Before photographing the countryside last week I scout the area the week before. The area I was going to scout I found on my dark site app which shows me how much light pollution there is in a particular place. I looked on the app for the darkest area where I could shoot the sky and perhaps the Milky Way, without driving for hours out of Houston. I found an area about 60 miles west of Houston that looked promising. So I headed out on a nice sunny Saturday afternoon to look over the area and see if there was any interesting thing to shoot. In particular since my goal was to shoot the sky I was looking for interesting foreground. I got to the location and had been driving the gravel roads for an hour or so and was not having any luck finding anything of interest. But I kept driving and searching when final I came across a very small town which had only one stop sign. There I found an old run down gas station / general store that looked to have been there for 70 years or more with two old gas pumps from the sixties. Well that could be interesting to shoot at night if there was no outdoor lights on at night. I left the small town driving a mile or so and turned down another gravel road but this time it look promising I was on a hill top overlooking a small valley which looked perfect for sunsets. I kept driving and had gone about a mile when I saw off the road maybe quarter of a mile an abandon run down farmhouse, barn and windmill. I thought this would be great to shoot. I just passed a farmhouse and turned around to talk with the farm to see if it was his land and to see if I could photograph the old house. I knocked on the door, an old farmer answered the door. I asked if it was his property and he said no but new the owner and would call them to see if okay go on their property to photograph the old house. The owner said yes anytime day or night, very nice of them. I never go on other people’s property without asking first. The next week a friend and I went to the location I scouted the week before to shot the sunset from the valley, the old house at dark using an almost full moon to light up the house, and then head to the small town to shoot the gas station. I was very happy with the photos I took, got a few that are keepers. I will be heading out to the location many times hoping to get that magical sunset of the valley or stormy weather with lightning. I like the shots I took of the old farmhouse but still would like to improve the photograph with better composition or weather i.e.; some clouds or lightning and that holds true with the gas station as well. I’m always looking to improve my shot of a subject to make it the best it can be.
Update: Since writing the article I was able to meet the owner of the store who is the daughter of the man who built the store. Her father came home from World War II and in 1948 built the store. The daughter has never left the Shelby Texas area and she has run the store since the passing of her father. The population of Shelby has about 175 residents.
Camera Settings: F7.1, Exposure 30 seconds, ISO 800, Focal Length 16mm