Cheap Thrills

Rainbow in a storn on Wilbur West Road near Pine Bluff Arkansas.

Rainbow on Wilbur West Road, southeast of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. A friend called me and told me where it was. Fortunately I was mobile when I got the call. I rolled up to the location squeezed. off one burst of seven or so exposures, and poof — the rainbow  was history. Got lucky on this one — for a little time and gasoline. Cheap tickets for the good seats.

Flying in the face of popular, even legendary opinion, the best things in life (in my humble opinion), are not necessarily free. Realists will agree that anything of value has a price tag. Fortunately f0r many experiences, the quality far outweighs the pittance put forth to put ones self  in the belly of opportunity.

Observing Mother Nature at work with her dramatic skies, sforzando storms, and calamitous clouds comes at or near the top of that cheap thrill list for me.


Click on the storm to see more weather pix.

Speaking of cheap thrills, there are even more to see on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com.

Go there to get a glimpse of a dramatic storm shot, golden crops in the field and a morning sun blasting its rays through dramatic clouds. We’ll wait here while you take the trip.

As I was leaving  the all-toof-brief encounter with the rainbow, the late  afternoon sun peeked around the clouds as the storm hit my driver’s side window with a bucket of high velocity rain drops. Opening the window guaranteed a good Nikon soaking which puts the guts of the camera at great risk. Fortunately, with a freshly washed window, I was able to get the shot below, a free-will gift and offering from my Good Friend Above.

Rainwater on truck window

This is the way to see a storm —  safely surrounded by a full-sized pickup truck whose radio is spitting ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man,” into the cab.

The last of August, 2013, vestiges of Hurricane Isaac were rumbling through our neighborhood. Fortunately Isaac was a mere shadow of his former self when he made his visit. I did a bid of radar tracking and figured the cloud formations over Saracen Lake here in Pine Bluff would be worth a look-see. I was right. Isaac was leaving town and headed north. He made an ordinary fishing pier look special, another cheap thrill.

Fishing pier in storm on Lake Saracen in Pine Bluff Arkansas

Hurricane Isaac’s tailings make a nice setting for the fishing pier on Saracen Lake in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Other than a bit of wind and a few boomers, the hurricane’s visit was a non-event. I suppose by the time the Old Boy dropped in on us, he was a mere tropical depression.

birds on street light arm

These birds have an apparent pecking order and always look just about the same, day in and day out.

Though lacking in drama, the pecking order of these birds who consistently occupy the arm of this street light at South Hazel Street and I-530 here in Pine Bluff do provide some comic relief when one harkens back to the “Talk-a-little, peck-a-little” song from the 1962 hit movie, The Music Man.

Aerial photography is not a cheap thrill, but grabbing a few personal shots on the way home after the money shots are “in the can” is. This is a view of a mostly industrial and recreational area in my home town, Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The water you see is the former channel of the Arkansas River which was diverted through an artificial channel north of this scene. The result is a slack water harbor and a fine recreational area.

Lake Langofer Pine Bluff

To the far left is the Pine Bluff – Jefferson County Regional Park. To far right is the Pine Bluff Harbor Industrial District. Fishing is great in these waters. Angler Rick Clunn won the 1984 Bass Masters Classic with a fish caught in the waters to the far middle left of this picture.

With Mother Nature, most of the time, the good seats are also the cheap seats. Even if you don’t venture out, there is plenty to see. All is costs is a look. Take a gander the next chance you get.

Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.


A corny story

corn grainery

Corn is steadily stacking up at this grain storage facility in south Arkansas. It was August 6, 2011, hot, dry, and perfect for harvesting corn, discounting the comfort level concurrent with 100-degree plus temperatures and high humidity.

Six finger falls

Click on the picture to see Six Finger Falls Corndancer

Archive post featured this week.

There is not a new post this week, but we have updated a very popular previous post, “Only in the Ozarks, these falls, this store” with pictures we shot on the same trip in July of 2009, but have not published. These images are seeing the light of day for the first time.

In that post, we take a look at some cool water falls, an old store, and other scenes you find in the Ozarks. This now updated post is one of the most visited on the site.

Corn de-thrones cotton

Corn reigns here where cotton was once king in LA (lower Arkansas). In mid-20th century years about the only corn you saw was in a garden patch bound to become “ros’nears.” (For the uninitiated to the southern mother tongue, “ros’near” is a contraction of “roasting ear,” which refers to an ear of corn ready to cook and eat.) As in, “Momma, Cletus gimme a mess of ros’nears. “Well idn that nice Bubba. I’ll fix ’em for supper tonight if yew’ll shuckem.” “Aw-ight, yes ma’am.”

praying leaves

Click on the leaves to see how this story started

I’m guessing at one time folks roasted corn, but in my family, it was boiled in butter and salt. If you are somewhat adventurous, you add a bit of Zataran’s Crab Boil to the water. Gives a distinct taste and a little zinger of pepper.

A week later, LA was drenched by a series of long-awaited rain storms.  We talk about the long dry spell on the Photo of the Week page on Corndancer dot-com. Click on the link and get in on the drought and the relief proffered from on-high.

See more pictures of rain-soaked greenery and
the corn harvest in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Giant grain bins

Take a look at the man in the bottom of the picture and you get an idea of the enormity of the gigantic grain bins. Orville Redenbachers dream scene.

See more pictures of rain-soaked greenery and
the corn harvest in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

When cotton was king, the harvest came much later and for the most part, that was that. No more crops until next spring when it was time to plant cotton again. Now most farmers raise two crops a year from the same field. Corn and winter wheat are a good rotation. Some rotate soy beans and winter wheat. These fields were cultivated by men and mules in our lifetime. (At least some of our lifetimes). They are now cultivated by men in tractors as big as a small cabin, guided by a GPS.

fire plug reflection in puddle

Sometimes, particularly after a prolonged period of parching, a puddle is a positive premonition that the environment is pushing to parity.

 A week later we finally were subjected to a downpour of sorts. I’d give it about a 5.5 on a scale of ten. Despite a mediocre rain, the grass and yard plants recovered in record time. Their resilience is amazing. When the weather has been as dry as it has been here, a fire plug reflecting in a puddle becomes a welcome site. Perhaps even an art form. Life goes on.

rain drop on leaf

Click on the water drop for more pictures

GREENERY pictures
In our Weekly Grist Gallery

See larger pictures of what you’ve seen here plus more pictures from the same shooting sessions. Twelve in all: Hot and dry, wet and green.

Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

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