The Farmhouse

Chatham County Farmhouse

I have passed by this old house on my drive to the lake for several years always wanting to stop but never have until now. The sunrise light was perfect and the timing right. Sitting empty but cared for, it stands perhaps as a monument to it’s past. it shares the property with a more modern lived in home.

7 frame panorama.

The Artisan

I recently had the pleasure of shooting studio and product images for Cathy Burnham of Blue Heron Jewelry in Chapel Hill, NC. Working with artists is always fun and creative and I thank Cathy for trusting my skill and vision to portray her work in the best possible light.

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Full of texture, color, and interesting shapes her pieces were deserving of something other than the standard black or white background product shots and I wanted to convey the creativity of Cathy’s work. I found the tools of her trade fascinating and visually interesting so decided to use them as props to highlight her beautiful designs.

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All of Cathy’s work is skillfully hand crafted and unique, be sure to stop by her website to take a look.

Cathy in the studio at Blue Heron Jewelry.

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The Catch

I like doing sequence composites and I had previously done one of this Bald Eagle fishing with 4 frames:IMG_6761-Edit-1

After watching a Photoshop Week segment with Jason Hoppe on Creative Live about making animated gif files, I decided to try it out. It’s pretty simplistic and crude, I know, but a fun start!IMG_6761-2

I’ve never tried any animation before and found it was fairly simple. I imported the 5 frames into Photoshop (I use Cs5) as layers, opened the animation frames, set the sequence and display time then in the “save for web” dialogue chose .gif and the settings I wanted. Easy peasy!

Depression Era Leftovers and Dorothea Lange

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Known primarily for her work depicting migrant workers in the American West, the Dust Bowl migration, and the Japanese American Internment, I learned that In July of 1939 while working for The Farm Security Administration the great Dorothea Lange with Paul Taylor spent several days photographing the farms & farmers in Person, Chatham, Orange, Durham & Wake Counties in North Carolina – my backyard. Taking directions from Ms. Lange’s field notes, researching her images, searching Google Maps, and driving around the counties I set out to find those buildings and places depicted in her iconic photos. I’ve been exploring those places and the farming architecture that still exists in the landscapes of these North Carolina counties. Many of the buildings and farms no longer exist, some structures are only ruins.  Left over from the depression era, scattered like totems in the fields along old rural highways and mixed among the modern crops and machinery stand the remnants of tobacco curing sheds, barns, country stores, and the long-deserted homes of the sharecroppers and landowners. Some have been preserved and put to utilitarian use in the present but most, having long since served their purpose, are left to decay and collapse into the fields.

I’m such a sentimental goof I even got choked up standing in one of the very spots I knew Lange had stood. I doubt I’ll ever achieve anything close to the skill and mastery of Ms. Lange but standing where she stood, imagining what she saw, and what life was like back in 1939 not only for the people and places she photographed but for a pioneering woman photo journalist, is an inspiration.

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front porch

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My project is expanding and I have a lot more exploring to do…