Retracing Steps From Tennessee

· Reading Time: 33 minutes

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020

When we last left our roaming photographer, he had just come back from an anniversary trip to the mountains.  You might remember that late in the day on Friday there were a lot of potential subjects that were spotted without having the time to photograph them.  The plan had been to return the next day, or possibly the next to get some photographs made when there was more time.  Well, the weather didn’t quite cooperate and that return trip was never made.  Fast forward to a few more days later after the trip was over and the weather was starting to look favorable once again.  With Tuesday pretty much a washout with rain through the day, Wednesday was looking much better with just some scattered storms through the day and good clouds for most of it as well.  Thursday was supposed to be clear and windy with Friday bringing in some potential for winter weather.  It was looking like Wednesday was the best opportunity for a return trip.

My destination for the day was set to be just inside of Tennessee in the town of Trade which was where Toni and I had ended up in our explorations a few days before.  It was about two hours from home, which was a good bit further away than we had been at the cabin.  Such is the life of the photographer.  The weather rarely makes it convenient for us and the theme has always been to react to what is happening in the sky which was what I was doing.  I headed out before sunrise in order to maximize my time in the mountains as I knew there were about 30 miles that I had scoped out with a lot of potential.  Much to my dismay, it was raining pretty heavy as I was leaving the house which was not in the forecast.  That put the rest of the forecast in question for me.  Oddly enough though, just a few miles down the road the rain stopped.  That was more like it, but I kept telling myself that the weather I was in right now had nothing to do with the weather that I was going to have to work in later in the morning.

The trip West was full of brief sprinkles followed by totally clear skies to the South.  There were really good clouds to the North and looked like to the West.  I was really throwing the dice on this trip though as the weather could go just about any way at any time.  As I got into Boone, the weather was looking pretty decent with the exception of a light mist in the air.  I was on the hunt now and looking for the stars to align just right so that I had no precipitation at the time that I found a subject to shoot.  My fingers were crossed!

Farmer’s Tan“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Galen Rowell 3-stop soft ND Grad

As luck would have it I found my first opportunity along US421 a few miles before crossing the state line.  I remembered seeing this great old farm truck out in a field but hadn’t really been able to figure out how to shoot it as I was driving by.  Now that I had some time to really examine it, I pulled off the road across the street to see what I might be able to do with it.  It was a good ways off of the road, but I would be able to shoot it with a long lens if needed.  However, as I examined the scene I saw that the house that was associated with the field was for sale and looked to be unoccupied.  The field was opened up so I would be able to get in a bit closer to the truck if I wanted to.  Looking around, I saw no signs that prevented me from accessing the property, so I decided it was worth the risk.  So that it didn’t look like I was being sneaky, I parked right in the driveway for the world to see.  I grabbed my gear and started off to the truck.

The closer I got the better the compositions were looking.  I had a white barn on the other side of the truck that I really didn’t want in the picture and there was another house to the right of the truck as well as a power pole.  That pole also had a series of lines that ran across the top of the truck that I had seen from the road, but hadn’t really considered just how close they were.  In order to avoid the lines, I was needing to get in very close, and I was going to need to shoot wide to get up under the lines.  Since the sky was looking good, I wanted to make sure I included some of the sky to give the image scale and depth.  I wasn’t going to be able to go too wide though because of the house to the right, and there was another barn to the left that I didn’t want in the frame.  By getting in close, I was able to mask the white barn in the distance with the cab of the truck.  I found a nice happy focal range of 30mm for this shot and I used my standard lens to get that angle of view.  I had fitted the polarizer because I was wanting to control the glare on the metal, but found that the sky was just too bright for the exposure.  I didn’t want to mess with multiple exposures that I would have to blend later, so I slid in a Galen Rowell 3-stop soft edge ND Grad to take the bite out of the sky.  That made the histogram look perfect and I had the exposure I wanted.

