Sumac Shadows On Old Barn. Ossipee, NH

Normally when out photographing I focus on expansive landscapes, grand scenic views of the dramatic views in the mountains and along the coast of New Hampshire.

On my last outing to the north country I chose to make images with a more limited view. Instead of wide open spaces, the majority of what I captured were elements within the wider scene. What caught my eye were the small details, the textures, the way light and shadow played across an abandoned barn or the rusted machinery.

Cable Grooves Worn Into An Old Pulley. Redstone Granite Quarry, Conway, NH


Surprisingly, I didn’t set out with the mindset that “I’m only going to photograph details, closeups, and black and white images today.”

But that’s exactly what happened. In fact for the most part, wherever I went my eye was drawn to the little details, no matter how nice the overall scene looked it was the little things that caught my eye.

Part of the explanation is my recent feeling that I’ve been missing something, creatively speaking, in my photography. Focusing solely on landscape photography with an eye towards the grand, has been richly rewarding both creatively and financially, lately however that hasn’t been enough. The feeling that I’ve been missing something may have been what triggered my eye for the intimate on this particular day.

I know it is the driving force behind my current interest in portrait photography.(Stay tuned for an upcoming post on that bit of shocking divergence from my past, “I’ll never photograph people,” way of thinking).

Barn Window. Ossipee, NH

The next time you’re out photographing, remember the most compelling photographs are often found while isolating the elements of the scene within the scene. You never know what, or who might be looking back at you.

The Face Of Abandoned Places. Abandoned barn, Ossipee, NH

31 thoughts on “Isolating Elements

  1. I’ve been trying to do what you’re doing, Jeff, that’s also why I bough another lens, to focus on smaller things and details but I still see things with the wide angle view. need training. enjoying the practice.
    Love your pictures! they’re, as usual, very inspiring and colorful.
    Thanks for sharing the beauty and the advice.

    1. Thank you, Julie. I’m not really sure what happened, I wasn’t making a conscious effort to see the little things but that is exactly what happened. There’s a lot that’s been going on with me photographically, as I know you’ve seen on my fan page.

      People and portraits being the biggest change.

      I think what really helped me to see differently this time was the fact that I was photographing places I had photographed several times before, so in an effort to come up with something different I was more or less forced to see things in a new way. I think it would have been much more difficult to see in the way I did had I been photographing in a place i hadn’t photographed before. The experience did teach me to look beyond the wide angle view and focus my attention closer so I am more likely to see the details I may have missed in the past.

      I’d also like to thank you for the great review you left on my page, and to ask what did you get for a new lens??

        1. Try what I did to “force it.” Go back to someplace you’ve photographed several times. A place that you thought there was nothing left to photograph. You might be surprised at how you see it in a new light.

    1. Thank you, Laura. It’s a great old barn that I fear its days are numbered. I have every intention of exhausting all the photographic possibilities I can before it is eventually torn down.

  2. I’ve always been drawn to your landscapes, Jeff, and I’m glad you’re going after the ‘details,’ as these are equally stunning. The texture of wood grain possesses so many variations. Beautiful work!

    1. Thanks, Eliza. I’ve got to keep stepping up my game if I want to constantly improve my craft. Looking at things differently than I normally would. I can’t have you and the rest of my followers getting bored now, can I?

    1. There is something about weathered wood that catches my eye every time. When it comes to old barns the more weathered and closer to falling down the better.

      1. I do wish there were more rickety old buildings left alone in the UK but Health and Safety has a habit of fencing them off or knocking them down 😦 Weathered wood is a favourite of mine too along with naturally aged metal. The coast is the best place to try to find things like that in the UK!

        1. It sounds like somebody needs to plan a visit to New Hampshire. You don’t have to go far to find old abandoned barns and I’d be more than happy to take you on a tour.

  3. Nice to see you doing this sort of photography, Jeff. I love your landscapes, but I’m looking forward to seeing more of this type of shot as well. I love seeing things close-up. Glad you’re enjoying it, too.


    1. Thanks, Janet. It was a really fun day of shooting, looking at everything in a new way.

      And just wait until I share some of the portraits I’ve taken recently. THAT is another very different line of photography for me.

  4. Yeah Jeff! Wonderful stuff. This is why I sometimes only leave the house with a 105 or even a 180. It forces me to see differently and I’m often much happier with the results. Looking forward to seeing how your style with translate into portraiture.

    1. That’s a great way to go about it, the one lens/focal length challenge. It sure is a test of your creativity when forced to see things though one lens and focal length.

  5. It’s good to get out of the same old groove and try something new every once in a while (not that I’d ever call your gorgeous landscape pictures “old”). The eye learns to see in a different way when we switch things up. Love the sumac picture – sumac catches my eye in the depth of winter; and I always greet it like an old friend.

    1. I hear you! I have been feeling a little bored(though bored might be too strong a word) with landscape photos lately. This trip really re-lit the creative fires.

Comments and thoughtful critiques are always welcome.

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