Monday, July 16, 2018

Deck project begged for photo creativity

In the previous post, I alluded to how there would be pictures coming in this post exploiting leading lines and patterns.

That's true, but I also approached the content of this post as trying to be creative to illustrate the stages of construction on a deck built by Lee Ann's son-in-law and grandson last week. When we bought the house outside Raleigh a year ago, there was a deck there already. But it had not been well-maintained; it was in need of replacement because the flooring center point was soft and sagging, and the underside was caked in mold.

We tried to persuade the owners to take care of it because it deteriorated on their watch, but all they did was agree to have flashing installed around the floor base (there had been none, which is how water so easily compromised the underside).

We tore apart the deck within a few weeks after moving in, but the money we hoped to use to rebuild it ended up needing to go elsewhere, so we had this big hole behind the house that finally got to both of us this spring.

Matt, Lee Ann's son-in-law, worked in construction for some time and recently added a very nice deck on his own home in Fishers, Ind. If you are a regular visitor here, you might remember Matt from images I took of his wedding four years ago at Indiana Dunes. We talked him into coming to North Carolina and doing the deck -- with the help of Lee Ann's 20-year-old grandson Justin -- and knocked it out in just about a week, working long days in mostly hot weather. Matt even worked a full morning and early afternoon in a light rain during that span; he said he was glad to be able to work when it wasn't so hot and humid.

I spent the week documenting the build progress in pictures, many of which zeroed in on lines and patterns presented by the wood framework of the deck and stairs and from the pergola beams ... and of their shadows. One example is in the image leading off the post -- you get patterns, shadows and reflections (in the window), as well as the non-deck lines from the chairs and ladder and house siding panels.

Other examples appear below, but not all the images about lines and patterns. Some are simply attempts at creativity. They represent a mix of shots taken with my iPhone X and my Canon 6D equipped with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.0L lens.

(Above) On the day it rained lightly, Matt worked through it to enjoy the brief respite from heat and  humidity. I lingered in the house ... and came across this reflection composition.

The shots above and below were taken from a living room window looking out at the deck. The window is clouded with remnants of condensation (it needs to be sealed better), but I felt the image below -- taken from a much blurrier spot in the window than the one above -- offers a perspective you won't see many photographers show you. Maybe this photographer shouldn't have, either.

Above and next three below: Various perspectives of a patterns and shadows composition from the deck frame's underside. In the above photo, that's Matt (right) and Justin on the left tending to other matters of the deck.

Above and next two below: Variations of perspectives of the stairs framework.

An overhead of Matt (above) and a floor-level shot of him (below) sweeping debris off the deck at the end of a work a day.

Until the deck work started, we had an awning above the door leading from the deck to the house. When Matt and Justin went to take down the awning to make way for a pergola beam, they discovered a wasp's nest up the inside of the awning. Above, Justin bravely sprays the nest with Raid's hornet killer solution. 

(Above) Matt applyies a trim to a board. If you look close, you can see the sawdust flying off the saw.

Above: This shot wasn't set up. These were exactly how the wood screws appeared when I came across them on the paver, and I thought it was worth a patterns composition (of sorts). 

Variations of a similar pergola beams shot under shade conditions (above) and mostly sun (below).

Another stab at a lines, patterns and shadows composition (above), and a side view below, loaded with lines (wood, ladders and lower door facade).

Above: Matt relaxing at the end of his last day of work on the deck.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Morning sunlight play in the yard

A brief (somewhat, anyway) post to share pictures I took this morning of sunrise light playing with foliage, wood posts and window reflections around the house.

All of these were taken with my iPhone X about 10 minutes after sunrise. Because of the fleeting nature of dawning sunlight, I didn't want to risk losing time -- and missing the shots I was envisioning -- while scurrying to put together my 6D, a lens and a battery.

I lead off with the one in the batch that my eye keeps returning to. It was taken from the front doorstep of my home.

The photo above was taken at the same time the lead-off image was captured. I just moved slightly to see what I would get if the sun were blocked.

On the backyard deck, the sun was casting selective light on a pergola beam (above and next two below), which I capture from a couple of perspectives, starting with the reflection of a house window above. 

The closeups of spot lighting on tree foliage  (above and below) didn't turn out in pictures as dramatic as I remember seeing it. In the photo above, the light was glancing off the tips of the leaves at the bottoms of the branches in front. You can see the difference in color from the lighting in the foliage in the center in the image below, but the fact that I had to zoom in so close with the iPhone unfortunately cost me some sharpness.

Above: The tree heights juxtaposed with the backyard swing set gives you an idea just how tall those trees are.

Above and below are two views of the backyard crepe myrtle trees and colors up the foliage in summer. This is the same tree you see often coming between me and my photo subjects in my "View from the Office Window" series. The image below also gives you a slice of the backyard deck.

Above: An illustration of shaded morning light on a portion of the pergola beams. Technically, it also serves as an example of patterns and leading lines. In the next post, there will be more examples of those featuring the deck pergola and framework. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Kroger grocer is exiting Raleigh market

For as long as I can remember -- certainly since I've lived in Indianapolis, where I moved in 1978 -- there has always been a Kroger grocery in the vicinity of where I lived. Next Tuesday marks my first anniversary in Raleigh, where like in Indianapolis, there was a Kroger among the grocery options ...

