When the time finally came to photograph this old granary at the Crooked Creek crossing west of Humphrey on Arkansas 13, I asked myself, "Self, why have you waited years and until the dead of winter to take these pictures?" I did not have an answer. About 20 minutes or so after I completed shooting the structure, the unexpected answer came. It was one of those revelations that has to have some sort of spiritual core.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
The first time I drove past this old structure, I promised myself that I would return and shoot it. The rusty patina, the nooks and crannies, and the fact that it rises up from the Grand Prairie flatlands like a lonesome asparagus all make for a good picture. The next dozen or so times I passed the building, I renewed the promise, but never made good on it.
Yesterday morning when I rolled out of the sack, the tall edifice popped up in my memory bank and something told me Today is the Day. Not being one to seriously question providence, I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, downed a double espresso, and resolved to myself that today was indeed, the day. But I did wonder why.
I arrived on the scene off Highway 13 west of Humphrey, Arkansas, in the early afternoon to intermittently perfect lighting conditions. Fast moving patches of clouds were blinking full sunlight and overcast, so speed was in order lest the blink turn into 100 per cent overcast as it often does under those conditions.
As I was shooting, I heard a couple of shotgun retorts within a quarter mile or so, a not unusual occurrence in this neck of the woods since there is a heavy population of migratory waterfowl in winter months. About that time, probably spooked by the shots, a huge flock of geese rose to the east of the building. I had just finished shooting, so I turned tail and headed toward the geese.
Looking back at the granary from the "field of geese," the distance between the truck and the building is a football field or so. The long lens squeezes the distance.
I drove down a muddy road elevated over rice fields and maneuvered the truck as close to the geese as I dared. Then I walked toward the flock until the geese flared. I fired off as many shots as I could. Walking back toward the truck, I saw the old building at a new angle, so I fired a few more shots of it.
The geese, originally spooked by the shotgun, settled down until I came as close as they would allow before they took to the air again.
As I was rolling out of the field, I saw another pickup pull up in front of the old building. I rejoiced. Here may be a source of information. Turns out the information was sketchy, except the tidbit that locals call the structure "the granary." When I explained what I was doing, Steve, the man in the truck, asked me if I wanted to photograph a goose hunt. I said "Yes," while thinking, "Would I ever."
It was then that I understood the providential foundation of the prolonged delay to do the shoot. The x and y axis were destined to cross in the early afternoon of December 31, 2011 — at precisely the time I was supposed to be there.
N O T E S:
SEE THE GOOSE HUNT
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.