Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

TALA Medical Donnie Fulks AS, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
I recently visited this defunct asylum, located in Weston, West Virginia. I had wanted to visit for over a year...as long as they let me out at the end of the day!

The institution opened in 1864. By the 1950's 2400 patients resided there. In 1994 ithe state closed it. The main building ( there are several buildings to the large complex) is the largest cut stone building in the US. It is said to be the second largest such builing in theworld after the Kremlin.

It was recently privately purchased and is open as a tourist attraction. My I primary interest was in photography there. My friend, Don Rosenburger, leads the photo tours there a couple of times a year. Don did a fantastic job taking us to several buildings and pointing out various photo opportunities to explore.

Today's image was taken on the ground floor of the medical building. This was one of the last images I took during my visit there. My immediate thought was this would be a great BW scene.

My files are piling up, with many to process from this shoot. Hopefully I can share one or two more before I travel to the Smokie Mountains this weekend.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tolare Farm Show

Staying with the B/W theme for another couple of posts. I considered submitting this photo to the last club critique, but only three are allowed and I reluctantly left this one out.

I attended a professional conference February before last that included a day at the Tolare Farm Show in California- the largest farm exobition in the world. Thousands of people attend every day to this fantastic event. It is so large it is impossible to see all of the exhibits in one day. I sure tried hard to do so. The food was just as outstanding, but that is another story.

I had thought to give myself a photo project for the fun of it. I wondered how do I tell a story about farm equipment when the place is wall to wall people, as far as the eye can see? After an hour or so I had the idea to take close ups of equipment parts and pieces. I stowed the Nikon and whipped out the iPhone for the ease of creating a story on the fly.

The upper left image is a close up of a forage chopper cutter head. This was on a huge self propelled John Deere model with a 500 plus horse power engine. The upper right shot is of the largest disk blades on a very heavy disk harrow I've ever seen. The blades were close to four feet in diameter. The lower right shows an irrigation pump impeller. This vendor had a cut away model to show their advanced design. Lastly, the lower left image is of a tractor track tread. Most tractors have tires, but the largest models typically offer tracks for better flotation and less compaction that certain conditions warrant.

As the sun was setting we wearily got back on the tour bus. Who knows how many miles we walked that day? The group was going to dinner at a vineyard/reception place. We wondered if we could eat another bite after the two or three tri tip and ribeye sandwiches we devoured at the farm show that day.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Silk Mill File Revisit

Silk Mill Donnie Fulks AS, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

This month at the photo club was Black and White critiques. I chose this image as one of my submissions. Captured on one of my visits the winter before last.

It is always fun to revisit older files and rework them, as I did here. While I was happy with the original result done in Silver Efex, my understanding of Black & White has grown to appreciate more contrast. NIK Vivaza made it easy to arive at the desired result. The original picture had severe distortion in the lines of the building from the wide lens. I used DxO ViewPoint, which I've come to really like, to "straighten out" the building.

It is good to revisit the past and make new again.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Snow and the Square Format

Spring Snow Donnie Fulks AS, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
Finally Spring weather has arrived in time for the second week of April. I captured this image in late March, on the first day of Spring as I recall.

This old shed is on our farm. I have been looking at it for 40 years, thinking there must be a picture there somewhere. Finally during the last snow of the season it came together for me. I just could not organize the scene to my liking in a rectangular format.

Shooting this in the square format everything fell into place. I like square- it seems easier for me to compose in than rectangular often times. Part of my struggle with the rectangular format seems to have something to do with the fact that I am left handed. It tends to make me see things from right to left. That goes against the accepted grain. English is written and read from left to right. Most books on composition indicate visual flow is also left to right, as a general rule. So when I compose an image I have this subconscious tension between how I want to see it and how it is "supposed to be". But in the square format, that issue seems to go away for me.

There was one other factor about this image I have to credit John Barclay for; The idea of showing only half a barn. Our paradigms are crazy things sometimes. Until I saw John compose beautiful landscapes showing only a part of a barn it never occurred to me to see it that way.