I shot several different variations on the composition, but in the end, one of the first shots that I made here turned into my favorite.  That usually doesn’t happen because after that first composition I always work to make improvements.  It just so happened that my first concept for the picture was the best one with the best balance throughout.  When I was done with the series of compositions on the truck, I started to turn my attention to the barns in the area.  They really didn’t do much for me so I didn’t even make a single exposure on them.  Not wanting to press my luck being on the property, I decided to pack it in and head on to the next spot.  I broke the camera down and as I was putting it in the truck, the rain started up.  It was slow at first and then it came down really fast as I was pulling out of the driveway.  I guess the stars aligned just right when I needed them too.

Hardly in a Rush“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

As I was driving down the road I was starting to think that this was going to be a one location day as the rain wasn’t letting up.  It was still early, so my thought was to continue until I found something that I really wanted to shoot and then wait for the weather to change for the better.  It was a plan that had worked before when I was out on a very rainy day in Banner Elk.  I wasn’t really seeing anything that I liked with the lighting though.  As I came closer to my turn in Trade, TN, I decided to continue into the state for a little bit before changing my course back towards West Jefferson to retrace my earlier steps.  The landscape didn’t really change much as I crossed into Tennessee, but the weather was getting better.  The rain had stopped and the clouds were still looking really nice.  I started to see some of the clues that I use to find my rural subjects and began to turn on some side streets.  One of them started out with a lot of promise, but I quickly found that the barns were not in a good place for any photographs.  I didn’t turn around though as I could see that the road continued on for a while.  It was a narrow country road with very few houses on it and that usually will yield some great subjects for me.

It wasn’t long before I came upon an old house with a barn on the other side of the driveway.  Neither were all that spectacular, but as I was looking, I spotted what looked to me to be a early ’50’s Chevrolet truck down in the brush next to a stream.  I got the truck pulled over on the side of the road and got out to look.  It was a decent setting, but not spectacular.  The truck was obscured by weeds and brush, but visible enough in the soft light.  What I was more interested in was the stream that it was parked next to.  There were some cascades flowing over rocks that I thought would make an excellent foreground interest for the composition.  It was worth giving it a try, so I turned the truck off and grabbed my gear.  I knew I was going to be hiking down the embankment to get into position to photograph the truck which would get me reasonably close to it.  I figured that my standard lens would work just fine and I added my polarizer to it.  This was a very important filter for me since I was going to be photographing moving water which almost requires the filter.  It would provide enough light loss to keep the shutter speed around a second which was what I wanted.  I had my Mor Slo ND filter just in case I needed it though.

I got into position near the stream and started to work on a composition.  It was not the easiest thing to do trying to balance the rapids and the truck.  Since the truck was a flatbed, that threw off the visual weight that I really needed with the truck.  I was also having to shoot around support lines for a power pole that dictated a small area that I could shoot from without including them in the frame.  This was going to be all about compromises I was afraid, but I was up to the challenge.  My first thought was to shoot this vertical with an emphasis on the rapids as a foreground and keeping the truck in the upper third.  My second thought was to reposition ever so slightly and shoot it as a horizontal composition.  I actually liked that better in the camera and spent more time with that idea.  It wasn’t until I got the images home that I realized that the overgrown truck didn’t carry enough visual presence to be supported in a horizontal composition.  It got lost in the upper part of the frame with a lot of empty area that didn’t really tell the story.  It was the vertical composition that gave the truck the needed presence that it needed in the frame.  It allowed for that balance that I was after.  Once again, it was my initial composition that made the cut.

Structure“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

I spent a few minutes looking at compositions from the back of the truck that included the barn.  I found a few that looked good in the camera but ultimately failed when I looked at them on the computer monitor.  I considered crossing the stream to get in closer, but I was really thinking that would press my luck being on the property.  I also didn’t think that getting in closer would help any.  I would actually lose the stream that I really liked in the composition and the brush on the truck was still going to be a distraction, even up close.  I was thinking that I was done with the scene, but as I was walking back to the truck, I saw a grove of bare trees on the other side of the road that were lit by the sun.  They had a very pleasing repeating pattern to them, and just enough asymmetry to the scene to add that needed visual tension for a composition.

