Late Summer Sunflowers

These were planted in late July instead of late June which had been the normal practice here.  Other than extending the blooming season, it probably made little difference.  There’s no maintenance involved.  You plant the seeds and Mother Nature does the rest.  These Van Goghs lasted right on into September.  A nice lead-in to fall!  Thanks for looking and have a good week.  See you next time.

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So Far, So good…..

Our farm in Southeastern North Carolina is about 45 air miles from the Atlantic. We’ve seen a lot of storms here. From Nor’easters to tornadoes to hurricanes.  Where most people check their  local weather every morning, we check in with the National Hurricane Center.  I’d been tracking Hurricane Irma since it formed up off Africa.   When it reached the Central Atlantic, with another storm, Jose, right behind it, we decided to get moving.  I spent about a week clearing out drainage ditches, preparing generators, stocking up on gasoline, non-perishable food…all the things on everyone’s Hurricane Prepare List.   Fittingly, perhaps, we’ve been getting a rash of nasty weather unrelated to Irma for the past couple of weeks. It served as a reminder to get ready for the big show IF……  As you might surmise, there hasn’t been a lot of time for photography other than a few shots of some rather dramatic sky shots in the fields, a taste perhaps of what might be ahead. 

I keep a two gallon zip lock freezer bag in my camera bag for rainy days and it got a nice workout for the shots in the cotton field taken during light rain.  I put the camera in the bag and close the bag until it is snug around the lens.  Works great.  Even though two of my cameras are water resistant according to Nikon, why take chances?

As it turned out, Irma stayed away from our coast, and so far, Jose has seen fit to dance around in the Atlantic just south of Bermuda.  I have little doubt there will be other storms before the long hurricane season is over at the end of November.  Just this morning, I noticed another suspect forming up off the coast of Africa.  As Mr. Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s Over.”   Stay alert. Be Ready and above all Be Safe. See you next time.

In the Fog at Sunrise

I do a lot of rural and farm photography.  For one thing, it’s where I am and for another, I’ve found a a bit of a market for it.  I’m often drawn by what is growing the fields.  I suppose cotton is the most photogenic of the crops grown in Eastern North Carolina with Tobacco running a distant second.  There’s just something magical about a big field of pure white cotton at dawn.   As for Tobacco, I find it quite photogenic when it begins to ripen and flower.  Soybeans have little appeal for me until their foliage begins to turn and the beans ripen to a golden brown. I seldom venture into a corn field except to photograph the stalks left in the field in the fall.  The less traditional crops here, Sunflowers, Peonies etc will always get my immediate and undivided attention.

Primarily though, I’m drawn by the weather and the sky condition at dawn.  A foggy morning will always find me in the field, regardless of what is growing there……even if it’s nothing but weeds

On this particular morning, I was blessed with an interesting sunrise, a healthy crop of tobacco and fog.

That’s tobacco on the left side of the service road, cotton to the right and in the far distance, field corn. The fog, which has begun to burn off, gives the colors a bit of a pop like that of a polarizer. I use no filters when shooting on a foggy morning.  I particularly avoid any haze filters and obviously have no need for a polarizer.  So next time you encounter a foggy morning out in the boonies, get up, get out there and grab a little magic.  Thanks for the visit. Have a good week. See you next time.

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.