The Forlorn Farmhouse

This old farm house stands proudly on a hill in north Texas, watching as the approaching suburbs of Dallas slowly consume the open pasture lands that once stret...
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This old farm house stands proudly on a hill in north Texas, watching as the approaching suburbs of Dallas slowly consume the open pasture lands that once stretched for miles in every direction. Soon this structure, like the way of life it once supported, will vanish from the landscape.
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Contest Finalist in Isolated Cabins Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Abandoned Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Covers Photo Contest Vol 45
Peer Award
Top Choice
Absolute Masterpiece
Superb Composition
Magnificent Capture
All Star
Outstanding Creativity

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Behind The Lens

This old farm house is located in North Texas on a private ranch north of Dallas. A fellow photographer and friend of mine knew of it from previous scouting trips in the area and tracked down the owner of the land and gained permission to take the long walk across his land out to where this house stood.
This is an early February sunset shot, so the sun was already going down by around 7pm. The sun was still up in the sky in this shot, just obscured by the barely standing structure of the house, so probably 15 minutes or so before official 'sunset' time. You can see just a hint of the sun's full strength light trying to peer out from around the right hand side of the house as it's arc across the sky slides a bit further to the north as it slowly sets.
All natural light, the foreground and shadow face of the house are comprised of a brighter frame within a bracketed set of 3 images I took of this composition to get the full dynamic range needed to bring out the details from the brightest light to deep shadow. The 3 shots were taken at 1.66 EV spacing.
This photo was shot with one of my favorite combinations, the awesome Canon 16-35 F4L along with my trusty Canon 6D body. This combination was mounted atop my larger tripod, a carbon fiber Induro 300 series. Locked down tight, this tripod can easily hold the lens and body combination steady in far worse conditions than what I was shooting in on this evening.
First and foremost it was enjoyable to go out shooting with a couple friends at a new location that none of us had ever been to. The discovery of compositions, sharing of visions and thoughts and shots is one of the collaborative elements of photography that I truly enjoy. This particular composition I felt was the strongest of the worn structure itself, and had the added benefit of being directly in line with the setting sun. With the sun setting behind it, but choosing to bracket the shot for full foreground detail, the finished image has a defiant feel to it. The building showing all its scars, its flaws, but still standing proudly against the Texas landscape with a fiery halo of the setting sun behind it. This was the feeling and story that I wanted to tell with this image and feel I was able to capture it well.
This photo is a combination of 3 frames taken on location and then processed in Lightroom and combined in Photoshop for dynamic range. The blending was done manually with a set of layer masks created with both selections and brush tools. Editing steps were taken to ensure that each region of the photo, from the foreground grass to the background sky, aided in a sense of both depth, and told the story that I wanted to portray. More contrast and sharpness in the front, while keeping the sky softer with some glow to the colors of the setting sun.
In my camera bag
My Canon 6D bodies are most often paired with either the 16-35 F4L for wide angle shots, or the 70-200 F4L for longer telephoto compositions. Beyond these two main lenses, the new Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 often stays in the bag along with my set of excellent Breakththrough X4 ND filters. Strapped to the bag is either my MeFoto Globetrotter Carbon for lighter weight and longer treks, or the Induro tripod when the needs call for a rock steady base.
First, any time you're out looking for abandoned structures to shoot, I highly recommend tracking down the land owner and gaining permission first. At best you'll avoid a possible run in with the law upon your return, at worst you might not know about the bull that really doesn't take kindly to strangers. For the shot, finding the balance of getting plenty of sky yet keeping the subject - the house - from becoming too small and overly distorted, the focal length for this shot ended up not being at the widest end of the lens, but somewhere around 20mm. This focal length captured the right balance and transition of clouds and light in the sky out to the blue at the edges as well, which was important for the feeling of framing around the main structure.

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