I left the camera built as it was and set the tripod up in the middle of the road for the best angle on the trees.  They were slightly elevated on the ridge, but that didn’t give me any problems.  I found a good composition with balance and a story and dialed in the exposure.  I really liked the fact that the trees were going to be nearly white against a darker, shaded background.  There really wasn’t much to the setup of this image and I was able to make two different exposures rather quickly to try and catch the trees all still with the slight breeze that was coming through.  The entire process took about three minutes I think, but the resulting image turned out quite nice and is unlike anything that I have captured yet in the woodland.

With that shot in the bag, I looked around one last time and found nothing new to photograph.  I broke the camera down and loaded everything back in the truck.  It was time to do some more exploring.  Since the weather was still looking good, I spent a little bit of time in Tennessee poking around for my decay subjects.  Surprisingly, I didn’t find anything that I was wanting to photograph.  reluctantly, I made the decision to head back to my turn in the town of Trade and start towards West Jefferson.  there was a barn off of Hwy 88 that I knew I wanted to photograph.  I would rather be sure that I got that rather than lose all my time hunting for an unknown.

Prepared For the Winter“, Canon 5D Mk3, 16-35mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

As I found myself back on track to follow my steps that I had done with Toni a few days earlier I remembered seeing all sorts of potential when I knew I had no time to photograph anything.  Now that I had time, I was finding all kinds of reasons why the compositions wouldn’t work.  It is always easy to find subjects and if you know there is a reason why you can’t photograph them, you will always regret not getting the picture.  However, when you have the time, you become a little more discerning as to what would make a good picture.  I was really running into that problem at this point and was starting to question my judgement for coming down this road.  Everything that I had seen before wasn’t really looking good to me now.  I was getting close to my next turn which was where I remembered the barn to be on the side of the road.

As I got to the turn, I saw the barn off to the left and it looked like I remembered, but now looking critically at it, there was not much there to tell the story.  It was going to be a picture of a barn in a field.  I decided to continue straight instead of turning to see what was just beyond the barn.  Within 500 feet or so, I had my answer.  There was another barn down an embankment and an old farmhouse on the other side of the street.  The compositions on both were going to be difficult to say the least, but I was seeing some potential there.  I decided ton continue down the road for a bit and consider my options before turning around and committing to the pictures.  It didn’t take me but a few minutes to decide that I was going to give this location a shot.  There was just too much potential here to pass by.

I got turned around and parked in the driveway of the farmhouse which was obviously deserted.  Again, I wanted to be very transparent in my actions in case there was a property owner nearby.  I got out of the truck and walked across the street to the barn to see how I might be able to shoot it.  It was down a moderate sized embankment  which put my position a little too elevated for a good picture.  I could see a path to get down to the base though which I thought would be the way to do this one.  With getting in close, I was going to want to shoot wide to really get a dramatic perspective and to include the sky.  I grabbed my 16-35mm lens and fitted the polarizer to it before going down the embankment.  I had my camera bag on my back just in case I needed to change anything up.

Sloping Roof“, Canon 5D Mk3, 16-35mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

I started to frame up compositions when I got down to the base of the hill and they were not quite what I had in mind.  The closer I got though, the better I liked the way the image was flowing.  I had started out making sure that the roof of the barn stayed below the horizon so as not to break that line, but that was a boring composition.  I needed that roof to break into the sky, and for that to happen I was going to have to get in really close.  I found the position that I wanted, and I dropped the tripod down low to the ground to really emphasize the size of the barn.  There wasn’t anything that I wanted to put in the frame with the barn to help tell the story, but that was fine with this one.  There were plenty of hay bales inside that I thought told the story of this barn quite well on their own.  I framed the composition in a way that showcased the hay and the addition to the barn.  The textures of the grass gave it an anchor, and the clouds above gave it drama.  With the warm tones of the barn and setting against the cool clouds above I knew that this one was going to be a color image, and I was already thinking about one of my favorite barn photographs that I have ever done.  There were a lot of parallels with this scene and I was excited to have a complimenting image for Patched Together which was shot in the Fall.  I shot several variations on the composition until I was pretty sure that I had what I wanted.

