Rust of Time

A locked, rusted and long-since-forgotten container near some power lines.

A locked, rusted and long-since-forgotten container near some power lines.
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2 Comments | Report
Bevis_Sturman August 12, 2016
This is great. I have been trying to get a series of similar shots together myself. I like the rugged decay of rust and dirt. It tells a story in itself. Great shot!
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eelcovanroden November 29, 2020
Congratulations on your Challenge Win!
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Behind The Lens

My work site offers quite a few opportunities and challenges for potential subjects. Some days I don't see much, other days I see the same thing in a different light or a different frame of mind. This was one of those days. I must have walked past this rusted post hundreds of times without paying it much mind, then one day it almost jumped out and said "photograph me!"
It was late afternoon, nearing 7pm. The light was slowly fading but still had enough bite to light up the corrosion on the cusp of Golden Hour, which is what caught my eye. The mid-afternoon sun gave off too much glare, while overcast days rendered it a forgettable subject. But the beautiful late-afternoon light is what set this image off.
I know I stated a little about lighting already, but I learned a touch of "evening gold" can do wonders for many pictures, and simple rust took on an appealing hue in the golden light. The lock ran parallel to the fading sun, so it was bathed in rays from the front, from where I took several pictures from several different angles.
Well, on this point I have to admit. I was still searching for the perfect DSLR camera for me (which turned out to be the Nikon D5300 by the way), so this was shot entirely with my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone. I didn't use the flash as there was enough light to do the job. I cropped it to avoid any potential background noise, which there wasn't any that was too noticeable. Just a smartphone, a steady hand and an eye for angles was all I used for this image.
The setting sun has a way of unveiling subjects that otherwise wouldn't be noticed. This was that occasion. The way the golden light gently kissed the post was what did it for me. Most of the time it was passed-by unnoticed due to over and underexposed conditions. This time the light said, "This is it. Take your best shot".
I always post proccess my work, usually simply with Windows Photo Gallery, but more recently with Nikon NX software. This was done with just the basics. I love to turn down the highlights to add the small details that the light can keep veiled. I bring down the shadows a bit to give it more depth, while raising the brightness slightly to compensate. A hint of sharpness as well and I'm mostly done. Honestly, the colors you see in the image didn't quite do it justice, as the rust color was deeper and redder as I saw it. I raised contrast ever-so-slightly and deepened the colors a fraction. Although it didn't quite match the subject as I saw it, in regards to depth of color, it was pretty close and I was pleased with the result.
In my camera bag
At the time of this image, not much. My trusty Samsung Galaxy Note 5 was what I was using. I have since expanded my arsenal to a Nikon D5300. I carry a couple lenses, including the Nikkor 105mm 2.8 VR Macro Lens, and the Nikkor 50mm 1.8 prime. I carry a Nikon SB-700 Speedlight and have recently purchased Neewer LED flex lights for nighttime (and overcast) macro work. I do have a tripod, the Vivitar that came with my camera bundle, but it isn't up to snuff and will be one of the next things I upgrade... along with a larger camera bag. I can't rely on a tripod for outdoor macro working with insects, as they don't "pose" too long before they're gone, so all my photo's are taken by hand using a flash in Aperture Priority.
I once told my wife 14 years ago, "I can never take any pictures with a camera, I'm hopeless at it. They all turn out blurry!" Looking back on that statement I think I have come a long way since then, and it's had everything to do with attitude and passion. I suddenly found the "desire" to take better pictures, so I learned through trial and many errors what worked and what didn't. It's easy to get discouraged when I bring home 200 good photos on my DSLR, upload them to my computer only to see most of them out of focus, focused in the wrong spot, or just generally over/underexposed. That does irritate me and can get me down, but then I ask myself, "So what did I do wrong, and how can I correct this next time?" This gives me something to look forward to and encourages me to play with camera settings to achieve desired results. Usually I can correct a problem, or at the very least, I understand why it is happening. I recommend patience, keep challenging yourself to keep it interesting. Try taking photographing many different angles of a subject. Try different lighting conditions and times of day. Remember, EVERYTHING can be a potential subject, no matter how mundane you might think it is, you just have to experiment to make it interesting. With my rusty image, different lighting did the trick. All you have to do is experiment while keeping it fun! Oh and if you haven't already, definitely take a photography course (or many) to understand your camera better so you will take better pictures, in all kind of environments and situations. That can't hurt either... I did and I learned a lot. Good luck and happy shooting!

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