Going for the green


Water tower at Lake Dick Arkansas with approaching storm

July is a good time to look for afternoon thunderstorms. This one cropped up near Lake Dick, Arkansas in July of 2009. It was a perfect set of lighting conditions, strong late afternoon light and turbulent clouds in the background. The image is a study in Mother Nature’s complementary color distribution: Green, gold and blue talking to us.

Our world, on November 24, 2013, here in LA (lower Arkansas), is bitter cold (for us), blustery, and brown. I am not casting aspersions on these conditions, but am merely observing their presence. There is a bit of sticker shock however, as these are the coldest temperatures we have experienced thus far this year. To top that, as winters go, last winter was puny at best, so our systems are far removed from the last bone-chilling experiences in LA.

Hollow cypress tree near Grider Field Pine Bluff AR

Click on the tree to see the start of the story.

Though my duck hunting friends will likely disagree, I believe this is a really good time to be inside watching a football game (or working on a blog).

For those who bemoan these present conditions, I am offering archival selections of warmer and greener circumstances. You can see where this idea germinated on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where you will see, among other things, a hollow cypress tree surrounded by, you guessed it, green.

Storm clouds in sunset at Lake Dick Arkansas

A day earlier from the water tower shot above, across the road from the water tower, with the camera pointing away from the tower, the setting sun is painting the clouds in vibrant pinks and pseudo-oranges supported by grayish blues. Corn is silhouetted in the foreground. Just being there was a privilege from on high.

Water tower in rice field

A year later, in July of 2010, the field was planted with rice. This is about the same time of day as the storm pictures above, less the disturbances, but nevertheless, cool.

remote abandoned stairs hear lake dick arkansas

Not far from the water tower, earlier the same day, I found a stairway to nowhere. It was likely the front yard approach to a family farm which succumbed to economics. The land around the stairs was not cultivated at the time of the shot.

lady bug on winter wheat near Pine Bluff Arkansas

Just a few miles from the water tower, in April of 2011, we found a nearly ripe field of winter wheat. Turns out ladybugs think winter wheat as a home site is cool. I am told they are beneficial to the wheat crop, since nasty aphids are their favorite treat.

Since we are just days from the time to be grateful for what we have and the opportunities afforded by our blessings, please know, dear readers, that you are a blessing to me. Stay warm and well.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Critters and climate


Remember film? The stuff in the little round cans?

tiger at little rock zoom

Click on the tiger for the original post

Continuing our recent pattern of taking second looks, this week we are looking at some images shot in the early nineties on transparency film (slides).

We first posted these images in August, 2010. On our original post, we eschewed our normal location focus in favor of a media focus, to wit: stuff shot on film.

Click here to see the original Weekly Grist post, Two tigers-two sunsets. You’ll see a couple of tiger shots — and a pair of sunset shots which will never be duplicated since there is now a building in the middle of the former scene.

jaguar at little rock zoo

Click on the jaguar for the original Corndancer Photo of the Week story and pictures.

I shot the sunsets at Saracen Lake, nee Lake Pine Bluff, around the same time. The sky is big there. Late spring and summer thunder storms love to develop in the west close to sundown, making for unique opportunities

Saracen Lake Sunset

Lake Pine Bluff, now Saracen Lake.

The original story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancerdot-com featured a fine jaguar at the Little Rock Zoo. Since they are more than wary, even in captivity, it was a fortuitous, one-time opportunity. You had to be there right then.

I’m wondering now, given the warp-speed advances in digital technology, if the format of the digital images I’m shooting now can be easily accessed in the future. Already, I have grabbed some archive DVDs and gotten the dreaded “cannot read media” message. I suppose it is the electronic weevil version of mould and mildew which love old film so much.

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

Ogle this store, and more


Ogles store front

Ogles Store at Collins, Arkansas sold its first piece of merchandise in 1874. Doy Ogle, grandson of the original proprietor, John Ogle, owns and operates the store today. The store's inventory includes more than the average person can imagine. Here we see shovels, a wheelbarrow wheel, a cricket box, fishing poles, extension cord, vacuum cleaner, wheel ring, a chain hoist, and other whatchamacallits and doo-dads which defy description.

 Ogles Store in Collins, Arkansas is the only game in town. The closest other stores are 15 miles west and eight miles east. It wasn’t always that way. Not long after Ogles opened its doors in 1874, there were seven other stores in Collins all vying for the same customers. Now 137 years later, Ogles is still at it which tells us that they’ve been doing something right since the git-go. Collins is south of Seven Devils Swamp, west of Dermott, Arkansas, and east of Monticello, Arkansas, just in case you were curious.

Doy Ogle

Click on Doy Ogle for more Ogle Store pictures

Ogle more at Ogles

This story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Go there to get in on the start of this story and see pictures of the inside of the store. Also get  a bit more store information. We’ll wait here while you visit.

