As I write this, I am counting down the days until I get to go to another salvage yard for a photoshoot. Judging from what I have seen from video and photos, this yard has a lot of old iron to shoot. This yard is tucked away in some woods out in the country. It looks as though everything has been there at least 50 years. Lots of rust, which usually means good textures, and great lines of automobiles built in the 1940’s and 50’s.
I’ve always liked old cars. I’ve been known to attend a car show or two. As pretty as the restorations are, there is nothing like looking at a hulk that has been in the same spot for decades. Imagining what it must have looked like. Wondering who the previous owners were, and why they gave up their vehicles.
Looking at abandoned cars in a salvage yard gets my imagination going. Not only do I think about the previous things, but I also try to mentally picture what the finished print will look like. Will it be a great black and white print with lots of texture and shapes? Will the patina of the rust and faded paint look better in color, with just a few tweaks in Lightroom? Other things that cross my mind when shooting include close-ups or crop later, bracket the shots for a HDR print, or even several side by side shots to create a panorama.
I have found myself more drawn to rust lately than the old barns I loved to shoot. I’ve been on several Urbex (Urban Exploration) trips in the past two years, as well as the salvage yards. Something about being able to get right up to the subjects, and be able to feel them, is something that was lacking from shooting barns. In a way, they are both similar in that the structures (both buildings and vehicles) are old, usually abandoned, and falling apart. The rust and rot speak to me. I cannot ignore their pleas. So, I will continue shooting both barns and Urbex.
Back to this upcoming shoot. After I am done writing this, I will go over my equipment, ensuring batteries are charged, lenses are clean, and filters in place. I am bringing both my cameras on this adventure. One will be equipped with the kit lens (18 -55 mm) while the other will sport a 50 mm lens. My tripod is already in my vehicle so as not to forget it. I will also make sure extra SD cards are in the bag, as well as the spare batteries.
Because this is a four-hour shoot, I expect to get between 150 to 200 shots between the two cameras. After getting them on the computer, this number will be reduced through culling until I have a nice number of shots to choose from. Of these I will edit maybe half of them, with perhaps a handful getting printed. Although this may sound harsh, it is not. Most of the shots will be what I call practice shots. This will be to check settings on the cameras, look for distractions my eyes may not have caught, and determine if I should continue to shoot that shot.
If you want to know more about Urban Exploration, there are many websites devoted to it. There are also a lot of pages and groups on Facebook covering this topic. For those that want to see some of my barn photography or anything in my “Rust as Art” series, visit my website at https://rickdecoriephotography.com/ .