to view a higher resolution image
Ferguson TO-20 Tractor Front Detail

I was really drawn to the detailed textures of the tractor’s rusted old metal and nameplate.  For most warm colored images, I’ll finish my workflow with processing in Alien Skin’s Exposure 7 Kodachrome film emulation.  The result for these images was nice, but I eventually felt they were too saturated.  So, by dialing back the saturation a bit I believe I got a nice compromise of texture and color.  Click on the images to see a higher resolution version from my portfolio site.

Losing Family Farms

Long Abandoned Shed
Long Abandoned Shed

Within the next generation or two, these old farms will be mostly lost.  Not more than two generations ago, there were operational farms everywhere.  Similar to the loss of small main street businesses to mega mass-merchants, family farms have lost ground to agricultural giants.  Over the past few years global food security has risen as an important topic for policy planners.  Current large scale operations are simply not sustainable and like the images in this post, they may someday be subjects of abandonment.  With growing interest in sustainability and locally grown produce, perhaps we’ll see these beautiful structures one day return to the countryside.

White Barn Side with Vines
White Barn Side with Vines

The images in this post were from an abandoned farm in Ruffin, North Carolina, between Reidsville and Yanceyville on Hwy 158 in Caswell County.  This past July, I noticed the farm while my Scout Troop was traveling to Cherokee Scout Camp near Yanceyville.  The following weekend I stopped on the way back from camp to capture these images.  The morning sun was peaking in and out of the clouds, creating ideal lighting conditions for the contrasty white barn and wood shed.  Another interesting characteristic of this barn was the dead vines still clinging to sides, you can see where they had been cut away from the ground.  Vines are the first phase of Mother Nature’s reclamation of man made creations.  Perhaps this was an earlier intervention intended to slow that process.

All the images in this series were processed in Lightroom and Photoshop, and finished with Alien Skin’s Exposure 7 to emulate Agfa black & white film.

Old Wood Shed
Old Wood Shed
Old White Barn Loft
Old White Barn Loft

Cumulus in Colfax

Last weekend the Carolina sky was full of big, thick cumulus clouds. After an errand at the local farmer’s market I headed into the country side just north of Colfax. After driving around for a while, I found this big open field with an old horse shed and large open sky behind ― Shed, Field, Clouds.

Shed, Field, Clouds
Shed, Field, Clouds

The midday sun put much of the barn’s front facade in a deep shadow, which helped create additional contrast with the field of grass and sky. In addition to the beautiful clouds, I like how the light shaded plant in front of the barn is echoed in reverse by the trees on the ridgeline. I used my current Agfa APX 100 goto filter for post processing photos in black & white. The grain structure in this filter gives a subtle, fine grain look and a nice gentle boost in contrast.

Red Wooden Door on a Tin Barn
Red Wooden Door on a Tin Barn

In an earlier trip through Colfax, I drove by a tin covered barn with red painted wooden doors. On several occasions, I’ve thought about returning to take pictures.  Well finally I visited the location and was able to compose a strong graphical composition in black & white with the color left in on the red door.  I used the same Agfa post processing filter on Red Wooden Door on a Tin Barn.

Clicking on an image will take you to a higher resolution version on the image on my portfolio site.

Willard Dairy Farm Part 2

Last Monday, just a few days after my first visit to the the farm, we received a few inches of snow in town.  Tuesday morning I worked from home.  It was overcast, but the forecast called for partly cloudy skies by noon. My plan was to visit the farm again on my way in to work.  The timing was important to get the best possible clouds and overall lighting (considering my time limitations and real job as an IT project manager).

Second Shed Doorway
Second Shed Doorway

I pretty much followed the same path from my earlier visit; but because of the snow, lighting and related time of day, this visit presented a fresh set of photographic opportunities.  Because of the much wider dynamic range, processing this set of images took more time to make judgements about shadows, mid tones and highlights.  I also struggled with cropping decisions on several images.  For example, the Second Shed Doorway image was originally cropped tightly around the door.  I felt it was a powerful image; but also had a hard time cropping out extended wood textures and the vine growing up towards the roof.  All images were processed with Alien Skin’s Expsosure 7 software with a Panatomic-X emulation filter.  On the back-lit image, I backed off the grain density to 70% to keep the grain form getting too clumpy in the darker shadow areas.  I hope you enjoy the images in this post.

Sheds in Snow
Sheds in Snow
Backlit Back of the Farm
Backlit Back of the Farm
Willard Barn Profile with Snow
Willard Barn Profile with Snow
Row of Sheds
Row of Sheds