Category Archives: Architecture
My first photo essay on a decaying small town. I lived here for a year more than 50 years ago: Greeley, Iowa.
Greeley was founded a little over 100 years ago. There is a small central park with an open air gazebo, a lovely flower bed, and a small book share facility. All that really remains of Main Street in Greeley is 3 or 4 run down buildings on one side of the road. Kind of indicative of the rest of the town, really. Although there remain some lovely houses with wrap-around porches, most of the buildings seem to be mobile homes or in deep disrepair.
Greeley is now more road than town, it seems. A place to slow down, but there are no gas pumps, not the slightest hint of groceries. Some electronic maps will tell you there is a place to eat in town, but it has been long abandoned. State Road 38 is being resurfaced through Greeley, but the sign itself is as misshapen as much of the rest of the town.
The largest business in Greeley is a feed store and grain elevator. The wind turbines have altered the skyline, such as it ever was, a hint of modernization – good or bad – in a town otherwise seemingly stuck in 1940.
In many ways, Greeley seems very much to have given up on itself. Even the flagpoles in what passes for the city park have no flags flying, even on Independence Day weekend. The former city Maintenance Shop is perhaps the best metaphor existing for the current state of Greeley. It has itself failed to be maintained so thoroughly that it is collapsing on itself. There are apparently no city buildings suitable for habitation, so state and federal flyers mandated for public display are posted in an open air display case bound to the chain link fence around the water tower with baling wire.
Once upon a time the steeple on the Catholic Church was the highest point in town. The turbines have claimed that distinction now. The Greeley cemetery is nearly full, yet it’s difficult to imagine how long it will take to fill the remaining plots, with so few people left in the area.
I found myself awake at 4:00 AM this morning and, given the rarity of that situation these days, jumped (rolled) out of bed and lollygagged around for an hour, then decided to go out and shoot the sunrise.
I don’t know why I never remember that shooting a sunrise means you have to have your camera set up and pointed east, ready to go, a half hour before sunrise. When the sun is over the horizon, it’s already probably too late. This morning it was pretty cloudy, but there was a break with some lovely red color just off to the northeast that I might have been able to put together with a zoom lens. But I was about 5 minutes too late and the whole effect was gone.
In a fit of pique, I satisfied myself with this one instead, which was studiously pointed away from the eastern sky.
This is one of those pictures that I’ve been driving past every dark, foggy morning for years, and yesterday I finally got out of the car to take the picture I’d been envisioning all this time.
I’ve been trying to find the time to get to this one for days. Whenever I do a portrait session, I try to do at least one thing that is new to me and which I’m not entirely sure will work. Oftentimes it doesn’t work. In this case, I wanted to see if I could take a very long exposure on a reasonably well-let street, and have the model be pretty sharp.
I achieved the effect by setting the aperture as small as it would go to reduce the ambient light striking the sensor as much as possible, and relied on a flash through an umbrella to light the model sufficiently. In this case, I think it worked very well. I got tail lights from a passing vehicle to spice up the shot a little more. All in all, I think it gives great atmosphere within a small town that many seniors believe has no interesting backdrops to give up. Hopefully this will help them look at their town with a new pair of eyes.
Grabbed this on the way to work yesterday morning. I’m pretty disappointed with it. I didn’t take enough time to set it up properly. I forgot to set my ISO to something reasonable from when I was learning the controls the night before. I should have had this set to ISO-200 and f/5.6 or so and there would have been a lot less noise. On the other hand, my excuse is going to be that the noise adds character to this particular composition.
We’re always told to learn from our mistakes, and one of the things I learned from this one (other than don’t rush) is that my 70D is not going to do a stellar job at high ISO in low light. I applied considerable noise reduction in post processing to this, and it still is pretty grainy.
I had lots of good intentions of taking an extended photo walk this weekend and creating a new backlog of images to post here, but a virus put me down for four straight days. I’m feeling better now, but here’s a little something to let you know I”m still alive. It’s a straight-forward portrait of a local senior you’ve probably seen a time or two elsewhere on this site 🙂