While I was shooting this barn, I was looking over to my left where there was another barn which hadn’t been as visible from the road.  I was seeing a composition developing here as well.  Ironically, the composition that I had in mind included the original barn that I had seen days before.  While that barn didn’t really tell the story that I was wanting to capture, it did provide a complimenting element for the barn that I was now looking at.  I was able to position myself in a way that allowed the two trees to the left of the barn to frame the second barn.  This also gave me the perfect framing element to the left side of the composition so that I could eliminate the house that showed up to the left of the one tree.

I worked a few different variations on this idea until I was satisfied that I had what I needed from both of these barns.  With that, I was feeling pretty confident that I was in no danger of getting run off so I decided to press my luck a little bit.  I went back across the street to see about capturing an image or two of the farm house.  I started from the street where my initial view of the house had been.  I was too far away when I was across the street and too close when I was on the same side of the street.  My only workable composition was going to be from the middle of the street.  Traffic had been light so I decided to give that a try.  I cranked off a couple of different compositions from the exact middle of the street, but ultimately didn’t like either one of them.  I was seeing some potential in this old house so I decided it was time to scope it out a little more in depth.

Strong Roots“, Canon 5D Mk3, 16-35mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

I went around to the side of it where I was parked and started to find some better compositions using a couple of really nice trees as framing elements.  As I was putting a shot together of the house with the really cool sky above, the clouds started to thin.  The sun happened to be right behind them and immediately through my exposure into a tizzy.  I thought about using an ND Grad, but didn’t want to darken the top of the house any more than I would have to. As I was debating how to get the exposure, the lighting changed quite a bit and the clouds started to reflect the sunlight down on the side of the house in the shade.  The sun was getting softer behind the clouds, but it was still putting out enough light to cast shadows through the trees onto the yard.  I saw my opportunity and I recomposed the image quickly to include much more of the yard and less of the sky.  That put the sun out of the frame, but the shadows gave me a great foreground interest.  I rattled off about three exposures as the lighting was changing.  I didn’t have time to do anything with filters so I just trusted the histogram which was telling me I had detail on both ends of the spectrum and would be able to recover the shadow and highlight details in post.  In a matter of seconds the lighting was gone and the clouds were back.  I was so excited about the shadows on the ground, I didn’t like the flat lighting that was present, even though that was the lighting that I had been drawn to earlier.

Instead of sitting here and working in lighting that I no longer found interesting, I decided to look over my shoulder where the sky was clearing and showing some really nice textures in the clouds.  The most convenient subject that I could find was an old shed sitting near the driveway.  There was a tree just to the side of it, and I thought that I could do something with that using the sky above it.  I started finding composition as I worked in closer.  They were not all that special, but I could see something pretty good developing as I got closer in.  By the time I was just a few feet from it, I had the dramatic look I was after.  The building was already at an angle, so a little perspective distortion wasn’t going to be a problem at all.

Tattered Shed“, Canon 5D Mk3, 16-35mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Converted to B&W in Lightroom

The images that I was capturing were designed to be color images, but when I got them into Lightroom, they lacked some needed character.  With the sky looking like it did, I figured that a black and white conversion would potentially work to show off the drama in the sky.  When I started to make the conversion, I immediately liked the image better and decided to commit to that rendering.  It was simple, and effective with just the right amount of drama in the scene.  The building is a bit of a question mark for me though as it is too small to be a barn, and with only a pedestrian door and wide window, I am not seeing much in the way of storage.  It is closed in, so I’m not sure if it is for chickens, but it was just interesting enough to make for a nice subject.

There was a tree off to the side that caught my eye as well, and I could see a composition developing with this little building as well as the tree.  I backed up from my location and started to frame up another composition that showcased the sky above with the tree to the right.  It was all anchored by the little shed which now looked quite diminutive sitting in the field.  Unlike the previous composition, this one worked well as a color image and it had the right mix of colors to maintain the balance that I was after.  The sky was really dynamic shifting from solid blue to nearly solid white with a gradual transition in the middle.  I rarely shoot with a polarizer when using a wide angle lens for the sky, but this was one of those times when the nature of the polarization didn’t really bother me with the way the clouds looked.  Enough of the sky was blocked to give me even tones throughout so I went with it.  I just had to be careful about how much of the effect that I wanted to introduce into the scene.