To get into the store, you must stroll through merchandise displayed at the approach to the front door. As you look at what’s offered, you know you are not shopping at the average store. Let’s face it. Where else could you find fuel cans, circular saw blades, antique signs, a trailer hitch, a kitchen canister, a couple of old bug sprayers, an extension cord, a child’s stool, and a sledge hammer all conveniently arranged for immediate inspection? Precious few I suspect.

table of merchandise at country store

The east outdoor shopping display at the entrance to Ogles Store. If you are of a curious nature, Ogles is like a candy store for persons of your ilk.

When you reach the front door, the selections continue. Clothing, fireplace tools, extension cords, a drill press next to a floor lamp and more. You also see a plethora of signs and notifications on the front doors. Do not despair, you will not be tested on the content of these.

See more pictures of Ogles store plus more from this trip on our Weekly Grist Gallery

Front door at Ogles

A whole world lies waiting behind door number one.

Cruising through south Arkansas, my main image hunting grounds, I find subjects to which I will return when the light is better or when I have time to make the shot. The old store at Coleman, Arkansas was high on that list and has now been checked off. The old gas pump, home-made window grids, “coal-oil” pump were too much to resist.

Old store front at Coleman Arkansas

The "coal-oil" pump and the gas pump at Coleman Store at Coleman, Arkansas are easy to explain. The potty, I'm not so sure. At least it is a good place to take a seat out of the 100° sun.

 At the junction of Arkansas Highways 277 and 54, you will find Coleman Store, at Coleman Arkansas. Congratulations. You and I can find it, but Google can’t. They don’t know what they are missing, which is a fine old store.

Home made campaign sign

Several miles further south, less than a quarter of a mile from one of our favorite places, Selma Methodist Church, at Selma Arkansas, the 2012 campaign has kicked off — with Krylon and the side of a barn.

Critters do what they can to beat the heat. This nice looking buckskin is standing in the pond, probably pondering the idea of venturing deeper. His cow friends will have no such trepidations. They will go leg-deep into a pond in a heart beat.

buckskin in a pond

Come on in, the water's fine. Honest. Notice the bare ground at the edge of the pond. Where the grass starts is the normal water line. It's been a while since south Arkansas has had a significant rain. My buddies down in Cleveland County tell me it's so dry they're catching catfish out of the Saline River with ticks on 'em.

See more pictures  from this trip on our Weekly Grist Gallery

Tall cotton

Almost everyone has heard the term "standin' in tall cotton." Well friends, this is real-live tall cotton. The outside rows nearly hit me in the chin and I am 6-3" tall. (Formerly 6-6" tall until the onset of multiple birthdays).

On the way home, sunset started happening at McGehee, Arkansas. The sun had dipped behind the fine cypress trees in Wiley McGehee Memorial park on the west side of U.S. Highway 65.

Sun behind cypress at Wiley McGehee Memorial Park

Sunset behind the cypress at Wiley McGehee Memorial Park, McGehee, Arkansas. Nice.

I arrived just in time to catch the sun behind the trees and sun colors across the deer grass and water in which the cypress stand. The timing was dumb luck and perfect. The Lord continues to take care of fools and drunks.

Selma Methodist Church

Click on the church for more pictures

SEE MORE on our Weekly Grist Gallery.

More store. More of this trip including Selma Methodist Church – 29 pictures in all in a larger format.

See a curious cow, the highway patrol and wreckers at the site of an 18 wheeler breakdown and more in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Thanks,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

A fortuitous inversion


hazy sunset

Sun, smoke, haze and tall weeds came together at the right moment in an inversion.

In Los Angeles, an inversion, though not a four-letter word, is viewed with the same contempt that a four-letter word earns in polite company. Inversions exacerbate smog problems. In LA, (lower Arkansas), on a late August late afternoon, an inversion is a good thing if you are looking for a good shot. Inversions hold hazy layers close to the ground.

It was an overall lucky day. Earlier I found an old home place stand of trees in a “cotton patch.” See what I found on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot com. Click here to go there. A cool thing to do. We’ll wait here.

Back to the inversion.The sun was setting fast just a half mile or so from the Arkansas River levee east of  Tamo, Arkansas. It was then that I spotted a layer of smoke from a shouldering field burn-off sandwiched between me and the sun. In the foreground were weeds standing tall along the road right of way, well nourished from fertile field runoff. The moment was fleeting.

A visual scan of the scene made me immediately grateful for whatever higher power steered me in this direction. A few moments earlier and the effect would not have been the same. A few minutes later and it would be gone forever.

Weeds, haze, and sun

Sometimes one picture is two. In this case, weeds, haze, and sun make a statement. Any accolades belong to the higher power which steered me in this direction and stuck my nose in it.

The light and layers make for an eye-candy experience which begs to be explored and inexorably proves the theory that a fortuitous amalgamation of visual assets is greater than the parts. Here a common field, a distant treeline, weeds normally scorned, and a layer of smoke accentuated by natural late afternoon haze in front of a setting sun create a “Wow” moment. Beauty is where you find it.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

See these pictures and the Corndancer pictures in smashing high resolution in our Weekly Gallery. Click here. The pictures are bigger and better!

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

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

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