Farming and Agriculture

Cutting Hay (Insert Photography Rant Here)

I went over to capture some images of my brother cutting Sudex last night.  I had a busy weekend complete with a wedding (work) and a birthday party for small children (friends and family).   I spent the weekend working on edits and staying indoors out of the miserable heat.  But given the opportunity to go to the farm and go shooting I'll almost always choose that as a preferred activity.  

Steve Cutting Hay on the Farm -1

Photographers are obsessive about images.  We are our own worst enemies, we are our harshest critics, we are destructive to one another.   We chase after gear as the solution to our own imperfections.  We are competitive with one another, we snub one another and then proceed to pay the "good photographers" to teach us secrets.  We chase after forums, and workshops, gear, and ultimately knowledge.  It is a strange world.  

Steve Cutting Hay on the Farm -1-2


This is my brother Steve out working on this hot, miserable day.  

I have a few photographer friends who I'm very comfortable with.  We banter on Facebook messaging and are very open about our techniques and how and what we shoot with and why.  We are not out to steal each others' business or clientele (and seriously?  I'm tired of not having weekends if you want my business, boy have at it).   Tonight I learned about "clean processing,"  or cleaning up a shot.  Which I guess is more or less my style.  I do like the crushed black look but that's a personal preference for richness of color.   

Steve Cutting Hay on the Farm -1-3

If you notice throughout this post my greens vary.  My friend and I are having serious discussions about greens in photography-  how to get dark, rich greens as opposed to neon greens.  We all know that newbie photographer whose neon greens will make you go blind and their super blue sky is so unreal you know they just must be drinking a bottle of wine when they slide the saturation slider all the way to the right.   But there is a fine balance between accepting nature as it is and making it our idealized version in photography.   A perfect photo for me five years ago is  totally different than one now.   

Steve Cutting Hay on the Farm -1-4

I made it out just in time for golden hour (my preferred shooting time).  Would I be too much of a diva to refuse to continue to shoot indoor events?  Probably.  I have plenty of weddings on the books this fall - which means this fall will be exhausting.   But, the more I do this I realize that when you're just starting you really aren't "taking business away from someone else" - in fact I don't think most people "see" the way experienced photographers do.   Steve Cutting Hay on the Farm -1-5

I also realize that some people are natural business people.  I'm really a terrible business person for doing something I love.  Why do I care if someone shares my image?  I don't.  I don't often look for people who violate my copyright.  Why? It's the freaking internet. You heard me. It's the internet. I do image searches often, I rip memes from google image search when I want to make a sarcastic reply to someone.  I find humor online.  I avoid too much sentimentality.  But, I do not get upset over people using the web to share information.  I also am very aware that when I take photo of someone that they feel ownership of that photo, no matter how I feel.  If you see a photo of yourself do you not feel that photo belongs to you because it IS you?   Exactly. Put yourself in your clients shoes.    Cutting Hay -2302

I do not edit using any crap some so called awesome photographer sells me off the web. I don't edit using presets for the most part. If I can't adjust the photo or save a composition really nothing can save it.  

Cutting Hay -2318


I also don't understand people who invest in portrait studios and props and all of that business building nonsense before they invest in the equipment. I guess those are the people who think photography is simple.   It is not.  Photography is deceptively simple.  Any of us can get a good shot at any given time with our cell phone camera (which is way better than my first digital camera that I had in 2001).   

Cutting Hay -2446

I shoot. I shoot A LOT; not daily but generally every other day.  I don't have to be paid to go shooting. I am not begging for portraiture work now, because I want to go back to what I love about photography, the solitude.   I go find my own opportunity. I find my own things to shoot, the exploring aspect of photography is just as much fun as shooting.  I love shooting the obscure, the monotonous, my boring life. 

Cutting Hay -2466

I don't get landscape photographers obsession with sharpness as much as I don't totally buy the obsession with bokeh.   Bokeh for a great portrait, because when we watch television we are sold on our solitary subject or actor who gains the sole attention of the camera.  But the HDR super sharp landscapes don't show the softness of the land.   I guess I fall into the impressionist school of thought on landscape photography.  I love the colors and the softness of the land.  

