“Been-gone” barns


Red barn

Every thing you ever wanted to see in a barn, including a community of turkeys and guineas. And close to home. Finally got around to it. The shot required a stop half-on-and-off the road. The narrow shoulders mean the truck is slightly in a ditch on the passenger side, the four-way blinkers are on, and prayers headed upstairs for avoiding being center-punched from the rear while the camera is clicking away.

round tuitGetting around to it

During a short day trip to a family affair, I finally got around to a serious shot of a barn that had lingered on my “to-shoot” list for far too long. The shortest A to B distance from our domicile to the event put us right past the deteriorating, ivy-decorated structure, sabatoging any excuse.

Ivy covered barn

Click the pic to see the Hwy. 5 barn

The shot required a stroll down the shoulder of a busy highway and a bit of weed-wading, but was well worth it. See two pictures of the old structure on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started. If you are from Arkansas, it’s one of the Highway 5 barns south of Benton.

Experiencing the “feel-good” feeling after doing something one has long intended to do, I decided to go after two additional barns on the “to-shoot” list once I arrived back in home territory. All three were “been-gones,” that is, “I been-gone shoot ‘em for a long time.” In LA (lower Arkansas), “been-gone” translates to “something you have been going to do.” The first one of these you see above, a classic.

Small red barn

This barn, though younger than most I shoot, has the classic shape and colors that make barn lovers drool.

The next “been-gone” barn I went after is not nearly as old as most of the barns I shoot. However, it has the color and shape folks love to see in barns. With that barn panache, it made the list.

small old barn

I missed this little jewel on all previous reconnoitering trips, but played catch-up ball on this trip. Click on the Weekly Grist gallery below to see an old tractor under the shed.

old barn with tractor under shed

Click on the picture for our Weekly Grist Gallery

Not far from the not-so-old barn, my peripheral vision caught a hint of one that was old. A nearby resident told me the barn was old when the owner moved into the property 50 years ago. It has the gray barn patina relished by die-hard barn lovers and sits in a large manicured yard. Check out our Weekly Grist Gallery to see more pictures of these three barns and the barn we featured on the Corndancer Photo of the Week page. And this week, get around to something lurking on the to-do list. Feels good.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Two tigers, two sunsets


tiger at little rock zoo

Thank goodness for long lenses. You can look the tiger in the eye and successfully retain life and limb regardless of how the tiger sizes you up

This week we are looking at critters and scenes from our film archives.  All of these pictures are scanned from 35mm transparencies, AKA slides. We started this adventure on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com with a Jaguar, an African Crowned Crane and a gorilla mother and child. Click here to go there and see the critters.

This particular tiger was a resident of the Little Rock Zoo. I say “was” because this shot is from ’94 archives. Tigers in captivity make shooting easy. They develop a routine for sauntering around their enclosure, so you know pretty well where they are going to be and when they will arrive.  In one case, I put the camera on a tripod, focused on a blade of Johnson grass in the enlosure which the tiger always passed and then concentrated in starting the motor drive when he came even with the grass. Worked like a charm.

tiger at little rock zoon

Same tiger, a bit farther back. Look at the markings over the eyes. They are the same, but are different on every tiger. The tiger is wet, having just taken a dip in the handy pool in the tiger enclosure. Unlike most cats, tigers dig dipping.

The picture below shows Lake Pine Bluff which has since been renamed Saracen Lake (Google still calls it Lake Pine Bluff).  Even though no two sunsets are every exactly the same, the probability of this sunset view and the one below repeating are even more remote since a structure has been built on the west side of the fishing pier. That is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a good thing. The structure is Saracen Landing, a first class over-the-water public pavilion. The shot below was my first serious shot of a sunset on this lake, I have since shot dozens, some recently. This is one of the best locations on the planet for great sunsets, free for the looking.

sunset over lake

I chased these clouds for about 30 miles and finally wound up at what was then called Lake Pine Bluff. This was my first serious shot of a sunset on this lake, I have since shot dozens, some recently. This is one of the best locations on the planet for great sunsets.

As a part of downtown Pine Bluff, the lake is a popular fishing spot and a great place to take a lunch if you happen to work down town.

lake sunset

Turns out, money can't buy one of the best parts of my home town, to wit: a sunset at Saracen Lake. Almost every time I go to the lake to shoot a sunset, I run into people who are witnessing the phenomenon for the first time. "I never knew ... " are normally the first thing out of their wondering mouths. A great place to fish at sunset. If your catching luck is down, the scenery will help you forget it.

Isn’t amazing what we find in our own back yards. The first requirement is you have to go look. My I be presumptuous and suggest that you do just that.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

See all of the Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures plus a couple of surprises in our weekly high resolution gallery. Click here to go there. Takes just a couple of minutes and well worth the click.

Thanks for dropping by!

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

There goes the neighborhood


There goes the neighborhood

Not surprisingly, this is the worst house in the neighborhood.

The neighborhood consists of two houses. The other one is in somewhat better condition than this one, but not much. Someone at some time picked up and left, and never came back. We wonder why, but probably not loose any sleep over it. The old house and its neighbor can be found on County Road 49 in Lincoln County, Arkansas, not far from Yorktown. A lot of folks gladly tell you they are from Yorktown, which consists of a barbeque cafe, a gin and a bridge over Bayou Bartholomew. At 375 miles in serpentine length, Bayou Bartholomew is the longest bayou on the planet. I have never figured out exactly where Yorktown stops and starts, but it looms large as a community.

