Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hillside Gabling


PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY: None of the buildings of Hillside Farmstead is spectacular in itself, but the main hay barn (at the top in this photo) has been magnificently prolific in sprouting new outbuildings that cataract down the hillside in two main branches. The architect in me revels in the spaces created at every sprouting and in the turning and twisting of the gables, and everything is well-aged. It is a farmstead that asks to be photographed.

Although I have been shooting here since last spring, I've never shot this face of the complex. In spring and summer the sun only reaches here in mid-morning and at a steep angle. Most of my trips here then are to catch the gorgeous evening light that bathes the other side of these buildings (1.) (2.) (3.) (4.)

There is a reason this is called "Hillside Farm," and the natural thing to do is to compose to maximize the buildings' ascent of the slope. As I was interested in the various spaces created, I wanted to stay fairly close in, but I also wanted to include as many of the rich architectural forms and textures as I could. The shorter the lens used, the more distant the buildings, the less likely the eye will be drawn into exploring the yards. Zoom or move in too far and you see fewer buildings. This shot can be planned with complete rationality.

Now that this shot is done, I can figure out how to shoot 50 more original images of this "shade" side of the buildings. I'll keep count.