Dan Mottaz  


 Before the Voice by Dan Mottaz

November 2021 - Before the Voice

About the Image(s)

It's always difficult for me to write a description that would be interesting for people to read. This one was particularly challenging.
I was with three other photographers who are also good friends. The four of us do an annual photography trip together. This tradition has been going on for about 10 years. For me, I tend to enjoy the comradery and friendship more than the photography.
This shot was taken on our way back from a trip to the Redwoods. We passed through an agricultural area with this lone barn standing proudly in a field. We stopped and piled out of our rig and lined up like solders in a firing squad squeezing our camera triggers. As what usually happens in scenarios like this, we all had essentially taken the same shot. Considering this dilemma, I peeled off from the group to look for my own shot. It was important to put the barn within the saddle of the background mountains and to make sure that the barn roof did not meet the line of the mountains. So, I ended up about a quarter of a mile from my friends to a place that met my needs. The next consideration was camera height. Positioned at eye level would align the barn roof with the mountains, and with an extreme low position, I would lose the impact of the foreground. I settled at about hip high. Then, I just waited for the dappled light to do its magic.
Shot on a Canon R5, 24-105 Canon L Series lense. ISO 100, 1/100 sec., f/11. In Post, nothing notable.


This round’s discussion is now closed!
5 comments posted




Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
Dan, I think it is a very interesting description, which I enjoyed reading - both the photographic aspects as well as the background. So don't sell yourself short there.

And your description is only exceeded by your image - another very nice one. I like its simplicity as well as how it clearly portrays a moment in time. It would be interesting to see the firing squad shot to see how it compares, but I think the work you did to move and to carefully compose the barn was well worth it. I don't know that I would change much. I might try to enhance the down bursts or rain in the distance, but that is a matter of taste. The only other thing I'd add is that the darkening of the clouds is so dramatic and sudden (moving up from the bottom) that it almost doesn't look real. But it is, which is the point - it is that dramatic a moment in time.   Posted: 11/06/2021 15:42:55



Cheryl LaLonde   Cheryl LaLonde
Hi Dan
I think you did the right thing when you composed for the barn. Where you placed it allow it to stand out from the background. It doesn't look like much editing is required here. I may have cropped a little differently and darkened the very front of the foreground a little. The only other suggestion would be to bring out a little more texture in the barn itself.   Posted: 11/06/2021 18:42:10
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Haru Nagasaki   Haru Nagasaki
Hi Dan,
Thank you for your description. It is a good one for me to understand your thought process.
I have been thinking about this image since it is posted.
The composition is good - eye-level foreground works well, placing the barn at the right place, and strong cloud action at the background. It also has a nice color pallet.
For me, the story of this image is the contrast - peaceful flower field vs. frightening stormy clouds. The barn stands in the peaceful flower field but suddenly the rain shower is approaching. The current composition supports the story well as it is.
But if I would strengthen the story, I would highlight the rain shower captured at the back. To realize that, I would crop down the sky a bit. Slight Vignette to guide the viewers eye to the barn and the shower.


  Posted: 11/08/2021 21:19:42
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Bob Wills   Bob Wills
Hi Dan,
Your descriptions are interesting to me. I drove right past a shot like this, only in a canola (rapeseed) field in its full glory while driving in Saskatchewan, returning from a Little League baseball tournament in Cooperstown. We were just too tired, and I have regretted it ever since. Lots of layers in your image, and maybe too many that are all equal. Maybe crop out the foreground green and content aware crop to add more yellow, then crop the top. Or maybe I'm still tired. Good image,   Posted: 11/15/2021 19:34:13
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Emily Kawasaki   Emily Kawasaki
Amazing photo and edit Dan. I love how the different elements in the scene create great depth and feelings for foreboding (e.g. the dark, rolling clouds), secrets (e.g. the barns), happy calmness (e.g. the field of yellow flowers), and lightness (e.g. the lightest layer of clouds).   Posted: 11/22/2021 22:03:54