Until Aug. 14. That's when Kroger will shutter all 14 of its stores in the Raleigh area, citing a glut of grocery stores. A story in today's Raleigh News and Observer says the closings will result in the layoffs of 1,652 employees.

The story didn't say how long Kroger had been in the Triangle, but I know Kroger is one of the oldest grocery chains in the country, so it no doubt has had a presence here for some time.

A News and Observer story from two weeks ago opines that Kroger might not be the only grocer leaving the area, where the current grocery market seems to be shaking out with low-budget stores on the one side (e.g., Aldi, Lidl, Walmart) and "unique experience" and slightly pricier stores (e.g., Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Harris-Teeter, Lowes) on the other. Kroger, the article says, finds itself stuck in the no-win middle. Also in the mix are the popular wholesale membership stores Sam's Club and Costco.

Kroger owns the Harris-Teeter grocery chain, which is popular in this area, and Harris-Teeters will remain open here. In fact, Harris-Teeter will take over eight of the closing Kroger stores. Food Lion (which I've personally viewed as one of those Kroger-like "in the middle" store chains) has made arrangements to take over two others.

Publix also has a presence in the Triangle grocery market, but I've never visited any of those, although I have mixed up my shopping destinations quite a bit through the years. And even though I possess a Kroger shopper loyalty card, I can't say that I have been a strictly loyal Kroger shopper in that period.

With Lee Ann's daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons heading here to visit, we needed to restock the kitchen supplies today, so ... in a mini-wave of nostalgia, we stopped at the Kroger nearest to us, which is in Garner. I took these pictures during the stop. This store is 7 miles or so from home; the nearest Harris-Teeter and Food Lion are just a mile away (we prefer the former). So it's not likely we'll be back to Kroger again.

To view a larger, sharper version of a photo, just click on the image. This is particularly helpful when accessing the blog from a mobile device. All pictures in this post a few others can be found in a gallery accessible by following the link in this sentence.

Photo geek stuff: All of the photos were taken with my iPhone X.

The front facade of the store in Garner (above), which is not one of the stores that Harris-Teeter will move into. Fortunately, there is a Harris-Teeter only a mile from our home. The store shots out its discount to customers who near the main doors (below). If you look at the window reflection below the 50% discount sign, you'll see the legs of the photographer.

The yellow and orange ticketed items are discounted items. Peanut butter had been on these shelves that are empty now.  

Above: The bakery isn't producing sweet treats anymore, but I did see some breads on display elsewhere.

Above: There were several aisles with gaping emptiness like this throughout the store.

Even a lot of the beers were being discounted. The craft brew Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (in the green cases) was marked down from $17.89 to $12.99, among the largest discounts in the beers. There were markdowns on some mainstream brands, but not this much.  

A confluence of shelf emptiness (above) and the empty packaged seafood refrigerators (below). 

Above: I think this aisle is where cookware items (knives, pots, pans, spoons, spatulas, etc.) had been stocked, but I'm not positive. 

Above and below: For now, at this store, Kroger is keeping its produce section fresh and fully stocked. We even found some organic cauliflower heads. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Garner police station, town hall
in photogenic buildings on 7th Avenue

Flanking the Southeast Regional Library in Garner, N.C., profiled in a post here yesterday, are two government buildings -- the police department and town hall.

Each has a striking architecture for the function they provide, but the police station (shown in the photo leading off the post) more so than the town hall -- at least, that's what I thought considering their respective function. I didn't make it inside the police department, but I did walk through town hall.

As usual, to pull up a larger, sharper version of an image, simply click on the picture. This is particularly important if you access the blog from a mobile device. To see a full gallery of my images of the police station, click on this link. If you want to see a full gallery of images of the shoot from town hall, click on this link. 

Photo geek stuff: I shot all these pictures with my Canon 6D and Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD lens equipped with a polarizing filter. I made three exposures of each composition for later melding into one frame using Photomatix high-dynamic range (HDR) software.

Above and below: Two more perspectives of the police station exterior. 

Above and next two below are compositions using the side stairwell and wheelchair ramp as elements for lines, shadows and patterns. 

Above: There is ample parking for all three facilities -- the police station, the library and town hall -- in a municipal lot immediately behind the library. This view is from the police station stairs.


Above is what you see if you approach town hall from the library side. Fortunately, there is a sign by the road that identifies it as town hall. But if there were no sign, one might wonder if this stately structure could possibly be a town hall. The two photos immediately below provide closer and different perspectives of the exterior. The third photo below is a closeup of the flagpole.

Inside town hall, I came across the council chambers (above), the main lobby (first below), a pattern composition from the stairwell between floors (second below), a pattern composition from a light fixture on the second floor (third below) and a pattern composition of the front doors as seen from the second floor.

Places to sit outside the main doors (above) and park your bike and/or drop off a payment (below).