Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Friday, June 15, 2007

Out to Pasture


I shot this before the storm broke. It was the day the front moved through and I hoped to have good clouds to play with. Driving up Rabbit Hill Road the view is all sky and then the top of the great silo pops over the horizon, and the sky did, in fact, offer possibilities. I thought those clouds would look best behind the Rabbit Hill barns and the rows of newly planted corn in the adjacent field. However, on my way to the back where the corn seedlings had popped up a few days earlier, I passed a lone cow. It was, apparently unteathered, but it wasn't going anywhere. It didn't even nod as I passed.

My eye was on a storm cloud to the north, and I gave little thought to the old cow. Minutes later and some hundred or so yards further back in the field I heard rain, like a snare drum, beating on the tin roof of the cow barn to my south. It took a few moments to register that I was about to get very wet. I had just time to pack my camera away in my backpack and pull up the pack's concealed rain hood before the downpour enveloped me. On my hasty retreat to the shelter of the nearest barn I passed the same cow, still not moving nor registering my passage or the downpour. Like this old barn that I had shot ten minutes earlier, I guess she had little choice but to silently take whatever occurred.

I've photographed this barn before, but here the compression of my long lens makes it seem isolated in a wilderness about to devour it. The same long lens creates a kind of cardboard cutout effect in front of the distant hills, and I've been looking at this for a few days to decide how I feel about it. I've toned the background to minimize this effect, but I'm curious how others feel.