Sunday, October 13, 2013


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: The same site, a few days later, how different the compositional problem! 

Yesterday I made another trip to Forsaken Acres under uncertain skies. In spite of promising clouds in the south, I headed north, hoping for another chance to play in the soy rows' shadows. In totally clear skies, I could at least explore compositional possibilities as the shadows lengthened. However, Forsaken Acres turned out to be the one place in the valley under clouds; it was all shadows. Wisdom would have urged, move on, but the fun is sometimes in meeting the challenge.

How different these clouds from the puffs that were drifting roughly west to east across the valley when I was last here. They reinforced the frontal, planar orientation imposed on most landscape compositions from this field. Before the eastern silo fell it was too balanced, too frontal, too static, and I never shot from here. 

These clouds ran in great banks north-south and apparently disappeared or emerged from a point behind Forsaken Acres and somewhere up near Copake. On the right the cloud bank above the high Taconic Ridge was strikingly abrupt, a sudden, white wall following the ridge line south. I had noticed it as soon as I was north of Millerton. On another day I might have found a spot to shoot from in the sunny center of the valley, but I chose to continue to Forsaken Acres to shoot there again before the silo falls.

Once there, the bean rows looked like nothing without defining shadows, but without direct light it was easy to get down in the rows that had been visual chaos, and get personal with the beans. As I lowered my tripod, and the tops of the bean rows collapsed, the window of sky opened, and there were the great banked clouds doing just what I needed them to do. Down between the soy rows you can see the corn stalks from corn that had grown here the previous summer and contemplate the relentless mulching of eternity even as the banked clouds seemed to stand still above the changeless mountains.  

Today I passed Forsaken Acres again on my way home, and a large harvester was working two fields north of Forsaken Acres. It was a big, shiney machine that harvested many rows at a gulp. Tomorrow morning if I wake before dawn, will there be soy rows left to photograph? Once the soy is harvested, the rows will have little visual impact, I think, and I'm not optimistic the silos will last to the next planting.

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