Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

March 9, 2009

What Entropy Means to Me

Filed under: composition, entropy, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light, Non Birds, style — richditch @ 3:19 pm
Maintenance marker at Water Ranch

Maintenance marker at Water Ranch

I’ve written here before that one of my interests since starting photography in 1970 has been subjects of decay, or what I like to call entropy. I am fascinated by the process, especially when it shows natural processes reclaiming man made items when they aren’t constantly maintained (like the outside of my house). I think it also has a lot to do with the randomness in the process as order starts to dissipate.

The top image is cropped out of a somewhat larger shot of a cylindrical concrete post 3 or so inches in diameter that supports a numbered plate. These markers are scattered around the trails at the Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ, mostly on the edges of trails by various shrubs. My assumption is that they are references to an irrigation system used by the maintenance crew, but I don’t really know for sure. The original composition includes the complete round end of the cylinder and a little gravel around the post, but when I was prepping the image in Photoshop and viewing it as full size I was taken with how this part of the image looked filling my LCD screen, so I decided to make a big crop and go with this abstract.

I like the soft colors that come from taking this in the shade of the bush, and I’ve intentionally kept some of the blue color cast and the low contrast rather than warming up the image and boosting contrast. I like that the metal plate isn’t cut square but rather is a trapezoid. I like that the digits “2” and “0” don’t line up very well, and that they aren’t centered, as they contribute to the randomness and lack of order. The scratches on the plate also contribute to this randomness.

Taken with Nikon D70, Nikon 55-200 at 130mm, ISO 400, 1/160th at f/8, hand held with natural light only. This is the same modest lens I picked up recently to “fill in” when I’m out walking around with my heavy gear. On my next visit to the Water Ranch I will spend a bit more time with the marker so I have an image similar to this without the excessive crop.

Padlock at Water Ranch

Padlock at Water Ranch

This padlock was taken a short time and distance away from the maintenance marker and also fits in my entropy series. I like the random patterns created by the rust, and the way the plant material is randomly captured by the spier webs. I will likely experiment with this image some more with a grayscale conversion as I would definitely have taken it in B&W in my film shooting days. Taken with the same gear, but at 90mm, ISO 400, 1/125th at f/10, handheld in natural light. This is full frame.

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