Monday, August 18, 2014

Trip to North Carolina, Part I:
Wake Forest University

Ordinarily, when I've completed post-processing on a shoot and am prepared to share images publicly, my first step is to come to this blog and create one or more posts. When the shoot is for a client -- such as Garfield Shakespeare Company, the community theater troupe in Indianapolis -- I'd occasionally post a few images first on Facebook or Twitter before coming here.

But after processing images after returning from a recent weeklong trip to North Carolina, my first "real" vacation in a very long time, I went to Twitter (@konz2624) to sprinkle my first uploads from the trip, and I was surprised to attract the most-ever "favorites" and "retweets" of my work.

The trip to North Carolina was something my life -- and my photography -- needed, although I really didn't know it beforehand. I'd been reluctant to venture far from home, whether for leisure or for photography, and I wasn't even sold immediately on the North Carolina excursion. I didn't pull the trigger on the trip until almost a few days before leaving. Enter Lee Ann, who I'd been seeing socially for several months and who has photography skills and background. She talked me into taking the time away from the grind, as she was going through the same thing at her job, and what better place than the ocean?

In the photography realm, I'd fallen into a protracted rut, driven mostly by the overwhelming sensation I'd been experiencing with various activities and organizations in my life. Two years ago, I had retired from a full-time job, where the stress level had been high -- and getting higher for so many years. And here, two years in retirement, I was still feeling like I was doing a 9-to-5 thing. I pulled away from freelance work opportunities and from those associations and organizations, and I stopped almost all photography and posting at this blog. Oh, and I went to North Carolina.

The week in North Carolina was bliss. I first spent an afternoon at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, where I shot images of the campus. College campus landscapes has become a favorite photography past time in recent years, as those of you familiar with my trips to small colleges in Indiana in recent years may remember.

I completed my journey at three stops along the Atlantic Coast -- Wrightsville Beach, which is near Wilmington; Atlantic Beach on Bogue Banks, further up the coast and at the western end of the Crystal Coast; then went to the town of Beaufort to pick up a ferry that cruised past Shackelford Banks, a barrier island hosting a herd of wild horses, before landing at Cape Lookout National Seashore, the southernmost point of the famed Outer Banks string of peninsulas and barrier islands -- and the location of the only lighthouse in the state accessible to the public.

The big question before hitting the road was what gear to bring along. I wanted to bring both my DSLR cameras, to optimize lens flexibility. But for practical and space reasons, decided I should take only one. And because I had a versatile lens in the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD lens, and because that lens could fit only my 7D body, that's the camera I took. The decision was made easier by the fact that I also could use my Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 ultra wide-angle lens on the 7D, but not the 6D.

After several weeks of post-processing, I came upon the dilemma on how to organize the images for Photo Potpourri posts. While doing that, I sprinkled the aforementioned images on Twitter. I decided to begin here chronologically, presenting images in the shoot order. Then, if there were subcategories that occurred to me along the way, I would post those at the end.

One possible subcategory will be high-dynamic range (HDR) images, the process of bracketing shots -- two or more (I use three) different exposures -- of the same scene, then meld them together in post-processing to exploit optimum detail in the high (bright) and low (dark) ends of the light spectrum.

The Tamron lens and its wonderful vibration compensation technology (the VC in the camera name) came through for me splendidly on the trip. I quickly hoped that would happen when I realized after arriving at the first stop, Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., that I had forgotten to switch from my 6D (which stayed home) to the 7D the plate I would need to mount the camera on the tripod for HDR work. So ... all of my HDR shots you'll see in this post were taken either hand-held (the majority), or while resting the camera on a workable, flat surface. Now that I think of it, ALL of my photos from the trip, in fact, were taken with the versatile Tamron lens, except 100 or so with an iPhone.

Wake Forest was one of three university campuses I had hoped to visit on the trip, which contained an ambitious itinerary for someone wanting to just relax. Because the enormity of the itinerary didn't hit me until after enjoying the pleasure of the beach, I decided to skip the planned stops at Duke University and the University of North Carolina on the return trip.

The Wake Forest campus is pretty, although it seemed smaller than I had expected for a prominent school whose athletic teams compete in the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference. Wake Forest is the alma mater of San Antonio Spurs' star Tim Duncan. So I begin the trip log with photos from Wake Forest, and the first three -- the shot at the top and the first two below -- feature the beautiful Wait Chapel anchoring one end of Hearn Plaza.

I'm not committing to running posts daily on the trip -- just whenever I can get around to doing them. And with contractors beginning to raise a lot of concrete floor dust tomorrow while doing a weeklong job of waterproofing my leaky basement, I may be seeking refuge anywhere but inside and at the computer!

As always, to see larger -- and sharper -- versions of the photos, click on an image. For a full gallery of images from the shoot, visit my site at

Above and below: Two views of a stone access that opens to Davis Field, a grass meadow. The one below was taken from the Hearn Plaza side. You can tell from the coloring and highlighting which side the sun was favoring, even though both shots are high dynamic range (HDR) images. 

Above and below: Long-range and closeup perspectives of Reynolda Hall Cafeteria, which faces Manchester Plaza. 

Above: Detail of the landscaping below the stone wall of Reynolda Hall seen in the image two photos above this.

Above and below: Two perspectives of the same flower bed that is part of the lovely landscaping near Benson University Center.

Above: A most interesting shaped tree in Manchester Plaza. 

Above: Z. Smith Reynolds Library.

Above: Detail on an entrance to a campus building, possibly Reynolds Gymnasium.
Miller Center (above), the athletic administration and exercise facility, and (below) Kentner Stadium.

Above: I was happy to find something else to photograph bearing the university name.

Above and next three below: Shots of the area near and around Kitchin Residence Hall. 

Above: A rare time I decided to include my car in a photograph. 

Above and below: Two iPhone shots inside the Village Tavern, an attraction within the very neat Reynolda Village, a collection of arts and crafts shops.

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