Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thematic Photographic 29 - "Quiet" v.1.0: "Yates Mill by Night"


"Yates Mill"
Raleigh, NC - December 2008 (Click to embiggen)

Thematic Photographic hosted by Carmi - Button Image by Smarmoofus Hosted by Written Inc.

Yates Mill is one of those places on the outskirts of town that I've known was there for years, but had never gotten around to photographing it. It's not that it's all that out of the way, it's just not normally on my radar. that changed a couple of weeks ago when I saw some work that Lee at Tarheel Ramblings had shot at the mill. (You should really check it out, it's awesome!) But as usual I had a spin I wanted to put on the essay. I wanted to shoot it at night.

I had it all figured out. Wait for a full moon on a clear night and there should be just enough light to get a long-exposure shot that would still show plenty of detail. I'd figured out a baseline exposure, white balance setting, all the usual stuff for what I was sure would be a challenging -- but spectacular -- shot.

And last Friday night everything fell into place. The moon was full and bright, the sky was cloudless and the mill was waiting. so I loaded up the camera, tripod and Tonka in the pickup and set sail.

What I didn't count on was that despite having a full moon that was bright enough to read by, there wasn't enough light to focus. My ten-zillion candlepower moon was apparently not yet high enough to give me the lighting I wanted. I couldn't even see through the lens -- at least not anything more than a vague shadow that I assumed to be the mill house. I tried using my trusty 4-cell MagLite to give me something to work with, but I was too far away for it to do the job. The headlights of the truck didn't hit high enough to be of any help either. And the ones from the passing cars were too transient for me to be able to focus.

But I managed to get this one with a little dumb luck (what else can you call it when you focus blind?) and a 30-second exposure. Between the long exposure and the on-again, off-again headlight incursions, my contrast pretty much turned to mud. But the effect was interesting... if not especially aesthetically appealing.

I returned during daylight hours a couple of days later and got some more "conventional" shots that suit the mood of the "Quiet" theme. (Even though a millrace isn't exactly "quiet" in a literal sense, the setting certainly is.) And yes, there will be some of those on display in these pages in the coming days. After all, I didn't shoot all this to keep it to myself.


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10 comments:

magiceye said...

well worth the effort! beautifully quiet!

tarheelrambler said...

I'm thrilled that I inspired this effort...which I like a lot by the way...and I appreciate the plug. One of the things I really enjoy about your photography, Mojo, is the creativity.

A Family Completed... said...

Wow that really is spectacular!

Ms. Hays said...

I think your hard work paid off - is it a working mill - are there lights in the windows? Very nice capture!!!

Daryl said...

No words .. just a lot of looking and looking some more .. like a painting (and to be that is the ultimate compliment for a photo I can give).

:-Daryl

Doctor Err said...

nathaniel totally lives there.

Mojo said...

Well ol' Nate's gotta live somewhere since they burned down his plantation house. But I didn't see him around... Too bad. I'd like to have met him.

Pamela said...

eerie quiet! gave me the shivers.

Nikki-ann said...

Very eerie! Thanks for sharing, I've enjoyed my visit :)

G. Harrison said...

hi mojo,

my Canadian eyes inform me there are certain qualities or features in the Yates Mill photograph that are very 'Group of Seven-ish.'

Tom Thomson, Lauren Harris etc. sought isolated, natural settings for their paintings and had Yates Mill been in Killarney or Temagami (in northern Ontario) they would have considered it a rare subject.

The various trees in your photo and complimentary colours in the windows suggest the natural and man-made belong together under the stars.

I think your other-worldly shot is one of the best I've seen in a long time and look forward to seeing others.

GAH