WE35 Field Report the contact sheet

The February expedition assignment for the WE35 project was simple, in theory. Treat your digital camera like an old 35mm film camera, shoot a 36 exposure roll and present in a contact sheet. Then pick your favorite image from the shoot, share it and explain why it's your favorite. Sure, seems simple, but...

I've been at this photography thing since 2009 and over that period of time, I feel I've gotten pretty decent at seeing and making images. At first, it was nothing to take hundreds of images in a shoot - part of that was because all of my images were bracketed and tone-mapped, so each final image took anywhere from 3 to 9 images to produce. It was also because my personal taste for images was quite broad with little filtering of what my style and image preferences were. I'd shoot anything without a whole lot of thought.

Fast forward to today and you'll find almost no image is bracketed and I might take half a dozen images of a basic composition, trying to find the best one, and in total, my shoots might yield 3-7 finished images. It's a more deliberate process and even though there's some experimentation, the total yield is much lower but the quality is much better (in my humble opinion)

The UT bench in down town Lexington. Hard to believe I found it empty in the middle of the day!

So even though the February assignment seemed easy, it became very difficult to fill 36 exposures in one outing. On top of the basic concept, I made it even tougher on myself with a couple of restraints. First, I shot everything in jpeg and committed to no editing other then dust spot removal. I also chose a black and white preset on the camera and upped the contrast to mimic what some film exposures might be like. Along with the limited focal length of the WE35mm, this became are much more difficult task.

With that said, There's some benefit to the process. I became even more particular about what I put in the viewfinder - every picture had to count. It also made me pay more attention to my exposure settings being that the high contrast black and white was constant - what did I want exposed and what could be sacrificed? This could only help in my overall workflow, even outside the WE35!

Lunch at Stewarts Cafe. The soda fountain was shut down only a couple of years ago, but the old time diner feel is still very much in tact!

So rather than talk so much about it, here are the images and the final contact sheet at the end. They're broken into 3 sections: Downtown Lexington, Beech Lake and Parkers Crossroads Battlefield. My main intention was to give everyone a taste of what my new hometown looks like. Most of my regular photography is out in the sticks of the town, so you guys can see some of the town here that I normally do not photograph. Oh yeah, there's one frame of my boy Sam in there on his electric scooter - I could not help myself!

The bell tower of the First Baptist Church not only makes itself present in town with the bell tones, it also sticks out due to its height and beautiful design. In my opinion, it's the most recognizable building in town. Top left is the Henderson County Courthouse (although no court there anymore) with a nice protective canon out front. It's not really protective, but it looks cool with a twin on the opposite side.

One oddity that takes some getting used to in this town are the street signs. No green reflective stuff here, just short, white posts with the names of the streets on each side. You've got to make yourself look for these guys for a while before you get used to it!

The Princess Theater has been newly remodeled and is quite the hot spot on the weekend. Only one screen but they show the big ones!

You can never feel too welcome downtown!

Plenty of windows to look in, doors to walk through and benches to relax on and meet your neighbors!

The south side of the court house and the Veterans' Memorial on the west side. I love that they kept the big trees out front along with the new landscaping!
The water tower just outside of the town center
There are 7 or 8 manmade lakes in the Lexington area and all are unique, but Beech Lake is right in the middle of it all, just off of the main drag west of the town square. It's a beautiful lake with a swimming area, boat dock and picnic areas. There are many ducks and geese that hang out around this spot waiting for folks to throw some bread! Even though in the city limits, there's a calm here that's quite comfortable.
Alone time
These ducks were braver than most and almost got close enough for a portrait!
My pic of bunch. Love the lines in the water and textures!
Oh yeah, one of the boy snuck in there!

I'm not a history buff, so I don't know the story around the Parkers Crossroads Battlefield, but there's plenty of things scattered about the park that will make think you're in the Civil War era, like that beautiful log fence, log cabin and the canons that litter the fields in places. They do have a reenactment every fall that I'd love to see and photograph. Maybe next year!

Exposure #36. A head stone for Reverend John Walker who died in 1864. Many of the head stones in this cemetery are from the early 1900s, but there are some really old ones like this one. The sun was going down so I didn't spend a bunch of time here, but likely will in the future!
The Contact Sheet

What a great expedition! This really pressed my abilities, patience and creativity! Looking forward to next month's assignment!

Created By
Jim Denham

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