Wrong time, what do you do?



When we arrived at this location, it really was not the right time of day to include the barn. The sun was behind the barn leaving the front side in shadow. It would have been nice to have some light on the barn, however, the sky was working and so were the cloud shadows raking across the fields. I also liked the fence leading to the barn. So, rather than be discouraged, I began working the scene. As I looked back on what I took, I made 10 different compositions. I went in tight, I included more, I waited for the cloud formation to change, I waited for the rolling shadows to change. I finally settled on this spot with just part of the barn. My first composition included two windows. It felt a bit static, so I included three in my next composition. Then I waited until the roof of the barn would sit in blue sky rather than white clouds. Last but not least, I waited for the cloud shadows to roll through the image to give depth. In the RAW file the front of the barn was indeed dark, however, I knew I could work on this in post. Once again, Perfectly Clear was applied first and then I worked the file further in Lightroom and a bit more in Photoshop along with Nik Viveza.

I’ve posted and alternate composition below just for fun. While it does not have the nice cloud shadows in the field, I do like the lines created by the fence, grain and dirt.

If you did not see my recent post about Perfectly Clear, I think its worth a look. Click here.

Don’t forget we are heading back to Death Valley, Valley of Fire and a night in Las Vegas with Chuck Kimmerle in February.  Spots are filling up for this unique opportunity to spend time with a master b&w photographer. Chuck is great fun to be around too! More information is available on my tour page.




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  1. Steve Robinson July 26, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    After meeting you at the South Jersey Camera Club and following your posts since then, I traded-in all my Nikon gear for a Fuji X-T1 and four lenses. Thank you, shooting has not been this much fun in years and the results have been excellent.

    Following a couple weeks of testing, I also purchased Perfectly Clear with your 20% off code. It works very well, and saves a huge amount of editing time in LR and Photoshop CC. Thanks again

    • JB July 26, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

      My apologies to your wife that I’m spending all of you money… 🙂 Glad you’re enjoying both!

  2. al campoli July 26, 2014 at 12:50 pm #


    WOW!!!!! Really like your final composition. The sun lite field against the shadowy fields and the beatuiful sky really brings out colors of the barn.,

  3. Stephan Dietrich July 27, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    When a wrong time becomes the right time… Is there ever really a wrong time?

    Sometimes we do not have the luxury of time and have to deal with the elements of the given moment and present time. Make it work… Make it happen… Embrace what you are presented with and challenge to go beyond…

    Some may have spotted this moment that you saw, moved on and would return when they felt “the light was just right.” From your result and examples, I would offer, “Look what they missed!”

    Not being there or knowing the location, I am assuming that when the light on the barn is “just right” for that angle, then the lighting on the hills and fields would be different -and- perhaps, “with the different time of day,” the cloud development might be different as well. … Give and take… Pros vs. Cons… Options… Development of time during the day… and the ever changing conditions of light with infinite possibilities.

    All in all, and if you are on the move, are on a deadline to be elsewhere or simply do not have the option to come back “when the light is right” … your images, post work and working the location proves that it is worthwhile to make the effort and go beyond rules or beliefs of how we perceive “perfect light” or a “optimal moment” for a given location to be – or not to be. Try it, you may like it (the results).

    Having the light shine directly on the barn would change the images that you have posted. Hence, I would submit that you were there at the “right time” as these images work quite well!

    Great images and post JB!

    • JB July 27, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      Good thoughts Stephan. Indeed it was the right time to be there for me.

  4. Mary Butler July 27, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    Hi John, I like the second one here – just a hint of the barn, leaving the rest to the imagination. And the road (path? or just a rim of dirt?) really adds to the image, feel like my eye is invited in from the lower right there.

    • JB July 27, 2014 at 10:14 am #

      Thanks for your feedback Mary. I seeing the various opinions when I put two compositions of the same scene.

  5. Chuck Kimmerle July 28, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    I have been dwelling on this a bit as my viewpoint is a bit different. My basic philosophy is that everything — light, subject, atmosphere, etc — has to work together in perfect harmony if the resulting image is to have value. If I find myself thinking “if only . . . ” or “this would be great if . . . “, it’s probably time for me to move on. To be honest, I don’t really believe in “making do with what I am given” as that rarely makes a compelling and significant photograph. Sure, I sometimes try anyway since I am stopped, but it almost never works.

    I guess I would rather spend my time looking for a “perfect” situation than I would settling for something that is lacking.

    • Chuck Kimmerle July 28, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

      In your photo, though, I think it works much better than thought. You, my friend, were suffering a severe case of preconception at the time which biased you against what you were given. Prescription: hardy blow to the noggin.

      • JB July 28, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

        After your first comment I was feeling, well, conflicted. Now, with your 2nd comment, I’m feeling hopeful! Maybe I can be a photographer! 🙂 Thanks for weighing in as always Chuck. Always appreciate your thoughts.

  6. marty golin July 29, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

    Art via concussion…? I like that!

    My two cents is if a scene speaks to you, then what is it that is speaking? Often times it’s not the good light, & other things that generally help (but are not required.) By your description, you could imagine what it could be, but you pushed through trying to hone in on what was given. To Chuck’s point, my feeling is what you did is a positive even if the end result is not what you feel is superlative. Something along the line of the saying that working hard makes the best luck. You can’t just walk by everything without trying. & you’re brave enough to put your stuff on a blog for all of us to pick at.

    • JB July 29, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

      Marty, I’m trying to find ONE image that you like!! That is my goal. As for Chuck, he is too picky and will NEVER like anything I ever post… 🙂

      • marty golin July 30, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

        I try to own up to my preferences (aka, biases), but you don’t have to try very hard to find a single image; you’ve already exceeded your goal. I’ve enjoyed viewing (sometimes scrutinizing) MANY of the images you’ve posted.

        • JB July 31, 2014 at 8:55 am #


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