How I shot Rolled Hay


Collector's Edition While traveling Vermont's back roads, I came across this little barn stuffed with tightly rolled hay bales...

I love living in Vermont with a camera. Since I retired, I have used the camera to motivate me to explore Vermont and find places that are hidden. Usually, I have a destination in mind, but on this day my goal was to take a drive north on Route-22A and see what I might find.

Route-22A and Route 30 run parallel, north and south along the Vermont side of Lake Champlain through some of the most beautiful farm land in the state. It started as a sunny day, but the clouds rolled in as I traveled north, and I was having trouble finding inspiration until I made a turn. It had started to snow, so I decided I would head home and see what I might find along Route 30.

I turned onto one of the connecting roads between 22A and 30 with lots of hills and turns and passed some old farms with big rolling fields. I came around a curve and saw this little red barn with bales of rolled hay. What struck me was there seemed to be 1 bale missing in the neatly stacked rolls of hay and the red of the barn just stood out against the white background. I didn’t realize it at the time but the metal roof with its lovely patina balanced the red of the barn and the gold of the hay.

I have always struggled with snow pictures because they turn out gray, but I have learned that by overexposing snowy images an f-stop or 2 the crisp white comes out without degrading the other colors. I took several pictures of this barn. Normally I like the subject off-center, as suggested by the Rule of Thirds, but in this case, I chose to put that rule aside and center the barn and I liked the way it works.

As often happens, there was a lot of luck in this photo. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to take a drive on this day, the road choice was totally random and the snow started at just the right time.

Sometimes we get lucky.

– Bob Wagner

Photo DetailsCamera: Nikon D850Lens: Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6ISO: 400Shutter Speed: 1/80secAperture: f/14Focal Length: 70mm