Friday, March 30, 2012

Belt Drive

2501-05hdrpsnx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
Machinery fascinates me. I'm sure this fascination was fostered by a couple of factors: Dad had a farm equipment dealership when I was growing up and I have been a farmer all my life, so I have always been around machines. I'm naturally mechanically inclined having designed and built a number of pieces of farm equipment including a pulling tractor. So throw in some old equipment to tie together my interests of machines, photography and history and I'm in a fun place. The horse era was during my Grandfathers time, which is the waning era these photos represent. Keep in mind that at this time, much of the economy, including agriculture and transportation, was still horse powered. But not for long! In a few short decades, life had drastically changed.

These images capture cutting edge technology of the day. Almost all of the machinery on the top floor of the old Silk Mill is powered by single electric motor. I would wager all of the machinery on this floor was originally powered by that single motor. A few rows of machines on one end of the factory floor appears to be newer and each line was powered by it's own, smaller electric motor. More on that in a future post. The power was transmitted down the length of the building via two drive lines attached to the ceiling: One drive line powered the rows of machines on each side of the main, center isle. The direction of rotation had to be reversed from one side to the other, which was the purpose of the figure eight belt in the top photo. The large pulleys and belts seen here and used to transmit power was typical of the early 1900's. Farm equipment from the same era used similar shafts, pulleys, belts and bearings. This type of power transmission was a carry-over from steam powered engines days. It was how things were done in that rapidly changing era of the Industrial Age prior to WWI. When the Silk Mill addition was built around WWII, the power trains had evolved and I will post an example of later.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Good Morning

3660-66hdrpsnx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

We had fog every morning last week- an unusual occurrence. I took this on my way to work one morning as the sun was starting to break through the fog.

Monday, March 26, 2012


_DSC3562_DxOpssa 72dpi(c), originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

Continuing to explore the painterly look. My grandfather gave me a cutting when I was perhaps 7 or 8 years old and I've been fond of forsythia ever since. The reflection in the window is what drew me to this image.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Tree Color

For about a week every spring, just before the green leaves emerge, the local trees are full of color. Some years much more so than in the fall, which I find fascinating. I took this image yesterday morning at the local pond just as the fog was lifting.

Due to a light breeze the water was rippled and the trees were moving so I resorted to dialing up the Vari-n-duo neutral density filter to attain a several second exposure to smooth the reflection in the water out a bit. The exposure was very flat due to the fog, so I went Topaz Adjust for correction. For the fluttery tree parts I painted in a low opacity of Snap Art Impasto, a tip I picked up from John Barclay. A few NIK filters through in along the way. Unfortunately, I have an older 70-200 f2.8 Sigma that is a bit soft and the Blue Heron was not as sharp as hoped for- maybe he moved a bit during the long exposure. So I finished off with a bit of diffusion from Red Giant Photo Looks to compensate for the softness. Lot of moves in the "darkroom", but it was a fun exercise.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Green Conduit

2515-19hdrpsplnx 72dpi(c), originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

Another fav from the silk mill. I was drawn by the "S" curves in the conduit. It seems that level of craftsmanship is nearly lost these days. It is fun to imagine what the place looked like 50 years ago before the paint cracked and fell off.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Donna's Flowers

IMG_0230, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

The early spring flowers are coming and going in a hurry this year! Snapped this little scene of my wife's flowers last evening when I got home after work. Capture- iPhone4s:6x6 Process- AutoPainter, Painteresque, Snapseed, Blender, Photoforge2, Impression.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Textured Blossom

_DSC3410_DxOps 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

The blossoms in the church parking lot were at their peak last Sunday. What better opportunity to work my Lensbaby and try some texture overlays? This my first tentative attempt. Looks like plenty of adventure ahead.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tiny Flower, Black & White

Flower2-Donnie Fulks-AS, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

While trolling through the files for something to take to the Photo Club critique, I found this one from last spring. My wife has a print of the color version (deep blue) hanging in the great room. I wondered, What if it was Black and White? A quick trip to Silver EfexPro resulted in this low key, high contrast version to accentuate the white blossom ends. I added a hint of Glamor Glow to the white areas.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Three Brothers

_DSC1772_DxOpsnx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
Another from the Yosemite visit this winter. Here is a vintage look via Snapseed:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Smokies Morning

This is from my trip to the Smokies last spring while on a workshop lead by Tony Sweet. I realized last night that I have several days worth of photos from that trip that I have not yet processed. Maybe I should not take any pictures for a year so I can get caught up?
This stitched pan is from several vertical shots taken with a Really Right Stuff pan head and rail. I got a little carried away as the complete set of files yielded a panorama that would have printed about 6 feet long. The 600mb file had my 8GBs of RAM stretched pretty thin as Photoshop was chewing (well, chocking) on it. I cropped it down to this portion to be more manageable. I love color in teh sky.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Snaped and Seeded

