As I travel around seeking to find photo-worthy (now that’s an interesting word, eh?) opportunities for my camera lens, I will start making photos in one location, only to find something different nearby which I had not earlier seen. That’s the case here with these two images. I had targeted an old house which had an interesting architectural style, when I noticed that behind the home there was an old storage shed that was, well, full of clutter. In fact, the shed was literally falling down…thus creating more clutter. People were still living in the home and I did not know if they were there as I was wandering around their property. Thankfully, they were not. There was such a contrast between the relatively nice looking home and the items in the back yard, that I wondered why they kept it that way. Maybe they figured no one would see the clutter…but I did, and I think it made for some interesting photography.
Author Archives: Michael Morgan
I believe it’s important in photography to seek to capture different contrasts in many of your images. Here are two examples. First, the rusty fire extinguisher apparatus with contrasting green vines growing around, and the second with cut logs contrasted behind yellow and green vegetation. Your eye has to see this first, and that’s the key to success…if such is your objective.
Positioning yourself with camera in hand, such that objects are reflected off water surfaces makes for an interesting photograph…even when simple subjects are concerned. These two photos were made along a canal path near an old cotton mill in North Carolina. The canal once brought water for use in the factory. Today, it serves as the central aspect along a nice walking path. I like the one with the bridge in the background best.
I found an old building that had once been a gas station and is now vacant. However, there is still evidence that it was operating not too long ago…whether at a profit or not I do not know. The building itself was nothing special in terms of photographic impact, but there were a couple of items still hanging on the brick wall that caught my eye. Two of them are documented here. I take no responsibility for advertising smoking…I just liked the guy’s rugged face on the faded sign.
The best time to make images of plants and flowers is right after it’s been raining, and the sun pops out from behind dark clouds. The sunlight and drops of water on leaves and flower petals makes for a special photo. In this case I captured two scenes, the first of our now-blooming Rhododendron bush next to the house, and the second of a small Lilly of the Valley plant which is just starting to spread. Next time it rains give this technique a shot…it may be worth your while.
Here in the United States this structure may be called “the outhouse”, or “privy.” And, although I have never heard it referred to as such, an “earth closet.” In New Zealand they are known as “long drops” and that’s a pretty good description. Definitions all courtesy of Wikipedia…which is never wrong. Anyway, on my photo trips I am always on the lookout for old, deserted structures. In the case of old homes, I sometimes wander around the outside of the main building seeing what I can see. If I am lucky, I’ll find an old privy, and if I am really lucky it will be leaning a bit, with door open, surrounded by dense vegetation. I got lucky here. I could have gotten closer and made additional images from different angles, but I noted that the vegetation was home to numerous ticks which I had no desire to visit. Imagine one heading outside to the family outhouse in the middle of the night in the summer given said ticks. Thank for Lord for indoor plumbing!
I am a “collector” of photographic images of old doors and windows. Wherever I travel about on photo trips I am always on the look out for anything unique in those categories. Here is one such image I made recently. Other than the colorful paint, the fact that the window shutters and frame appear to have been constructed long ago by hand, made the window stand out to me. Whenever I make such images, I wonder as I am “looking in” with my camera, whether or not a pair of eyes are “looking out” at me. Spooky in a way, and I sometimes imagine the wispy curtains moving slowly…thinking who knows what lurks behind. Whatever, I got a nice image!
These tulips in full bloom are certainly beautiful and as a group could be considered the center of attention in this image. However, when I saw them backed by a small body of water I positioned myself such that the tall-stemmed purple tulip stood out on the dark water. That single flower became the center of attention for my composition. The fact there were shadows of nearby trees reflected on the water made the image even better. You may want to keep this rule at hand when making your own photos…have a center of attention.
I bet a lot of you have had something like the photo image below sitting on your kitchen cabinet counter…sometime “after the party.” Not so in our case in years, but in the past such was a frequent experience on many weekend mornings. In Germany, for example, we used to gather for wine tasting parties (well, maybe more than just tasting) and it was hardly acceptable to serve such excellent beverages in anything but glass. The problem afterwards was cleaning up the evidence of the festivities. The wine glasses we had in Germany were much fancier than these show here, and they were much more expensive, given the motivation of many of our wives to purchase as many European-made crystal glasses as possible…various sizes, shapes, purpose…quantity was all that counted. I remember one family we served with in Karlsruhe Germany who (probably) set a record for the number of shipping container dish-packs when they moved back state-side. We had our share of dish-packs too, but nowhere near the record. These crystal glasses of ours sit largely unused in a cabinet today, their insides filled mostly with dust instead of recent memories of holding some sort of tasty beverage. I have to say that if we were to have a party today, there would be much less” after the party” clean-up involved, because plastic or paper would have ruled over crystal.
As an aside, I made this photo through the front window of a nearby community activity center. I assume no one was that much concerned with clearing up “after the party.” The scene made for an interesting photo, however, so I am glad they were not so motivated.
I read today that only two percent of the clothing we wear in the United States today is made here. China, Vietnam and Bangladesh largely provide the rest. It’s not always been that way, and in fact as recently as the 1990s the American textile industry was vibrant and productive. Much of that industry was centered in North Carolina and Southern Virginia. For example, Dan River Mills in Danville, Virginia had the largest cotton mill in the world at one time. Today, these famous icons of American industry have been shuttered, and most of their plants either sit vacant or have been demolished. Below are two photos of Spray Cotton Mills in North Carolina which was closed in 2001 after 105 years of steady operation. What remains today may not be an asset to the community in which it is located, but to us photographers it’s a treasure just waiting for our inspection…and resultant images. As an aside, I think the vegetation growing on top of the tower in the first photo tells a story of “life after death.”