Chasing a storm the easy way


A favorable storm for photographers is illuminated by a low-on-the-horizon sun. This one was close to perfect.


Click the picture to see more storm pix

On July 21, 2009 early in the evening, a building mid-summer thunderstorm presented itself to me as Nikon fodder. I was at Lake Dick, Arkansas (east of Altheimer, Arkansas) grabbing a few shots of my favorite water tower. As the storm began to build, I rejoiced. The storm was in the east, the setting sun in the west, a photographer’s candy store. Speaking of which, you can see four more pictures of this storm on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.



The storm takes on a different look as the cloud cover changes – and you keep on the move. It would darken again quickly from this lighter mode.


The uncivilized beast crawls over civilization. Since the storm had the courtesy of making its appearance in late July, the moisture it delivered was welcome. Some would have preferred the moisture without the dramatic effects. I was not one of those.

This is the easy way of chasing a storm, staying well away and grabbing the drama while maintaining a state of dryness and eschewing bodily and property harm. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Thanks for looking,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind





Delta derelicts


This old sharecropper and/or farm hand residence was once an important part of the Delta agricultural system. It made sense for farm workers to live on the farm since travel was not nearly as convenient as it is today. This one had ‘tar-paper’ siding which meant that someone cared about ‘keeping it up.’ Mechanization and certain crops moving off-shore put these old residences into disuse.


Click the barn to see more pictures

Down here in the Delta, we are not opposed to new ideas and concepts and despite some who may think differently, we are about as quick as anyone to grab “aholt” of  the “new and improved” ways and means conducting our daily lives.

And while we enjoy the benefits of the “new and improved,” some of us may be a tad slow in jettisoning the accouterments of the former “new and improved” ideas. This week we take a glance at a few of those. Also see more on this subject on the photo of the week page at Corndancer dot-com.


Not terribly far from the old house above you’ll see this old International tractor and trailer. In their heyday, they were as common on the road as pigeons on park statues. The power came from a big six-cylinder engine which was high on torque. This one, once it was retired, appears to have become a source of parts for similar vehicles. When a neighbor or relative needed a thingamajig, doo-dad, whatcahmacallit, or perhaps even a fremkin assembly they knew where to come.


This old two-row cotton picker was once someone’s pride and joy. The salesman was happy, the loan officer who financed it was happy and the new owner had a better way of harvesting his crop. Time has marched on and so has cotton for the most part, and the demand for two-row cotton pickers went in the tank a long time ago. I suspect someone was proud of the old ‘fridge as well. It appears that the Mother Nature disposal company will handle the final disposition of these.


Not everything in the neighborhood was old. This Angus calf and I shared a moment on the close by levee. They are accustomed to pickup trucks and if you drive slow and carefully, they like to take a look. She scampered off after our photo session.


There are endless benefits to living in LA and the Delta, not the least of which is the opportunity for a leisurely afternoon of fishing in the middle of January, an opportunity not available a lot of other locales.

Thanks for struggling through a look at the underbelly of LA. Consider it a part of your overall enlightenment and an addition to your body of knowledge.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


Meandering through the Delta yet again


Since we are in the dead of winter, we can see some details of this abandoned farmhouse. This side, to the south, is hanging in there well. The north side of the house is progressing well to the final lost battle with gravity. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It is the result of prevailing economics that were not in its favor.


Click the pic for more winter pictures

Most folks who want to observe nature, take drives in the country, or just meander around, take a vacation from those activities in winter months. They are missing one act of the play. While greenery is beautiful in its verdant presentation, it serves to block out some nice natural details available only in its absence. Today we are looking at those details. Speaking of which, be sure and see the other pictures we took on this trip on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com


It’s like a giant, lacy dry flower arrangement, but with the benefit of reflections. Prevailing earthy winter colors are accented with the details and specks of sky that Mother Nature presents here. Not available in about four three months or so.


Take and up close and personal look at some naked cypress trees in the watery environment they love. You can see the waterline from our last local deluge. Get a good look now because this view is not available during the “green” months.


Here’s another look at the cypress in this little bayou. Since there is no greenery, the reflections are dramatic.


Down here in LA, boys will be boys. Since this sign faces the long part of a “T,” the temptation is simply too great. Oh, and by the way, to the last shooter, probably two clicks down and two left clicks  should do the trick.

Thanks for looking and do yourself a favor, bundle up, get out and see the stuff that ain’t gon’ be there in a cuppla months.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind




The waters are receding. Again.


The Arkansas River is flowing past the north pier of the US Highway 79 bridge near Pine Bluff, Arkansas at 46.09 feet, early in the afternoon on January 2, 2016. Twenty-four hours later, the flood crested at 46.24 feet. Flood stage is 42 feet. The numbers on the pier are not depth numbers. They tell river pilots the distance from the water level to the bottom of the bridge structure.

Just about seven months to the day, in 2015, the Arkansas River wrathfully overflowed its banks. The effect here in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Jefferson County was bad for all and catastrophic for many.


Click the pic to see more flood pictures and an “under-the-bridge” flood video

The first watery overabundance in 2015, came the last of May and first of June. The  river peaked out at 45.46 feet.

The last time, a day or so ago, the last of December and the first of January, the waters flew by the bridge at 46.09 feet. It was as if the river was telling us it learned a new and nastier trick or two since last June. See more pictures and a video of the river at the bridge on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Hundreds of families in our neck of the woods are now taking shelter elsewhere from their residences again. When they return to their domiciles, they will be greeted with a second onslaught of mud-covered floors and scattered goods and detritus, jetsam and flotsam, none of which will approach pleasantry by a long stretch.

A few flood pictures


A river navigation marker west of the bridge barely escapes submersion


The same navigation marker from a view downstream than the one above.


This shop took in some water, but the family home across the road was fortunately high and dry.


The hangar and headquarters for the local radio-controlled model airplane club was inundated. The location, other than being at a low place, is ideal for its use. Club members removed anything that might be damaged by water well in advance of the flood. They’ll do the same thing next time.

That’s how we are starting our year here in LA (lower Arkansas). Hopefully, we are getting our ration of disasters out of the way on the front end. We hope. Fingers crossed.

Happy New Year!

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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