The Hunch Barn of Lake Elmo

f/14, 1/4 sec, at 17mm, 100 ISO, on a Canon EOS 60D

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I’ve said it before and I mean it, photography should be fun! Not every image has to be a work of art! Sometimes, it’s fun just play around a bit, such is the case in today’s image.

It was a balmy 35F yesterday afternoon which made me want to get out and take some pictures! I decided to go see an old friend that I hadn’t seen in almost 3 years, a barn on the Lake Elmo Park Reserve. The first image I took of this old beauty is still one of my best, in my opinion, and it was one of my first works with HDR – see it here. The years haven’t changed the old barn much, but the surroundings were a bit different than when we last met. Now, there’s snow on the ground and the park’s lighted ski trails run right up next to it.

Being that my feet were once again dressed in sneakers, I decided to just follow the ski trail down to the back side of the barn rather than tromp around in the front. Glad I did! In my previous trip, the backside of the barn escaped me – shame. I liked the back so much, I wanted to grab a pic of it, but with my crop-sensored D-SLR, that meant backing up into the ski track on the trail, which I didn’t feel comfortable doing. Didn’t want any angry skiers, I hear they can be violent with those poles! Instead, I decided to make a pano of the barn just for fun. An HDR pano to boot!

And it was fun, too, both in taking the brackets and processing them. I knew there would be some distortion due to how panoramas are processed, but I was surprised when the pano was finished that it wasn’t near as dramatic as expected. Even with the distortion and some other small flaws in the HDR processing, you still get the feel for the barn and its surroundings, which was the intent. Success!

Here’s the process: Aperture Priority at f14 with the Magic Lantern set to grab 5 brackets with each press of the button. Took 6 sets starting at the center and moving each direction to capture the entire scene (I went a bit further to camera right than left). Processed the first set of brackets through Photomatix, then used the same settings to process the other 5. Imported back into Aperture, then exported as PSD to Photoshop Elements for the Photomerge Pano. Cropped to taste then the normal editing process with Aperture, Perfect Effects and Focal Point.

It’s not a work of art by any means, but it sure was fun, and I like fun!


  1. Erin Duke January 8, 2013 at 7:42 AM #

    This is awesome, Jim! I love the near-perfect symmetry and the bands of color as you move down the image. Fantastic! :)

    • Jim January 8, 2013 at 7:59 AM #

      Thanks Erin! Glad you like it!

  2. Chris Nitz January 8, 2013 at 7:54 AM #

    I tried to channel you while I was driving, but my inner Denham Barn Master was weak. Clearly I need more training…and more photos to copy ;)

    • Jim January 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM #

      Ah, the light is everything and the light was quite nice last night! Would love to shoot a few with ya though! Maybe in NC!

  3. Edith Levy January 8, 2013 at 9:44 AM #

    Very cool Jim. I actually thought at first that you took this with a fisheye.

    • Jim January 8, 2013 at 10:02 AM #

      Thanks Edith! The fisheye look was actually what I was going for, but I think the camera was too far away.

  4. Len Saltiel January 8, 2013 at 12:29 PM #

    I agree with Edith – I thought you shot it with a fisheye too. I like the result and glad you are having fun – that what it should be all about.

    • Jim January 8, 2013 at 6:30 PM #

      One day, I will have a fisheye, but until then, I have to do what I can! Thanks Len!

  5. Bob Lussier January 8, 2013 at 6:09 PM #

    Definitely a fun shot! I absolutely love doing HDR Panos.

    • Jim January 8, 2013 at 6:30 PM #

      Thanks Bob! Me too!

  6. Chris Maskell January 9, 2013 at 6:47 AM #

    Yeah, it’s heavily distorted but I like it. I like quirky, I like trying something different, hell I like breaking the rules now and then.
    Great shot Jim

    • Jim January 9, 2013 at 7:58 AM #

      Thanks Chris – you rebel!

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