More From Old Greensboro Road

Old Barn on Old Greensboro Road
Old Barn on Old Greensboro Road

I have a few more images to share from my shoot last month on Old Greensboro Rd.  First is Old Barn on Old Greensboro Rd, the poison ivy growing on this barn is about as menacing as the storm clouds.  A shorter focal length would have helped show how long this old barn is.  A vintage Kodachrome film emulation effect was used to warm up the image with earth tones.  The next image, Old House on Old Greensboro Rd Rearview 2, is a straight on shot (shooting slightly uphill) of the rear of the house shown in the previous Old Greensboro Road post; this time with the same Kodachrome processing.

Old Barn on Old Greensboro Rd Rearview 2
Old Barn on Old Greensboro Rd Rearview 2

Decay on Hwy 421

Color on Decay on Hwy 421
Color on Decay on Hwy 421

Last Tuesday while attending a local exhibition opening reception were several of my pieces were featured, I had a nice conversation with a painter also being exhibited.  While admiring her paintings, I mentioned my interest in experimenting with a mashup of a photograph and art filter processed version of the same image.

Well this weekend, I finally got around to trying out what I had envisioned.   I started rummaging through some photos taken of an old house on Hwy 421 near Sanford, NC in November 2014.   Back then, a few architectural detail shots did end up in my portfolio, but the other images from this shoot were mostly ignored.  They were dark and dingy, and seemed to have little potential.

Decay on Hwy 421
Decay on Hwy 421

After a few of my standard workflow adjustments, this bold, vibrant image appeared.  I was quite excited!  Next, several versions of the image were processed using some of my favorite filter plugins for emulating painterly effects.  I ended up composting the filter effect “painted” image between the original and a black & white versions.  After much experimentation and tweaking, I feel I’ve gotten nice reference for further work.  It seems the overcast, low contrast lighting worked well in this experiment.  Another good lesson was learned; as I continue to gain more experience and knowledge, I’ll likely find other undiscovered gems buried on my hard-drive!

Click on each image to see a higher resolution version on my portfolio site – csyjr.photoshelter.com.  As always, I’m very interested in hearing your feedback and comments.

 

This Ole House – Part 2

Scary House
Scary House

For the past few months I’ve been stalking out an old abandoned brick house on Union Cross Rd in Walburg, NC.  Most of my old house subjects have been wooden structures. The weathered brick and encroaching vines in this home made things visually a bit more interesting.  In my first few visits, I was hoping for more dramatic lighting to capture the east side of the house. Eventually, I captured the Scary House image on a cloudy late afternoon in early March.    After working with this image in Lightroom, I went to Alien Skin’s Exposure 7 to find color film filter to add a touch more drama.  I ended up with the Fuji Pro 160C film emulation filter with a slight bump in exposure to compensate for the crunched contrast effect.  Pretty scary, eh?

Rustic Entrance
Rustic Entrance

Around to the front of the house, at the front door, I found this cool door knob composition — Rustic Entrance.  The brass door knob and metal plate behind it offer an interesting example of contrasting textures and shapes.  Click on the image title or image itself to see a more detailed image from my portfolio site; notice the detail in the door knob and metal plate. The Clarity feature in Lightroom was helpful in optimizing this effect.

The weathered wood and peeling teal paint also add visual interest to the image.  Another encroaching vine appears as another reference to Mother Nature’s claim on this old house.  Here, I used a modern Kodak Kodachrome 25 emulation filter in Exposure 7 to make the textures pop a bit more.

Forgotten WIndow
Forgotten WIndow

Back on the east side of the house, one of the first floor windows was almost completely hidden behind dense shrub overgrowth and a fallen tree limb.  Pushing through the shrubs, I found the composition shown in the Forgotten Window image. Here the broken window glass, electrical wire and wooden board provide visual counterpoint to the strong rectangular shapes and patterns in the front plane of the composition.  Through the window, into the room lies a metal mattress frame and open door on the back wall leads back outside.

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

Discovering Willard Dairy Farm

For months I’ve admired the old Willard Dairy Farm in High Point, NC as I drove past it on the road that bares the same name.  A prominently displayed No Trespassing sign had dashed my hopes of exploring this property with my camera.  That is until a few weeks ago when several Boy Scouts from my Troop and I were picking up trash as part of a service project on Willard Dairy Farm Rd. About an hour later at the other end of the road, we came by a small farm operation.

I asked some young workers loading feed into a truck about who owned the abandoned farm down the road.  The workers directed me to a man in an old pickup; I walked over an introduced myself.  Why it was 87 year old Mr. Willard, his father had purchased the 100+ acre property in 1912 to established a dairy farm.  He informed me his family no longer owned the site of the original farm, but he thought it would be ok for me to take some photos.  So last weekend, I finally drove by and took some pictures just before the late day light began to fade.

