One of the projects I've been working on is the depopulation of rural Alberta, making images of what is and who are left and the stubborn optimism that stays with those that remain. Sometimes driving into town you're lucky and you meet people, other times there is not a soul, just the sound of the wind and the roar of the vehicles on the highway bypassing town. I'll be posting more about this later; right now I'd like to share a few thoughts on solving problems and puzzles.
As photographers one of the things we are called on to do is solve problems. Often we don't even know we are solving problems, the problem appears, our brain recognizes it: "Ah yes, 3.45.a: Do this, that and that." and presto and image is made. Sometimes, the problem is such (as in this post by Kirk Tuck) the solution requires as much planning and logistics as the Normandy landings. Other times, you just have to sit and look and say to yourself: "I wonder..."
On our travels, we were motoring along Highway 61, which is part of the "Red Coat Trail" we wheeled into Nemiskam. Not a lot left there now, two dwellings, one of which is surprisingly new (a micro house) and a larger property secluded in trees. There are a few abandoned buildings, but of interest was the remains of an old gas station. The windows have long since been boarded up, but as I was working the site I noticed the boards had 3/4" holes drilled through the thick particle board.
Peering through the holes, I saw that the roof had partially collapsed allowing a splash of light over the detritus that has accumulated since it was abandoned. Well, there you go, but I knew that if I put my 'Cron or any other lens up to the hole I get mostly particle board and not a lot of image. Time to step back and think. Aha! In the past I've shot through chain link fences by fitting the lens through the links. What camera do I have that has a front element that could peep through the hole minimizing the influence of the boards? I had my hands in my pocket and there was my iPhone.
Sure enough, it worked.