Photo Challenge: 24 Hours, One Location

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Life under lockdown is challenging on many levels. The need to express oneself through art, crafts, writing, or other creative outlets—though not nearly as critical as a means of survival compared to food and shelter—is part of our genetic makeup. Our creative efforts help to define who we are, how we think, and how we see the world around us. In times such as these, having the ability to express oneself through one’s craft can act as a coping mechanism for getting through yet another day.

Photography has been a personal coping mechanism, as well as a form of creative expression since I was in my late teens and remains so to this very day. And though I’ve always loved heading off to photograph in places unknown, I find equal satisfaction in finding previously unnoticed picture opportunities within walking distance of my front door.

Photographs © Allan Weitz 2020

Sometimes something as simple or mundane as a fence can be the starting point for an interesting series of photographs. You don’t always have to travel far to find something you’ve never seen before. (Leica M10 Monochrom; Voigtländer Noktor 75mm f/1.5 Asph).
Sometimes something as simple or mundane as a fence can be the starting point for an interesting series of photographs. You don’t always have to travel far to find something you’ve never seen before. (Leica M10 Monochrom; Voigtländer Noktor 75mm f/1.5 Asph).

Two blocks down the street from where I live is a wonderful older home. It’s a corner property with picket fences that join at a right angle where they meet at the corner of the street. The angles and vanishing points created between the lines of the house and fence have long caught my eye. Much of the fence is weathered, and the paint is peeling at points, giving it a wonderful patina.

Though the main exposure is northwest, light filters in from behind during the morning hours, making it possible to find interesting pockets of highlights and shadows any time of day. Vines invariably find their way around the fence and spill onto the walkway. Later in the day, the shadows of these vines add additional points of reference on which to focus. And at night, it’s a whole other story.

 

As a photographic challenge, I decided to use these fence lines as a “lockdown” project in which I would capture a minimum of 12 keepers over the course of 24 hours. Now, to be perfectly honest, I did not photograph the fence at 2:00 a.m., 4:00 a.m., or any other ungodly hour. I did, however, photograph the fence early and late in the morning, at midday, as well as later in the afternoon. Evening shots were captured at dusk and later in the evening when the darkness was total.

The corner post and the house late in the evening. (Leica M10 Monochrom; Zeiss Distagon 25mm f/2 FZ.2)
The corner post and the house late in the evening. (Leica M10 Monochrom; Zeiss Distagon 25mm f/2 FZ.2)

I used two cameras: a Sony a7R III for the color images and a Leica M10 Monochrom for the black-and-white photographs. I used a mix of lenses during the course of this project. Included were a Voigtländer Super Wide-Heliar 15mm f/4.5 ASPH III, a Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon ZF.2, a Zeiss 60mm f/2.8 Makro-Planar, a Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS, and a Voigtländer Nokton 75mm f/1.5 Asph. Various Novoflex lens adapters were used for mounting the lenses on the two cameras, as needed.

Midday. Sometimes it’s the irregularities that make an image work; something ajar amidst the uniformity of the foreground and background (Leica M10 Monochrom; Zeiss Distagon T* 25mm f/2 ZF.2)
Midday. Sometimes it’s the irregularities that make an image work; something ajar amidst the uniformity of the foreground and background. (Leica M10 Monochrom; Zeiss Distagon T* 25mm f/2 ZF.2)

My lens apertures ranged from wide open for narrow, selective focus to f/16 for maximum depth of field. I also varied my shooting angles, making sure to shoot from a distance to my subject, as well from the closest focusing distances of my lenses. I shot from above, as well as from ground level.

Morning light filtering through the slats of the fence from a few inches above ground level. A 15mm ultra wide-angle lens enables visual interplay between the slats and the shadows they cast. (Sony a7R III; Voigtländer Super Wide-Heliar 15mm f/4.5 Asph)
Morning light filtering through the slats of the fence from a few inches above ground level. A 15mm ultra wide-angle lens enables visual interplay between the slats and the shadows they cast. (Sony a7R III; Voigtländer Super Wide-Heliar 15mm f/4.5 Asph)

In many of the photographs, the compositions are tight and offer little in the way of information about the surroundings, while in other photographs, the house and other details about the surroundings are plain to see. The goal was to capture the fence from varied angles under varying lighting conditions. Some people look at a fence and see a fence. Others look at a fence and see straight lines, curved lines, textures, and even colors.

Young vines creep out from behind the fence and out onto the walkway. (Sony a7R III; Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS)
Young vines creep out from behind the fence and out onto the walkway. (Sony a7R III; Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS)

There are undoubtedly dozens of equally innocuous places and spaces within an easy walk from your front door. Maybe this would be a good time to revisit them with a camera, a lens or two, and an open set of eyes. Who knows… you might see something you never noticed before—maybe something you’d want to photograph.

Later that night, the vines continue to lurk (Leica M10 Monochrom; Zeiss Distagon 25mm f/2 FZ.2)
Later that night, the vines continue to lurk. (Leica M10 Monochrom; Zeiss Distagon 25mm f/2 FZ.2)

Do you have local haunts you photograph from time to time? How about someplace close to home you’ve thought about photographing but haven’t found time to follow up? If so, get out there, shoot some pix, and let us know how you made out, in the Comments field, below. And remember—be safe, for your sake and the well-being of others.

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