Sunrise In The Tobacco Field.

Dawn was rubbing against the windshield of my ancient RAV 4 as I negotiated a seldom used, overgrown path next to a corn field.  A very angry thunderstorm had slowly snailed across the area overnight dumping biblical amounts of rain.  I had stopped just short of an almost washed out causeway over a drainage ditch that had not drained.  I decided not to chance it.  Getting old slowly robs you of your confidence.  I grabbed my cameras and legged it the rest of the way. I was sure that just around the corner of the treeline on the left was the goose that laid the golden egg, or, in this case, a golden sunrise amidst a cloudy sky over a large tobacco field.  I was not disappointed.

I’ve always dreamed about living within driving distance of Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons,  but one plays the cards they are dealt.  My hand, such as it is,  “ain’t” too bad.  The picturesque North Carolina Coast is nearby, but on this particular day, tobacco fields were on the to-do list.  I’ve had good luck licensing shots to various tobacco foundations and branding firms over the years, the great majority of which are overseas. Smoking, I suppose, is still very much in vogue there.  Mind you, I’m no great fan of tobacco. One of the hardest things I ever did was kick the smoking addiction.  My wife grew up on a small tobacco farm and says you would be hard pressed to find a more miserable way to earn a living.  Having said that, I submit that tobacco has a certain artistic quality to it.  The huge green leaves which slowly morph to a golden brown as the plant ripens along with the pink flowers make for a very pleasing scene.

FAA

I donned a long sleeved shirt before venturing down the row.   Skin coming in contact with tobacco, particularly when it is wet after rain, is a must to avoid.  My wife has many stories about nicotine poisoning when she was a young girl. Those memories led us to get out of the tobacco growing business more than a decade ago when I retired from broadcast news.   Our crop this year will be cotton; to my mind, one of the more picturesque of farm crops.  There is just something about a field covered in white at sunrise. Stay tuned.

I apologize for being AWOL last week.  I suffer from Pudendal Neuralgia. I’ll spare you the details.  Suffice to say, there are good days and bad days.  Last weekend was not good. As I’ve learned in my old age, learn to enjoy your struggles.  As always, thanks for the look and have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

Same day; 2 views.

Sunrise May 10, 2017

A few moments after Sunrise and the Eastern sky has a distinct South West Flavor to it but just over 8 hours later, a view to the North has a totally different color pallet.   Even the sour grass which appears red in the foreground shadows above looks totally different by mid afternoon.  I suppose the moral of the story is, don’t forget to go back and take another look.

Both shots taken with a Nikon D800e and a 18-35mm lens.  Thanks for the look and have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

Sour Grass

Sour Grass as it is more widely known, is actually Wild Sorrel; a short lived perennial that dots fields and open spaces every Spring along the Eastern United States.  Distinguished by its reddish pink color, it is edible to a point point with an acidic, sour taste.  It offers a marvelous foreground enhancement when photographing otherwise barren fields prior to Spring planting.

Shot with a Nikon D800E Camera using an 18mm Nikkor Lens,  I used my usual set up for sunrise photography: Manual program, Spot metering, taking my exposure reading away from the Sun in the blue sky, f/22 for 1/320th of a second, Auto White Balance, ISO 400. No Filters.  I shoot everything in Nikon’s RAW Format (NEF) and I use Photoshop Elements to convert the image to jpeg.  Ah yes, I also use a tripod for all landscape shots: A SLIK Pro 5000X.  Thank you for the look-in and have a great week.

Dogwood Festival

The Dogwoods went into hibernation during the week and half freeze but blossomed with the return of warmer temperatures.  Within a week the flags of Spring were on full display.

 

 

These are wild dogwoods that have popped up on the farm over the years.  Attempts to transplant them to suit one’s own landscaping plan are iffy.  Wild things don’t like to be tamed.  And it seems the wild ones are less prone to the myriad of diseases that plague hybrids.  Wild or hybrid, they are very photogenic.

These were taken with a Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens on a Nikon D750 Camera.  Thanks for the look and have a good week ahead.

