The People of Charleston

29 11 2012

Those of you who have been playing along for a while will know this is an unusual post for me. In my photos I try to characterize and present something you’ve seen in a way you’ve never looked at it in before. That’s why those of you who know my style and my purpose will be surprised to see a post full of faces.

I was walking throughout the streets taking in everything. The buildings, the colors, the emotions of the city. I could sense the rich culture and beauty of a place who knew it held a special place in history. The entire city radiated purpose and contentment. I realized quickly that this came from more than architecture and craft, this came straight from the people of Charleston, so I began photographing them. 

 

Have you ever been walking around with your camera only to me by dozens of people asking you to take their picture for no apparent reason? You start out, “I don’t work for the newspaper,” they don’t care. “I’m actually just here on vacation.” They still don’t care. “Listen, I’m just out taking pictures for fun.” “Perfect, this is my best side.” *smiles* There was a point in my career that this seemed an inconvenience. Maybe I was just there to get a shot of the quarterback throwing a long pass. I was just looking for a building with ivy growing up the side. This little human interaction somehow seemed like an inconvenience. Thankfully, I grew past that. There is nothing more rewarding than being appreciated and being valued. When someone asks you to take a picture of them for no apparent reason, it’s because they have placed value on you taking a picture of them. It means something, it’s an opportunity you should never take for granted. These folks were just chilling out, probably on a lunch break. One of them hollered, “Hey, check out this picture right here” then smiled broadly. It’s an off the cuff snap shot that captures a bit of the city, and I loved it.

Sometimes you don’t get asked, you just have to go for it. Most people, especially people who’ve worked hard on something like this car, love having a picture taken of them. Now you’re telling someone else you value them, you value something they’ve created, or who they are. Everyone likes feeling famous now and then.

This shot took all day. I asked every basket weaver I saw if I could take a picture. Most of them seemed to be in witness protection or hiding from the law because they said no. This lady here said sure. I think this shot really captures a bit of who Charleston is. Artisans. Crafts people. Creative folks doing what they know how to do to make a living.

This may be my favorite picture from the set. These guys were just chilling on the dock doing their thing. I asked if I could take a picture and all three of them lit up and enthusiastically said yes. By the time I had the camera up to my eye, they were suppressing grins and playing it cool for all of you fine folks at home.

This shot is just a little reminder that no matter where you go in America, or the world really, you’re gonna get a variety. Everything from hand made clothes to a pair of blue kicks and bright yellow polo shirts. I love this town.

This is the last of the Charleston photos. I’ll be back when I have something new. You guys are wonderful, thanks for coming back and reading me even though I’m scattered. Have a great day, God Bless. -Arley

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The Heart of Charleston

20 11 2012

I’ve been looking through my last few posts and I’ve realized they’re pretty cheesy. Spirit, motion, paths… I wanted to bring this one back down to earth and talk about the “Heart of Charleston.”

Yep, I guess I’m pure cheese.

I put all the pictures up and started to write the blog entry. Then I went through all the pictures a few times and couldn’t put any words to it. I hope the story told by the photos comes through to all of you the same way it does to me. I hope you enjoyed it.

 

 





The Colors of Charleston

31 10 2012

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful Charleston, SC. This is a bustling waterfront city in my home state with a fantastic market and tons of little shops scattered around.  Like many modern artisans, the folks selling there goods in the market are super funny about people taking pictures. Frankly, as many of you know, if you’ve got it in public we can snap it, in fact here’s a great article about that, but I don’t like to step on peoples toes so I tell them who I am, a bit about the blog, and they usually let me take a few snaps. Frankly, if they don’t appreciate a little publicity, I’d just as soon not give it to them. :O

I’m staying true to the title and with this first post I’m sharing the most colorful pictures from my visit. I like this shot because despite many of the pieces being similar, the colors help them to contrast each other really well. The background got a bit washed out but because the foreground held up so well and stayed so vivid, I actually like what it adds to the shot.

You all know I like to get low and close. The patterns on the handles of these swords worked really well for this shot.

A classic bed and breakfast on meeting street. Less color than the trinkets but a pink building downtown deserves a photo.

The wire keeping this sign from being stolen really makes this one. It’s simple but the sign really has a lot of character. I’m learning that for the sake of photography, my taste finds that most subjects get better with age.

