Tag Archives: americana

Red, White and Blue – An American Barn Study


I’m a sucker for the countryside, with all its barns and farming paraphanelia. Perhaps because I grew up near farming, as it was just 10 minutes outside of town where I lived. We would take Sunday afternoon drives (gas was a LOT cheaper then) and the family would picnic, and fossil-hunt, and visit farms, produce stands, etc. I remember watching as brightly painted barns whooshed by out the window. OK, well they probably didn’t whoosh by- our old Ford Fairlane with 6 people didn’t whoosh – but anyway, I remember watching huge cummulus clouds and barns and silos, and farmhouses and fields of corn pass by, and that left an impact, and explains why I feel so fond of the farming regions of our country.

This all sounds nostalgic, but that’s what has been coming up for me the past two weeks, so I’m going with it. It has a lot to do with the change of seasons, when the buzz and hustle of summer activities and BBQs wind down, and the sun’s angle is lower, and the nights come earlier, and we prepare to hibernate, in our own way. Even if we don’t actually stop doing stuff, and get more active in Autumn, for all the colors and beauty there is to photograph, there’s something about the change and the dormancy of nature…

As I wandered around the farm complex, I liked the graphic clean shape of the barn in contrast with the softer, light clouds.

I also found this very cool barn wall complete with a window reflection of the clouds and blue sky, offering me another photo opp.


Thanks for visiting, comments are always welcome!




Posted in America, Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, general photography, USA Also tagged , , , |

The Old Homestead


While teaching last week in Maine, we went to the Olson House, the home made famous by Andrew Wyeth. It stands empty now, with just a few pieces of furniture, tattered wallpaper, old stove and such. But it’s in that emptiness that you often can find and photograph the spirit of place. I was teaching so I didn’t get to concentrate on my own images, but I did make this picture while leaning up against a doorjamb for support. Wanting a feeling of ‘old’ and ‘country’ and to try and capture the ambience, I processed the image first in Lightroom and then added a Flypaper Texture file from their new August Painterly collection just released two days ago. I also created a background layer of the image and upscaled it slightly and added a gaussian blur to create the dreamy effect, a process I like to use a lot.   I’m still in Maine, but leaving today, after a week of visiting my sister’s bison farm in western Maine. We were so busy putting up beans, making sauces, feeding chickens, etc., that I haven’t been out to photograph around the area much. But after a week of teaching it’s nice to come to the ‘old homestead’ and relax by doing things that are not photography, actually. It’s so peaceful here.

Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, general photography, Photo Blog, photography, Photoshop tips, Processing Techniques, Special Effects, The Blog, Thoughts on Creativity Also tagged , , |

Wagons, Ho!


Visited the Railroad Museum in Laws, CA on Saturday. Lots of memorabilia from the old movie-westerns, and lots of fun! Details galore. As I walked around the site, I imagined life during those times. Maybe romantically, because it was a rough and tumble lifestyle and only the hardiest survived. The idea of riding hours in a wagon over bumpy trails seems downright painful!

These wagon wheels were leaned up against a wooden shack. Things last quite a while in the desiccating dryness of the desert. The bleached, split wooden wheels were bound by iron, now rusted and yet still holding things together. Do things we make today last as long? Hmmm…

Processed this image using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro. The original was lacking strong color but the contrast of the scene was strong and I could previsualize it as a monochromatic image.  I liked the overlap of the wheel on the right but composed to keep the two from dividing the frame equally.


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Posted in creative ideas, photography, Processing Techniques, Software, The Blog Also tagged , , |

There’s more than one ‘right’ answer

Old Organ and Hat, Bodie Historic State Park, California

A recent post I did mentioned Dewitt Jones, and in his talks he speaks about there being more than one right answer – in Photography and in Life, as he relates how he approached various assignments. These days, it also relates to how we process an image – how we interpret it.

Today’s blog images didn’t come from a wishy-washy inability to decide on what’s right, but rather from asking myself how I felt about the scene, what I wanted to express about it,  and as I began to play, I asked myself ‘what if‘ and that sent me down several paths. As I finished one image, I went back to the original, and asked the question about. All of them represent something old, or perhaps a dream/memory, so they all were in keeping with the original theme that made me create the picture in-camera – Bodie is old, and I wanted to stay true to that but put a spin on that concept.

The main blog post was processed using an Orton-inspired montage technique of combining two digital layers together, with one blurred and set for overlay. The second image was created using a normally adjusted image layered with a black and white layer processed using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro. I then added a mask on the black and white layer, and painted back in the color on the hat. The third image was processed with my own preset for an old grainy film look, using Topaz Adjust. The fourth and final image started with a normal adjusted layer, and the incorporated Flypaper Textures’ Texture File Colosseum Sienna and Edges #19 on layers with blending options and then painting back in certain areas with the brush.  It looks to me like a faded old photo of Bodie, one my grandfather might have made.<br/ >
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Organ and Hat, Bodie Historical State Park, California

Old Organ and Hat, Bodie Historical State Park, California

Old Organ and Hat, Bodie Historical State Park, California

In the end, a few hours play on the computer looking at how one image could express different feelings/moods proves the point of more than one right answer!

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Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, creative ideas, photo tips, photography, Processing Techniques, Software, Special Effects, Thoughts on Creativity Also tagged , , , |