photo of the week

St. Mary's Catholic Church

St. Mary’s Catholic Church is clearly the dominant structure in tiny St. Vincent, Arkansas.  What St. Vincent lacks in numbers, it more than makes up with the obvious spirit of the community.  The grounds of the White House or the Palace of Versailles are kept no better than those of St. Mary’s.  The community has been in continuous existence since the mid to late 19th century.  (I am derelict that I did not write down the year, my apologies to all).  The building we see here was completed in 1931.

a day across Arkansas

Sunday, October 11, 2015
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Author's Note:

After spending the night in Morrilton, Arkansas, on November 3, 2013, I decided to shoot my way across Arkansas from the foothills of the Ozarks to the flatlands of the Grand Prairie region just west of the Delta.

I first tripped the shutter button in Vincent, Arkansas, a small community with a very nice church.  By the time light was beginning to fade, I captured the last images in Hazen, Arkansas, at their fine Rice Festival.  I barely made it.  Some of the exhibitors were breaking down shortly after I arrived.

The story starts here and continues on our blog, Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.  The story concludes there with a shot, not from the day traveling across Arkansas, but still cool — a tree full of tennis shoes.  I hope you enjoy the retracing of the trip.

       Joe Dempsey

Old Glory

To Remember and To Honor

The good parishioners of St. Mary’s remember their veterans and honor them with these monuments as Old Glory gently flies in a light fall breeze.

Scenes along the Road Less Traveled

First Published on Sunday, November 3, 2013
Pine Buff, Arkansas

magnolia berries

Fruit of the Magnolia

Though not in either of the church pictures, there is a nice Magnolia tree on the grounds.  The tree is in a family way, showing off what could become the next generation of Magnolia trees.  The trees make these large pods about the size of an average pine cone and offer their colorful seed to the world.

Geologists have known for a long time that there were large deposits of natural gas deep below the rolling hills of central Arkansas.  Until the last decade or so, extracting these resources was not cost effective, and there were technological challenges to accessing the gas.  In contemporary world energy markets, the cost-effective barrier fell like the House of Usher.  Concurrently, engineers developed cost-effective methods to bring the marketable hydrocarbons to the surface.  That said, drilling is common in the area, so St. Mary’s is now in second place for the tallest structure in the community as a nearby drilling rig takes the prize.


Rig at Rest

The crew on the drilling rig not far from St. Mary’s in St. Vincent were not working on this Saturday.  Just as well they weren’t.  Taking the time to set up a tripod would probably not have been an option.  The well-organized setup is aiming for natural gas deposits far below where we were standing.

a shack near Cleveland

Entrance Denied

A few miles north of St. Vincent, you’ll drive through Cleveland, a once bustling center of commerce in the hills, now down to a few buildings and a population of around 76.  We visited Cleveland before and photographed a fine old shotgun house.  This time we shot this old structure sitting on the west side of Highway 95 in what might be considered the suburbs of Cleveland.  I have no idea what original purpose it served, but we all can see that the owners want us to keep our grubby hands and persons off the property.

shack from the side

Tarpaper on the Side

A side view of this roadside structure shows a bit of design flair in application of what is commonly known as “tarpaper” siding, which is essentially roofing material with a fake brick motif.

The story of A Day in Arkansas continues at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind, but before we depart this page, I am fast forwarding from our trip date, October 26, 2013, to November 1, 2013.  On that Friday, while driving through Sardis, Arkansas, I stopped in my tracks when I saw a tree full of shoes.

shoes in a tree

Climbing Shoes

You just do not expect to see a tree full of shoes.  And you know in your heart, there has to be an explanation — but I haven't found it yet.  Take a look at our Sardis Shoe Tree gallery to see a few more pictures of this find.

The great Fats Waller once produced an album, One Never Know Do One?  What Bro. Waller said then best describes a day trip across this great state.

Photo Notes

Top picture, Nikon D7100, tripod mount, ISO 100, AF S Nikkor 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 VR, 1/250 @ f8; Second picture of church, same camera, tripod mount, same ISO, Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 EX DC HSM, 1/200 @ f8; Magnolia pod, same camera, tripod mount, same ISO, same lens, 1/30 @ f5.6; Drilling rig, tripod mount, same camera, same ISO, AF S Nikkor 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 VR, 1/640 @ f5; Old building front, same lens, ISO and tripod mount, 1/1000 @ f4; Old building side, ditto on all, 1/250 @ 8; Shoe tree, same camera/lens/ISO, hand held, 1/250 @ f8. All post processed with Photoshop® CC.


see more
The trip across Arkansas continutes:  Take a look at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind and see barns, a repurposed school bus, some old tractors, a guy with antique gas engines and more — all in one day.

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