“Forgotten” Alberta, Canada – Dave Mitchell – Guest Photographer
When I saw this photo I couldn’t help, but think how isolated this image feels. If you ever wondered where the middle of nowhere is, then wonder no more. I get the feeling this place is still haunted by ghosts that wear overalls and smoke corncob pipes. Dave does a beautiful job capturing the essence and continues to shoot beautiful landscapes on his Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/simplyimaging/ If you would like to see what he is up to then check out his blog that is full of technical advice and quick tips: www.simplyimaging.wordpress.com
Here is Dave…
On a township road near Drumheller, Alberta, Canada one mid-morning in early November, I was traveling when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an old abandoned farmhouse. It was something that one could easily miss since it was at the bottom of a “vee” formed by two rolling hills about two miles in the distance, and so it was only visible along a short stretch of the road. At the speed I was going, which wasn’t too fast, I had to back up my truck to get it into view once again, and did so until the house was precisely at the bottom of the vee.
For a better vantage point, I stood at the top of the truck box. I didn’t have a tripod, but my Pentax K20D had in-body shake reduction for my Pentax SMC-A 70-210 mm f/4 lens (automatic aperture, but manual focus), which was needed since I was fully zoomed in at 210 mm, the equivalent of 315 mm on a full-frame sensor. Not only did this focal length allow me to enlarge the house, but it allowed compression of the hills from foreground to background, their different hues of yellow and brown creating a layered effect. I was thankful that the sky was slightly overcast as this eliminated any harsh shadows common to the low sun angle in this part of the world in mid-autumn. I didn’t want to bump up the ISO too much since I wanted to preserve detail and minimize noise, so I chose ISO 200, which allowed me to hand-hold using f/5.6 aperture at 1/640 sec. shutter speed. For the record, I used aperture-priority mode, which I use almost exclusively for all of my photography. I believe that I also used multi-segment metering, my favorite for landscape photography. There were also no filters attached to the lens.
I imported the photo into Adobe Lightroom 3 and noticed the default contrast at +25 to be somewhat low, so I bumped it to +50. The colors were also a little dull with a greyish hue, so I also slightly increased the saturation to +10. My favorite modification, however, was done quite by accident as I dragged the Clarity slider to the left; as I pulled it nearly all the way back to -95, it added a dreamy, vintage sort of effect that seemed to make the four hill “layers” more distinct. I also like how these simple modifications did little to the house, making it literally pop from its surroundings.
Viewing the result, I decided to title the photo “Forgotten” because the house appears lost in its surroundings. It is by no means a beautiful photo, but it has become my favorite because of the mood it creates in me whenever I view it; there’s a tension in my mind between the peaceful serenity of the landscape and bittersweet nostalgia as I consider who might have once lived in the house and why they had to abandon it.
Share and Enjoy