Dormant“, Canon 5D Mk3, 16-35mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

After working with the small shed and then the overall landscape of the backyard, I decided it was time to turn my attention to the tree that had now sparked my creativity.  Toni loves my tree pictures, and this tree was large enough and interesting enough to warrant a composition all its own.  In order to get the separation that I wanted, I was going to have to get in close to the tree though.  The idea was to shoot up at an angle so that the sky took more of the background than the trees behind it did.  As I was setting the shot up, the clouds started to break up even more which was perfect for what I was after.  I waited until the sun was hitting the tree before I made my exposures.  I was really hoping to get the contrast of the light and shadows on the branches and trunk to give the tree depth.  It just so happened that the clouds positioned themselves around the frame of the image as my favorite one was exposed.  This provided a nice central blue area to really bring out the tones in the tree.  It was almost as if I had planned the entire image and all of the elements.  The only part that I really did plan was the position of the stones around the base.  No, I didn’t move them, but I positioned the camera where I did so that I could use those stones to frame the bottom of the composition and provide a little complimenting detail for the outstretched limbs above.  I am very happy with how this all came together, and consider it very lucky timing.

I had been at this same location for about an hour, maybe more by this point and was feeling like I had captured all that I wanted to capture.  I took one more look around to see if there was something else that I wanted to shoot.  I wasn’t really seeing anything that caught my eye.  It was time to go back to the truck and get back on the road.  As I was walking up to the truck, I did look at the house once more.  The clouds were coming back in and the high contrast lighting that I had been dealing with was no longer an issue.  I started to consider the black and white image that I had been working on previously and decided that I wanted to give it another shot.  I went back over to the area where I had been working before and found a composition that I liked.  The exposure was looking pretty good at this point and the histogram was showing that I had plenty of detail in the shadows and highlights to be able to capture this in a single frame.

Gather ‘Round the Tree“, Canon 5D Mk3, 16-35mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

My idea was the same as it had been before.  I was framing the house between the trees.  I wanted it to be a mysterious image with a foreboding sky taking advantage of the white siding on the house for contrast.  The mottled grass from the different shades of green and from the light shadows added to the interest in the foreground, but I didn’t need much there since the primary anchor for the image would be the tree to the right.  The composition came together quite nicely just as I had imagined it before, but the lighting was much better than it had been the first time I attempted it.  When I got it home and started the conversion on it, I could see that this was going to work out just like I had previsualized it.  I’m so glad that I had stuck around to shoot the little shed and the tree as that gave me enough time to benefit from the changing light at the house.

It really was ironic that one of the handful of scenes that I had scouted days before had not yielded anything like the composition I had in mind.  In fact, the subject that I had seen barely made it into a photograph.  It was the return to that location that had yielded my most productive site of the day by far.  Well over half of the images that I shot during the day were from this very small section of the road.  Seven images resulted, and I hadn’t even seen these subjects which were just a few feet beyond the barn that had caught my eye.  This is why I always go past the things that I like to see what is just around the bend.  Many times, it becomes something that I like better.  This was definitely one of those times.

A Family LegacyCanon 5D Mk3, 16-35mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Converted to B&W in Lightroom

After capturing the monochrome image of the house that I had in mind, I was satisfied that I had everything that I wanted from this location.  I loaded everything back up in the truck and started back down the road again.  Honestly, I was pretty tired after that last session and my creativity was faltering a little bit.  I was seeing subjects, but I was having a hard time making compositions out of them so I would just pass them by.  I was feeling like I needed to head home at this point, but it was still rather early yet.  I decided to stick it out a little bit longer to see if something would spark my mind.

