Tuesday, January 9, 2018


In Part 2 of this series I talked about the arched-roof barn here in Meridian, Idaho that I started photography on in 2013 as that property went up for sale. I got most of what I wanted except for snow.

My absolute favorite time of the year here in Idaho is winter. Photography of anything outside in snow or freezing fog (hoar frost) is my favorite type of winter photography. Snow has a magical property to hide all the ugly things man does to the environment in a blanket of pure white that simplifies the composition of a scene.

Unfortunately, we did not get much snow here in the valley in 2013; you need a good 6 inches of snow for good coverage of a barn’s steeply sloped roof. So, I crossed my fingers and waited—hoping for some good snow before they sold this property and demolished my favorite barn!

Fast forward to Christmas Eve, 2015; we got just enough snow to realize my vision!

f13.0 @ 1/320 sec., ISO 400; lens @ 150mm
What I love about snow is the contrast it creates against the old dark barn wood. You just have to be careful with the initial exposure to get the snow white without blowing out all its detail. The best way to do that is to do photography on an overcast day which will naturally limit the dynamic range of a snow scene to 4 or 5 f-stops. As soon as the sun comes out a snow scene can easily go to 10 f-stops from the barn wood to the snow.

Post Processing this image:

I used NIK’s, HDR Efex, Pro 2, using its single image tone mapping. I picked the outside-2 preset to get the barn wood detail I wanted and modified that to bring back the contrast and blacks. I always have to do that because HDR processing tends to flatten out a scene by removing most of the shadows—without shadows you lose the three dimensionality in a scene. HDR also tends to grey-down the snow making it look dirty, so, then I have to bring back the whites in Photoshop.

Having already done full views of this barn I’m now slicing it up into sections to better show this barn’s marvelous details.

Here’s the other end of the barn…

f11.0 @ 1/320 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 110mm

I couldn’t resist that nice snow covered foreground detail—love those round hay bales! With all that stuff out in front of the barn it gives the illusion that this may still be a working farm.

Now some of my favorite details….

f11.0 @ 1/320sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 200mm
I backed-off and zoomed-in to 200mm to show some nice detail; using the compression effect to push those snow covered bushes towards the barn. This technique put the nice contrasting detail of the white bushes against the dark barn wood with all that detail in sharp focus. Love those beautiful sliding barn doors with their diagonal wood planks!

Going to the other end of the barn….

f13.0 @ 1/320 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 150mm
Highlighting those sliding barn doors again and using the telephoto compression effect as well. Sadly the clock is ticking on this great barn. In 2017 they torn down the farmhouse and cut down the large trees on the property; a very bad sign that the end is near. But, worst of all those beautiful sliding barn doors are gone! As valuable as barn wood has become—sliding doors being the  most sought after—my guess is that they have been sold for some hight-end remodel or two.

So, now it’s on my watch list and I visit the barn several times a week to be there when the demolition begins.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions….’Til next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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