The challenge was to head out in any direction from home and drive 15 miles, stop, and get out and shoot whatever struck me as photogenic right there and then.
I chose to head southeast, and when I hit the 15-mile mark, I was in the extreme northeast corner of Clark Township, Johnson County (Ind.), and two-tenths of a mile north of Pleasant Valley Church. I was southbound on two-lane Acton Road (County Road 700 East) with no shoulder, so I spied the church ahead and decided that would be a safe terminus. The church address is 9990 N. Johnson County Road 700 East, which is at a "T" intersection with East County Road 1000 North (Watson Road), which ends at 700 East.
Moments earlier, as I hit the 13-mile mark while southbound on Acton Road still in Marion County, I grumbled in disappointment. I was passing Acton Cemetery, a small community graveyard that I imagined would have presented a goldmine of photo possibilities. But I stuck to the letter of the challenge and continued driving south, crossing into Johnson County shortly thereafter ... and worrying I'd end up with nothing but open fields. I would have pushed myself to find something photographic even with that, but I held out hope I might get a bit more to work with come the real 15-mile mark.
So when I saw the church, my frustrations about missing out on the cemetery lifted. I pulled into a gravel spillover parking lot at the church, got out of the car and started to find things to shoot. The inventory of what I had to work with at this largely rural spot: On the west side of the highway, there was the church; a modest-sized red-leafed tree next to the church; some interesting shadows from a white picket-like fence along a stairs on the south side of the church; a flag pole; a basketball hoop; a separate, solitary tree virtually bereft of its leaves (featured at the top of this post); a tiny, first-quarter moon in the sky; a septic tank behind the church; five or six tires stacked on their ends that gave me a "window" to the highway when I lay on the ground; a nice-sized farm field north of the church where the seasonal crop had been harvested clean; and a large, brick home north of that field. There also was some playground equipment behind the church, but I decided not to include it in any of the images.
On the east side of the road there was a sign for Broken Wheel Ranch, directing traffic east down County Road 1000 North. Oh ... I also saw some jet streams from aircraft; the polarizing filter I used helped bring out the definition of those streams in the shots.
What you see here is what I came up with from the above.
Above: Some wild growth amid the remains of the harvested field of corn.
Above: A home north of the church with trees sporting red foliage.
Above: Pleasant Valley Church tower wrapped by backlight.
Above: A backlighted perspective shot of the church, the tree and flagpole.
Above: The flagpole and church tower juxtaposed with one of the jet streams.
Above: The red tree and church.
Above: Lines, shadows and angles near some stairs on the south side of the church.
Above: The basketball hoop and a church sign. An initial thought was to compose so that the pole would be on the right of the sign so the hoop would curve over the sign. Alas, I was in a contrarian mood this day, and chose to compose against convention. That tiny white dot in the sky to the right of the backboard is the first-quarter moon.
Above: Using the burst mechanism to capture a passing motorist through the eye of the tires.
Above: A different angle of the shadows of the stairs on the church facade.
Above and below: I was struck by the bright glare on the side of the septic tank in the original color image above. I turned around to confirm that it was the sun leaving its brand there. To better define the "sphere on sphere," I made a copy of the original color version, converted it to black and white, pulled up the image's illumination sliders on my photo editing software, lowered the image shadows to virtually zero and reduced the mid-tone and highlight levels about 25%, resulting in the image below. You should make out the sun a little easier now.
Above: I applied an antiquing filter to this backlighted image of the red-leafed tree and its shadowed trunk. I used this same antiquing filter on the leafless tree at the top of the post and of the church tower wrapped in backlight.
Above: The sign for the Broken Wheel Ranch.
Above: A closeup of the wheel's "broken" section.
Above: The Broken Wheel Ranch sign's arrow, pointing the way.