Cutting Hay -2421

I still love a nice sunset, but I am not in a competition with myself to capture the "best" sunset photo anymore.  I am challenged by the darkness and feel like I have a lot of room to work within the night.   

Cutting Hay -2474

It is still enjoyable, it's a release and it is how I enjoy spending my spare time.   My unstructured, spontaneous spare time.  



Rodeo at the Old Settler's Days in Velma Oklahoma

Here are a few shots from the Calf Roping at the Old Settler's Days in Velma Oklahoma.   

Calf roping at velma picnic-4444
It has been incredibly hot outside.  So we didn't venture out for the Thursday night Rodeo events.   But we did make it Friday night and managed to watch the calf roping.  I now wish I could have photographed more.   

Calf roping at old settlers days-4450
Time was called.   The calf is tied.   

Calf roping at Velma-4501
I love the excitement of the rodeo. You can't beat it.  It is an entertaining sport. 

Cowgirls -4478
I've never been into horseback riding.   But I enjoy watching others.  Horses always made me nervous.   

In America's Heartland-4520
I love outdoor rodeos, indoor ones are harder to shoot.  I got there in time to have some sunlight for my photography. 

Life in the Flyover States -4517
The horse and the calf is putting on the brakes while the cowboy is in motion.  

Old Settler's Picnic at Velma-4519
I want to caption this calf with "What the....."
  Old Settler's Picnic in Velma Oklahoma -4469
It doesn't look heavy in this picture....

In America's Heartland-4564
This is what happens in those Flyover states that Jason Aldean sings about.   I love this shot, as the sun was setting.  

Old Settler's Picnic at Velma-4554
This is the best shot of the last few weeks.   I really like how it turned out.   If you've never experienced the Rodeo - you should.   Unless you're a participant I would suggest leaving your expensive cowgirl boots at home if its over 100 degrees outside though.   



Oklahoma Melon Farming

My posting and updating my page has been sparse lately.  Tonight that will change.  I have my portable hard drive and a couple of weeks worth of photos.  This post we will actually go back to May to some photos I have not edited or posted since I shot them in the midst of my massive new home renovations.   Daddy plowing the field-0651

Here are some photos of my Dad plowing the field with some of his older equipment, being pulled not by a horse but by my baby sister on the tractor.  These were shot in late May. 

Old fashioned plow-0641
Plowing the field. 

Old fashioned plow-0644
So as I type this I'm sitting here eating a sweet Charleston Gray Melon while at my Parents' house.  Trying to keep the juice off of the keyboard of this Mac computer.   

Plowing the watermelon field-0647
It's kind of nice being raised by a melon farmer.   We have photos of my Dad at age two in a big melon field, his father raised watermelons too.   Watermelons are a cash crop in Rush Springs, which is the Watermelon Capitol of the world.   

Watermelon growing in a field-4389
Fast forward to last week and  here they are growing in the field. I went out and picked five and took them home.  

Cantaloupe Field-4401
He also planted lovely, sweet cantaloupes.  Which I can never spell correctly.  

Oklahoma Watermelon Farming-4404
Isn't amazing.  Isn't the world amazing how you can take a tiny seed and in a few months you have something that  you can cut open in a field on a hot day and have nourishment?  Isn't it sad to know the growing urban populations of the world will never experience walking through a field of food. 

Oklahoma melon field-4386
Can you see the watermelons and cantaloupes in the field?  

Grown with his own hands-4393
As a child our family would have our reunions on the second Saturday in August, my cousins would come up to Rush Springs from all over and we would spend days outside on Grandma's porch and we would always eat lots of sweet watermelons.   Some of my best childhood memories are around the time of the Watermelon festival and my Grandmother and cousins. 

Edmond Sharp -4392
Picking watermelons, if the curl is dead they are ripe, you can also listen to see if they "sound" ripe, by thumping them.  

Sharp Melons-4406
so incredibly sweet, nature's candy. 

Cantaloupe wagon-4376
I had twenty in the trunk of my car a week ago..there are still plenty.   Cantaloupes taste best with vanilla ice cream.  

