It Stormed To The South… July 27, 2011Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
Tags: bugs fucking, corn fields, leeks, milkweed blossoms, Mt Holyoke, mullien, queen anne's lace, row crops, storm clouds, sunflowers, sunsets, yellow tanzy
…So of course, I had to go see.
I mean, it’s not that I wanted to be devoured by a meteorological event, but rather that I expected to capture a bit of the kinetics which infuse the atmosphere in such situations.
Well, as so often happens in my life, I was late to the party; whatever was going to happen had already done so, and to the south of my photographic venue at that. I’d driven madly to get to a patch of corn fields down by the Connecticut river near the Northampton airport, a place I’ve gone before when the weather sucked; it has the potential to give up an iconic photo of the Western Massachusetts I know, but does so only when caressed just so by rain and sun.
But the weather passed primarily to the south, and I was left with…
…what was there. A farm with a truck-patch of leeks:
That’s from Elliot, with perhaps five degrees of tilt. The storms passing to the south were pushing low clouds over the Seven Sisters, as the range of hills in the background are known hereabouts. I liked the way that looked against the darker sky, and the scene was so planar that it begged for front-to-back focus.
I worked my way along the farm roads and tractor paths down to the Connecticut river, where yellow tanzies grew atop a high bank:
That’s Mt. Holyoke (the mountain) in the background, with the summit house of Skinner State Park atop it. I didn’t get the “tilt” right to get it in focus; I was too close the the plane of the tanzies and wanted them more.
Well, having a tilt-shift lens on the box made me look for planar subjects which might benefit from its attributes, so I composed in two dimensions. A fallow field harbors a bloom of Queen Anne’s Lace and asparagus:
The line of hills running away in the background is the Mt. Tom massif, with big basalt cliffs facing westward and some fun ice climbing in the early winter (for those who enjoy that particular trial.) This afternoon it was simply a horizon element as I tried to pin down the Lace dancing in the breeze.
I wandered the field roads looking for foregrounds and sky elements, pulling over whenever I encountered something like these mullein plants with their flower stalks almost ready to bloom:
These things feel vaguely Southwestern, like a cross between saguaros and gerbils. And again, I caught those low clouds sneaking in from the south.
A ways further along I was admiring another patch of Queen Anne’s Lace when a flash of rose caught my eye – a milkweed blossom audaciously pink among the pure Queen’s blossoms, and horror of horrors, hosting two beetles fucking in it:
They’re the reddish spots down left of center. Trust me, in a print-sized blow-up they’re embarrassing.
Anyway, I thought all of this was augmented by the leaning power pole and the swarming low clouds, though diminished a bit by my inability to get this shot without the camera’s shadow being in the picture (I ducked.)
But the overriding visual element of my drive through the fields was corn, tall and lush and loving the heat, and occasionally bordered by an un-tilled roadside shoulder of Giant Sunflowers (Helianthus giganticus), so named for their height rather than the size of their blossoms:
They gave me a little foreground color for the last dim shot of the day:
…and were barely more than a silhouette against the flushing western clouds:
So I missed the storm, but got some shots anyway. There will be other storms, and I will be back.
I hope you enjoy seeing these shots as much as I enjoyed the process of making them.