What Used To Be

What Used To Be

There are many things in this world that we photograph because it makes us feel good.  We think they are beautiful and we want to capture that beauty and refer back to it and share it with others.  It’s only natural to want to keep and remember the good things in life.

However, sometimes, we feel the need to capture something that is not so happy.  It’s not often that happens for me as I tend to try to keep myself surrounded by good things, but this was one of those things I felt I needed to photograph.

Over the years I photographed this location many times.  The first time I found it and shot it, I lost it as I didn’t’ know my way around the country roads very well.  It took me a whole season to find it again.  It was an old barn in a field and some of my very best early work came from standing on the side of the road shooting this barn.  I had always wanted to approach the farmer who owned it and get permission to get closer to it.  Go on the land and maybe even go inside it.

Being the shy person that I am (in person) I never did it.  I kept saying “someday” or “maybe next season”  but I never did.

Two years ago we had a  terrible thunder storm and the sky was lit up all night like a firework show.  The next morning my husband, who is a firefighter, came home exhausted and told me that they were fighting a barn fire all night long.  I asked where and he mentioned the general direction of my old barn.

I instantly went on alert.

“EXACTLY WHICH OLD BARN??” I asked.

He told me where it was and what the property looked like and I knew, down in the pit of my stomach that it was “my” barn.  I took a drive out there about a week later and found that it was burned completely to the ground.  I stood there with my camera in my hand and felt this incredible loss.  I had spent so much time shooting that old place, I had come to think of it as my own personal spot.  The place I went to when I needed some peace.  Some quiet.  Some alone.

Summer, 2010
Summer, 2010
Fall, 2010
Fall, 2010

I shed some tears for this place, and then finally, after all that time, I drove up the farmer’s lane.  I had printed 3 8X10’s of different shots I’d taken, and I was going to give them to him.

I was nervous to knock on his door, but I finally did it.  He was such a nice man and we had a good chat.  He didn’t know what to make of those photos, but he was happy to have them.  He pulled out some old books and showed me photos of when it was first built, a hundred years before.  In some way, he was glad for what happened, as it saved him the trouble of tearing it down.  I think I was more upset than he was.

I finally asked permission to get closer and he told me to go ahead.  So I did.  As I documented it while it was standing, so did I document it when it was nothing but ashes and pieces of burned nails, hinges and chicken wire.  I took photos of it all… and it was sad.  But I’m glad I finally did it..  I  only wished I had done it sooner.  I was amazed at the beautiful colours of the metal pieces I found!  As terrible as the fire and situation was, it sure is something to shift through the left over pieces.  There were nails EVERYWHERE and as much as I would have liked to get right down on the ground and take some shots, I didn’t dare, lest I end up with a large nail embedded in my knee!

Don’t put these things off.  And I’m not just talking about photography.  I’m talking about life.  You might always think there is going to be a next time or a tomorrow.. but you just never really will know for sure.

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If You Don’t know Me By Now

If You Don't know Me By Now

Winter is the much needed nature’s rest in between the periods of growth. A time for everything to sleep and get ready to produce again for a new season.

It’s during this time that I also usually notice a great slow down in the amount of photos I take. It’s either too cold, or too snowy and hard to get to a good location.

When winter starts out it’s fresh and crisp and brilliant, but as it goes on, for such a very long time, it starts to become oppressive and depressing. There is very little colour in our world in the winter, and most of the time when the sky is blue, it’s extremely cold out.

This winter has been no exception – we’re receiving higher than average snow falls and I see my friends in other places starting to post photos of new budding trees and flowers while we have 4 feet of snow on the ground here still.

Shooting in the winter creates it’s own challenges that many may never have the opportunity to face.

First of all you have to deal with the never ending white. And that is exactly what it is here – white on white on white. Whether the sun is shining or not – white can be tricky to shoot and still maintain detail.

You can even become snow blind, meaning that you can’t even see the snow formations or textures with your eyes… it all becomes a virtual white out, even though the weather is clear. There are no shadows to tell you what is ahead of you. All you can see is an expanse of white.

This winter I spent more time than ever out shooting in the snow and I have found a new appreciation for winter photography. Winter photography can be wonderful for making minimalist compositions, something that I have really enjoyed this winter, and I am learning all the time to spot new possibilities in the white. I have found shooting with my histogram invaluable for shooting in the Great White Nothing, because, really, using your view screen is never the best way to judge your exposure, but in the white, it’s important to make sure that you are not blowing your whites out, because if you do, you’ll never get that detail back. When your photo is all white… it’s easy to lose that detail.

However much, though, that I’ve enjoyed shooting winter this year, I am ready for it to be over. Come on spring.. bring us some warm sun! 😉

Feeling My Way Around

Oh My Gosh!  I’m actually starting a Photography Blog!!  I have no idea what I’m doing yet, so if you’ve stopped by you’ll notice that I’m not quite dressed and ready to receive company yet, so you’ll have to excuse me!  I hope you’ll come back soon, after I’ve (hopefully) got things all figured out!!!

 

See you soon!!

 

Me In A Silly Hat