Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mr. Barn


I've tried repeatedly for two months to shoot this barn on Perotti Farm. Unfortunately it sits close up against a hillside and next to busy rt. 22. It is an outbuilding across from a major dairy operation that lies awkwardly in a "flatiron" plot of land where a county road forks off into the hills. I've walked both roads in both directions looking for angles that capture the barn and make it read. It's hard to move back from it and not put unrelated and distracting stuff into the image, nor does it ever quite command the frame. I think I'd almost given up, yet the detailing on the cupola, and the pleasing proportions, and the gaping mouth kept calling.

In any case, I was shooting at a farm I thought to be 5 or 10 miles off. I'd just shot the power line photos from which the previous image was taken, and I'd decided to cross into a new area of hayfield for some new angles. My path led down to what I thought must be a stream bed and then up to a point higher than I'd been, but I thought I might be unable to cross the stream bed. As it turned out, there was none, and I began my climb. Only when I reached the half-way point up the hill was I sure the line of brush and trees at the field's perimeter was unbroken; no link to further fields! I decided to climb to the back edge anyhow, It was the high point and just maybe it was penetrable.

In fact, there was neither wall nor fence and I found a spot where the brush was less thick. Popping through to the other side, I found myself in a newly harvested corn field. The power lines continued marching across to the next hillside on my left across a deep valley, and a lovely farm lay in the valley floor off to the right. What a quiet cozy spot! But something about the farm looked familiar. ... and then two trucks sped through and I realized I was standing atop a hill over route 22 looking down on Perotti Farm that was supposed to be so many miles away.

I guess it would always have been possible to climb the corn field from the 22 side. I've climbed many others. Perhaps eventually I would have gotten permission and tried it. In fact, it's a much longer climb than it appears here. The picture has a soft fuzzy quality because I have my long zoom opened all the way out to 400mm which functions on a digital camera as if it were more than 650mm. That's a vary powerful magnifier and I'm a long way away. And remember, it was foggy, so part of the fuzziness is haze. I'm considering working it further. I want to soften it even more, perhaps by making it more grainy. I'd be interested in others' thoughts.

It is sheer luck that Mr. Tractor was parked in the exact right spot