The site is marked by a large “home-place tree,” which is destined to far outlast the crumbling homes. See the other house and the tree on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com, a very cool thing to do. Click here to go there. We’ll be right here waiting when you get back.

collapsing house

Alas front porch, I knew ye well. Get a good look. The house is nearly history.

The retreat from this tar-paper sided house may have been hasty. At the bottom of the back opening is a cardboard box full of washed and capped jars, some of which are mason jars. Anyone who went to that trouble would probably have taken the box along as the departure unfolded. Perhaps they were one step in front of someone who did not have their best interests at heart. In that case, leaving the jars and the box springs may have been OK.

Good news, bad news

The good news is, it’s late April and early May in Arkansas. The bad news is, it’s late April and early May in Arkansas. Opposing forces of nature give rise to these observations. After a winter that finally departed, kicking, clawing and objecting as it bade farewell, a magnificent spring made its grand entry. Replete with blooms, bees, buds, and temperate days. the season, despite a more intense than normal pollen assault wasn’t all that shabby. There was enough rain to make nice waterfalls and most of it eschewed the weekend to make its arrival. As of about ten days ago, that honeymoon with spring was over. It’s thunderstorm and tornado time in the neighborhood.

As I pursued this Saturday afternoon trip, the weather worsened, mainly north of where I was at the time. As a result, the cloud formations were dramatic, not a bad thing for a photographer.

storm over fields

The storm is gathering over this field just west of Grady, Arkansas.

As I traipsed along, I turned on the radio for a tune or two, and lo and behold, the music was replaced by a TV meteorologist informing this part of the world that southwest Pine Bluff, Arkansas was precariously close to being struck by a tornado. Since that’s where I live, I pointed the truck north and depressed the accelerator. And kept my ears glued to the radio.

storm and traffic light

You are looking in the general direction of my residence a few miles from here. This is the junction of US Highways 65 and 425, southeast of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

As I reached the outskirts of town, the news improved. The core of the storm had moved east and according to my spousal unit, the house was still standing and all occupants, one woman and a herd of animals, were alive, well and taking on nourishment. That being so, and the talking heads were broadcasting a blow by blow account of the storms progress, I decided to chase it.

Arkansas river bridge

The US Highway 79 bridge over the Arkansas River, north of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Turns out, the chase was futile and I terminated the pursuit on the outskirts of Altheimer, Arkansas and headed home on US Highway 79. Taking that route, gave me a consolation prize far better than a storm shot, of which there are probably millions. Since the Lord is continues to take care of fools and drunks, He saw fit to put me on this bridge, with no traffic in sight for miles under the conditions you see above. Not being one to argue with providence, the rest was up to me. The scene was there, and I recorded it. There’s something to be said for a higher power.

But wait, there’s more in our Weekly Grist Gallery!

Each week, we post high resolution versions of the Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures. This week in color and black and white. These pictures are larger and at a better resolution. Click here to see these pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Winchester, no cathedral


This sign is the last vestige of fomer retail activity at Winchester, Arkansas. Winchester is not by itself. Thousands of other small towns have suffered a similar fate. Others, not yet so afflicted will follow. It is the way of our times.

This sign is the last vestige of fomer retail activity at Winchester, Arkansas. Winchester is not by itself. Thousands of other small towns have suffered a similar fate. Others, not yet so afflicted will follow. It is the way of our times.

If you breeze through the intersection of US Highway 65 and Arkansas Highway 138 and think you’ve just passed through Winchester, guess again. What you’ve passed through is the eastern most suburb of Winchester. Had you made a right turn on 138, in a quarter mile or so, you’d see Winchester.  Winchester has a post office, a fire station and a city hall. And a still standing Sinclair sign. And folks.  And their domiciles.

A good place to click

A lot of folks wind up here as a result of visiting the Photo of the Week page on Corndancer dot com. Now that you know about Winchester, click here to find out about Chester and Lester as well, at the photo of the week page.

The best laid plans …

Winchester was not a part of the plan for this post. Some magnificent cypress trees about another 45 minutes south were the intended target. However, at about Winchester, the pickup engine began some obnoxious behavior and I decided to do a 180. The guages were all happy, so one presumes, it’s a sullen microchip somewhere. So I figured a whirl through Winchester (the western part) would be OK. I was rewarded with the Sinclair sign. Probably, the former station had a social function as well as its utilitarian destiny. Most small town filling stations did.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

Blooming Bradford Pear trees frame the Jefferson County Courthouse on Main Street in Pine Bluff, Arkansdas.

Blooming Bradford Pear trees frame the Jefferson County Courthouse on Main Street in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. These trees line both sides of the street.

Now returned back to minutes from home, there’s a fast-fading opportunity, to wit: blooming Bradford Pear trees. Our home-town downtown is lined with those suckers. They are peaking out now. In 24 to 36 hours, the trees will transform from white to green as the new leaves take hold. The time to shoot is now.

Bradford Pear Blooms at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas on Main Street in Pine Bluff AR.

Bradford Pear blooms at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas on Main Street in Pine Bluff AR. It's late Sunday. The parking lot is usually not empty.


Last, but certainly not least

Old Glory and Bradford Pear blooms greet visitors to this drive-in branch bank just off Main Street in Pine Bluff AR. The tree is not actually as high as the flag. The view is from a service lane looking up. “Forced perspective” makes you think the tree is taller than the flag.

Three cheers for the red white, white, and blue.

Three cheers for the red white, white, and blue.


Update on the pickup

March 4, 2009 — Nothing serious. Some ignition components showing signs of age. Joe Webb, 12th degree master mechanic,  diagnosed the issues and did the fix. Well, after 210,000 miles, what can one expect. It is now hauling booty again!

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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