I was back to the turning down side roads just to see what I could find.  I was still heading towards the cabin because there had been a Maverick that interested me and I wanted to look at it once more to decide if there was a picture to be had there.  Since I wasn’t convinced in my own mind, I was trying to find something else just in case.  One of the streets that I turned on seemed to have a great deal of promise.  There were a lot of old mountain homes with the typical discarded items around on the property.  A lot caught  my eye, but there were just no compositions to be had.  As I was coming up to a bend in the road, I saw a blue car that I recognized as a Ford Galaxy.  I started to get excited about that and the closer I got the more I liked.  It was in front of a barn which would make a good backdrop.  It was close enough to the road that I could shoot it from the road…but wait….what is this?  There was a blue tarp over the left side of the car and it was painfully close to elements that made no sense with the car.  Well, that just won’t work at all!

However, as my attention faded on the blue car, I saw another barn on the left side of the street.  It was not all that interesting, but there was a nice coloration to the wood on it….and wait a minute….what was that peeking around the side of the structure?  It was another Galaxy, only this one was white.  It looked pretty good, but it would come down to how well I could compose the image so that the background clutter would be minimized.  I continued down the road in case there was something better to work with, but that yielded nothing at all.  I got turned around and came back to the Galaxy to see if I could make anything work with it.

Tossed Aside“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

I pulled off the side of the road and got out to look a bit closer.  The car was in a great position next to the building, and there was a small stream behind them both.  I was pretty sure that I would be able to get a composition that would have the building blocking the view of the white house just beyond it so that the attention would continue to be focused on the car primarily.  The car was parked on a slope which was kind of messing with the perspective a little bit, and then I was going to have to add to that by shooting from an elevated position to avoid getting the sky in the picture.  It was still very cloudy, but with the car in the deep shadows, the dark clouds were still going to overexpose, and I didn’t want the competing lighter tones at the top of the frame.  Shooting high was my best option.

I grabbed my camera and fitted my well used 24-70mm lens and a polarizer.  I then went back to the position that I had picked out for my composition and started to set up the shot.  I was just able to to eliminate the sky above the trees from an elevated position that didn’t overly exaggerate the angle of the car.  The building was rendered at a complementing angle to the car while doing what I needed it to do by blocking the house.  There were some elements that I couldn’t block with the building, and I didn’t like the idea of cropping into the building to avoid the clutter in the background.  The lighting was dark along the road so I was pretty sure that I could let the clutter go into shadows easy enough which would minimize the weight of it.  My focus was on the foreground of the image with the car, and I wanted the eyes to remain on that.  It really helped that the car was white as it became the brightest thing in the frame by default.  The black hood made it a bit more subtle though which was good because it allowed your eyes to move to the building behind the car to examine the whole image before returning to the car.

I was wishing that the stream behind the two elements had some rapids in it similar to the truck that I had shot a few hours before.  It didn’t, and that made the water less visible.  However, it was there, and even being dark, it provided a suitable framing element on the right side of the image.  It did seem to mirror the shape of the car as it snaked past the rear end of it.  It was not the easiest composition that I have come up with, but it came together pretty quickly.  Since this was a very clutter area and right next to several houses, I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. Without seeing anything else that I wanted to shoot on this car, I decided to pack up my gear and continue on down the road.  I think I was here for less than 10 minutes to get this shot which isn’t too bad.

Resting Rebel“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

After leaving the Galaxy, I continued on to my last intended stop for the day which was the Ford Maverick located close to the cabin that Toni and I had stayed in.  There were some compositional hurdles that I was going to have to get past in order to get the image that I wanted.  The car was located beside a driveway and there was a late model car just behind it, a camper to the driver’s side, and a house behind it all.  There was a tree right off of the driver’s side quarter panel which I did like.  I had been thinking about the composition here for a day or so and figured that my best bet would be to capture it from the right side using the tree as a framing element for the car.  The replacement door which was white would be a great feature of this image as it would break up the warm tones throughout.

