Friday, September 13, 2019
This was kind of a last minute trek when I really hadn’t thought much about going anywhere for pictures today. This was the day that I had my going away party at work which Toni had put together and done a great job at orchestrating a pretty big shindig at McAlister’s Deli in Greensboro. She managed to keep it kind of a secret from me as well, which was another pretty big accomplishment. Anyway, that was what I was spending most of the morning on, and then I followed that up with a side trip to After 5 Framing in Greensboro where I do my framing work. I was picking up two images that I will be entering into the photo competition at the Dixie Classic Fair later this month. I must say, they turned out really nice and I am excited to see how they do in in the judging. I will show what images I have picked out a little later on so as not to tip my hand too early this year. Seeing the two images printed, matted, and framed really got my creative juices flowing. I had been talking photography some at the lunch before which had put several things in my mind. By the time I got home, I was in the mood to create something.
The weather had been forecasted to be clear for most of the day, so I was really surprised to see it raining when I woke up. The clouds lingered through the day, and were still looking really good by the afternoon. Since Toni was taking Sierra back into Greensboro to have her hair done, I had a little time to play with and I started to think about places that I could go for a few quick pictures. Two location came to mind that were reasonably close. The first was a Plymouth in a barn out in Walkertown that I had attempted to contact the owner of a week or so ago. There had been no contact so I didn’t get the shot that day. The clouds were looking promising for that car now, but the sun was going to be on the wrong side of the sky if the clouds were to break. My other option was an historic home that I had been contacted about recently through Facebook. I had never seen it, but had tried to look at Google Street View to get an idea of what I was being invited to shoot.
I figured that if one didn’t work, the other one surely would work out, so when Toni and Sierra left, I loaded up the truck and set out down the road. My first stop was going to be the Plymouth because I knew what I was going to be getting into with that location. I also knew I was going to have to chance getting to talk with the owner in order to get access. If that didn’t work out, the home site wasn’t too far away and I could make it out there knowing that I had contact information for the owners.
The clouds were wonderful as I was driving out of the neighborhood, but the minute I got out to the main road, they were already starting to break up. That was not cool, and I hate when the clouds play with me like that. I did continue onto my destination because I could evaluate the condition and determine if it was promising enough to try and get permission once again. When I got there, I saw a couple of trucks in the driveway with several guys around them. I drove by and looked at the barn. The lighting seemed decent, but I just wasn’t sure with the sun behind the barn. I got turned around and made another pass. I thought it was doable, so I pulled into the driveway and got out to see if they had connection to the property.
As luck would have it, the owner was sitting in one of the trucks and I started talking with him. I introduced myself and let him know what I was wanting to do and why. It wasn’t going all that well at first, but I wasn’t getting a “no” which was better than I get sometimes. We continued to chat a bit, and he started asking me questions which I started to recognize as a test of sorts to see what my real intentions were. I’m used to this and actually enjoy the conversation end of things. I actually learned a bit about the ’65 Plymouth in the barn, and I let him know about my landscape photography as well as the decay work. I let him know that technically I was a police officer until Monday when I signed my exit paperwork. It was a lengthy interview, but one that I totally understood. At the end of our chat, he did give me permission to photograph the car which was excellent.
I grabbed my gear out of the truck and got my Manfrotto Tripod set up just at the entrance to the barn. I had been previsualizing this shot for a while so I already knew how I was going to shoot the image. I pulled out my camera and loaded a 24-70mm lens on it along with a Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer mounted to the Lee Foundation Kit with the 105mm adaptor ring. This is my normal setup for doing automotive photography for the most part. I knew I wanted to get the prominent front of the car as well as the interior of the barn showing some of the framing for added texture and interest. I started out low and started to compose the image that I was wanting. As I had been concerned about, the exposure latitude was a bit steep, so I opted to shoot HDR bracketing exposures to make sure that I was going to be able to get the detail that I was after in the barn and on the white car. It wasn’t easy, but after teaching some exposure tricks at my recent workshop, I was very fresh on my options.
What I ended up doing was a combination of all of the tricks that I knew with doing high contrast images. First I made sure that I had all the detail in the white, and then went full stops brighter until I had detail in the shadows which turned into four separate images. I then took that HDR image and converted it into black and white. This was in the back of my head, but to start with I wasn’t planning on it being a monochrome image. When I started to evaluate it in Lightroom, I realized that there was just not much color in the image and it was actually going to have more punch as a monochrome shot. It was actually turning into a very similar image to one that I shot in the spring with a car in a barn which I really liked. There was just enough detail in the barn interior to keep it interesting and avoid a lot of negative space.
I had done several different compositions of the car from the front down low which I was liking, but I wanted to try something a little different as well. The clouds were looking nice, and I wanted to get a sense of place for the entire scene, not just the car. I swapped out lenses for my 16-35mm lens for a bit more stretch of the scene. I transferred my Lee Holder with the Polarizer which was very easy since all of my lenses have adapter rings already installed on them. I started to work a composition out and found that I liked it from the passenger side the best. I could use the front of the car poking out of the barn as the main subject and have the clouds in the background with the road and trees completing the scene in the midground.
I found the composition that I liked and really saw that there was going to be an issue with exposure between the bright sky and the shadows in the barn. I could have done an HDR blending, but with the clouds moving and the trees blowing, that was not going to be all that simple to do. I opted to go old school and use an ND Grad filter darkening the right third of the frame as opposed to the normal top portion. I found that by using a 2-stop filter I could keep the sky in check and bump up the exposure in the barn itself. I knew I could come in through post processing and blend the division line from the filter well enough. It actually came in at a natural place where the grass was a bit darker anyway.
This image actually turned out pretty nice as a color image with the blue sky and the green grass providing the color in the scene. The white Plymouth and the dark barn toned down the blue and green and gave a nice balance to the scene I thought. I really liked that I had the idea to frame this image up like this as it really did help to tell the story of the Fury in the barn. This is why I love finding cars in locations like this. The surrounding bits really help to support the main element in the frame.
When I was finally finished with all of the compositions that I wanted to shoot, I packed everything up and went over to tell the owner thank you and good bye. As we were wrapping things up, he realized that my version of “taking a picture” might actually take a little bit of time. I had shot a total of 35 frames from his car and felt fairly decent that I was going to have at least one that I liked from the batch. Before I could offer him a print if I kept any, he asked me to bring him one. I happily agreed, and doing that has always been one of those things that I like doing for the property owners when they let me do my thing on their property.
It was a pretty quick afternoon, but it was nice to get out and play with the camera for a bit. I still had a little bit of daylight left so I decided to go by the other location and scope that out. I was really impressed with the old home and saw great potential in it, but it was going to have to be shot in the morning with the sun lighting up the front of it. I wasn’t sure how the clouds were going to need to look, but I at least knew what time of day would work best. That was a large part of the battle in getting an image created. I might actually go out there in the morning depending on the weather since it is supposed to be kind of dreary and I could see that working as well. I guess it will all just depend on what I feel like in the morning.
Thanks for joining me on this little mini-trek. Remember, my images are for sale, so if you have a particular connection to any of the images that appear here in the blog or the gallery, you can always have your own print of the image. There is nothing I like better than matching up a print with somebody so that they can brighten their space a little bit with my art. Also, be sure to check out the retailers below for everything from camera to computer related materials, and everything else under the sun.