The past couple of years I haven’t been very successful with my photo calendars. In 2007 the company I used made misprints, and replaced all of the calendars I ordered. Some folks thought the calendars looked OK even with the faulty printing, and took them anyway. Last year I didn’t even get around to making a calendar. I couldn’t decide on which photos to use and the time slipped by. This year I had a theme, but once again time was a factor.
I order my calendars through Qoop.com from photos that I’ve posted to my Flickr account. Since I’ve been doing so much with antiquing and adding texture, I thought it might be nice to create a collection of processed photographs. Specifically, I was including old and vanishing structures and objects from the South. I placed the order on December 6, which should have been plenty of time for the order to be processed. However, the calendars didn’t arrive until after we had already left for Florida for Christmas – too late to be used as Christmas presents as intended. I complained to Qoop, and they were gracious enough to refund my shipping fees and give me a coupon for future purchases, but this is two orders that they have messed up.
As for the calendars themselves, they were waiting when we got back home. I may still use them as Epiphany presents, but the overall effect of the calendars wasn’t exactly what I expected. They turned out a bit darker, and a bit more Gothic than I had thought. Here’s a brief month-by-month rundown…
The cover photo is the image at the top of this post, and is the hood ornament from a 1940’s vintage Chevy. My brother Houston and I were exploring the Mt. Carmel area and came across these antique cars in the little town. This shot had HDR applied, then a texture frame as an overlay.
The photo for January is also from the Mt. Carmel trip. We drove through the tiny railroad community of Watts in Abbeville County and came across this old country store. I did a bit of lens blurring as an overlay, then added some vignetting to create the antique effect.
My dad and I were out exploring Newberry and Laurens Counties when we came across this wide open field. The loneliness of the open space appealed to me. I added a texture layer to create the vignetting effects.
The photo for March was taken on the same trip with my father. This old house was located near the community of Silverstreet in Newberry County. I processed it as black and white with Redynamix in Photoshop, then added a framing texture as an overlay. This is actually the same frame as the one used for the cover photo, but I added the layer twice – once as an actual overlay, and once with the interior masked out to enhance the framing effect.
The April photograph is another from the Mt. Carmel trip. In fact, several of my photos for this calendar came from that trek. This is the old steel girder bridge over Calhoun Creek in Abbeville County. This was also the first photo I ever tried with texture. This is actually three bracketed photos processed with HDR. I then added the texture layer on top, which made the colors pop out a bit more.
As I’m typing this and looking at the actual calendar, I realize I made a mistake. The photo for May really should have been for one of the autumn months. The image is of a barn on Highway 14 north of Greer that I took last fall. I had intentionally processed it with golden hues to enhance the fall color palette. Oh well.
I always keep a camera with me in the car, and sometimes it pays off. The little community of Reidville has always fascinated me, and I’m tempted to linger when I have to head out that way to visit Reidville Elementary School. Across from the school is this intriguing old store building with the faded murals. Recently someone has purchased the building and has opened it as the Southern Sisters Coffee Shop. I’m glad to see the building restored and being used. The murals have been left in place. This shot had a texture layer added to enhance the colors a bit.
This shot doesn’t really fit, although you wouldn’t know it to look at it. It’s actually a barn in the Skagit Valley in Washington State, and isn’t a southern structure at all. However, I guess barns are barns, and if I didn’t catch it until after the calendar came out, I guess others won’t, either. This had a cracked mud layer added as an overlay, and is probably a bit overdone. I should have toned down the opacity of the texture layer. Still, it has an interesting affect.
Speaking of anomalies, I had intended to use this shot somewhere…
…but rejected it because a Maine lighthouse didn’t really fit in with the theme.
This field with hay bales is located in Oconee County. Each fall farmers compete to decorate their hay bales, creating the Oconee Hay Trail. My sister, Glynda, and I went exploring and took pictures of the decorated bales. These were not decorated, but just presented an interesting tableau. I added a texture layer to this shot for vignetting and antiquing.
September is traditionally thought of as back-to-school month, even though we really start back in early August. Sticking with tradition, this month’s photo is of the old Shiloh School house located just west of Anderson near the Lake Hartwell Dam. This one was processed with Redynamix, then had a texture layer applied.
This, by far, is the darkest and most Southern Gothic of the series, so I saved it for October and Halloween. This is another of the old farm houses my father and I found on our Newberry County ramble. I used the “heavy sky” setting in Redynamix to process it in black and white, then added a framing texture for the vignetting.
This field and farm house are located just up the road from the old Shiloh School. As with the other shots, it was processed with Redynamix then had texture applied.
My good Flickr friend Cricket Jenkins lives in the area, and was able to capture this same scene with the field covered in sunflowers…
With as many churches as there are that dot the South, it only made sense to include one with this collection. For the December photo I dipped back into my Mount Carmel archives and found a shot of Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church. The old white frame structure seemed perfect for antiquing, so I processed it in Redynamix then added a texture layer, as I have with the other shots. I also did a bit of lens blurring with masking on this shot.
So there you have it – the 2010 edition of the RandomConnections calendar. It may be a bit too Southern Gothic for some tastes, but it is a unified theme (mostly.)