|White Church, Keene, NH|
I was reminded of this issue last week while shooting one of my favorite barns in Westmoreland, New Hampshire. The barn was
|Wired Westmoreland Barn|
Seeing the Wires
|Wireless Hancock Meeting House|
When I come across a spectacular scene, my first inclination is to start scanning for the best angles and compositions, but the very next move is, or at least should be, to take a mental step back and study the scene for the inevitable visual intruders. Included in this exercise is to notice where the wires slash across the view. They are not always there and some communities such as Hancock New Hampshire have made efforts to bury the wires in areas of special beauty or historical significance. Of course the entire problem can be avoided by shooting in the middle of nowhere where no wires exist, but the problem is that "the middle of nowhere" is becoming harder to find.
Changing the View
I'll talk about methods to remove the wires in post next week, but much can be done in the field to reduce their impact. Once they are recognized even slight changes in position and perspective may be enough to remove the wires from the image, but often the wires cannot be entirely removed without severe compromises to the composition. My favorite angle on the factory steeple in Harrisville New Hampshire, included quite a few wires that required a long and arduous process of removal in post. This was especially challenging where a cable cut across the intricate weathervane. By approaching closer to the tower, I was able to slip under the wires for a clean look, but the resulting view of the factory and the perspective change was not exactly what I was looking for. Even when changes in angle fail to entirely remove the
|A Few Steps Forward|
|Spofford Village Hall|
Loving the Wires?
Of course wires are not always bad. Sometimes they can add strength and direction to an image. They may even be the primary focus of a composition. I know I have used wires in this way, but to be honest I had trouble finding many examples in my Lightroom archives. I guess I'm better at removing the wires than celebrating them. The string of wires and poles added a strong sense of depth to my image of the cow-jam at Stonewall Farm and I liked the way the cables framed the Snowy Owl perched at Salisbury Beach. I went out the other day looking for more examples of the "lovely" wires.
It was a difficult exercise to so fundamentally shift my focus as I was simultaneously looking for cases of strong composition, as well as examples of cable contamination. On a hill above Keene, New Hampshire, I found a spot where high voltage lines crossed the road creating an interesting pattern of crisscrossing lines leading to a distant tower. Not bad. As I was congratulating myself for finding something vaguely positive to display, I turned around and noticed with horror that, in the opposite direction, the same wires were callously entangling the iconic profile of our beloved Mount Monadnock. You Do Not mess with our mountain! I was quickly back to hating the wires.
Next week I'll try to outline some Photoshop techniques to remove those wires that can not be avoided in the field. New and refined tools within more recent versions of the program have made the process much easier. It still requires practice and a considerable investment in time, but your artistic vision deserves no less.