Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Hidden Treasures

I started photographing rural Tennessee scenes in the Fall of 2012.  Since that time I have created a huge online gallery of images.  This consists mostly old barns, abandoned houses, cemeteries and rural landscapes.

In the beginning I would edit all my photos and typically create some monochrome images out of most of the images.  I regret creating so many monochromes right after a photo outing because it was just to get the pictures done, upload them to the website with the hopes of a print sale, and then quickly move onto the next thing.

Many times I go back through those images and the monochrome edits are not what I would do today.  It's a rushed version and mostly a monochrome edit copied and pasted from another scene in the set.  It's as if I threw my work out to the world without much thought.

Yesterday I was going through a batch of photos from one particular location in Henning, TN.  At the time I edited them I thought they were OK, but I wasn't in love with the captures.  As I looked back on them yesterday I felt they were little treasures that had been overlooked.  There was even one particular photo that was perfect for a conversion to add to my Blue Series Gallery.

What I have learned is to slow down and not be in such a hurry to edit and get finished with everything.  It's best to leave things sit a while and come back.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Change Is Good

For months now I've been in the middle of restructuring my photography business.  I've pretty much stopped almost all my free/volunteer photography.  My subject matter will totally focus on landscapes or architecture.

For several years I've tried to perfect and speed up my workflow so I can provide a quick turn around to offer real estate photography services.  With interior rooms being such a challenge, I have not refined my technique yet to 100% personal satisfaction.  I'm going to dedicate more time in trying to perfect my skills for photographing homes and also focus on the art side of photography.  The end result is I will be able to offer real estate photography services in Tipton County with a fast turn around time.

I did photograph an old barn recently.  It was a spur of the moment thing.  I had gone to work out one morning and on the way home I suddenly realized I had left my camera equipment in the car.  Suddenly, I had the gumption to photograph some old stables.  It went well.  I didn't take many points of view like I usually do on subjects, but just what caught my eye.  It made me realize, this is what I should be doing.  Get back to the art of it.  It's my work and my time and I will do it for me.  If people enjoy it, then I am doubly blessed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Red Bush & Old Porch

This one always caught my eye as I drove by so I decided to go out early one morning at sunrise and photograph the place. So I'm standing in a ditch photographing with my tripod and camera and some lady comes along and tells me the people across the street were about ready to call the police because they thought I was deer hunting. Apparently people do that around here, they stand in a ditch along a country road and deer hunt. To me that sounds silly, but I really have never lived in such a rural area so some of the things that happen around here seem pretty odd. Also, it puzzled me they thought a camera with a wide angle lens on a tripod would look like a gun to hunt with. The moral of this story is when you stand in a ditch and photograph an old house someone may think you are getting ready to shoot a deer.

Friday, September 30, 2016

I'm For Hire

I've taken my photography to a hobby level.  I would love to take my time and talent to help a company flourish.  Sales is not my thing, but I would definitely love to help assist a sales department in promoting product.  I love marketing and am always up for brainstorming creative ideas to help bring a product to the consumer.  If you have a job opening in your company that you think I could fill, let me know and I'll see if it's fitting.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Donate Your Time and Talent"

This phrase has been stuck in my head lately.  There are a lot of people and organizations who send requests out to photographers to donate their time and talent.  I just thought I'd write and tell you about my time.  This is about my life as a photographer and other photographers may have a different perspective on donating their time and talent.

What is time?  Time is a lot.  It's worth a whole lot more than money because we only have so much of it.  When someone requests a photographer to donate their time they usually want a photographer to give a specific amount of time towards photographing an event.

What is my time in regards to this?  First of all, donating the time is not just all that is donated.

  • It's the prep time to prepare for the event, 
  • the gas money to get to the event, 
  • the time to travel to the event, 
  • the wear and tear on the vehicle to get to the event, 
  • the time afterwards to edit the photos, 
  • the time it takes to prepare the photos to get them back to the organization, 
  • the wear and tear on the camera because all cameras wear out and new ones need to be bought, 
  • the hard drive space taken up for the files which will eventually lead to another hard drive purchase when full.
So, in a nutshell, whatever time you expect a photographer to donate needs to be doubled or even tripled.  If you are hosting an event where you charge admission and have some expenses such as tent rental, catering, etc, why do you not figure in a bit of the admission cost for a photographer?  A decent photographer is worth paying.  Getting a volunteer photographer may result in photos no better than something you could take with your iPhone.

