Friday, July 24, 2009

Today I took some photos

Hay season is pretty much over, even though there are still fields in the area that have yet to be baled. We had our back ten acres cut and baled a couple times, but the yield was pretty low and we broke even on the deal, having a gentleman do the cutting and bailing while we did the hauling and stacking. Time-wise, we’d be in the hole on the endeavor. A lot of farm stuff is like that, so we quit selling hay.

A more trained eye than mine can tell the difference between a hay field yet to be baled and a grass seed field windrowed waiting for harvest. However, once the grass seed field has been burned, there is no doubt. Farmers started harvesting grass seed about a week ago, filling 50-foot trailers with the seed. They are in full gear, and some have already burned their fields. Little particles of burned chaff travel for miles, pushed thousands of feet into the air by the rising clouds of smoke. As the smoke drifts, daylight takes on a distinct orange tinge.

Recent state legislation has made 2009 the last year most of the grass seed farmers will be able to burn. There is much controversy, and many farmers are wondering what they will do for a crop next year. Already many of the grass fields are being tilled under. I am of a mixed mind on the subject.

Some readers will remember that last year I photographed the burned fields and posted some of the photos. It is a project that I thought about doing for a few years and finally got around to it last year. Such is farm time: it’ll get done when there’s time, or when it absolutely needs done. I am glad that I was able to get some fine shots last season, and now that this will be the last year for burnings, I am determined to record the practice for my own purposes, and for posterity.

I will be posting more shots in the future, and also explain what I am thinking about as I shoot and edit.

I crop some of photos to isolate the geometric shapes created in the fields. The two-dimensional (flat) aspect of photography echoes the same in painting. I am referencing neo-geo painting from the 70s and 80s.I have some work to do in Photoshop for these two photos for the blacks are not quite what I want. Time of day (early afternoon) has some effect as well, washing out some of the richness. The top one reminds me of some Clyfford Still paintings. I wish the background in the the second one was sharper. Understand that there is a lot of smoke and dirt in the air because of the burning and tilling.


Memphis MOJO said...

I remember your burn field photos -- they were some of your best. Didn't you enter one in an exhibit at a university?

I look forward to the new ones.

bastinptc said...

Thx again. Yes, on was in a show, Art about Agriculture, at Oregon State University. It is travelling around the state right now.