Terry discovered this rickety old house as we were driving along Highway NN near Slater, Missouri. Perched on a hill in the middle of the country, it is surrounded by rusting farm implements, a rusted out barbecue grill and evidence of agricultural activity that continues around it as it slowly sinks into the earth. It looks to me as though it could have been the inspiration for one of the sets for the Harry Potter movies.
As rickety as it appears in this photograph, it is almost impossible to capture the image as we first encountered it. The debris surrounding the house, and the utilitarian farm buildings built almost on top of it, detract from a more distant image.
In her heyday she must have been a beauty. Now she has been abandoned and is literally falling apart at the seams. While not the only house we saw in a shambles, she was the most elegant. As such, she captures most effectively, the tragic death of an elegant country residence and, at some level, the changing way of life in rural Missouri.
After months with iPhoto on my computer, I visited Apple last weekend for a 30 minute appointment to find out how it actually works. Okay, I should have figured it out myself. But with just that brief tutorial behind me, I thought it would be fun to show you what a rank amateur can do to change a photograph to make it better than the original.
Here is my original photograph taken on a drive to Harrisonville:
It isn’t rocket science that I should never take a photograph through my car window. But the roads were really muddy and there was a car coming up behind me. So I just stopped the car, quickly took this shot, and moved my car before the driver behind me reached the bridge.
With “quick fixes”, I was able to crop the photograph to eliminate the hood of my car from the photograph:
After reframing the snapshot, I moved to “adjust” to enhance the color and sharpen the photograph. Here is the result of tweaking with the “adjust” options:
Nothing magical about the changes, but every step toward better photographs is a step in the right direction.
Casey visits a farm outside Harrisonville when Terry and I travel. He has the run of two acres and the company of strays the owners have accumulated through the years as well as city dogs whose owners pay for the privileges of country living for their pets. Along the way I became “displaced”. I wasn’t lost, but country roads aren’t like city roads! They wind and weave and seem to disappear into mud and gravel.
It was a great misadventure, inconvenient only by the fact it extended my trip. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to memorialize my country adventure with a few photographs. An upcoming post will show you the fun I had processing one of the pictures I took.
It is raining. The weather is cooling down. Since Meg and Jake are visiting next weekend, I want to rejuvenate the yard by giving it a little color. Casey and I stopped at Farrand’s Nursery in Independence to find mums, my favorite fall flower. Because of the weeks of extremely hot weather, i was told the mums aren’t ready to bloom, and I was encouraged to return in a couple of weeks to pick my favorite colors.
Disappointed it would be too late for Meg’s visit, and with no particular schedule, I decided to give myself a treat by driving home through rural Independence. I took back roads with which I was not familiar just for a bit of adventure. The “no trespassing” sign caught my attention first. Then I saw this dilapidated old stone house on the side of the road. Fortunately, my Nikon was in the back seat. It seemed to be the type of scene which would be most satisfactory in black and white.