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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was so quiet that morning I swear you could hear the grass growing. The fire in the dawn sky is testament to the heat we’ve had here. The grass seems to be immune from it, so far. Have a good week. Nikon D800E. 18mm lens.
Blooming tobacco in an Eastern North Carolina farm field. Tobacco isn’t what it used to be in North Carolina but it is still very much in evidence. This was a small patch or allotment on a small farm near the coast. The flowers will be removed; “topped” is the word used in the field. It allows the plant to fill out and mature. Leaves are harvested from the bottom up. Thanks for the look and have a good week ahead.