When I arrived at the car, I was happy to see that nothing had changed, and I was also upset that nothing had changed.  I was hoping for a stroke of luck to clear out another angle so that I could get an alternate composition of the car.  Oh well, that wasn’t the case, but I was here with good light and a camera.  I got parked on the side of the road just beyond the driveway.  I grabbed my camera with the 24-70mm lens and a polarizer and went to the edge of the driveway where I had figured my one and only composition would be.  I started to frame it up just as I had visualized it.  It came together better than I expected which was a nice treat.  However, as I was getting the shot fine tuned, I could feel a light mist on my arms.  My fears were confirmed by looking at the camera which was starting to get wet.  I wasn’t worried about the camera, but I do like to keep the filters and lens elements clean and dry while shooting.  That was going to be difficult if it started to rain.  Fortunately, for the time being the filter was staying dry.

I managed to get the shot that I had visualized and then flipped the camera to vertical to try one like that.  The composition worked, but with the car shrinking in scale to the rest of the picture, it kind of got lost in the sea of brown.  The door was not big enough to rescue it in a vertical composition.  It was the horizontal composition that I had shot initially that had worked the best.  For the third time today, my first instinct was the best composition.  That took care of the simple images, but I really wanted to see if there was something else that I could shoot.  If nothing else, I wanted to try some isolations on it to get the front end which was the best part of the car in my opinion.

Quiet Defiance“,   Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Converted to B&W in Lightroom

I moved around to the front of the car and looked at the front end.  The light that had the best light on it had a sapling going through the bumper which made an isolation difficult at best.  The more I looked at the scene the more I realized that a complete car was the way to go for this angle.  I was able to get into a position that kept the late model car and the house out of the frame.  It was the camper that I had to deal with.  My only chance was to get low to the ground.  That was when I ran into a similar problem that I had with the previous Galaxy.  The car was parked on a slight slope that angled away from me.  That meant that the lower I went, the more obvious that angle became and the less of the car that I was able to see.  In order to get the camper to disappear completely, I was going to have to shoot from basically under the car which I didn’t like.  By coming back up to shoot from about even with the headlight, I was able to just see the top of the camper over the hood.  I was pretty sure that I could deal with that since the wide angle approach here was emphasizing the car with the perspective distortion.

The issue that I had now was that the camper was white and the front of the car was that warm beige color.  The white was going to draw the eyes to the camper and compete with the door and headlights for attention.  I could darken it in Lightroom, but it would look kind of muddy if I did that since it started as a white element.  My option was clear here.  I was going to convert this one to monochrome and really work the tones in the scene.  I was going to be able to brighten the car quite easily with tonal adjustments, while burning the camper and making it quite a bit darker in comparison.  The end result actually created a scene where the camper blends in handily with the background and no longer competes for attention with the car.  It all worked out quite well considering I really thought that this composition would be next to impossible.

As I was getting that shot exposed the mist was getting heavier and I was starting to see water drops hitting the filter.  It was time to pack it in at this point.  I broke the camera down and put it all in the truck.  As I was coming around to the driver’s door, the bottom fell out and it was a full on rain shower.  I was glad that I had stopped when I did.  I wasn’t quite ready to be done yet and it was only 3pm, however, I had managed to cover the entire route that I had set out to do…plus some.  It had been a successful day with 107 frames exposed.  I really couldn’t argue with that one bit.  I was hoping that the rain would stop and I might be able to find one more subject, but if that didn’t happen, I was very satisfied with the day.

That one more subject never did materialize.  The rain got heavier and heavier as I drove past the cabin and back out to Hwy 221 towards home.  The rain stayed with me all the way to Wilkesboro when it finally stopped.  By this point, I was completely out of creative energy and ready to get home.  I did stop along the way to get a surprise for Toni who was at home.  Now we are going to see if she has bothered to read all the way through this rather lengthy image.  If she says nothing it will continue to be a surprise.  If she asks me about it, I will go ahead and give it to her.  Sounds like a fair deal to me, and the odds are in my favor.  I mean this entry is over 7300 words at this point.  But I digress.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure and I hope that you enjoyed the images I’ve shared with you.  As always, if there are any that speak to you on a personal level, I would love to help you get prints of them up on your walls.  All you need to do is contact me and we can start your order, or you can just go straight to the order a print page and tell me what standard size you want and the title and I’ll get it ready for you.  There is just no better way to enjoy my photography than in its tangible form.

Until next time…

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