I am a big fan of the soft and textured flower look. I'm trying some things to get a feel for it as flowers are starting to bloom here. This one has some Snap Art and Snapseed treatments, hence the post title.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Yosemite Clearing Storm

The valley had become socked in under heavy clouds and fog as the afternoon wore on during our last afternoon there. We had planned to leave early enough to swing by the big trees, but the snow had closed the road to the grove. I thought we might as well head out and stop at Tunnel View, hoping the light would be better at the higher elevation. I had read that a clearing storm often yielded the best photography conditions.

Sure enough, the conditions unfolded in dramatic fashion. The sun was dropping, the clouds moving, fog lifting and excitement was rising. Would the clouds shift enough before the sun set? We were in the line with quite a few other photographers wondering and waiting when I thought to look around behind us. I spotted this high on the ridge. The moment lasted just long enough to change the lens.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Almost Spring Flower Time

_DSC0430_DxOpso1nxsaB 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

The first, tiny wild flowers have started to bloom in the fence rows. The topic at this month's photo club critique happens to be Macro Flowers which sent me searching through my archives. From last April I found a few poppy flowers, including this one. Much to my disappointment, this image was not quite tack sharp. So I added some Impasto from Snap Art and the border from Perfect Photo.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Nature Laughs Last

2961-67hdrpspl 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

With so much of the glass broken out of the windows and the roof leaking the sun is setting on the old mill building. If there is one thing I know as a farmer, it is this natural law: Nature laughs last. Left to the natural coarse of time, things decay to be remade again. Sure, we can delay or even reverse the inevitable for a time, but sooner or later nature will prevail. I was reminded of this when I saw the leaves strewn across the floor.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Light Bulb Revisited

3053-55hdr3pso1nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

This is the same bulb in the previous post, but captured with my Nikon. While my intent with the iPhone was a very graphic look, I envisioned more photographic look here. I made several versions using different plug-ins in Photoshop and liked this result using OnOne for the creative interpretation. The general adjustments were accomplished with NIK plug-ins.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Light it Up

IMG_9974 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

This old light bulb has been the subject of many photographers at the silk mill. I suspect it is the reflections that draw most to it. On my last visit, I finally checked this one off my bucket list. I found the bulb on the workbench in the basement and placed it on this old bin of parts. Processing involved capturing a HDR set on my iPhone 4s. I processed the background and the bulb separately in various apps and then painted the two files back together in Filterstorm.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Red Shoes

_DSC2672_DxOpso1nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

I finished going through my files from the first day of the most recent two day trip to the Silk Mill. These red shoes are among a few pairs of shoes that were left behind when the mill closed over 50 years ago. Donna had been after me for months to take a picture of these. After our December visit together when she made some nice captures, I was motivated to make my own. Naturally, the red shoes seem to get preferential treatment by photographers due to the vibrant color. As my friend John Barclay often says, "If it is red, shoot it."

I set the shoes in a chair in the main stairwell which shares the elevator shaft. Lighting consisted of natural light and off camera Speedlight fitted with a grid for the narrow shaft of light on the subject. I used a few filters from Topaz, NIK and OneOne to get the look I had envisioned.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Snapseed for the Desktop

Snapseed has become my go-to app for iPhone/iPad photos. So I've been thinking it would be fantastic if photo editing would as fun and easy on "regular computers" as it is on the iPhone. This week NIK Software released Snapseed for Windows (also available for the Mac) and thought I'd give it a go on a recent Nikon capture. I'm still working on this scene in Photoshop, but I like how quick and easy the results were with Snapseed on my laptop. I used one of the Vintage filters and couple of Frames options. I think this stand alone application is going to be a big hit with the general public and photo enthusiasts alike, especially those not using the iPhone platform for pictures. Sorry Sylvia, if this just set you back $19.99.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Light in a Bottle

Last weekend I made another run to the Silk Mill in Lonaconing, Maryland. It was my fifth visit there. Thanks to Tony Sweet for organizing these events. Our group consisted of about a dozen very talented photographers. While much of the time we shoot solo, there are always collaborative efforts at image making. The scene in today's blog is the result of one of those fun moments. Tony brought his fancy flashlights, along with some light modifiers, to do some light painting. The bottle was illuminated with a small flashlight during a 6 to 8 second long exposure. The technique involves a rapid series of light movements- hence the term "light painting"- literally painting the scene with light. Each resulting exposure is a bit different. This one was made up of two captures that I blended together in Photoshop.