I love the hand painted items in the market. There’s something special about walking through tables full of things not made in factories but on front porches instead.

I hate to send you off to wikipedia instead of another blog but here’s a link you should click. These glasses depict an actual place in Charleston called “Rainbow Row.” Here’s an excerpt from wiki: “After the Civil War, this area of Charleston devolved into near slum conditions. In the early 1900s, Dorothy Porcher Legge purchased a section of these houses numbering 99 through 101 East Bay and began to renovate them. She chose to paint these houses pink based on a colonial Caribbean color scheme. Other owners and future owners followed suit, creating the “rainbow” of pastel colors present today. The coloring of the houses helped keep the houses cool inside as well as give the area its name.”

The final shot and one of my favorites from the day is this beautiful spread of scarves. After years of shooting complex shots and intricate arrangements I’m still amazed by how simplicity masters every art form.

I shared today’s post of an ocean front town on purpose. Many people have faced hardship in recent days thanks to mother nature. If you would like to donate to help Hurricane Sandy victims, here’s the Red Cross relief page.

Thanks for visiting and reading the blog. I’ve missed our regular interactions but life has been pulling me in every direction lately. Have a wonderful week and God Bless!





The Nature of Old Indian

17 08 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many things I love. The practice of photography being high on the list. Most of you also know I’m a Christian though I consider myself a bit more liberal than many. I love all people and insight into the lifestyle of another person is fascinating.

We are fundamentally all the same. Made of the same stuff, function the same way. I can relate and empathize because I can visualize myself in your shoes. There is a world though that mortal man cannot fully comprehend. A life so subtle we may not even register it as such. Today I’m going back to my roots with a post more reminiscent of my early blogging style. With no further ado, I present the nature of Old Indian.

The shallow depth of field combined with the fairly neutral background strongly draws your eye to the flower. The petals were really interesting to me, the way every other one was so wilted. I left the image a hair underexposed to emphasis the somber mood. Capturing a generally very bright and cheerful subject in a somber light gives the viewer a deeper sense of emotion than simply making a happy thing look happy or a sad thing look sad.

In stark contrast to the previous picture I left this mushroom a little on the bright side. For me, the shallow depth of field draws my eyes from right to left (foreground to background.) This gives my brain just enough time to tell itself it’s looking at a rotting log before it happens upon the subject, the mushroom. Normally a mushroom doesn’t scream life but in contrast to a rotting log, it’s a bright and cheerful spot in this image.

 

This is a very subtle image. Sometimes there just aren’t enough words too describe the simplest images.

The touch of man. Not so pronounced as a lumber corporation clear cutting a beautiful forest but perhaps more touching in a way. I heard it said that a single death is a tragedy and a thousand deaths is a statistic. I don’t consider myself a hippie by any means and I know wood is a foundation of our society but it’s still important to take a moment to appreciate the things we take from nature. When we stop recognizing we live symbiotically with the world around us we will destroy it completely.

 

Windswept. I maintained a shallow depth of field to blur out the dull distracting background. I sacrificed a lot of the flowers but I’ve learned when shooting nature, one-thing in focus is usually better than everything in focus.

The complexity here is beautiful. Hundreds of tiny splinters of wood lacing in every direction. Nature does modern art far better than we ever will.

I hope you enjoyed the post today. I love hearing from you so leave me a comment and I’ll try to respond. Follow the blog to keep up with the goings on and there are links for my Twitter and Facebook somewhere around here :)

Thanks for reading and God Bless, -Arley

 

 

 





I’m Getting Bugged Shooting Up and Down The Same Old Strip

4 06 2012

My weekends seem to be getting swallowed whole so you’ll have to take me as I am this Monday. I know I said I’d try to publish the car post on my “off” days this weekend but I didn’t quite get to it. I’m not one for excuses but I’ll tell you why because it’s a cool story. A few of my church leaders made a trip to  NY to participate in a program called Metro Ministries. Basically this is an outreach program for kids in some of Brooklyn’s roughest neighborhoods. Pastor Bill founded the program in 1980 and has since been beaten, stabbed, and shot, but after years of ministering, he’s gained the respect of even harden criminals and Gang members. When our pastors were sent out into the neighborhoods for part of their community outreach, they were given a shirt with three bears on it and told to wear it at all times, it was their “bullet proof vest.” When my pastor stumbled into a a gang dispute that was about to get violent, they saw his shirt, greeted him as a “yogi bear” (a pet name for the leaders in Metro Ministries,) and all walked away in different directions.  This took up my weekend because we’re adopting the model for children’s outreach in my community. We don’t have too many hardened criminals in little Greenwood, SC, but we’re very excited about outreach in our community. With no further ado, let’s look at some cars. :)

