Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rural Decay 2

For the first couple of years living in our current house I took a certain route to work.  Every day on my way home I would notice a certain old car that was a little ways off the road.  This was a car that was really unremarkable in almost every sense of the word.  It was completely rusted out, in the middle of nowhere with no real hope of ever getting restored.  Anyway, there was always something about that old car that drew my attention almost every time I drove past.
Now for the last year or better I have been taking a different route to work that does not take me past the old car.  I had almost completely forgotten about it until the other day when I was in the area with Elena and my parents (in another car) and again noticed the old car.  I didn't have a good chance to stop at that moment because E was on the verge of a melt down and it would have required leaving her in the car unattended (apparently that's frowned upon.)
So the following Friday I walked out of my workplace and noticed the layered clouds of an overcast sky and decided right then to try and get a good picture.  As I got to the place on the interstate a few things were going through my head that had nothing to do with photography.  Should I really be parking my car along an interstate?  Can this really be safe?  Am I prepared to trespass on private property?  Is it really trespassing if there are no signs?  What if a state trooper sees me (what are the chances of that actually happening?)  What if the owner of the car spots me and starts to come down there?  Like I said, nothing to do with photography but everything to do with my surroundings.  As you can tell, I decided that no, I should not be parking on the interstate but I was going to anyway.  I was prepared to trespass, and yes it is still trespassing even if there are no signs.  I will accept whatever a state trooper decides if that should become an issue.  I would ask for forgiveness from the property owner if they confront me.
After scoping out the scene and deciding which lens to use, I got my camera setting set and took a few pictures.  I started shooting in color but decided B&W might work better and switched to monochrome.  B&W was definitely the right setting for this scene.  I recomposed and took a couple more.  All-in-all I only took 6 total shots.  I figured if I can't get it figured out in those shots with no interruptions or distractions then I deserved to have to come back and try again and maybe I would learn my lesson.
When I got home I waited 'till that evening to process the photos and when I did I immediately had a favorite.  I went through my typical processing techniques and showed my wife the photo.  She thought it was pretty good and so did I.  It was sharp and had plenty of contrast.  So I stopped and went to bed.
Fast forward to Monday and I wanted to show a couple people from work.  When I showed the picture to my buddy Matt he thought it was pretty good too, but when I was tabbing through the pictures he caught a glimpse of the very last photo I took that day and said it was his favorite.  I asked him to explain why and he did.  After looking over the two photos again I couldn't help but agree.  It was a much better composed photo with stronger visual cues and fewer distractions.  I hadn't even given this photo a chance when I initially reviewed them and I'm glad I waited for someone else to see them before I sent it to the cutting room floor.  I went through the same processing techniques for this photo and cropped it down a little and came up with the photo you see below.

IMHO I think this is a great photo (not just "pretty good") and I am one very happy camper.

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