I already do much of my photography without pay.  An old barn, abandoned house or cemetery cannot be billed for services.  On top of that there are many organizations I do not charge for any photography services.  This can be very time consuming so adding anymore donations of my time can be too much.  I also have a husband and 3 kids and it takes time away from them also.

If anything, consider setting a small portion of funds aside for a professional photographer.  If your organization is on a tight budget, offering a small amount of cash for the photographer's time does help pay for the gas to get there and a USB drive to put the photos on.  

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Old Brighton High School

For quite some time I would photograph the exterior of the old Brighton High School and always wondered what kind of mysteries I would find inside.

Recently I had the chance to explore the interior.  When I told someone I wanted to go to the 2nd floor, their response was something along the lines of, "are you sure?"  Yes, I have to capture the whole place or it just wouldn't have the same meaning.  As I've photographed from the outside looking up to the 2nd floor, I've always desired to see what mysteries lie there waiting for my camera.

To get upstairs you have to start from the bottom, so that is where it begins.  Inside there is peeling paint, cracked walls, particle board on the ceiling and these cool old windows above the doors.  The original chains are still attached.

The old wood floors are beautiful, even though they aren't in the best shape.  Right behind me is a sunken spot in the floor that bounces as you walk on it.  I'm sure the main floorboards have probably had some damage.  Not sure what's up with that hole on the left by the weight machine, but I did not stick my hand down it.  I was tempted to bang on the piano, but I try not to touch much when I go into these places.  There was a piece of discarded clothing on the right I did move because I didn't want it in the photo.

I looked up above the front entry and there was a radiator.  I don't recall many others as I roamed around the school, but maybe they were hidden or because I wasn't exactly looking for them, I didn't find notice them.  This may no longer be in use.

From different signage hanging around it looks as if the local soccer organization uses a couple of the rooms on the main floor.  This room still had desks inside.  Love the old wooden floors.

Another room in the back half of the building was used for storing odds and ends.  Lots of old books and equipment from the fire department.

At one time a church must have met inside the building.  There were religious symbols and verses in various locations.

A couple of the doors looked like they had been attacked by a pack of hungry dogs.  It just goes to show that things of the world are only temporary.

After a spent a bit of time photographing on the main floor, I decided to venture upstairs.  The stairwell was caked with pigeon poop and a few pigeon remains here and there.  The door to the 2nd floor is kept closed.  Now I know why.

The upstairs is basically a pigeon's palace.  The main room in the front half of the 2nd floor is all pigeon poop and insulation. Well, not all, but most.  There is this nice basketball hoop which should read, "POOP-A-SHOT".  The pigeons might have fun with target practice.   Yes, they were flying around while I was up there.  It stunk really bad and I knew I couldn't stay up there for long.  

I didn't photograph these 3 rooms in the image below.  It's all pretty much the same, wall, floor, windows and pigeon poop.  The room on the right I did go in and climb over a ledge to get access to an area where the remains of a haunted house are still set up.

After I climbed over the ledge I was started by a skeleton-mannequin.  It would have made a great photo, but it became impossible because of fleas!  As I was trying to focus the camera in the dimly lit area my ankles started itching.  I looked down and all these little critters were crawling on my shoes, along my ankles and proceeding up my legs.  Freakkkyyyy!!!  I could no longer focus on what I was doing and quickly made it to the area below.  

It didn't matter.  I was totally invaded and they weren't leaving.  I had to leave.  So I took a few photos in here, found some Fantastic to spray on my legs for a temporary halt, then gathered my mind and left (I was about to go crazy because of the fleas).  My ankles are ate up with flea bites on top of the poison ivy, which I got about two weeks ago from another photo adventure.