The toughest part about these pictures was getting into the fence. I passed this junk yard on my way home and saw a guy working on an old Trans-Am. The yard was completely fenced in and the gate was locked even though he was there. I parked in the median and walked across the road to talk to the guy. I greeted him with a smile and introduced myself and he asked a bit suspiciously “what do you want?” I told him I was a photo blogger, because he clearly looked like he knew what that was, and asked if I could come in and take a few pictures. The response was a pretty flat “no.” I asked again and promised to stay out of his way. He asked me where I was from and softened up a bit when he found out I was local. He told me his only concern was me getting hurt and making a claim against his insurance but I assured him I would be careful and if anything did happen I wouldn’t bring him into it. He finally conceded to let me in provided I didn’t touch anything.

I think it’s a lot tougher to shoot an interesting subject. These old cars are absolutely fascinating so it takes a lot of self control to keep from just standing back and taking shots of the whole car. The tenancy is to think “this is a really cool car, with a subject like this I don’t need to get a unique perspective.” I had the same problem in Las Vegas. I turned into a total tourist for the first 2 days and was very disappointed when I realized my first hundred pictures in one of the most unique cities on earth turned out to be snapshots. My advice to beat the snapshot syndrome is to take a second and think how can I take a picture of this that no one else has thought of yet. Granted it’s hard to find an angle on a car that no one has snapped on any car ever, but trying to really gets the wheels turning  (pun intended.)

Something about these old run down cars makes me really proud of how far we’ve come. The past 50 years have had a lot of advancements to make the world a different place. Two posts ago I got a little stuck in the past but my wonderful readers reminded me that “life moves forward.” The phases of society and culture are fascinating. The way the world is constantly jumping from one trend to another. But underneath the superfluous gossip and fads, we’re growing. We’re getting smarter. Eventually we’ll get past some of the silly stuff slowing us down. Perhaps we’ll see the start of the next renaissance in our lifetime.

Don’t forget to follow the blog and leave me a comment if you enjoyed today’s post. Fun Fact, I’ve checked my stats and found my top non-English speaking country for visitors right now is Germany so… Machts gut! Alles Gute! Bis zum nächsten Mal! And to the rest of you, goodbye until next time! -Arley

P.S. Since some of my visitors might not get the title. It’s a play on the lyrics of a Beach Boys Song. :)





Born in The South, Raised in a Glass

1 06 2012

If you’re from the south like I am, than you know the title of this post is talking about that “Singular Soft Drink of the South,” the ever alliterative, Cheerwine. Before you ask, no this is not a sponsored post, but if the fine folks over at Cheerwine want to send me a case, I’d be more than happy to accept :). I’m sure you’re wondering by now if I’ll ever get to the point so I won’t keep you waiting any longer. Amid my journeys through the rural roads of South Carolina, I came upon a closed up shop, with a Cheerwine vending machine.

I had already passed the store but I doubled back to take a few shots. I would miss a lot of pictures if I didn’t make my mind up a long time ago to double back often. Anything that catches your eye is worth a u-turn and a few extra minutes. Normally I get frustrated with power lines in my pictures. They look tacky in the background of portraits or churches and especially sunsets, but in a shot like this they actually compliment the image. The difference is they tell a story. They become part of a bigger story of a little general store that needed electricity for their Cheerwine machine and their energy efficient light-bulbs. :)

The toughest decision here was if I wanted the white post in my foreground. The argument here is that it takes away from the subject, (the drink machine), but adds to the atmosphere of the old store. I left it. Sometimes a little distraction from a dominant subject will force your viewer to take in the whole image instead of just a key feature of it.

Hope you enjoyed today’s short post. I also hope the past few days I have managed to build a bit of anticipation for the old cars series, I’m very excited about sharing them, mostly because I’ve only had a few chances to shoot old cars and they’re a lot of fun. Thanks for visiting, as always I love reading and responding to your comments. If you would like to share anything you see here you are welcome to do so, please mention shootabout if you do though. Happy Friday! God Bless!

