Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Just one of the many reasons I enjoy living in Idaho is that with agriculture being such a huge part of the economy, culture and history I’ve had the opportunity to photograph so many historical artifacts greatly adding to my fine art portfolio. Some of my favorite subjects are old farm equipment; especially old tractors that have been put out to pasture or those in tractor salvage yards.

You don’t have to go very far from the main population centers of Boise or Meridian to find large farms and ranches either. Only 18 miles from my home town of Meridian is the big agricultural town of Caldwell. While visiting one of my clients there I drove around the edges of some farms when I discovered this tractor…
f16.0 @ 1/320 sec., ISO 400; Lens at 40mm
It was 8 o’clock in the morning in August and the sun had just dramatically reappeared breaking up the cloud cover.

TECH NOTE: To enhance the tractor’s color and dramatize those clouds I processed this image using NIK’s Tone Mapping (single image) using their Sinister preset.

Next I moved-in closer….

Original File                                                                              TM Soft Processed

As you can see with this before and after processing example these old rusty tractors really benefit from NIK’s Tone Mapping. Here I used NIK’s Soft preset with the soft slider changed to accentuate.

Moving to a tractor salvage yard….
 f11.0 @ 1/160 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 50mm
This image was created in March about 20 minutes before sunset giving me my favorite very directional and dramatic lighting; this is called Short-Lighting. To use short lighting you must SEE the directional light striking your subject and then you rotate your camera position around the “face” of the subject so that the light is almost behind the subject creating a shadow on the “camera side” where you are positioned. I use this style of lighting for portraits of people as well.

Another study in detail….
f13.0 @ 1/40 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 67mm
This was taken twenty minutes later as the last glimmer of sunlight was striking only the right side of this tractor.  Even though this image has copious texture and detail it was not processed like any of the preceding images. I only tweaked a few sliders in Adobe Camera Raw—I didn’t even touch the Clarity slider!

That’s it for this week!  Should you have comments or questions please don’t hesitate to ask. ’Til next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman

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