Humble Beauty

f8, ISO100, 60s, 17mm, Canon 60D

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One of my friends at work had commented yesterday that he had done some skiing at the new Lake Elmo Park Reserve lighted trails and that they were really well lit and the trails were quite nice. When I mentioned to him that I had been back on the trails taking pictures of this barn, he looked at me with a question mark on his face – he had no idea of the barn along the trail, even when I mentioned where it was. It was at this point that I realized this barn was going, for the most part, unseen. It sits way off of the drive in/out of the park and it’s likely the skiers hardly notice it as they focus on their activity. Shame.

Now, the barn has a purpose and utility – it is the storage barn for much of the park’s vehicles and equipment – so a few folks see it everyday, but are they the folks that appreciate a beautiful old barn like this one? Don’t know, but seeing it everyday would likely disguise it to them.

It’s not like we have a shortage of old barns here in the Midwest – far from it. The countryside is littered with large farms, silos and beautiful old barns, especially as you move through western Wisconsin! But each one of these barns is unique to itself in how it ages and the character it exudes dependent on the weathering it endures, its build quality and how it has been used. They have a humble beauty to them that I find hard to ignore.

OK, enough rambling! By the time I reached the barn and got set up for this shot, the clouds had since moved on to show a bare sky. This changed the approach to photographing the old barn, shifting from a close up with cloud movement to more of an environmental portrait of the barn and its setting. After a black and white conversion in Perfect B&W, this image settled quite nicely on me.

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  1. Chris Nitz January 9, 2013 at 7:45 AM #

    It is crazy at just how unique every barn seems to be. They may all look similar, but man do they change per farm. Also, you are so right on the Western WI bit, especially around the Mississippi Valley. You make me want to go find old barns!

    • Jim January 9, 2013 at 7:59 AM #

      I’m sure there are plenty of barns in Iowa to attack! Go get them! Thanks bud!

  2. Chris Frailey January 9, 2013 at 8:20 AM #

    Love the bw Jim.

    • Jim January 9, 2013 at 8:56 AM #

      Thanks Chris!

  3. Jimi Jones January 9, 2013 at 9:25 AM #

    Wonderful shot, Jim. I agree with Chris, every barn has it’s own character and uniqueness. I am always on the lookout for them.

    Love the tones and composition in this shot, man. Good stuff.

    • Jim January 9, 2013 at 11:46 AM #

      Some of us just get it Jimi! Thanks for the kind words my friend!

  4. Mark Summerfield January 9, 2013 at 12:43 PM #

    It never ceases to amaze me how so many people, myself included, seem to ignore the familiar no matter how unique/attractive/interesting it is. Whenever I leave town I always have my camera with me yet I never seem to carry it when moving around near home (and I work in one of the most photogenic cities in the world – Washington DC!).

    • Jim January 9, 2013 at 1:39 PM #

      It is easy to ignore what’s closest to us Mark. That’s why I tend to MAKE myself look around locally – I also pretty much have to if I’m going to take pictures on a regular basis. Always carry the camera and always be looking!

  5. Mark Garbowski January 9, 2013 at 1:28 PM #

    Great image and write up, but I love the last 2-word exhortation.

    • Jim January 9, 2013 at 1:40 PM #

      Thanks Mark. I mean it, too!

  6. Edith Levy January 9, 2013 at 11:32 PM #

    Excellent image Jimmy.

  7. Chris Maskell January 10, 2013 at 1:03 AM #

    I really like this angle Jim, nicely done

  8. Kerri January 10, 2013 at 8:00 AM #

    You’ve done it again! Superb!

    • Jim January 10, 2013 at 8:38 AM #

      Thank you Kerri!

  9. Toad Hollow Photo January 14, 2013 at 7:36 PM #

    I LOVE these old barns, Jim, and I think you’ve done a smashing job with this one! This is a fabulous image in black-and-white, all the drama in the scene comes popping right out. Great details in the building, too, and again you’ve done a top drawer job in capturing those!

    • Jim January 14, 2013 at 7:50 PM #

      Toad, you are far too kind my friend! Thank you for the continued support!

One Trackback

  1. [...] Humble Beauty – make no mistake, I love old wooden barns, there is just something so romantic and nostalgic about them.  And they make for great photography.  Jim Denham shares a great black-and-white shot of one such barn.  These old buildings display the best patina and this one in particular is full of great details. [...]

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