It is my last week of having mostly free days; next week I start working full time day hours instead of my night shift. I figured I would put up the images I captured during my last week of being able to go out and shoot everyday. I has been a lot of fun getting out in the afternoons and exploring Ellis County with my camera bag, a tripod, and a map of the county sitting on the passenger seat as I search for scenes to capture with my infrared Nikon D200.
Yesterday I went downtown in Waxahachie and shot some infrared images of the beautiful old architecture of the area. Though I was dripping sweat in the Texas summer heat I got some wonderful images that are great representations of Waxahachie. Thought I would share!
So this past Tuesday my color infrared converted Nikon D200 arrived in the mail from KEH. I couldn’t wait to get out and use it, and I shot every day last week with it. Today sadly is a dreary, grey, rainy afternoon in North Texas so I sit here trying to figure out how to better post process these images. Shooting and processing infrared images is a unique challenge. Also had to face a few 100 degree weather, pop up showers, a scraped ankle, and poison ivy to capture these photographs.
Here are what I deem to be the best images from my days out photographing and exploring Ellis County in Texas last week and best represent “Texas” to me.
I went out today with my D70 and an infrared filter and decided to play around a bit more with digital infrared photography. Infrared photography is always a finicky and tricky thing to do (especially well), whether it be film or digital. Most people find it hard to believe that this is how the images come straight out of the camera; no editing is needed to create these surreal images. The filter used for infrared photography simply blocks normal daylight (uv light) and only allows infrared light to pass through the camera’s lens and reach the digital sensor or film. Infrared filters are impossible to see through and make shooting a challenge as any framing has to be done before the filter can be put on the lens. The other challenge is that the focus plane of infrared photography is different than that of any other type of shooting. Most lenses have an extra dot, but it is still not precise and often needs adjusted to reach any kind of sharp focus. As with any digital shooting it is always much cheaper to experiment and try new things. I do still have some 35mm infrared film packed away to use at some point, but for now I am enjoying the ease of doing it on a digital camera. These are by no means exemplary, yet turned out better than expected. Infrared photographs create a dreamlike reality within the everyday world with the whites created from grass, leaves, and other plants. It makes an ordinary summer day seem like a world away in a place you only see in the deepest sleep. These photos are all taken in Maypearl, TX on a driving adventure I took today after the rain cleared and the sun came out (you really need bright sunlight to have effective infrared photos.
Before moving to Texas I always envisioned the wide open desert and cattle lands. Part of this image is the roads and trails that led to the American West.
Once you are off the major highways and interstates in Texas you suddenly find yourself on small rural roads. This quickly amazed me. You are almost instantly surrounded by fields and ranch land. In Minnesota there seems to always be many main roads off of the highways. Texas seems to forego these “extra” roads and build everything directly on the highways using frontage roads.
On some of my afternoon drives I find myself enjoying the sunlight beating down on the seemingly endless roads through rural North Texas. The roads are all lined with fences and trees, yet are all unique. The obvious history of the railroad is also omnipresent. The rails cross roads everywhere showing a link to the past and how people, livestock, and product moved through the vast expanse of the American West through the mid 1800’s until the demise of mass rail transit in the mid 1900’s.
These afternoon drives in the midday Texas sun are not only great to relax, but are also photo scouting for locations for night photographs (such as the Forreston bank building: Abandoned and Forgotten Remnants of the Past on the Roads of Small Town Texas). These winding, forgotten roads hold many pieces of the past that have often been left to the elements and now hold a beauty in their rugged state.
I went out last night in the the 70 degree March weather of Texas; a welcome change from the below freezing Minnesota weather I am used to being out in.
I went to visit the small town of Forreston, TX to shoot the abandoned building on Hwy. 77 in what was likely once “downtown.”
Like many small towns throughout Texas there was once a need for a local bank and other businesses, but these towns long ago perished as America moved towards mass transit highways. Now there is no need for these small town businesses and downtown districts.
What once stood as a proud symbol of the prosperity of Forreston is now nothing more than a skeleton of the brick structure. A town that once had several cotton gins and was a stop along the Katy Railroad is now just another North Texas off the beaten path town.