Photo Of The Week: Winter Harvest

Harvesting soybeans in late January or early February is not uncommon in Eastern North Carolina, particularly when it has been such a wet growing season. Planted in the late Spring and early Summer, the beans usually ripen by December but the relentless rain soaked the soil so thoroughly, it could not support the big harvesting machines.  The area finally got a week with no rain which flashed the green light for the long delayed harvest.

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Being based in Eastern North Carolina, I freelance a lot of rural and farm shots to argicultural concerns, Getty Images and the like.  As the old timers say, you dance with what brung ya, even if it’s a couple of months late.

Nikon D750, 24-120mm f/4 lens.

Thanks for dropping by and have a good week ahead.

Photo Of The Week: Christmas Eve Sunrise

Blogged December 25, 2016

Sunrise December 24, 2016

 

For several years running,  the Christmas day sunrise has been nothing short of spectacular here, to the point of becoming an almost spiritual thing. Not This year.  We were greeted this morning with an overcast sky and patches of misty rain, the result of a warm front that marched through late yesterday and overnight.  But the Christmas weekend was not a total washout.. Christmas Eve morning  was a keeper. With the colder air, the scene could be from October.  There were  just enough clouds to reflect the warm morning light. I had seen the clouds moving in over the tall lob lolly pines from my kitchen window and grabbed my camera.  No filters. Nikon D750 fitted with a 24-120mm f/4 lens. Iso 400, custom white balance, though Automatic on the 750 is quite good. Manual exposure. Spot metering. 1/125th of a second at f/22 which explains the slight flare to the sun. Best wishes to all for a great holiday and a safe and prosperous 2017.

Photo of the Week: Dawn at the Live Oak

The Live Oak in The Soybean Field 11.24.16  blogged.

Dawn at the Live Oak

I’ve posted many shots of the stately Live Oak that anchors the old Civil War Ear Cemetery on our farm,  so in that regard this shot is nothing new but, of course, as the seasons change so does the view.   I rather liked the eerie warm hues generated by the dawn light on this early December morning, contrasting the golden tones of the ripening soybeans in the field with the dissipating dark clouds  in the North sky,   while throwing the old tree into silhouette. I had taken the 812 warming filter with me that morning but on live view, it added a bit too much warmth so I took it off the lens.   As with most of my efforts here on the farm, the light is the big star here.  Nikon D800E.  18-35mm lens.

A Side Note!  I usually post on Sundays but I had a rather horrific accident on Saturday evening.  I had driven into the City of Kinston to photograph a new tribute to the role of Tobacco played in the economy here.  On my way to the scene,  I took a shortcut through a parking lot.  I tripped on a raised area in the paved lot and crashed the left side of my face , my left eye in particular on the asphalt. By the time I got to the Emergency Room, the  eye had swollen completely shut with only a purple golf ball size lump where my eye was.  I was virtually certain I had fractured my skull and/or the orb of my left eye socket,  but CT scans proved otherwise.  There were no fractures. The doctors in the ER were as amazed as I was. Back home, I popped  a handful of ibuprofen and began the  ritual of 20 minutes of ice on the injured eye, 20 minutes off,  and repeating that on into Saturday night and through Sunday.  The swelling had been reduced by about half by Sunday morning and I could see out of the injured eye which, as one might suspect, was completely bloodshot.  This and the swelling has left me with  blurred vision in my left eye.  A visit to the Eye MD this morning revealed no damage to the eyeball or to the implant in the injured eye. Now it’s just a matter of warm compresses to help the red eye dissolve and the rest of swelling to subside.  Ah yes,  so what happened to the brand new Nikon D750 I was carrying that day.  It was in my right hand when I took my tumble and it struck the pavement with me. though it came out far better than I did.  No dings, dents, or scratches.  And yes, it still works.  Nikon builds em tough.  Moral of the story: when you’re out and about,  watch where you’re going and pick your feet Up!  God willing and I avoid falling into a hole somewhere, I’ll see you next time.