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.

Photo Of The Day: Stalking The Sky

Stalking the sky.  Posted to flickr November 28, 2016

Stalking the Sky

One of the oldest of Photography “Rules”  is in play here.  I say “Rules” because, of course, there are no rules ,and those that have been passed down come with the caveat,  “made to be broken.”   Over the years though, I’ve found this one is worth remembering: when all else fails, get low!   As it was, this was no shot at all when I first saw it.  The distant dark tree line swallowed the scene. But by getting low, the high grass stalks met that incredible orange of the dawn sky and bingo, a scene worth capturing.  I thought it was a rather pleasing shot.  So did my followers on flickr.  It got a lot of hits and faves and so forth.  I decided to put it on my web site and sold a small print the first day.  So, a worthwhile photography  that all came about because I “went low.”   Mind you, “getting low” is not something I do much of these days.  At my age, getting low is one thing, getting back vertical is quite another,  but this shot made even the complaining knees worth it.  Nikon D800E. 18-35mm lens.  Thanks for the look and have a great week.

 

Photo Of The Week: November In The Wetlands

Autumn in the Wetlands

Autumn in the Wetlands

It’s probably not on any government map as an official,”Wetlands,” probably because it’s not very large; maybe 50 to 75 yards wide and a mile or thereabouts long.  Whatever, it’s on our farm and  it’s home to several families of Beavers, goodness knows how many Canada Geese,  Mallards and Wood Ducks, not to mention the Deer, Bears, Foxes and other forest critters who visit daily for a drink of water or to munch on some tasty leaves and berries.  We don’t permit any hunting in our wetlands and we leave the perimeter untouched so as to isolate it and make access difficult for humans.  I seldom venture there now except in the fall when navigating the vines, thorns  and overgrowth has died down to the point where one can gain access without getting hopelessly entangled in the thicket.  This past week, I took the plunge,  fitted out with hip boots and a very thick, thorn proof jacket.  It’s been quite dry here since Hurricane Matthew blasted through dumping well over a foot and half of rain so the slog for photos wasn’t too difficult for these old bones.  My photo gear for this little adventure was my trusty Nikon D7100 small sensor camera and a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle zoom. I leave my expensive full frame cameras in the bag when I venture into water either here on the farm or at the ocean front.   Why chance it when the D7100 will do the job.

It was well worth the trip.  I think the late afternoon shots on a partly cloudy, blue sky day captured both the isolation and the wildness of the area.  The shot above was taken from the North side of the Wetlands about 100 yards  East of the largest Beaver Pond with the Sigma dialed in at 10mm with a slight crop in post.  As is my usual practice when shooting into the sun, I used the manual setting and spot metering, taking my reading in the blue sky to the right away from the sun, locking the exposure ,then recomposing and shooting. The sun star, of course, is inherent at f/22.  As for the ISO, suffice to say I usually shoot at several different settings and just pick what I think is best.  The winner here , at least to my eye, was ISO 400.

A camera change for me.  I’m trading in my Nikon D600 in favor of a refurbished Nikon D750.  I bought the D600 new when it came out some years ago, and as you might know, the model was plagued with shutter oil splatter on the sensor requiring constant cleaning of the sensor.  Nikon finally agreed to a recall and replaced the shutter free of charge and the camera has given great service ever since. I opted for the D750 because It’s faster, has a tilt screen, 51 focus points, high ISO range,  among other improvements.  Prior to the D600, every digital camera I have ever bought from Nikon has been a refurbished model and I have never had the first problem. I’ve always heard that unlike  Nikon’s random assembly line checks of new models,  each of the company’s refurbished models is gone over by by a Nikon Tech and set to factory specs before it is cleared for sale.  I’ll let you know how the refurbished D750 measures up in a future post. As always, thanks for the read.  See you next time.

Photo Of The Week: Season’s End

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The remnants of the summer growing season welcome a late October Sunrise.  The remains of a sweet corn patch are in the left foreground. Ripening soybeans are to the right. The grove of Live Oaks that shelter a civil war era cemetery serve to tone down the intensity of the sunlight preventing a blowout of the scene.  A rather easy shot but it all hinges on the metering.  I used spot metering taking my reading to the right of the sun and locking the exposure.  Manual exposure, f/22 to create the star effect, iso of 400. Raw conversion in Photoshop Elements 14.  Shots like this don’t work so well with no clouds which diffuse the light creating orange, yellow tones in the sky.  No filters. Nikon D 800E. 18-35mm lens.  Thanks for the visit and have a great week.

Photo Of The Week: Sunrise in the Bean Field

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Amazingly, the soybeans in the field survived the foot of rain we receiving during Hurricane Matthew. The field has a decided slope to it which hastens drainage.  As you can see in this view, the foliage has begun to turn.  The leaves will soon drop off leaving just the beans on the stalk to ripen in the sun.

It’s really hard to beat the Nikon D800E for color and clarity in landscape shots like this.  Spot metering, iso 400, 18mm at f/22

Have a great week and thanks as always for the look in.