Jim Denham

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Rust Bucket

Published June 13th, 2011

Was very excited to get out with the camera Saturday evening! It had really been since vacation since I got out and looked for pics, so I was eager to go and it was a perfect evening for it - great light. I had one place in mind here in Cottage Grove, but it is in a busy area and the traffic was just too strong to chance getting hurt. My second choice was downtown Hastings, MN, but unbeknownst to me, there was a HUGE car show there and people from all around the cities were taking it in, which meant that parking anywhere near town was out of the question and getting any shots without folks in them was even less likely.

So where do I go? The old standby, the rail yard! Even after visiting many times, the yard always seems to produce some interestingly new subjects to point the camera at, like today's subject. I've posted many images of the rusty tools and implements resting on benches next to the tracks, but most of them were interesting because of the rust or the shape of the subject. ...

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Post Vase

Published June 10th, 2011

There is no telling what you might find when exploring a farm, especially in the barn area. As much work that has to get done around the place, you'd think everything has its purpose in order for everything to be efficient - not much time to waste! With this in mind, I found this scene quite interesting and couldn't help but wonder what purpose this vase had sitting on top of the fence post located directly behind the barn.

As we drove by it on the way to feed the catfish at the pond, I asked my brother in law why it was there, and his answer surprised me, "No reason. It was a vase from where I gave Joey some flowers and when the flowers were gone, I put the vase on the post." What a great answer! I was expecting to hear something about how it kept bugs or birds, or something, away from the barn, but it had no intention and was just there. I loved it!

The backside of this barn fascinated me, not only with the vase on the post, but also with the beautifully weathered wood siding, the ...

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Published June 9th, 2011

For those of you who don't know Paris, TN, this scene will likely not seem too complicated or intriguing, and that's OK, but I could not help myself in taking the pic once my head started work on this scene. What we're looking at is a numbered parking spot on North Fentress St., looking south towards Wood St., or Highway 54. The muriel of the train on the buildings in the background are symbolic to what used to be a busy area for the train (tracks are also running down the middle of Fentress) with the old depot being at the north end of the street. Not too big a deal, huh?

Well, as far as I know, Paris has never charged for parking, had meters or any other reason to number the parking areas around the town, at least none that I can think of. This just seemed to one of those instances where a small town is trying to seem bigger than what it is. I could be wrong, though, and likely am. Either way, the parking number drew my eye enough to warrant an image, so there!

Virtually all of the ...

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Published June 8th, 2011

Sometimes I'm a bit perplexed about what catches my eye and why. There's no doubt I see things differently now than prior to taking pictures and today's image proves that! I went for a walk yesterday morning at around 5 AM and really enjoyed it because it was quite pleasant out. My route took 70th St to the East, then south on Hinton, to 80th St heading back west, then Hardwood back home. All in all, it took about an hour to complete

About 1/3rd of the way down 80th, I spotted this hubcap on the edge of the sidewalk with a bunch of utility markings running past and around it. For some reason, this scene captivated me and my brain would not let me go to work before coming back to it and taking pics of it. The deliberate intent and precision of the marking, using 3 different colors for the 3 different line types, seemed to contrast beautifully against the randomness of the lost hubcap just sitting there.

A few years ago, this scene would have only caught my eye because of my need to a ...

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Published June 6th, 2011

Sometimes, what's not in the picture is actually the subject, especially if it looks like it should be in the pic. Today's image is another from the Fort Worth Stockyards while on the photo adventure with James Brandon and Cliff Baise. While exploring the working yards (there were animals in there!), this large corner post was found in the middle of the corral maze and on top of it was one part of a gate hinge. Considering how large the post and hinge were, one would have expected a pretty large gate to be attached, but nothing anywhere near.

This type of scene always generates questions in my mind. Was the hinge just for decorative purposes, or was there really a gate, or something else, that had been attached to it at one time? If there was a gate, why did they remove it? Why leave the hinge on the post? I'm sure there are some folks at the yard who could answer the questions, but for now, I'll just ponder on what might have been.

Most of the evening in Fort Worth was overcast, bu ...

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Day's End

Published June 5th, 2011

On our last day in TN, we had the great pleasure of visiting my sister and brother-in-law on their farm in Cottage Grove, TN. They have a beautiful farm and we were able to take a short drive over to one of the ponds which had stocked catfish. My son had a large time throwing food into the pond and watching these catfish come up to the surface and eat, not unlike how someone would feed their aquarium fish. Just weird seeing catfish come to the surface like that!

