Camp Casey


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Propane Tank. A lichen-covered propane tank stands behind rusty poles at Camp Casey, Whidbey Island, Washington.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S at 33.5mm, 1/4 sec, f/11, ISO 64.

During the photography workshop on Whidbey Island, we met in an old building that was part of Camp Casey, one of many that all appear to be in current use. I never saw inside of any of the other buildings, but the inside of ours was quite nice, clean, and recently painted. All of which belied the outside of the building:

Deferred Maintenance. Although this building is quite nice on the inside, like nearly every building at Camp Casey, it could use some serious work on the outside, Whidbey Island, Washington.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S at 46mm, 1/13 sec, f/11, ISO 72.

Since we met there every morning and every afternoon, I had ample opportunity to photograph this building. One afternoon, I liked the way that one side of the building was catching relatively warm light and the other, more shaded, was catching cooler light. I composed this image to emphasize the symmetry of the pattern of the siding and let the subtle color difference, the lichen, and the little vent add some contrast to the two sides of the image. It also gave me a chance to do something other than my usual straight-on view of windows and doors. Getting this image exactly lined up was a bit finicky, especially because I was trying to not tilt the camera up or down, which would make the windows keystone:

Outside Corner. The elements are slowly winning their battle with the siding of a building at Camp Casey, Whidbey Island, Washington.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S at 27.5mm, 1/4 sec, f/9.5, ISO 500.

I also had plenty of opportunity to practice with my tilt-shift lenses while waiting for everyone to gather for class to start. By tilting the lens sideways (traditionally called a swing) I was able to move the plane of focus to line up with the wall for this image and, in the process, achieved a decidedly not straight-on view:

Siding. The siding and window frame of a building are in need of fresh paint at Camp Casey, Whidbey Island, Washington.
Nikon Z8 with PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED at 1/6 sec, f/11, ISO 64.

This is an image that could also be done, in this case, by focus stacking. This was a pretty awkward shot to execute, as I had the camera mounted sideways on a mini-tripod with the legs fully splayed that I was pressing down onto a flat-topped wooden handrail, all while manually focusing, tilting, and shifting the lens. (Shifting the lens up/down is how I put the diagonal line of the siding right in the bottom right corner.) Fortunately, my camera has a tilting screen, because looking through the viewfinder would have been physically challenging.

I also used the 19mm tilt-shift lens to photograph the building next door, although this time no tilt was involved, just shift. If you keep the camera level (i.e., not pointed up or down) then the building will not keystone. With a wide angle lens, this usually means that there will be a lot of foreground in the image, but by shifting only the lens up (rather than pointing the entire camera up) you can get more of the building and less of the foreground in the image:

Light over Dark. Badly peeling paint surrounds two windows on the side of a building at Camp Casey, Whidbey Island, Washington.
Nikon Z8 with PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED at 1/10 sec, f/11, ISO 64.

It is difficult to get the camera exactly level, but minor discrepancies are easy to fix in Lightroom. You can fix major discrepancies in Lightroom, too, but this turns the image into a trapezoid that requires a lot of cropping and unless you include a lot of extra room around the subject, you can run into serious trouble.

After making the preceding image, I went over and physically removed the black plastic part of the drainpipe so that I could have both versions. In the end, I decided I liked it better with the drainpipe. For me, my eye starts at the white window, travels over to the drainpipe and down, follows the black pipe to the basement window, and then back up to the white window. (And, yes, I did put the plastic pipe back where I found it.)

I also like this building viewed from the front. In particular, I like the way the sidewalk enters from the side, turns towards the building, and leads your view right to the stairs:

Front Walk. A weedy sidewalk leads and old steps lead to the entrance of a Camp Casey building on Whidbey Island, Washington.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S at 28.5mm, 1/15 sec, f/11, ISO 64.

I think it is the converging perspective of the sidewalk that helps lead the viewer towards the stairs, as opposed to from the stairs and out the side of the frame.

A moderate distance away, across a large field, I used the 19mm tilt-shift lens again to make this image of yellow flowers in front of a yellow building:

Mediocre Maintenance. Weeds infest a lawn next to a building at Camp Casey, Whidbey Island, Washington.
Nikon Z8 with PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED at 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 64.

In this case, I tilted the lens down to get the foreground flowers and the building both in reasonable focus. This would be a better image, I think, if the flowers were somewhat denser, but I really included it to make an important point: if a potential image catches your eye, take it. The next morning they mowed this lawn and the flowers were gone. This emphasized a lesson I learned the hard way in Tucson: For many years, I passed a very interesting saguaro cactus with several arms that had twisted around their “shoulders” so that they were hanging down towards the ground. I always planned to take a picture of it, but one day all the arms had fallen off completely. Opportunity lost.

All of the buildings at Camp Casey seemed to be in the same externally-tired state despite all seeming to be in use:

Rusty Entrance. Rusty handrails lead to a rusty door at Camp Casey, Whidbey Island, Washington.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S at 19.5mm, 1/15 sec, f/11, ISO 64.

The propane tank at the top of this post was near the building we were using as a classroom. I love its unusual color and texture, especially for a propane tank. In the end, I broke out my other tilt-shift lens which is a serviceable macro lens, as well, to get a close-up of some of the lichen:

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Explosive Lichen Lichen grows on the surface of an old propane tank at Camp Casey, Whidbey Island, Washington.
Nikon Z8 with PC-E Micro Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D at 1/6 sec, f/16, ISO 64.

It’s hard to tell just from looking at this image, but the surface of the tank is sloping away, so the top of the image is farther away from the camera than the bottom of the image. At such close distances, the depth of field will always be inadequate, so to achieve front-to-back sharpness, you either have to focus stack or use a lens that tilts. The 85mm tilt-shift is very handy for this sort of thing.

I hope you enjoyed these images of Camp Casey. I am still planning a few more posts about Whidbey Island over the coming weeks. Next week, however, I am going to try to be a little more disciplined and get back down to five or six images; the last few weeks I have let these posts start to bloat.

(Scanning through this post one last time, I did notice that seven of the nine images in this post are verticals, which I think is pretty unusual for me. I am going to have think about why this was the case. Perhaps it was because I was using a tripod a lot…)

Thanks for spending time reading about my photography and I hope you enjoyed the images and commentary. I have started to add “purchase” links below certain images that will jump to that image in my store. If there is a different image that you are interested in, please contact me or leave a comment and I will be happy to make it available.