I live in a very small rural town that at times, can be photographically boring. But, that’s what makes it photographically challenging as well. I really have to hunt sometimes for things to shoot close to home. This feed mill sits on my town’s main drag and is just down the street from my house. It’s large, it’s ugly, it’s noisy and it stinks on the days that they are grinding. But, I knew in my heart of photographic hearts that there was an interesting image nestled somewhere in all that ugliness.
On this day, I turned on my vision and really studied this structure. I walked up to it, I backed away from it and all the while, walked around it. As I was about to give up and walk home, I rounded the last corner of the building and looked up. There it was. The image I’d been looking for. A silhouette of not the whole building, but just one part, one piece of that ugly puzzle. I adjusted my F-stop down to the smallest size and moved until the late afternoon sun was peeking out from one beam. By doing this, I knew that a sunburst effect would occur, giving my ugly feed mill a small bit of beauty.
The real beauty came, though, during the editing process. There was virtually no color to this otherwise spectacular shot of a mundane object. I hit the sepia button on my editor and loved the golden color it gave the image. It was then that I noticed the little bird perched high atop the mill looking down at me. Mocking me. Laughing at me, wondering why in the world I would want to take a picture of an ugly old feed mill? If only that little bird could see this feed mill now.
Moral of this story is – don’t ever underestimate where you live. There is beauty in every yard, town or back alley that you may call home. You just have to study it. In all kinds of light and all kinds of weather. Put on your vision glasses and grab your camera. Go for a walk and drink in the possibilities, shooting everything you never thought would make a good photograph. Really work your subject. I think you will be pleasantly surprised, just as I was.