On the short ride back, I asked Tommy if he could stop and let me get this picture. I had noticed it on the way out and was hoping the sun was in the right spot as we returned, and it was. This feeder was out in the middle of a long, narrow field, all by itself. The rusty surface drew my eye, of course, but I also was drawn to the entire scene - the sun going down on the farm marking the day's end. It just appealed to me.

I'm a bit disappointed in the composition. Even though it took me a minute or two to set it up, and I tho ...

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A Forgotten Element

Published June 4th, 2011

Surprisingly, I was able to take quite a lot of pictures while on vacation in Big Sandy, TN. This was mainly due to me getting up around 5AM each morning and getting out before anyone else had gotten up. One of those mornings I spent walking around Big Sandy's 'town' area.

There are still some remnants of the older town I remember growing up in, but not much. I'd like to say that the changes to the town were all big improvements, but they have been inconsistently put together with little connection to each other, making the town look more disconnected than improved.

One of the lingering remnants was this old bench in front of the Beauty Shop in the middle of town. Benches used to be quite the necessity in little towns like this one. Wives and kids would shop in the establishments while the husbands and older men sat on the benches and swapped 'stories', otherwise known as lies. Now, they're merely a decoration and few people make use of them as they used to.

The just risen sun reall ...

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Kentucky Lake

Published June 2nd, 2011

Other than a few marinas, there's not a whole lot of picture ops on Kentucky Lake, especially around the Big Sandy, TN, area. This image was taken at sun-up yesterday and what caught my eye was the stillness of the air and water. There was some very nice light, too, but I decided to create a bit of mood with the black and white instead.

After running through Photomatix, a Gaussian Blur was applied to an Overlay Adjustment Layer, which, in combination, gives the dreamy look I wanted. Converted the black and white in Aperture - just seems to work easier with more control than doing it in Elements.

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Bursting Lilies

Published June 1st, 2011

My Mom has a wonderful green thumb. Coming home in May is a lot different than in December because in May, everything is in full bloom and her yard looks amazing! Stretched the camera's legs after waking up on Memorial Day so that I could capture some of her beautiful work!

Mom said these flowers were lilies, but I do not remember the exact type. What I do remember was the wonderful warm sunlight sneaking through the trees in the distance and draping the lilies with great light and cool shadows. A different angle could have been used to make the lilies look better, but I LOVED the sunburst right off of the lily petal, so I had to live with the tin roof and pavilion in the background.

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Big Sandy Rolls

Published May 31st, 2011

When I think of rural Tennessee, in other words home, this is one of the pictures I see. A hazy, humid sunrise with fresh rolls of hay covering the fields. I recall a few days when I was a kid where instead of rolling the hay, it would be bailed, and we would have to load it in the truck. What a pain that was! Fortunately, we did not grow hay ourself and only had to loa what we would buy from a local farmer.

After tone mapping this image, I had to apply a blue filter to it in Elements to knock down the yellow cast caused by the bright sun. Once that was done, the image came together nicely!

This spot is just around the curve from my mother's house down what is known as Tom White Road. Have no idea who Tom White was, but it was likely named after him because he was the only one, or on of the few, who lived on this road. Thus the post office would name the road after them.

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Forgotten Girl

Published May 30th, 2011

I've pretty much come to the understanding that if I get one good shot form a photo outing, I should be happy. I mean, it's hard to get stirred every time you go out with the camera, and even if your creative mind is working, finding something to suit it is not always easy. Yesterday's walk with my brother Jerry (http://denhamphotography.blogspot.com/) was very much like that.

We took a trip to Paris, TN, to hunt around the back alleys in the little town and targets were a bit hard to come by, but I found the one shot that made the trip worth while. In an alley off of another alley, the doors on today's image caught my eye. They were beat up and had paint chipping and peeling all around it. But as I looked around the frame, a stencil of a little girl on the wall next to the door jumped out at me.

It's this kind of pic that gets me excited. So many questions around why this little girl was painted on this wall. First of all, why? Why her and why here? Is this decoration or a tribute t ...

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Celebrating Freedom

Published May 29th, 2011

One of the benefits for my family getting together at my mom's house over Memorial Day Weekend is getting to go to the Big Sandy Spring Festival in Big Sandy, TN. My high school years were spent in Big Sandy, as well as many of my adult years. It is a very small, rural Tennessee town that has one celebration every year, the Spring Festival, which takes place on the Saturday during Memorial Day Weekend. Veterans from Big Sandy are honored and the whole town turns into a big carnival that caps off with a rather beautiful fireworks show at 9 PM that night.

