Another barn, another night (or nights). This is the Sheep Barn. Originally, it was part of the ranch back when Mary Bowcher was the owner. My dad remembers shearing sheep in this barn in the ’50s when his dad, my grandpa, worked as Ms. Bowcher’s ranch manager. Today it belongs to the Luchetti family, who purchased it from my grandpa not long after Ms. Bowcher died and passed the ranch on to our family. We were very lucky to have inherited the ranch from Ms. Bowcher, though with the imposition of a hefty inheritance tax, Grandpa was forced to sell off a significant piece of land to pay the tax. So in 1969, we sold over 600 acres (which included the Sheep Barn, a hay barn, an old victorian house, and other structures) to the Luchettis. It was unfortunate to lose such a big piece of the original ranch, but in doing so we were able to keep the remainder (1,700 acres, two other barns, and our house) in our family. And in hindsight, we couldn’t have sold to a better family. Like us, the Luchettis want to keep the land as close to its original state as is reasonably possible. Our mutual goal is preservation. Plus they’re just really good people.
Beginning with the old barn that I photographed last summer, I have been on a quest to take night photos of all four of the original Coyote Valley Ranch barns. The Luchettis gave me permission to photograph the Sheep Barn at my leisure, which I did on three different nights over a span of about six weeks.
My first night shooting the barn was pitch black and totally still. I shot several very long exposures meaning that after about an hour I had three photos to work with. By the time I ended up taking this shot the moon was starting to come up behind the barn, which gives the photo a backlit feeling. The brightest star on the right is the plant Jupiter. 15minutes/f7.1/iso200
I shot this photo in my second attempt roughly six weeks later under a waxing crescent moon. I waited so long to make a second attempt due to the fact that I needed the moon to be in a specific lunar phase and for the weather to be cooperative. The waxing crescent moon gave off enough light to illuminate the barn without bleaching out the stars as a full moon does. I also needed the moon in a certain position in the sky so that it would shine on this specific part of the barn. When all of these factors finally came together I discovered that I had a window of about three days before the moon would be too bright or move out of position and cast obstructing shadows. Thankfully it wasn’t raining or overcast during those three days, though some clouds were moving in as I was wrapping up on the second night. 8minutes/f7.1/iso200
Same night, different angle. Clouds moving in. The shot is a little blurry in some spots because of wind. This was during the period of high winds that moved across the whole western United States and did a lot of damage in Utah. It was howling all night making it a little difficult to keep the camera absolutely steady. The wind also blurred the trees and the barn door a little, but not too much. 4minutes/f3.5/iso200
While all three photos are of the same subject I think each one is unique, especially the first two, as the differing degrees of light and darkness change the feel of the image.
More photos of the Sheep Barn in the post below…