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Monochromes. January 7, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death, Politics and Society.
Tags: , , , , ,

I just read a magazine article about monochrome photography and thought, “That’s what that farm in Williamstown was like.”

I got out there this past Thursday, turned into an untracked driveway, looked for signs of life.

No one.

Just an array of barns and out-buildings standing dream-like in the swirling snow:

Weathered barns and decaying fences told of a former life:

So many doors, which lead to who remembers where?

And now, they’re trellises for whatever vinaceous species seek out their support:

The wood weathering, the rest rusting it’s way through the years:

And beyond their walls, the Berkshires watch it happen:

All of these are Elliot’s work, with a bit of jostling and jiggering from me.  The weather was wet and windy and I couldn’t get too fancy, but I used some hand-held filters in some of these.

The result of the ubiquitously gray palette and the flat light are all monochromes,  though only one of them is actually rendered in black and white.  I think of monochromes as photos with shallow but enticing palettes and dynamic ranges, though that last one stretches the “range” part a bit.

I really liked the way Elliot worked this day, getting both the architectural shots and the details.  I felt in control of what we were doing.

It occurred to me on the carry back to the car that I’d gotten pretty close to some of my subjects, and  I wondered about Elliot’s minimum focusing distance.  I hadn’t previously thought of him as a close-up lens, and didn’t really know how close I could get with him.

As a matter of investigation, I took this photo of a wide-board fence grown over with lichen, which will reduce it to compost in a season:

The blog doesn’t do the detail justice, but it’s pretty good at well under a foot.

This lens  continues to surprise me.  The more  I use it, the more uses I see for it.  This last photo is an example of something extra Elliot can do, as is that first shot, where I seriously restricted the plane  of sharp focus rather than trying to extend it, turning it vertically to draw the eye to the ladder and loft and softly falling snow.

For Elliot (and for me,) this was a good day.


1. Bob - January 7, 2012

Good day, indeed! Thanks for sharing your explorations (both geographic and camera-aic[?]).

Oh, and the snow. 😉

2. Lisa Golden - January 7, 2012

The effect of the first photo gives it an almost 3D look. I’m a fan of limited palettes. These are composed beautifully.

3. littlebangtheory - January 7, 2012

Cuz, my camera-aic explorations into camerology might at times seem like cammhoragic excess, but I seem to be wired with an eye toward camerosity…

We’ll have to delve into my innate geocentrocity at some temporally subsequent point… 😉

Lisa, that first photo is how I think our eyes actually see things, a bit at a time, knitting them into a cogent scene with the world’s most amazing processor. We look through power lines to appreciate the landscape beyond without registering the interference.

I think being really selective about what a photograph delivers (which is entirely counter-intuitive to my efforts thus far) is an avenue of expression I’d like to pay more attention to.

I’m glad you liked the compositions; I spent most of my session focusing on just that aspect of my afternoon’s work.

4. julianhoffman - January 10, 2012

Love this series for the strict and beautiful tones, but also for the stories caught up in a length of rusted wire, the wild, trellised vines and missing planks. It’s like turning the pages of book, this looking closely at barns – it fills them with rich histories that I find myself thinking about for some time. To a creative and joyful year at its beginning…

5. littlebangtheory - January 10, 2012

julian, thanks for noticing. When I get appreciative notes from a writer and photographer with your talent, I’m both pleased and humbled.

(Really, people, go to Notes from Near and Far at http://julian-hoffman.com/ to see what I mean!)

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