Inside Out Photo
Inside Out

The first image, Inside Out, is from inside a small shed next to main barn & silo complex.  The building has been decaying and taken over my vines.  Stepping into the shed side entrance, I noticed missing wood on the sides and roof, which was allowing indirect light from the overcast sky.  The compressed dynamic range allowed me to capture a dramatic image of the overcast sky while preserving some of the shed interior detail.  Of course, the photo needed some processing in Lightroom to hold a suitable amount of shadow detail while at the same time pushing for a little extra contrast.  To finish the image, I used a filter in Exposure 7 to emulate Plux-X black & white film.  It may be trivial, but I think its pretty cool how the vines are reverse silhouetted against the sky versus the darken wood.

Willard Farm Barn Facade
Willard Farm Barn Facade

The next Willard Farm Barn Facade image features the dramatic character of the deteriorating old Willard barn.  On my portfolio site, I talk about “The Beauty of Decay“.  There is an interesting juxtaposition between the rich textures, colors and character of natural decay on the one hand, with the sense of nostalgia for antique artifacts.  At first I was concerned about the flat overcast lighting, but was able to put some depth and shape back in the image during processing.  This time I went back to finishing up with a Panatomic-X filter, this time though with less push processing to maintain contrast while achieving grain structure and other film characteristics.

Please leave a comment with your thoughts, feelings, feedback, advice or whatever else these images may bring to light.

C.S.

Taking Time to See the Beauty of Things

It’s often said, the simple things in life turn out to be the most meaningful.  Perhaps it’s not to much of a stretch to think about the beauty and visual interest to be found in a closeup of an old barn.  Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder; but for me, the rich textures of the weathered barn wood and rusted tin make for a splendid composition.  How often do we miss opportunities to seek-out and appreciate the beauty found all around us?

Barn Wood & Tin Composition-EditEach time I process an image in Lightroom, I’m still amazed how just the right combination of adjustments can “make and average photo good, and good photo great”.   In this Barn Wood & Tin Composition image however, I did end up experimenting for quite a while with the Clarity, Tone Curve (contrast) and Color Luminance adjustments to get just the right tonality character.  Specifically reducing the luminance for red, along with some additional burning resulted in a satisfying texture on the piece of tin at the bottom of the image.  I used my usual Panatomic-X processing filter to get a little extra snap and analog grain in the image.

During the processing of this image in Lightroom, I felt a sense of anticipation & excitement as the final image began to reveal itself.  I was reminded of my years in a real Darkroom and the same feeling of anticipation as the image first reveal its prescribed potential when hanging up the role of film to dry after development.  And, later at the enlarger making decisions about dodging and burning, followed by the emergence of a final image as the photo-paper made its way through the trays of chemicals.  Things change over time, and yet in many ways, they stay the same (pardon the cliché).

Rural Towers

With increased agricultural production in the late 19th to early 20 centuries, the need to store and process local grain production led to the development and implementation of grain silos with internal grain elevators for transporting grain to the top of the structure.  Grain or other organic materials would fall through into the silo on top of existing grain and create layers of compressed material.  The grain silos in this image are typical of silos built in the first half of the 20th century.

Grain Silos at Jordan Farm
Grain Silos at Jordan Farm

In their hay day (pun intended), these huge structures surely towered over the local country side.  Today, they are a rusted old relic hidden behind a row of large cedar trees with a suburban shopping area on the other side.  In Lightroom, I removed all the colors except for orange and a hint of red & magenta. Next the image was processed in Exposure to emulate vintage Kodachrome film.  I really like the warmth from this 1960’s era Kodachrome filter and use it often in my “Beauty of Decay” collection from my portfolio site

The First Post: Jordan Farm

This inaugural post introduces my fine art photography blog. To start things out, I thought my recent visit to Jordan Farms in High Point, NC (my hometown) would be a nice place to begin. Like many vanishing farm homesteads, Jordan Farm represents an opportunity for the photographer to document the agricultural tradition and way of life while presenting to the viewer visually interesting & meaningful imagery.

My first image is a barn facade in the large farm complex.

West Facade Jordan Barn
West Facade of Jordan Barn

I worked with the image in Lightroom to find the right contrast settings to emphasize the white facade while preserving visual interest elsewhere in the composition. As I’ll discuss more in future posts I love to use Alien Skin Exposure software to add some old school warmth to my imagery. I would love to hear your thought and feedback about my work. Also, please visit my portfolio site at csyjr.photoshelter.com.  Hope you enjoy!