P.S. If you want to let Cheerwine know you heard about them on shootabout, you can do it here and make my day :) there’s also a link at the top of that page where you can order some Cheerwine, it’s delicious :)





Counterculture, Flowers, and Chimneys

31 05 2012

Today I’m in the process of wrapping up the last pictures from my shoot last week so I can get into a series on old cars I’ve been working on. I suppose since this post is a little scattered anyways, I’ll slip in some life stuff here and there while I’m writing.

I almost missed this shot entirely, twice. I was driving down a back road on my way to another location when I saw an old dilapidated building with a chimney, see below. I took a few shots of it that didn’t get me too excited and was about to walk back to my car when these flowers in front of this old white store front caught my eye. I played around with a few angles and aperture settings until I finally got this. I couldn’t be happier.

When I took this shot I wanted something dark and back-lit. I considered going for a silhouette but the trees in the background would have made the building almost indistinguishable. I get a little chuckle from a shot like this because it makes me think about how our society has changed. When this house was built, the chimney and the fireplace inside may have been a source of warmth, or used for cooking. Now fireplaces are considered a luxury item. I also think of hunting and fishing, it was once an essential part of our survival but now they’re used as a source of relaxation, an escape from our busy lives. I wonder if we’re really progressing or just getting away from a lifestyle we constantly try to recreate.

I just realized the past few posts have featured a lot of old things. Old buildings, tools, places. Part of that is a product of where I live. My small town surroundings don’t offer a lot of bustling metropolitan environments for me to spend my time shooting in. David made a comment on my last post that a lot of modern buildings are soulless. I’m a huge fan of modern and old architecture and I agree with him to an extent. I think we live in a world where people want to fit in, and that has even influenced architecture. Anything that is unique is though of as counter-culture. Entire movements have started to fight “conformity.” Most of the people in those movements don’t realize they’re fighting for society to take a step back into the past. Would that be bad or good though?

I don’t want to get too wordy here so I’ll go ahead and wrap it up here. Hopefully my observations have got some wheels turning and I’ll get some buzz in the comments below. Naturally I’d love to hear your feedback on the images too. I have one more post before I get to the old car series so stay tuned this weekend!

Check out Facebook and Twitter, follow the blog, feel free to reblog or use anything here provided you mention where you got it. Have a great day and God Bless! -Arley





Buildings are People Too

31 05 2012

I absolutely love old buildings. I could spend hours taking pictures of barns and old warehouses, closed manufacturing facilities. The inherent risk of going inside them is both thrilling and often illegal so always check first. Unfortunately I couldn’t get approval to go inside anything for this shoot but I got some really great stuff around this old place.

I’m not exactly sure what one would call this. It feels a bit like a barn but without the big barn doors and livestock stalls inside I suppose it was just an old storage building. I framed the sun right on the edge of the roof to get the little star-burst you see here. If you look on the right side of the picture, you can actually see the tree from yesterdays post. :) One of the really interesting aspects of this building is the foliage growing up the sides. I decided to get a closer look.

Frankly this is all a little too dead for me. The mood of this image is really dark and gloomy. A sprinkle of light could have made those dark vines interesting but I just find them a little depressing here. It’s not usually a mood I go for on shootabout but it’s good to know how to create a discouraging image. When you’re taking a photograph, you want to capture the essence of your subject. This old building is well out of its glory years and is now no more than a crumbling tribute to its former purpose. When you think about it that way, I guess this picture does the job.

This shot was my favorite of the set. In contrast to the previous image, the ivy growing on the building gives it a since of life but still respects its age. You don’t lose the ancient feeling but the subject is so filled with life it begins to feel more like an old friend than a decrepit stranger. I suppose the most interesting part of this shot is that I feel so comfortable personifying it. Once you start to think of a structure as having character and personality, you know you’ve done it some justice in your photograph.

Thanks for stopping by today. I always enjoy hearing from you in the comments below. If you’re a first time visitor I would love to have you join the circle of friends following my blog. My favorite part about the blog is when I submit a post and immediately wonder “What will Rich or Dezra or Victoria or Mary Lou or Andra say.” (Those are my top commentors and all fantastic bloggers that you should check out :) )

Anyways, thanks for stopping by! Everything you see here is the intellectual property of Arley Hendrick. Copying anything in whole or part is strictly encouraged provided you mention the blog with a link when you do it. :) Have a great day and God Bless!





