Posts Tagged ‘Farms’

The abandoned farm around the corner was sold to a development company.  Cue Psycho shower scene sound effects as we all ponder the question: what does this mean?

What it means for me–at least at the moment–is that I’d better boogie on over and take some pictures before I come home some day and find the buildings gone. I went to French Camp in Quebec for a month and when I returned, the convent down the road had been leveled. 

These pictures are of the tool shed interior as taken through the (glass-free) windows and using my 50 mm lens. Because I was shooting into a dark interior, I had the ISO up and the aperture wide open at f 1.4. This accounts for the grainy effect and greenish cast of the last two.


I generally don’t offer the same shot in more than one version, but I like the next two equally well and for different reasons.

toolshed5I like this first version (which is already a crop of the original) because it has the strong feel of a painting rather than of a photo.

However, I think the next incarnation, cropped to focus purely on the empty pail in the rubble, is what the picture is actually about.  A metaphor for the entire  farm.


English major with a camera. No good can come of it.

The long and narrow crops are an awkward fit for most screens and I apologize. They are of an odd size and hard to reduce without losing all the details. As always, I suggest clicking on the individual pictures for larger versions.

Holy cow! Always vigilant for feral dogs and mud swallows, I stumble upon a feral fence and live to tell the story!

Early Monday morning, post-dawnish:

Fog/gray/heavy wet air/lots of new wet snow.  It seemed a fine idea to see what that combination looked like over in the fields behind the church.

Yet…I was reluctant to go exploring in those beautiful fog-softened snow-covered acres.  At the top of my questions/concerns list was Do I really really feel a deep-seated need to go crawling around in the moist-ish snow and get all cold and soggy?

Not one to be hasty about these things, I did brew a pot of coffee and lingered a long while over that first cup while I mulled the issue. Other questions naturally followed: Where were my good wool socks? Which boots should I wear? What are the chances I can lose 5 pounds before I leave for Florida?

When nothing else came up that could divert me from leaving the house, I walked down the hill to the land belonging to the Sisters of St Francis.  I wandered a little deeper than usual into the fields and was rewarded by finding a fence which had enthusiastically gone native. (Think Fence Version of Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now!)

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I’ve finished each of these shots just a little differently because each seemed to ask for slightly different handling.

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I was out for maybe an hour. The fields were beautiful, the fence was a treasure and wet wasn’t a problem, not with good wool socks and the right boots.

***  **   ***

Beauty is twice beauty

and what is good is doubly good

when it is a matter of two socks

made of wool in winter.

Pablo Neruda

To me, the whole reason for being a photographer is to tell stories, either the ones that are in my head or the ones that spring from what I see.  In doing so, I also want to offer canvas to a viewer to tell his or her own story.

I took these pictures nearly a year ago. I like them. They’re not Art with a capital A, but they’re interesting.  If I could remember where I took these shots, I’d go back and work at achieving much better composition. What bothers me is that no matter how often I’ve tried, I am absolutely unable to weave a narrative to go with the visuals.

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Is there a story here? Yes…

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Do I know what it is? No…

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Can I make something up?

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Apparently not.

On Christmas Day (12/25) I posted some of the pictures I took when my friend and I slipped into a deserted barn and were rewarded with visions of gold-washed wood and hay.

 But wait! There’s more!

While I was still looking for one more shot, one more perfect shot, I heard Marjorie on the other side of a wall. “Go outside and come around! You need to see this!”

And, indeed I did.

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That same golden light that had dazzled us in the hay barn filled most of this space as well.

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Marjorie was standing in the middle of familiar ground,  having grown up on a farm that looked much like this one. And, even as we were losing all sensation in our fingers and toes in the bitter cold, our discussion turned, as it repeatedly does, to the influences we bring from our past to our art.  This line, that perspective, these colors, those images: they feel right. I don’t know why, but they’re singing to me. And, often, that song can be traced all the way back to that territory of our childhoods.

Because she frequently offers commentary on my posts and pictures and has figured in other posts I’ve done, I thought you might like to see some of Marjorie’s artwork. Her website (not a blog) is

updated interior door

Door #5 in a series of 12 offerings.

Late fall. Next stop: winter.

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About a year ago, my friends Tom and Gaela let me photograph their family farm and since then I’ve returned several times for more picture-taking.

(They also ply me with home made apple pie and Summer Shandy and cheese and smoked whitefish and much laughter. I return for that part as well. )

This is no longer a working farm (another farmer rents the fields) but they have ATV’s, a garden,  firepit, apple and pear trees and a cat the size of my car. I have formally petitioned them to adopt me. I believe there is an empty bedroom upstairs.

Initially I processed quite a few pictures that I really liked without much additional fussing and have worked on the rest in fits and starts. I’m at them again and will share the results as I go. Today’s offering comes from the inside of the milk house.



I’m feeling pretty inadequate and I wish you could be enjoying these pictures with Tom doing a voiceover. I am neither farmer nor builder and can only share with you what I see. If you walk through with Tom, he points out ax marks on the beams and explains how the buildings were constructed and will even show you some of the old tools the original owners made.

I suggest you petition them to adopt you as well.

But that upstairs room is still mine.



Before Gaela and Tom, this property belonged to the Maves family and Gaela said folks in the area still refer to it as “The Old Maves Farm.”  I thought I would follow suit.

Gaela in the garden

Gaela in the garden