Back To the Future

Several years ago, I sold my Nikon D 700 camera to buy its successor, the D 750. I was caught up in the megapixel race in those days. The 700 had just over 12, the 750 doubled that to just over 24. It is a wonderful camera. Overall, one of the best I’ve ever owned but I missed the 700. It was a tank, like Nikon’s legendary film cameras: magnesium body, water resistant, dust resistant, and it was fast: 8 frames per second. But what I missed most was its ability to capture the subtle phasing of tones in low light capabilities.  Those megapixels are like little stars. It’s the space around them that makes them beautiful. The full frame D 700 had lots of space around its pixels.  It’s what gave it those marvelous low light capabilities.  I went through my archives like someone flipping through the family scrapbook, looking at the thousands of shots I had taken with the D700. Landscapes, birds, flowers. I missed its subtlety.

I’d think of those every time I scrolled through the used camera offerings at B and H in New York, or MPB or Adorama or the other big dealers. Every now and then one would pop up and tug at my sleeve. Nah, I would think; I’m camera poor and why buy someone elses problem. Then yesterday afternoon, I was scrolling through the used digital camera offerings at B and H and there it was, a D 700 in like new condition with only 8 thousand shutter snaps. And the price was right. I pulled the trigger. It will arrive this coming Wednesday. I hope the weather clears by then because we are going to have a grand reunion. Thanks for the visit. See you next time.

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Chasing the Spanish Macarel

I hooked up with these guys before dawn  “On The Point”  at Emerald Isle, North Carolina a week ago. Most live either on the Bogue Banks or nearby on the mainland. All buy  yearly permits from the City of Emerald Isle which allows them to drive on the beach in restricted areas from the late fall through early spring  on the Western end of the island.  Emerald Isle is situated  East/ West rather than North/ South. As the dawn broke around 6:40 AM, the beach was dotted with pickup trucks, their occupants ready to start casting for the  Spanish Mackerel and Albacore that were running in close to feed.

At daybreak, the fishermen were joined by some surfers, anxious to take advantage of the large breakers spawned by an overnight storm. Somehow, all managed to co-exist without getting in each other’s way.

I left them at sunrise to head up the beach to grab some sunrise shots. They were still at it when I came back on the way to my truck.  Their coolers were filled. So were my memory cards.  It had been a good day.  Thanks for the look-in and have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

The Soybean Field II

I spent several more days in the soybean field this past week, drawn by the pre-dawn sky which provides  a rather spectacular backdrop for, lets face it, a rather boring crop in the field.

The above shot was an afterthought.  I was heading back to the house when I happened to turn around and saw the rising sun’s reflection on the cloud bank rolling in from the north.  A reminder of the old photography tip to always turn around.

Taken early that morning from the southwest near the wetlands on the farm.  The rows of soybeans take your eye straight to the pre-sunrise sky.

I don’t usually venture out on overcast days but I made an exception because of the quilted clouds which I could see from my kitchen window.  I’m blessed by living near our farm fields and the beach, which I plan to return to next week.  Thanks for the look. See you next time.

 

Farm Crops and Photography

  • As the cotton crop neared harvest, the soybeans dropped their leaves and began the slow march toward ripening later in the fall.  As usual, I was out early grabbing some final shots of the cotton and some initial pictures of the soybeans.  The weather cooperated magnificently drawing in clouds which provided a marvelous backdrop to the golden beans and the stark white cotton..

I’ve had good luck over the years marketing these kinds of shots to the various foundations and marketing concerns which promote cotton and soybeans worldwide.  I also like to document what we grow here and since I’m the guy who’s into photography, that falls to me. As for getting up so early, It comes from habit.  I was in broadcast news for more than 40 years, most of it in Radio, which had an early call. I still wake up before dawn every morning.  It dovetails nicely with photography.  I’ve always held the opinion that the best light of the day comes early, from dawn to shortly after sunrise.  Thanks for the look. Have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

The Cotton Field

 

 

Time was, the crop dusters would fly in to spray the crop  in order to defoliate it.  Now, most growers just let nature take its course and that was the case here. The cold nights have taken care of the cotton foliage without chemicals being applied,  and the cotton is ready for harvest.

Harvest time comes with its own drama.  The Autumn along with the cooler temperatures ushers in spectacular cloud formations and they change quickly.  These shots were all taken on the same morning within a 15 minute span.  Thanks for the look and have a good week.  See you next time.

Do you make your own luck? Maybe!

My usual guide when planning a pre-dawn trek to the oceanfront is, of course, the weather.  If the forecast is for full sun, I stay home. Full sun at the beach does not make for dramatic photographs. If it’s for a partly cloudy day,  I go.  If it’s for a mostly cloudy day, I go.  BUT,  if the chance of rain is above 40 percent, I will usually stay home.  This particular morning,  I made an exception. The chance of rain was 50 percent with heavy rain in some cells.  I decided to go for it anyway.   I packed up my rain gear including two extra large size Zip Lock Freezer Bags to house my camera bodies in the highly likely event, I would run into rain on the beach.  Within ten minutes of leaving the farm heading east on the beach road, I ran into a mammoth frog strangler. Ten minutes later, I ran into another.  When I arrived 40 minutes after leaving the farm, it was still raining, albeit, lightly. I waited for daybreak, then left for the oceanfront.  When I got there, it was still sprinkling, but the sky and the light were cooperating and the sun was trying to blast through the clouds.

This view is to the East. (The beach on Emerald Isle is not oriented North-South but rather  East to West.)  The steps in the foreground were abandoned and left to the ocean  after last week’s Nor’ester. I thought they added a bit of additional drama to the scene.  When I looked West, toward Lands End, I got the sure sign that the rain was done, at least for the moment. .

It was the first rainbow I can ever recall capturing over the ocean in all my many years of coming here.  The truck on the beach belongs to one of the surf fishermen drawn by the Spanish Mackerel and Albacore that were running.  It was gone within five minutes. To the East, the Sun was coming up amid a glorious bank of clouds.

The roped off area is to keep those who have permits to drive on the beach off the barrier dunes.  So my gamble paid off.  What I wanted to get in the way of  photographs, I got.  But the window of opportunity closed quickly. Just as I was packing up my gear,  it started to rain again.  I read somewhere that you make you own luck.  Maybe! Suffice to say, I was lucky.  Thanks for the read and the look.  See you next time.

Return of the Sasanqua

They were early.  Again!  That’s been the case for the past two or three years.  Time was when we didn’t see them here until late October. Now they show up in late September.   Another indicator, perhaps,  that this part of the planet is  still warming.  They’re pretty ragged little blooms and their time is short.  An opening act for the Camellias that come on the scene in November,  or is that now late October?  I forget. It’s the Sasanqua that have my attention.  I see them as a sort of signpost that Autumn is around the corner.  And sure enough, after the first bloom premiered last week in 80 degree heat, our first real cold front moved through dropping the temperature into the 50’s overnight and daytime highs in the upper 60’s. And shooing Hurricane Maria off into the Atlantic.  So all hail the Sasanqua, opening act of Autumn.

I was AWOL last week.  Chest pains during the night. The wife packed me off to the ER.  EKG’s, X Rays, blood tests galore.  The diagnosis. No Heart Attack.  Arthritis!  in the rib cage at the breast bone.  Who knew one could have arthritis in the chest?   So a false alarm and I was shuttled back into the world of the well.  Thanks for the look.  See you next time.