I don't think I can eat anymore now.   I'm full.  I do love watermelons and cantaloupes.  

Oklahoma Watermelon Farming-4408
I used to not like being the child of a farmer, and knowing how agriculture has always played a role in my life. I desired to be like "everyone else"  - Now, I wouldn't have it any other way.  It has enriched my life in ways that so many others can't experience.  For that I am blessed.   


Amazing Evening

Amazing clouds again-0966
Last week Justin told me to go outside to capture the rainbow. I (after working for hours in the house we just bought)... was exhausted.  Yes, I'm not posting a lot right now because on the 18th (My Birthday) My husband and I closed on a "new" house - new to us.  But, it was a "fire sale" you might say and we've got to repaint and gut the kitchen- so moving in won't happen without a lot of work.  No time. No energy and not to mention car problems have slowed down any photography and posting.   So I was outside in the pasture getting these photographs in my pajamas at sunset.  

Awesome Clouds-0957
Breathtaking...not very often you capture the power of nature to this degree. 

Christmas pajamas-0803
Laying on the ground in my Christmas Pajamas... getting the shot.  

Daddy's Tractor in the 2-1006
Daddy's tractor sitting in the field. 

Daddy's Tractor in the Field-1009
I prefer this shot to the previous one..

Field and clouds -0880
as the sun was setting...

Incredible Golden Hour-0987
I love this time of day on a normal day but that night it was one of those nights where I took 400 photos in a half an hour...  yet they all look the same. 

Indian Paintbrush and Rainbow-0735
See the rainbow through the fence, this is what I went out to photograph, to please the boy child.  

Love this one-0747
What a beautiful summer this is turning out to be, compared to last year. 

Pink flowers in the field with fisheye-0773
So many wild flowers...

Somewhere...over the rainbow-0745
Flowers, a rainbow, and an "Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie Dog"  who is always smiling,  even when he has a death grip on an armadillo's throat.  He's  a cold hearted killer.   

Sunflowers at Sunset -0818
I like how this shot turned out...

Sunset and bumpy clouds-0898
As the sunsets I'm running out of light and energy...   

April Afternoon

These photos were all taken within a few miles of my house. 

Rocket Science-1
All men should strive
to learn before they die
what they are running from, and to, and why.
~James Thurber
We have five senses in which we glory and which we recognize and celebrate, senses that constitute the sensible world for us.  But there are other senses - secret senses, sixth senses, if you will - equally vital, but unrecognized, and unlauded.  ~Oliver Sacks

Purple flowers bokeh-1
My spring photos are predictible.  

Pretty flowers-1

The contemplative life is often miserable.  One must act more, think less, and not watch oneself live.  ~Nicolas Chamfort

The simplest questions are the most profound.  Where were you born?  Where is your home?  Where are you going?  What are you doing?  Think about these once in a while and watch your answers change.  ~Richard Bach

Indian Paintbrush landscape-1

Your distress about life might mean you have been living for the wrong reason, not that you have no reason for living.  ~Tom O'Connor
Kiss My Ass-1

The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

It's a Beautiful Day-1

Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.  ~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894
Pretty flowers-1

There are at least two kinds of cowards.  One kind always lives with himself, afraid to face the world.  The other kind lives with the world, afraid to face himself.  ~Roscoe Snowden
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1892

Solitary Tree In Spring-1

If men could regard the events of their own lives with more open minds, they would frequently discover that they did not really desire the things they failed to obtain.  ~André Maurois
The ditch-1
If you don't get lost, there's a chance you may never be found.  ~Author Unknown

Beautiful -1

There are chapters in every life which are seldom read and certainly not aloud.  ~Carol Shields

Typepad Sucks-1

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.  ~Buddha

Sunset 1-1
These photos were all taken yesterday, and on the way home from class the sun was setting over the tree I like to photograph so much...  

