I've admired this old church in the Boxley Valley for many years. It speaks to me of the history of the land and of the spirit of the people that settled it. I've taken several photos over the years, but none that I felt really caputred that spirit. It sits quite a ways back from the road, and I try to remain respectful of its privacy.
On a recent trip I was cruising the valley, looking (without success) for elk. I had been keeping an eye on a storm advancing from the West, and noticed that the light was beginning to change. I stopped by the side of the road to watch the sun break briefly through the clouds, and add its light to an already picturesque sight. I worked for various angles, all the while breathless at what appeared before me.
Ansel Adams once said "I sometimes feel like I arrived at a location just when God wanted me to press the shutter". Me too. Me too.
For students, this shot required several considerations. First, the extreme contrast from the sun to the dark valley required me to reach a exposure setting that didn't shortchange either. Rather than consult my exposure meter, I adjusted by looking at the image coming from the sensor; on most cameras this is known as Live View. Second, and most important, I set the highest f-stop available (f22) to define the sun's rays and provide an unlimited depth of field. There was a modest amount of post production in Photoshop CC to bring up the shadows and subdue the highlights.