10 Most Meaningful Images of 2018: #10

The Wagon 3.31.2018 ISO 100 - f18 - 180 sec LEE Big Stopper

The Wagon
3.31.2018
ISO 100 - f18 - 180 sec
LEE Big Stopper

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop”

  • Ansel Adams

For years I would share my top 10 images of the year (back when I was writing more). There was no true rhyme or reason to what I shared at the end of the year, they were simply the 10 images that I thought were my “top” images of the year.

Well, in an attempt to resurrect my writing and to share and learn more from the photographic community I am re-kickstarting my blog with my 10 Most Meaningful Images of 2018. These images won’t necessarily be the most liked, commented on, shared, sold, or critiqued of my images. But, each of them will have a story that is meaningful to me, and perhaps as you read about mine, you will find that they are meaningful to you as well.

What makes “The Wagon” meaningful? The answer to that question starts on a cold, March overcast day in Durham, NH and ends on a November evening in nearby Portsmouth. That morning in March was quite gloomy. On again, off again rain and a thick cloud cover made for perfectly moody conditions to shoot in, but not much fun to walk in. Anyone who lives around the seacoast of New Hampshire knows of The Wagon and it’s perch atop Wagon Hill Farm and if you are photographer in the area, your portfolio isn’t complete without its image in it. Frankly, new images of the wagon have to be different. Have to be special, and my first image that day was not.

Durham Wagon Black & White 3.31.2018 ISO 100 - f18 - 1/8 sec

Durham Wagon Black & White
3.31.2018
ISO 100 - f18 - 1/8 sec

I tried in post to pull out the texture of the sky and the gloom and doom that came with the clouds, but the image wasn’t special. It was nice, and a bit different (since most people come here on nice days) but it didn’t really do it for me.

But, as a sat there trying to figure out what I could do to make a better image, I noticed that the clouds were all moving away from me and over the wagon itself. I began to wonder what that cloud movement would look like as a long exposure. That’s when I put the LEE Big Stopper on and captured what you see at the top of this post. I was lucky, the cloud movement captured over 180 seconds created streaks that seem to radiate from the wagon itself. I knew once I captured it that I had something. Processing included the normal clean up, with some contrast, clarity, and sharpening added to really make it pop. I also darkened the foreground a bit, just to send the viewers eyes directly to the wagon and sky above - why waste time on the ground?

Fast forward to Portsmouth, November 27, 2018. Having just joined the Seacoast Camera Club the month prior I was sitting in my first photo competition - this one holding to the standards of the NECCC with the top images in two categories being forwarded to regional competition. Further, our local competition was being judged by Don Toothaker, a seasoned NECCC judge, photographer, and Director of Photo Adventures for Hunt’s Photo. In short, Don has dedicated his career to shooting, judging and promoting great photography.

Receiving a perfect 30 out 30 score from Don with the comment, “You took a fairly ordinary subject and creatively turned it into a superb image with compelling impact” not only propels The Wagon to the regional competition, but it gave me the ever so often shot in the arm that I may not be too bad at this photography thing. And for that reason, The Wagon landed on my 10 Most Meaningful Images of 2018.

Gear used for these shots
Camera:  Canon 5D Markiii
Lens:  Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens
Tripod:  Manfrotto MT055CXPRO4 055 Carbon Fiber 4-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column
Tripod Head:  Really Right Stuff 055 Ball Head
Camera Bag:  Pro Trekker 450 AW Camera Backpack From Lowepro
Filters:  LEE Filter System