Tree with the sun setting beside it-1

Bypasses are devices that allow some people to dash from point A to point B very fast while other people dash from point B to point A very fast.  People living at point C, being a point directly in between, are often given to wonder what's so great about point A that so many people from point B are so keen to get there and what's so great about point B that so many people from point A are so keen to get there.  They often wish that people would just once and for all work out where the hell they wanted to be.  ~Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Picking Okra

My ten year old came in my room this afternoon with a request.  "Mom can I go pick some Okra?" - ummmm...  I realized this meant,  he wanted me to COOK Okra.  I'm currently working on a mid-term and was counting on him to eat cereal, ice cream or a peanut butter sandwich this evening.  How can you turn down a child who wants to go pick his own dinner.   So, I agreed.  I told him to take a knife (he's ten, he can shoot grasshoppers to death with a pellet gun, he can certainly go to the garden with a knife).   He returns with a bag of tough, overgrown okra.  Despite the drought the garden did begin producing okra.  I think if we ever have to live off the land, we will live off of Okra, it thrives here.  You met Justin this spring while he was out plowing the garden. In this posting: 

Picking Okra (1 of 1)
He took the biggest meat carving cerrated knife out of the kitchen, not sharp.  

Justin the Okra Picker (1 of 1)
Yes, he's barefoot.  No, he refuses to wear shoes outside, unless it is winter.  Even then he will try to sneak out without shoes.  Its okay. 

Justin the Okra Picker in the shadows (1 of 1)
This photo is Justin approved. 

Okra and little bare feet (1 of 1)
See the okra... and the little bare feet.  He really hates when I call him cute.  He's cute.  

Cutting okra (1 of 1)
This is "real" living.  This is not going to a grocery store this is dinner in your back yard. This is a little boy who decided he wanted Mom's fried okra, more than a bowl of homemade ice cream, or microwaved dinner.   

Toes in the dirt  (1 of 1)
Isn't it sad that you have to hesitate before you post a photo of a child using a knife in a garden, for fear in this nanny state of a nation?   Sad indeed.  Let your kids go barefoot.  Let them kill bugs and go outside and get dirty.  

Cutting Okra (1 of 1)-2
Yes, he can do it.  

Little boy standing in a garden in black and white (1 of 1)
And we went inside and I cooked okra.  

Iphone 024
Fried okra...  

Grasshopper Summer

The heat continues with no end in sight, the drought is parching our land.  This afternoon my husband spotted the grasshoppers lining the fences and came hom to get me and the camera. Last week the grasshoppers seemed to march in and are growing thicker in their infestation.  It hasn't reached biblical proportions, but the sight of this many sitting on the fence brings to mind the locust plagues of the 19th century that I have only read about.  Although that species is extinct now, seeing this many is unsettling.  Even they are hot, and lacking in foilage to eat.  Everyone is suffering in Oklahoma this summer, those prayers for rain from our Governer are sincere.  

Grasshoppers on Fence (1 of 1)
Lining the fences thousands.... of grasshoppers.  

Locust Plague (1 of 1)
Since I have your attention perhaps you' d like to read about the locust plagues of 1875?

Grasshoppers on the Fence color (1 of 1)
It has been a long hot summer....  Summer didn't heat up in late June as it usually does, summer began with 100 degree heat.  

Too many hoppers (1 of 1)
do you see them lining the fence posts...which are blurred in this photo? 

Grasshoppers everywhere (1 of 1)
Yes, more grasshoppers...

Grasshoppers on Barbed Wire (1 of 1)
The landscape is dry and bleak.  100 degrees for over 30 days...  

Burning Oklahoma (1 of 1)
Can you feel the heat in this photo? 

Black and White Grasshoppers on a fence (1 of 1)
Poor Grasshoppers...there isn't even enough for them to eat. 

And Tomorrow We Eat Everything (1 of 1)
Appetite for destruction...   


Country Walk (yes, again)

So, how many different variations on the walk in the country can I do?  A lot.   All the beautiful green makes my allergies go crazy, my asthma had made me feel like a zombie for most of the day. I'm listening to "A Ray of Sunshine"  and thinking about how getting outside and going on a walk can totally change your mood and energy level.  I can't say it enough that everyone should spend an hour a day outside and exercise.  The world would be a happier place.  

