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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Fourteen: Expressing the meaning of buildings and structures > Old Barn, near Wellington, Nevada, 2004
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Old Barn, near Wellington, Nevada, 2004

Caved in roof and all, this old Sierra stone barn speaks of a time long past. I photographed it in a fierce wind, which churns the autumn sage into frenzy at my feet. Instead of shooting the barn and using its environment as context, I shoot its overwhelming environment, and use the barn as context. Without the brilliant colors and and flying branches of the heather threatening to engulf it, this picture would be little more than literal description. I am expressing the longevity of this barn by stressing its colorful setting. It is wild, grasping, and virtually all consuming. Yet somehow the barn has outlasted all attempts to obliterate it. Damaged as it may be, it still endures.

Canon PowerShot G6
1/400s f/4.0 at 10.2mm full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis05-Apr-2005 04:42
Good point, Benchang. If I had a tripod with me I could have used a shutter speed slow enough to blur the moving bush. But I did not have one-- in fact, I seldom travel with a tripod because I am constantly shifting my vantage points and using a tripod makes every adjustment in vantage point much more time consuming and difficult.
My roots are not in methodical fixed position photography, Benchang. My instincts are photojournalistic, and as such the camera is almost always in my hands instead of locked on to a tripod, and I am always moving my vantage points instead of shooting from a static position.

I could not have used a hand held shutter speed slow enough to blur the moving bush, either, because it would have probably caused me to blur the old barn as well. There was an incredibly strong wind blowing, and I could hardly stand upright myself. So I used the "P" mode as usual, and it selected 1.400th of second at f/4, which made this image.
Benchang Tang 05-Apr-2005 00:15
Hi, Phil, I have a question about the heather or sage. As you said the wind was driving, is it possible that you take a slow shutter speed to show the stirring of the bush (I found the speed is 1/400@ F4)? If the sage is a little blured would that be good for the picture or not? Thank you.
Phil Douglis31-Oct-2004 19:59
Do you know anyone in your life who knows what these beautiful plants are, Maureen? If so, send this link and ask them to comment. It's driving me nuts. Heather? Sage? Or what? Thanks for the comment on the image itself. When I got out of that car and walked out into the driving wind under that leaden sky, I had little hope of making an image worth a second look. But when I really looked at the colors of those plants and the way the wind was whipping them into a frenzy and then made them engulf that old barn through my close-up wideangle vantage point, i knew I had something worth displaying here. I was able to saturate the colors somewhat in Photoshop, and was happy with the result.
Guest 31-Oct-2004 18:12
I don't know what the plants are, but this is a beautiful photograph!
Phil Douglis30-Oct-2004 05:59
Help! Anybody know for sure what kind of plants these are? Heather? Sage?

Anna Yu30-Oct-2004 00:56
Phil I take that heather part back. I'm not very good in identifying plants.
Phil Douglis30-Oct-2004 00:37
Good observation, Anna. So this stuff is heather? I thought it was sage. I'll take your word for it, and change the caption accordingly. It was really blowing as I made this shot. I would agree. Nature is indeed in charge here, as I imply in my explanation.
Anna Yu30-Oct-2004 00:28
The vivid colors are eyecatching, the way the heather half covers the barn suggests that nature has the upper hand here.
Phil Douglis28-Oct-2004 02:58
I like your pun, Rodney. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my new images.
Guest 28-Oct-2004 02:23
Given the barn's condition, one can say it's in the Autumn of its existance, just as the foliage around it
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