Machines at work

large front end loader

This monster front-end loader is on the move in the median of I-40 northwest of Little Rock, Arkansas. Since you can see the construction barrier in the lower part of the picture, you know the huge yellow brute is just a few feet away, probably just outside spitting distance, but not far.

Getting a good look and remaining healthy is the trick

Recently, on a trip to Fort Smith, Arkansas for a church reunion, I encountered the ubiquitous orange barrels which accompany highway construction. This was on I-40 northwest of Little Rock. A note here — it is alleged that the word Arkansas, in Indian, means “Land of Orange Barrels.” While I cannot attest to the truth and veracity of that statement, it is not a stretch to see how the rumor got started  and many of my contemporaries will agree. Most of the work that was going on was in the median which would lead one to believe that construction isolated by barriers should not slow traffic much, but the congestion was not far from bumper to bumper.

congested traffic

Traffic was at a snails pace because I-40 goes through the big middle of the path of the recent killer tornado which laid a wide swath of destruction through that neck of the woods. Between due diligence for construction, cleanup,  and crawling rubberneckers, traffic was lethargic at best — with crawling rubberneckers at the top of the lack of velocity food chain.

Since traffic was slow, I decided to snap a wide angle lens on my favorite Nikon body, balance it on the open window of the truck and hit the shutter button at the correct time, all left handed. The camera zips out six frames per second and the wide angle lens sucks in subject matter like Eureka Hoover — or whatever that brand was. As a result I was able to grab images of machinery one always wants to see but can’t because it is suicidal to look at it in a construction zone. With this technique you keep your eyes on the road and when you pick up some action with your peripheral vision and just hit the shutter button, no looking is necessary.

Once into the storm area, I was taken aback by the abject destruction wreaked by the wicked storm. Since the camera was well poised for drive-by shooting, I kept the shutter button busy. I have included storm damage pictures on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com since it has a larger format than this page. Take a look at those pix then come back to see us.

Tornado damage near Morgan and Mayflower, Arkansas

Tornado damage near Morgan and Mayflower, Arkansas. Click on the picture to see more storm damage images.

Truck and backhoe in interstate highway construction zone

Under normal circumstances you would never see this truck framed by a backhoe. It is over in a fraction of a second. Granted, it is not a life changing sight or a defining moment, but it is neat, and available only by a “get-lucky” photo. The camera was moving in one direction and the truck on a 180 from the “Kodak.”

closeup view of dump truck

Up close and personal with a dump truck. I knew it was there, but not where. Six frames per second solved the view.

closeup of large backhoe

Snuggling up to a backhoe at 60 mph. We were leaving the storm area so we could pick up some speed. Just a tad of blurring in this one.

Many people allege that advancing technology stifles creativity. I am of the opposite school. Without a good dollop of technology, these images would have been impossible. It’s simply a matter of looking for opportunities.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind






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