Old Fences, Bridges, and Stumps. Star Fort Part 2

8 02 2012

I’m going to pick up here where the last post left off. A ways further down the path I decided I wanted to shoot the fence line. It had a really nice symmetry to it. At first I stood a ways back and focused on the building so I could see the entire fence line but it didn’t feel like a picture of anything in particular. One of the things I like to think about when I’m shooting is “what is my subject here?” Not all pictures have to have a single subject. Sometimes you have enough good in a picture it can just be appreciated as a whole. But a great way to make a picture more interesting is to draw attention to one interesting part of the image by getting in close and let everything else be supporting elements.

In this shot I put the focus squarely on the end of the closest fence slat. The texture had nice variety and the overall color really helped make the mood of the image a bit more rustic. Variety and non-uniformity are two great features of old and rustic architecture that don’t come naturally any more. When you do see it in modern architecture, it looks forced. A big focus of today’s post is going to be mood and color. Pay close attention to the next two pictures, I’m going to be telling you a little bit about white balance.

The above and below shots are the same subject, same time of day and nearly identical settings except for the white balance. White balance is the way your camera tries to make whites appear white regardless of the light source. When it affects the “white balance” the full color spectrum follows suit though. The trick is that while the human eye can adapt to different light sources nearly perfectly, the camera again falls a bit short. In the top picture, the camera tried to push some blue tones in to offset the rust which it thought was appearing reddish because of the light source. For me, the rust is a major part of this picture so I really didn’t like when my camera turned this rusty steel bridge support into a modern blueish grey.

For me, artistry is more important than accuracy, so I play around with features like white balance until I see what I want in my images. I went into the shooting menu on my camera and found the white balance setting panel. I switched to “cloudy” which was mostly true and pushed the selector a notch or two to the left to warm the image up. That made these two nearly identical images have two entirely different feels.

Under The Bridge

Beside The Bridge

Once I got across the bridge (and out from under it) I shot a few snaps of an old rotted stump. This is an example of what I was talking about before of a decent picture that has no real hero. A little perspective change and I could have brought the focus in tight on the clover, or a small patch of bark and changed the whole feel of this image. I still like it, but it could have been better. It’s important to look at your pictures and try to figure out how you could have improved them. It’s frustrating to catch yourself doing something wrong (or at least not perfect) but the fact is we all still have lots of room to grow. Not to get too Biblical on you but Paul once called himself the worst of sinners. He was a great man but he recognized his short comings and realized that since he knew better, he should be better.

My goal is to learn more so I’ll know better more often and will eventually improve the areas in photography I’m still weaker in. My hope is that some will learn from my mistakes and others will teach me new ways to improve with every post. Thank you for stopping by. It’s great to hear from all of and I really look forward to your comments on my blog and your posts on your own. Don’t forget to follow the blog and like the Facebook if you haven’t done so already. If you twitter, @96arley is my name and I love to hear from all of you on there too. All that social stuff’s in the sidebar up top. Have a great day and God Bless!

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53 responses

8 02 2012
thisworldthrumyeyes

I love these shots!

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, I’m glad you liked them!

8 02 2012
stephanielane2012

Love the shots as well as the commentary. Thank you, and thanks for posting the rotted stump and explaining something about it.

8 02 2012
96arley

You’re welcome. I’ve decided if I’m going to be real on here I should share some of the stuff I didn’t like as much in addition to my favorites. The purpose of this blog isn’t to make me look super amazing (I’d have a hard time getting any followers :) ) it’s all about how we can all get better and have more fun with photography. Thank you again for stopping in and commenting

8 02 2012
Ian Harris

Seriously great work.

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Ian, always great to hear from you. Do you have a photo blog in the works yet? Would love to see you sharing some of that fancy work you’re doing with my old picture maker :)

9 02 2012
Ian Harris

I actually haven’t actually thought about putting one together. But after seeing what’s you’ve done nd how you put it together, I am seriously considering it now. I have a lot of material I could use.

9 02 2012
96arley

It’s free and easy to set one up, there’s a pretty good selection of free templates and customization options too

8 02 2012
Karen (formerly kcinnova)

Thanks for explaining white balance!
I’ve enjoyed these posts with the rustic fence. Texture is always fascinating to capture with a camera.

8 02 2012
96arley

You’re welcome and I completely agree. Glad you’ve enjoyed it!

