Having covered “Bustling” in an earlier post it is now time to turn our attention to “Bucolic.” Here are the five images I chose to represent the newest phase in my creative development.
Mason Jar Vase
This image was captured literally on the second day of Fujifilm X Series ownership and marks the beginning of my mirrorless evangelism. I didn't know the control layout, wasn't certain of any of my settings, and had no clue as to what various buttons and dials did, but that electronic viewfinder! Those legendary "Fujifilm colors!" That bokeh! There is a fizz you get with any new camera, but the fizz I was getting from that little X-T10 just felt different. Less "new toy" and more "paradigm shift." I think the results speak for themselves.
Take one slow moving river, add a 3-stop neutral density (ND) filter, and voila! The mundane becomes dreamy. Ask me about mirrorless and I’ll start throwing out words like “transformative,” but for me this is where the rubber really hits the road. I never got into shooting with neutral density filters because they are a pain to shoot with on DSLRs. You are literally blocking almost all of the light passing through the lens, which also means all of the light passing through the viewfinder.
Unless you’re shooting mirrorless, in which case the electronic viewfinder says, “No problem! I’ll just compensate for the near-complete absence of light and show you the scene not as it is but as it’ll be captured.” The DSLR method of 1) lock down the camera on a tripod, 2) lock focus and compose, 3) screw the ND filter on the lens, 4) press the shutter button is reduced in the mirrorless world to 1) lock down the camera on a tripod…<snip>… 4) press the shutter button.
Pilot Mountain Silhouette
Pilot Mountain is a 2,241 foot (683 m) peak in western North Carolina. The Big Pinnacle is a distinctively shaped knob that is bare on the sides and wooded at the top. Hanging Rock State Park is in the middle distance. It is a bitch to shoot in the early morning: the view from the scenic overlook has you staring straight into the morning sun regardless of the season, but having the whole mountain to yourself makes it all worthwhile.
A Duet of Fog and Rust
This 1956 Dodge D500 is a permanent resident of Historic Occoneechee Speedway in Hillsborough, NC. The #72 was donated to the Historic Speedway Group by Norman Horton in March 2015, but aside from knowing its driver was Norman Remington and its mechanic was Vernon Lloyd there is very little information about the vehicle online. I started photographing the D500 in the summer of last year, not knowing that I’d be documenting the artifact’s decline. Vandals and the terminally curious (i.e. “idiots”) have broken off several pieces of the car, opened the hood, which now refuses to close, and use it as a receptacle for empty beer cans.
This fading beauty deserves better and I hope I’ve captured her in the sunset of her years with dignity and respect.
Taken on the back straight of Historic Occoneechee Speedway. This image started life as a depth of field study, but it soon (as in: fifteen seconds after pressing the shutter button) became apparent that there was something more to it. This image epitomizes the theme of From Bustling to Bucolic better than any other: former city mouse, now country mouse, face down in the dirt on an ancient NASCAR racetrack, photographing a simple pine cone against a backdrop of soft browns and greens.
I miss my city streets, monumental architecture, memorials, and museums, but I have new vistas to explore and subjects to conquer (idea for the next series: photography as blood sport!). Starting over is never easy, especially when you’ve defined yourself as not being a certain type of photographer, but there is a joy and excitement to new beginnings that only comes from embracing the challenges rather than lamenting the losses.
From Bustling to Bucolic: Learning to See Anew is currently on display at the Mystery Brewing Company Public House, 230 South Nash st., Hillsborough, NC, through June 2016. Images are available for purchase at the pub or by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org