Nick Exposed

A Creative Community Hosted By Photog/Designer Nick Mayo

Hidden in the Onion Fields

ISO 200 18mm f/11 1/25sec

I definitely have a weakness for rundown barns, that and a huge weakness for light houses. Anytime I see a beat up discarded barn I get the sudden urge to pull over and jump out to shoot it. And thats exactly what I did with this one! I could just see the peak of the roof over the hill next to the road, but it was enough to peak my interest (get it.. because the peak of the roo… nevermind). So I threw the car in park, grabbed my ready to go camera and dashed up the hill. As soon as I hit the top I was just about knocked off my feet by a most fowl smell. It was difficult to place at first smelling like sour horse manure, but I managed to keep trekking forward off of pure excitement. It wasn’t until almost slipping on a rotten onion that I realized where the smell was coming from. I looked around the ground and realized I was standing in what I would probably say was the biggest rotten onion field this side of the mississippi (which is the only state I still spell out in my head when writing, not because Im afraid of spelling it wrong, but because as a kid we used to run around the playground chanting the letters like it was some sort of group spelling bee). With the constant change of weather out here it has left our fields quit muddy, so walking around this shack was harder then trying to walk across an ice rink wearing glass slippers, not that I’ve ever done it, but I figure it must be difficult. It was a continual battle between trying not to slip in the mud and or step on the squishy rotten onion land mines that were dispersed throughout the terrain.

I liked this particular shot the most, however this shot I also slipped when taking so the highlight exposure for the hdr was a tad off. Luckily the latest Photomatix Pro is great at reducing most of the ghosting when tone mapping the HDR images. In fact besides adjustments made in Lightroom 3 giving it my signature slightly desaturated look I’ve been loving in my hdr lately, I haven’t made any other adjustments.

Im typically more partial to red barns specifically, but this green really spoke to me! It worked so well with the muted tones of the rest of the field and wasn’t the typical bold barn Im used to seeing. It was well worth putting up with the smell and struggles against the mud. I’ve probably been its only visitor since the final days of onion season last year and more then likely it will stay that way until the soil is ready for next season. Because of that I feel privileged to have run across such an unattended beauty. One of the few that get to witness what it has to offer. The good ol’ onion patch barn.

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53 thoughts on “Hidden in the Onion Fields

  1. I love this shot!

  2. semisanemind on said:

    Oh I love this shot (and the story about the rotten onions gives it a lovely context)!

  3. You rock! I loved your post and photo!

  4. Lovely shot and colours πŸ™‚

  5. Will you get a chance to shoot inside?

  6. Love it! Fantastic color tones and light.

  7. beautiful! My father wants to know why I take photos of buildings falling to bits. I can now say to him – look – someone else loves rundown old barns. I can’t say I’ve been bitten by a lighthouse bug yet.

    • Thanks πŸ™‚ Yea not everyone will understand our fascination, and thats what makes it worth it. Its something special to us creative individuals. And just wait, lighthouses are contagious. Haha

  8. What a great post! Not only is the photo amazing, but the writeup is interesting and entertaining. You had me giggling a few times with this one! So tell me, did you take the stench back to the car with you on your shoes/boots?

    • Hey Cindy! Theres actually a funny story to go with my return to the car. Because I had left the car parked on the side of a highway when I got back up over the hill I found a cop car with its reds and blues beaming. So I approached as calmly as I could in hopes my camera wasn’t mistaken for some sort of weapon haha. The cop car was parked really close to the ditch so as I approached I ended up tromping through some snow luckily which I think probably muted the stench. Although I was borrowing my sisters car and by that point I could have been numb to the smell haha. Ill have to ask her if she noticed any peculiar smells when driving it afterwards πŸ™‚ The cop was super nice, just checking to make sure the car wasn’t stolen. I was tempted to take a picture and send it to my sister saying something to give her a bit of a scare. But as a loving big brother I refrained. lol

  9. I agree with the above comment. My initial reaction to the image of your barn was “Very Nice” …. and then I read your witty narrative, and, while still chuckling, I returned to enjoying your barn, this time with a greater appreciation.

  10. I love the lengths to which you go to get your photograph! I was wondering if you attempted this photo in ISO 1600 following on from your experiment yesterday and what the result was.
    The tones in this photograph are amazing. The dull greys of the clouds and the saturated soil, the straw colours of last year’s grasses, and the dull green of the low grass waiting for a bit of sunlight to liven it up. And then the green/grey of the barn walls. It is a very moody photograph. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Kate! I did not attempt this at 1600. When approaching the barn I knew I was looking for an hdr shot so I was shooting bracketed at mostly ISO 200 the whole time. Although ISO 1600 will definitely have guest appearances coming up, so stay tuned πŸ™‚

  11. The green barn was a gift to you. A nice change up from red barns. You worked hard on this shot and it paid off very well. So glad there isn’t smelliphoto sharing, lol.

  12. Onion fields always smell bad, year round.

    You are very brave, and “they” say photographers are just lucky, little do “they” know. Great shot. πŸ™‚

  13. I would love to live in a place where there are lots of old run down buildings. They make such great photo subjects. Guess I will have to make do with the seaside.

  14. … the things that went on just to get that ideal shot.

  15. I love old barns too. This is so well done, awesome shot.

  16. Umm WOW. Such an intimate shot… LOVE

  17. snooway on said:

    wonderful shot

  18. I just can say a big WOW! It’s beautiful.

  19. This is a beautiful shot, I love run down buildings too, especially in the inner city. The history and decay of once thriving places is always fascinating.

    • Hey Kate! I agree completely. To think of the life span of a building is an astonishing thing. The stories the walls contain within them bring so much extra life to even the most run down and decayed of buildings!

  20. Nick, Like you composition, good exposure and really like your use of desaturation. It’s just spot on. Viewing full size though, I’m not too sure about the noise (just my opinion, of course). I’ve still liked it though, as without going to full resolution I think it’s a cracking shot.

    • Thanks Mike. I do a tad bit of over sharpening when posting in the blog. Mostly because only a few people open it up to observe at full size, so it adds crisp edges when viewed at the smaller. Thanks for your input!

  21. Nicely done, both in capturing and processing. There are lots of barns and lighthouses in Oregon. LOve this country.

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