9 02 2012
Mona

I am learning so much from your images and narratives. Keep them coming.

9 02 2012
96arley

Will do Mona, glad you’re picking some stuff up

9 02 2012
Judy

Great photos and thanks for White Balance tips! I enjoyed the comparison of the two photos!

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks and You’re welcome. I thought that would be an interesting bit to do

9 02 2012
davidoakesimages

I enjoyed the blog…shows that you have to use your eyes and look just a little deeper and you will find a great image

9 02 2012
96arley

Glad you liked it, thanks for stopping by David

9 02 2012
Francine Gassette

I am learning so much from your blog. I brought a new camera a few months ago and the one thing I wasn’t good with is the white balance. Your post helped me with that. Practice is what I need to do more. Your photos are great. I also like taking pictures of driftwood or rotten trees.

BE ENCOURAGE! BE BLESSED!

9 02 2012
96arley

If I can ever work out the beach trip I’ve been thinking about, I’ll do a lot of driftwood. Haven’t really gotten to do any lately :( Thanks for stopping by!

9 02 2012
Inga

Love these because of the interesting composition and focus in all of them.

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Inga, I try to keep it fresh :)

9 02 2012
kt11

This is awesome, nice work. So simple, yet love looking at these images.

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Ken, I’ve always found simplicity can make for the most enjoyable pictures :)

9 02 2012
Rebecca Booth

Very informational! Thanks for posting

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, glad you’ve gotten something out of it

9 02 2012
mjspringett

Nice tutorial, thanks MJ

9 02 2012
96arley

No problem, glad you enjoyed it

9 02 2012
ladyfi

Fabulous shots – really love the DOF in the first one.

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, I love playing around with Shallow DOF

9 02 2012
Nandini

Really great perspectives. Loved the first one! GReat photos. :)

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, the first one was my favorite too

9 02 2012
wolfsrosebud

do like photographing trees as much as sitting under them… nice pics you have… much texture in your shots

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks you! I’m a huge fan of complex textures :)

9 02 2012
steviegill

I really like the first shot. Nicely framed in portrait. The shallow DOF works really well – a sharply focussed foreground with the background only just recognisable to add context.

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, that’s exactly what I was going for. Really well said

9 02 2012
Natalie

What beautiful pictures.

9 02 2012
96arley

Thank You Natalie, glad you liked them!

9 02 2012
Chillbrook

Fabulous pictures.

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Chillbrook, always great to hear from you!

9 02 2012
Chillbrook

Just to say I’ve nominated my latest post ot you to say thank you once again for your nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award.

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks! :) I appreciate it

9 02 2012
Chillbrook

That should of course read dedicated..

9 02 2012
truels

Hello my friend – from tiny Denmark :-) I like your style and the macro work – you’ve found your own special way to create great images. Very inspiring. I’ll be back again :-)

9 02 2012
96arley

Thank you, I’m pleased you think so. Cheers!

9 02 2012
Alex Autin

I’m really enjoying this series as well as the commentary. Excellent work!

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Alex, glad you stopped by!

10 02 2012
Mary Lou Rutledge

Love the first photo.

10 02 2012
96arley

Thanks! I liked the first one too!

15 02 2012
Dave

I like what you are trying to do with selective focus. The first picture with the out of focus fort in the background was especially nice, I thought. Best of luck in pursuing your passion, Arley! And thanks for the like.

15 02 2012
96arley

Thank You Dave, I appreciate the feedback!

15 02 2012
Mica Musica

I am fascinated by your shots. I myself am eager to get a macro lens, but no cash to spare right now!
I love the infinite beauty of the small universes hidden in the little details that we so many times bypass… but you don’t, really lovely!

15 02 2012
96arley

Thank You, I appreciate the kind words and hope I continue to please :)

23 02 2012
A Bridge From any Other Angle Wouldn’t Look as Sweet « ShootAbout

[…] things going on as long as you don’t get too distracted by what is happening. In one of my star fort posts, I talked about every shot needing a hero. For me, the pattern was the hero and the red dirt played […]

25 05 2012
Three Pictures of Three Crosses « ShootAbout

[…] break one of my rules (I always try to break at least one any given day) it doesn’t have a hero. The great thing about wide angle lenses is they can get away with this. When you get a lot of sky […]

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