One of the growing and more popular events is the car show which takes place all day long right in the middle of town. This year the number of entries seemed to be two times that of last year and all were quite impressive. There is also a bike portion of the show from which this pic was taken.

This may be the coolest paint job I've seen on a Harley. It may not be the most complicated, but the freedom symbolized as both a Harley rider ...

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End of the Line

Published May 26th, 2011

This image seemed like low hanging fruit, but I had to take it! This little shack resides at the end of the train line that runs through the Fort Worth Stockyards. It and the last bit of track you see are in a turn around pit where the trains are turned around to head back out of the yard. This was a pretty neat little place due to many elements in the image.

The shack itself is pretty attractive, with its weathered wood siding, small window and its only little mystery of why it even exists. I have no idea, but I am not a train guy - maybe somebody else out there can tell us. The tracks leading up to the train add a nice leading line, but my favorite part of the tracks are the cross tie borders just outside on the turn around. What great textures! There's a missing tie next to the end on the right and all of the spikes were still sticking up - badly wanted to photo that, but did not have the reach and walking out on the tracks didn't seem like a good idea.

It's hard to tell form this ...

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Published May 25th, 2011

The weather folks convinced me that when I woke up yesterday morning, the sun would be out and the weather would be beautiful! Liars! What we did wake up to was cloudy skies and a firm, cool breeze. At first, I was a bit disappointed. I had planned on finding a cool spot to catch the warm morning light through the viewfinder, but instead, went about my normal business. However, after eating breakfast and dropping a blog post, I noticed that the skies were quite dramatic and would make for a great photo background, so I took off for a drive and found today's image.

I'm not sure what they call these machines, but I'm guessing they're used to fertilize and water crops. As I drove by this one, I noticed the repetitive geometry looking straight through from the front to the back and thought it might make a decent pic setting against the dramatic sky.

Processing this image was pretty fun, actually. Applied a few combinations of adjustment layers and Topaz presets to get the detail and pop ...

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Tile Above

Published May 24th, 2011

During our walk through the Fort Worth Stockyards, we meandered through the Love Shack restaurant (we did not stay!) to a cool spot behind the place that James had been meaning to attack. The main part of the area was a nice walkway along a stream that ran underneath an overpass and several buildings, but just before the walkway was a parking garage located underneath a couple of other buildings.

My eye was drawn to the red tile ceiling in the garage - I had not seen anything like that before. Typically, this is concrete or the wood joists for the flooring above, but never tile. It really stood out nicely, especially the broken pieces lying on the gravel below. These fallen pieces left noticeable holes in the ceiling above.

I like this shot, but I'm disappointed in it. Not so much for the picture itself as for the routine shot that it is. Whenever I see these type of scenes, I immediately set up to take the symmetrical shot. When observing James and Cliff, they took different angles ...

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A Fishy Experiment

Published May 23rd, 2011

My first real understanding of the difference between a crop sensor and full frame was realized on my photo outing with James and Cliff in Fort Worth, TX. An awesome view of the entire Water Garden was available street side, on the very top of the stair wall, but after getting up there (which took quite an effort considering my short, stubby legs) I came to realize that my widest lens (18mm) could only capture part of it. This had also come about while wandering in the Stockyard area. Very frustrating.

While still on top of the Water Garden, Cliff asked James to let me borrow his 15mm fisheye lens and James was gracious enough to let me use it. I had never used one of these before, so it was quite odd looking at the LCD and seeing the distortion! With around 160 degree coverage, it did allow me to get quite a bit more of the scene in the frame, but, unfortunately, not all.

After processing the image, I was so tempted to try and straighten the line across the top of the falls, but I c ...

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The Fort Worth Water Garden

Published May 21st, 2011

When I found out that I would be going to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I dropped a Direct Message to one of my Twitter buds, James Brandon, and asked him if he would be interested in meeting me and maybe taking a few pics in the area. He not only agreed to it, he talked Cliff Baise into coming along, too! If you aren't familiar with these two gents, I strongly recommend checking them out on their websites - http://jamesbrandon.cc/blog/ and http://thecreativegap.com/. These guys are seriously good photographers and fantastic hosts (at least to me anyways)!

It turned out to be a fantastic night! We visited Fort Worth, checked out the Stockyards and the Water Gardens, had a good meal at Riscky's BBQ, but the highlight was me getting to learn that these two gents were even better people than they are photographers, which is saying a lot, because they're both quite talented photogs!

To be honest though, I struggled to see shots while out with the guys. This happens from time to time, but i ...

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