As I exit this building, that means so much to so many, I take with me the thoughts of a skeleton-mannequin jumping at me, a ton of fleas, the smell of stinky pigeons, the appreciation of good hardwood floors, and the gratefulness of the opportunity to take a peak inside this place.

After being inside I don't see how it's possible that this building could ever be utilized at 100%.  It's just wasted square footage.  Maybe it can be torn town, pieces of it  sold (windows and bricks) and something else be built in it's place.  It's nice to have a building left standing that means so much to so many people, but maybe there is something else that can be built on the land that would benefit the community in so many more ways.

To see more photos of the Old Brighton High School including the gym, go to: http://www.christyhunterphotography.com/p932037719

Saturday, July 11, 2015

What Have We Come To?

This past month I have no idea what to think about things anymore.  Everyone has become so offended with everything.

I grew up in the North and don't know much about the Civil War.  The flag that has become such a debate was nothing much where I grew up.  If anyone had it displayed it was usually just country folk, but it was rare.

I moved to Tennessee in December 2011.  There are more rebel flags, but same thing.  Just country folk and rednecks.  Everyone is happy and gets along.  No one seems to make a big deal about the flags and neither did I.  The Civil War is something I knew little of so I just saw the flag as a flag of rednecks, a thing of the south.

In August 2013 I took these photos of Charleston Cemetery in Tipton County.  

I actually posted them on a Facebook group and we had an interesting discussion about grave markers.  That's what I wanted to know.  What the marker was.  Someone even mention that now they make some out of recycled bowling balls.  Not sure how true that ways, but it was an enjoyable discussion.

Now, it's almost 2 years later.  Since some evil person held that flag in a photo, it has been determined to be the reason for the senseless murder of 9 people.  A Facebook post in a cemetery group with these kind of things is now deemed offensive to some.  Now people are just walking into cemeteries and removing these types of things and putting them in the trash. Why was it not offensive back then when I posted it?  If it was so offensive, why did they not "educate" me on the offensiveness of these items back in 2013?  

Today, just like I did when it first happened, I blame a young, whacked out, selfish jerk for killing 9 people during a prayer service.  It was his choice, not history's.  He was a Godless soul.  His lack of God and disrespect for others allowed him to choose to take the lives of 9 people.  We try to blame mental health issues, gun laws, conservatives, a rebel flag for the reason he killed, but I just blame him.  He is an evil thinking person.  

When the tragedy first happened people were coming together and praying.  When the tragedy first happened, people shared the photos and names of the victims to honor them.  When the tragedy first happened, people despised the killer.  We were united.  All Americans stood together in the fact that this was wrong.  Healing began... then someone blamed a piece of material, a dead body, a man-made statue.  Now we have forgotten those church members who were senselessly killed.  We now have division.... 

Is division what those people in the church died for?  At that prayer service were they praying to have a flag taken down, a dead body dug up, a statue to be removed, a street name to be changed, an elementary school name to be changed?  Those people praying welcomed a young man in their prayer service.  They had unity, he did not.  I doubt they were praying for any of the things we are fighting over today.

Whatever your belief is about the flag, dead bodies, statues and names, I'll respect it and try to see your side.  I feel like I'm an outsider looking in, trying to gain understanding of why something that has been around for years has to come down or WWIII will start.  Please take time to read history.  I try to read something from all sides.  I feel the division we have today is from a lack of knowledge.  Read about all those who fought and died under both sides.  Read about the people that worked to build so many things in the north and the south.  All those people had a part in our history.  If we destroy it, we will not know what they did.  We will not learn from their hard work and perseverance.

I'm a photographer who is surrounded by remains of the Confederate. I want to know more about it instead of being dumb about it.  There is a historical structure I photograph frequently that was built with slave labor.  It still stands today.  People keep it up because they appreciate it.  They honor those who built it.  I'd love to post a photo of it, but I fear today that someone may want to burn it down because they are offended.  That building is something to be proud of.  It's someone's heritage. They built it with their hands.  It means so much more that slaves built it.  I just wonder if there is family around today that had family members that built it.  The past is the past, but the hard work of those who built and labored over that building still stands.  That has to stand for something.