Gas from the Past

How many remember gasoline filling stations when regular gas was 18 cents per gallon? Thanks to an antique dealer near where we live, an original Shell Oil station has been renovated, with lots of red and yellow colors all over. Original pumps and other items are set up as they once were, and the only thing missing is people driving through filling up, while having their oil checked, windshields cleaned, and tires filled with air all at no charge except for that related to the amount of gas used. This all made for some interesting photo opportunities for me recently. Enjoy what I saw that day.

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Into the Sun

I like to make photos when the sun is in front of me, or off to one side, and my subjects in between are “backlit.” This is not simple to do, because first we were all taught when younger not to look directly at the sun, but when you position yourself such that you are in a shady spot, and the direct sunlight is reduced, you can get some nice results, especially with trees as the main subject. If your camera allows you to adjust your lens aperture, close the lens down (higher aperture number such as f22) and you will get a “sparkle” effect. Here are three examples I made recently.

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The Cross

There is a small-medium size Baptist Church located near our home, adjacent to a main 4-lane highway, that has a uniqueness to it that really makes it stand out. The members of the congregation decided a few years ago to erect a very large, corrugated metal, approximately 100 foot high white cross, adjacent to the church buildings. You may never see those buildings as you drive by, but you will certainly see the cross, and for many people that can be inspiring. Yesterday on a nice sunny day, with some fall vegetation colors still present, I decided to go visit the church and make some special photos so you all can see what I see all the time.

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Comparing Patterns

I made these two images with my iPhone 5s camera last week. In essence they were “targets of opportunity” because I did not have my main camera (Panasonic Lumix GX7) with me at the time. It was after I imported them for processing that I noticed a good comparison — man-made patterns and patterns in nature. Both make interesting photographic subjects. Takes a bit of luck at times — such as with the metal foot bridge — which had the sun shining exactly right to show the shadows on the decking of the bridge.

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Just for Fun

Making photos of colored pencils was not something I would have thought about on my own. But when I saw an article about a photographer who on an inclement weather day, decided to seek something original to photograph. His work making photos of colored pencils resulted and when I looked at his images I decided to give it a shot, and fortunately my wife Barb had a box of said pencils in her fully-stocked “craft” room. So, here’s what resulted. No where near as good as the photos I saw in the article, but fine by me — because it was all just for fun.

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Telling a Story through Photographs

Making photographs of old but still operating farms located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia has been and remains one of my favorite activities. One challenge I face when doing this is to try to find interesting compositions that tell a story, and in that regard it’s often difficult to do so with only one photograph. The first thing that caught my eye when I approached this white farm house nestled in a grove of trees at the top of a slight hill was the bright green tree standing out in contrast with the rest of the vegetation. But when I looked away from the house to the left, to the valley just below the hill from where it sat, I began to think about what living in that house was like today, but more about it would have been like living there years ago.

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At the bottom of the hill was a small pond, with three farm out-buildings located nearby. And jutting out on that small pond was a wooden dock, where I am sure many people young and old once sat seeking to catch that elusive big fish that always found a way to remain free. I could visualize sitting on that dock as the setting sun went behind mountain ridges off in the distance, hearing my mother shout from the back door of our home on the hill, to come for supper … NOW! But before leaving the fun I was having trying to catch that fish, I would have pulled my hook in, re-baited it with a fresh worm, tossed my line into the pond just one more time, praying for success. Coming home late to supper, but with a freshly caught fish in hand, might forestall any scolding I might have otherwise received. Even today, the pond looked so inviting to me that I had to walk around seeking different photographic perspectives. As I drove away, I kept thinking that living in this old farm would have been a joyful experience for me while growing up. And, I was thankful for finding the place, and for my camera for recording the scenes that made me feel that way.

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The Bog Garden

Some excellent city planning in Greensboro, NC, coupled with a strong environmental appreciation has made it possible for visitors to walk through a “bog garden” with a diverse amount of natural vegetation and wildlife. It is also a great location to make photos as I did recently. Here are several which I believe capture the essence of the place. Winding through the bog garden on wooden walkways offers great closeup views of natural vegetation.

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I found a sleeping owl in a nearby tree, and lots of ducks feeding along water ways that flow throughout the area.

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The setting sun helped make interesting patterns on the shallow, wet boggy portion of the garden.

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A Walk in the Park

Last week I went for a short walk in a park in Greensboro, NC, after returning home from the local Apple Store, where I had just purchased a new iPad Air. I was torn between my strong desire to get home as quickly as I could so I could test on my new device, which was to replace a much older and well used iPad. But, I had brought my camera bag along with me, and as I was driving home I passed a nice city park which I had visited several times before, and in which I knew existed some nice photo opportunities. So, I stopped … putting out of my mind momentarily the new iPad sitting in the nice plastic Apple Store shopping bag. So here are two photos I made to show you what I saw. As an aside, the new iPad Air is great!

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Rugged Trees

Sometimes non-color versions of original photos look better. In this case I used computer software (Silver Efex Pro) to transform color photos I made of these rugged trees located above 3500 feet in elevation in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Trees have to be hearty at this elevation to survive, given the harsh winters and high winds year around. These trees obviously did not make it, but they look old enough to have given it their best.

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