Saturday, May 19, 2018

A return to amber waves of grain (in seed)

I returned Tuesday from an eight-day visit to Indiana, where my granddaughter Addison made her First Communion on May 12. During a couple of lulls during the week, I was out exploring things to photograph -- one shoot was of new stuff, two of them revisited previous shoots.

Today's post deals with one of the revisits. In September 2014, I was in rural Henry County roaming a farm owned by members of Lee Ann's family. They refer to the property as The Homeplace. I did a post from that shoot for Photo Potpourri.

On Monday, I was out there again, so I thought I'd do another shoot to compare how things have changed ... or simply to look at things from a new perspective. I didn't spend as much time picture-taking Monday as I did the first time -- mostly because there wasn't to do so. But I did cover a lot of things on the immediate homestead.

Among the dramatic differences this time was that there was no evidence of corn or soybean crops growing or harvested in the field. So technically, there were no "amber waves of grain" in sight, a feature I alluded to in the headline of the post from my 2014 visit (and, hence, the explanation of the headline on this post). Instead, you saw smooth dirt planting areas where the seeds only recently were dropped. Also, the cattle I photographed on the property in 2014 were nowhere to be found this time around.

One scene I don't remember capturing in 2014 is the one shown in the photo leading off the post. This image looks southeast from The Homeplace property. Most homes in country have been around for many, many years, but Lee Ann tells me that the gray house in the upper left corner in this image is relatively new.

As always, to view a larger, sharper version of any photo in this post, simply click on the image. To view a full gallery of the shoot, follow the link in this sentence to the photo gallery at

Photo geek stuff: I shot everything in this post with my Canon 6D and Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD lens equipped with a B+W polarizing filter. I bracketed each composition for three exposures to allow for processing each shot in Photomatix high-dynamic range (HDR) software, which I used for everything in this post.

The concrete silo is an obvious target for photos, and I spent some time using it as a subject on both visits. One of those is shown above. The road passing in front of The Homeplace takes 90-degree turns not far from the house in both directions. The one east of the house is shown below.

One of many tractors and other farm implements on the grounds (above), and an angle shot of a roll of hay (below).  

Above: A closeup of the water pump just outside the house on the grounds. 

I captured these storage bins (above) and the three colored cylinders (below) from different angles on the first visit. A shot of the open field and a piece of the farmland appear in the second photo below.

Above and next three below: More implements. 

Above: The 90-degree turn in the main road on the westbound portion of the road. In both instances, a separate road continues in the same direction.

I don't remember the small shed above on the first visit, even though it's not far from the house. I was more intrigued by the bench alongside it (below).

Above: Another slice of the crop-growing section of the property. 

My early photos of the house exterior showed a missing shutter on the left side of this window. The farm's handymen just happened to be around and restored it while I was doing my shoot, and it's reflected in my last shot I took of the house (below). The window is the one on the far right.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

A little bit about a lot (photo potpourri)

When I launched Photo Potpourri nine years ago, I picked its name based on what I thought the blog would be used for -- posts reflecting various photos or photography topics I'd shoot or come across through the years.

It didn't quite turn out that way, but I think the phrase also applies to the various kinds of photography I've tackled through the years: a varitable cornucopia ... or, er, potpourri.

Today's post harkens to that original objective -- there are a few photos about a lot of different topics -- a potpourri, as it were.

Leading off the post above, I start with a photo of an extremely wide piece of wall art I came across in an eatery I patronized recently. Considering the subject matter of the painting, I thought its place in an eatery was appropriate.

Speaking of wall art ... the first five photos below were examples of just that very thing in the beach house Lee Ann's daughter rented last month on Topsail Island. I've already done posts about the trip to Topsail Island, but I didn't present any pictures of the house decor I that I took. If you've never rented a beach house or condominium, you can expect to find beach-related decor and colors like this when you arrive.

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White at the beach on Topsail Island, I consumed a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale before I decided I need to compose a picture to playfully needle a former work colleague who counts Newcastle as his favorite beer. The above is what I came up with.

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Speaking of beer, next up are the empty containers of four craft beers I bought at a local taproom and took home to sample recently. The taproom opened last fall, and I sensed it was a bit fortuitous because I'd come to enjoy the burgeoning craft beer industry in Indianapolis in my latter years there. There are plenty of craft breweries here in North Carolina, but there really weren't any as close to my home here as there were to my residence in Indy. Until Elevated Grains opened, anyway. Elevated Grains isn't a brewery; it has six rotating craft brews on tap but lots of package beer options to pick from and purchased -- cold and warm.

Elevated Grains owners select beers that they themselves have sampled. The brews come from everywhere, not just locally or just from North Carolina. Of the beers pictured here, Trophy Brewing's Double Death Spiral (an IPA) and Mother Earth Brewing's Oatmeal IPA are local. The former is from Raleigh, the latter from Kinston, N.C. Biscayne Bay Brewing Company's Pale Ale is from Florida (as the company name would suggest), and the Revision Brewing Company's Planet Lovetron Northeast-Style IPA from its Hazy Series is from Nevada.

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Sticking to the beer theme -- and if I many be allowed to jump back to the beach at Topsail Island -- one afternoon during the week there, Lee Ann's son-in-law Matt and I hopped into the car and drove to the Salty Turtle Beer Company at Surf City to check out its craft brew offerings. The four photos below -- including the beer-origin diagram wall art -- are from that visit.

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Next up are a few shots from a home garden project Lee Ann and I have been working on, although Lee Ann has done the yeoman's work (at least all but the extreme heavy lifting). We missed our gardens from our home in Indianapolis, and since the soil here is very sandy or mostly clay, we decided the best way to grow our vegetables and herbs would be in raised beds. The five photos below are photos of the project in various stages of completion. It is almost finished; Lee Ann at this very moment is working to install an automatic drip irrigation system.

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I finish the post by coming back to alcoholic beverages. I went out this morning to pick up some Malibu rum for mixed drinks, and didn't realize the state-owned liquor stores don't open till 11 a.m. I got there about 10:50, so I decided to wait the 10 minutes. I was the first one there.

In that short time, five other people showed up and decided to stand by the door (to avoid the "stampede," I guess). See the photo below. I figured five people in front of me wasn't going to cause me any great concern. And it didn't. But I guess North Carolinians are devoted about their liquor purchasing (shrug).

Friday, April 20, 2018

Spring blooms dress up the neighborhood

Since I began visiting Southern states and communities a few years ago, I've come to look forward to the spring blooms ... especially azaleas. In fact, in our first visit to Savannah, Ga., in March 2017, the wealth and prominence of azaleas there -- throughout the various neighborhood squares (parks) and at Bonaventure Cemetery -- bloom was what I most remember.

Azaleas populate the landscapes in North Carolina as well, and several azalea bushes are among the plantings we inherited when we bought our property here last July.

Because I made a point to swing through our neighborhood in January after a rare, heavy snowfall, I decided the other day to made a spring swing through Wynford Place and record the various colors in bloom.

Like on our property, azaleas and flowering dogwoods are popular in Wynford Place. You'll see a lot of those in the pictures with this post.

As always, to view a larger and sharper version of an image, click on the image. This is particularly helpful when accessing the blog while using a mobile device. To view a full gallery of images from this shoot, follow the link in this sentence.

Photo geek stuff: I took all photos with a Canon 6D and Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD lens. All compositions were bracketed for three exposures for processing in Photomatix high-dynamic range (HDR) software. All of the pictures in this post are HDR images.