Cliche Tree

30 05 2012

A backlit shot of a tree is almost as cliche as a picture of railroad tracks leading off into the distance, that was actually my first post now that I think about it. :) While cliche it still has a unique beauty. A lot of things come together well to give it the impact it has, let’s take a look.

One of the most striking things about this picture for me is the gradient in the sky. The sun behind the tree blows out the color immediately around the tree so it slowly washes back to a rich blue at the top. This is a fairly straightforward example of back-lighting but it’s a great photographic tool with a whole spread of applications.

Coming in tighter on the tree and allowing some sun to slip through really changes the mood of this photograph. You can tell the image if being distorted a little bit as I get closer to the tree. Using a longer lens from a greater distance will solve this, there’s also a number of options in Photoshop. The concrete enclosure in the foreground jumps out a lot more in this picture than the last one. I also tend to notice the trees in the background a lot more. 

For the final shot of this set I got lower and focused on some interesting old odds and ends on the brick wall. Everything here looked like it had sat in the weather for years. I think the dark detail in the foreground gives a nice contrast to the overexposed sky in the background.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I’ve got a lot of pictures to go through so hopefully you’ll be seeing a load of content popping up all week. I hope everyone in the states had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. Be sure to follow the blog and you’re more than welcome to click buttons down below to share with your friends. I love responding to your comments so please don’t forget to tell me what you thought of today’s post! Have a great day everyone and God Bless! -Arley





Hubcaps For Sale

27 05 2012

Maybe an obscure title like that will finally make me show up on the freshly pressed radar. :) I’m very tired and a box of hub caps happened to be in the first picture so it is mildly relevant. I’m trying something I have tried only on one other occasion, I am writing a post at 1AM and scheduling it to appear on the blog at a reasonable hour of the morning so it can greet you when you’re bright and ready for a new day instead of looking at cat pictures trying to fall asleep. This is from my shoot Friday which included the 3 crosses pictures.

I had to take a few pictures to get this shot the way I wanted. I have been cheating a bit lately. I have left my ISO set on auto so that I can do what I want with the f/stop and shutter speed then let the camera do the hard work. Fortunately, I haven’t lost my touch so the second frame here came out the way I wanted. The camera got a bit confused with the extreme lights and darks so I had to take over. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, the camera is very smart but it’s not particularly creative. If f/stop, shutter speed, and ISO are Greek to you, I have an excellent (if I do say so myself) blog post about it here.

This image is intentionally very dark. I didn’t want a lot of detail. I got just enough pattern from the table to make it interesting but this shot was a lot more about mood than content. It’s kind of similar to when you hear a song you like but you have no idea what it’s about. It’s fun to do this once in a while with your photographs; I think it makes the picture say a little less about your subject and a little more about yourself and your creative direction.

Of course it only took me a flat second to decide the detail here is so great, I wanted to take another shot to capture it. The great thing about old/rustic buildings is the imperfections. I love the visible knots in the wood. I wish more things today looked a little more like this and a little less like something off an assembly line. Functional but full of character.

I have a bit of a thing for doors. Especially if they’re barred up and locked. Even more so if the metal is rusty and the paint is peeling. The textures come together really nicely here and the brick pattern in the background does a lot to make this shot feel more structured. By that I mean a consistent pattern, whether subject or supporting element, makes a picture feel more organized and less random.

My favorite thing about using a shallow DoF (Depth of Field) is you can take something very plain, like this concrete barrier thing, and focus on the most interesting part of it to make the whole thing far more appealing than it would be if you could see all the boring details clearly. You’re mind kind of just assumes the whole thing is as cool as this little bit you see clearly.

Well, I’ve reached the point that I know I should wrap this up before I get an sleepier and say something dumb/goofy. I hope you enjoyed the pictures/narrative. Let me know what you think down south in the comments section. Social links for Facebook and Twitter are up north. If you aren’t following the blog you could miss out on new stuff so be sure to do that while you’re here if you enjoy what I’m sharing. I love getting mentioned. That notification that someone mentioned me in a blog post makes my whole day, I love it when you tell your friends about me.

Anyways, that’s it. I’m signing off. Have a great Memorial Day weekend if you’re in the US. To all my other amazing friends scattered across the globe, have a great Sunday. God Bless -Arley








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