Country Road
As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration.  I long for rural and domestic scene, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children.  ~John Adams

Ozzie Doggy Running
A walk isn't a walk without my little buddies with me. When I look at this picture all I think is "Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie!" which of course is what you yell at Ozzie to get him to run at you with his happy little doggie smile.  

Doggies in the Pasture
They are going exploring....Ozzie and the White Puppy, there are arguments as to his name.  

Moon and tree
The moon was already out, and the coyotes were already howling at it, despite the sun having not set.   

How about that gravel that the county dumps on our road?  Nice, right?  I lost an oil pan to the "gravel" that ended up on our road a few years back!  

Glowing Leaves

I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand.  ~Leonardo da Vinci  I love this quote, because when you are out walking, you are out thinking.  But when the camera comes outside with you its a time to look and observe and find the beauty in the ordinary.  I have ran this road so many times that I know the trees, the landscape...  but I can still go out and find something totally new that I never noticed before when I take my camera out with me. 

When I go out into the countryside and see the sun and the green and everything flowering, I say to myself Yes indeed, all that belongs to me!  ~Henri Rousseau

Setting Sun and Barbed wire fence
The setting sun and barbed wire... makes me think of this song I love "The Sun"

Sunset in reds and yellows

Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone.  And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone.  ~Paul Johannes Tillich, The Eternal Now This quote is so true.  I love my solitude while I'm out walking, often another person going with me is an annoyance or a distraction.  I truly enjoy going out walking alone, in solitude.  I like doing things by myself, I like my own company. That doesn't mean I want to be alone all the time, but it means I'm comfortable being alone.  I like my solitude.  Running is my retreat, often the best part of my day, no matter what is on my agenda.  

Sinking over the horizon
Coyotes howling, a stick in the road that looked like a snake that made me jump out of my skin...the sun sinking below the horizon, it was time to go home.  Now, I don't like snakes, AT ALL. And a few days ago a huge snake jumped out of the ditch striking at the dogs in chasing mode. I didn't know that snakes chased people (or dogs), but now I look in the ditch for snakes. Then while photographing the wheat field (previous post), a little black snake took off right in front of me.  No, I do not like  our legless hairless, sometimes venemous "friends." A nice walk, a beautiful evening.  It was good to get outside and get some of that nice pollen filled air.  

Wheat in May

I went out and got a few shots of the wheat down the road while the sun was setting last night.  I always think of this song when I look at a glowing, golden field.  

Stephens County Wheatfield

"I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural."- Thomas Jefferson

Sunset Wheat

"I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world"- George Washington

Field of Golden Wheat

“The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn't still be a farmer.”- Will Rogers

Cows on the wheat field

“Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a Swiss farm, and live entirely surrounded by cows - and china.”-Charles Dickens

May Storm Clouds at Sunset
As I returned home I got a shot of the sun going down reflecting in the storm clouds that were heading east.  Quite impressive.  May is beautiful in Oklahoma.  


Driving The Tractor

My youngest got to do his part today disking the garden, he'd been running the tractor with Dad, but he took control of the wheel and did a few rounds on his own in the garden.  He's my little  man.  

Driving the Tractor
Driving the International Harvester.  Moments like these not only build his sense of self-worth, they build his memories of being a child.   He had the opportunity to take over and feel capable, even if only for a few moments.  

Disking the Garden
Look at him go!

Justin in Charge
So the helicopter parents can criticize our parenting for allowing our son to do this.  In a society that says riding a bike without a helmut is the equivalent of child abuse, and kickball and softball are labeled dangerous activities by nanny state government.  I guarantee this child driving this tractor felt a great sense of pride from being able to make a few very supervised rounds around the garden plot.  

Driving the Tractor in the Garden
You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.  ~Author Unknown

Put the Camera Away Mom
Yeah, he doesn't really want me out there with the camera, but I really could not resist this time.  Its kind of like when they learn how to walk.  

Justin and Pa Pa
Justin Edmond and his namesake (my Daddy) Papa Edmond.  Papa turned 74 last week! He's back to watching Dad work in the garden.