photo of the week

Nice Old Eye-Candy x 3

You are looking at the visual summary of this story, with elements of the tale in descending order, to wit:  old car, old tractor, old barn.  I encounter few one-location, multiple-subject stories.  This one sits close to the top of the one-location food chain.  Despite the appropriateness of the target, given my proclivity to photograph subjects that have seen better years, I had postponed the shoot for more years than I care to admit.  I began to wonder why.

barn car tractor ola

Author’s Note:

Monday, October 17, 2016
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Shooting this collection of old vehicles, tractors and a sagging barn was a “been-gone” project — that is to say, “I been gon’ do that for quite a spell.”  In March of 2014, I finally got around to it.

The old barn is still standing today (or at least it was about a month ago), but its lean has grown, showing that Mother Nature and her kissing cousin, gravity, are progressing well in the battle they will eventually win.  So we are taking another look.  Depending on the whims of nature, it could be the last.


Joe Dempsey 


An Art-Deco Classic

This is what’s left of a 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline.  The body of Fleetline models, front-to-back, tapered down to about the height of the rear bumper.  The Fleetline was the dying gasp of the streamlined design period, which embodied the last vestige of the art-deco movement in Detroit.  Launched soon after World War I, art-deco styling flourished through the early forties.  Back in the day, my family was the proud owner of a parakeet-puke-green ’51 Fleetline.  The nickname for the non-fleetline model was “bustle-back.”

Going, Coming, Soon to Be Gone

Originally Published on Sunday, March 2, 2014
Pine Buff, Arkansas

I’m guessing I have been driving past this outdoor historical collection for close to 14 years.  I noticed the leaning barn, car, and tractor years ago with the first two passes:  one going, one coming.  At the time, I made a mental note that the collection was crying out to be photographed.  The subjects sit in plain view on one of my established escape routes from LA (lower Arkansas) on Highway 199 about a mile or so east of the 199 and Arkansas 48 junction to the southwest of Sheridan.

While listening to the wailings of a classic country station on the short drive to the scene, I pondered why I had driven past the location dozens of times, each time acknowledging that the scene was a very worthy stop.  But stop I never did.  Then I figured out why — other than the pervading influence of the ever-present, non-inherited, self-generated “stupid” gene.  The barn and its partners were always something I passed on the way to somewhere or returning from somewhere.  I never put it on the agenda until March 1, 2014.  It was simply not in my plans to shoot until yesterday.


It's a Farmall for Sure.

I can’t be sure about the year or model of this decrepit Farmall tractor.  To the untrained eye, including mine, it is difficult to determine the age of the sturdy old machine because the 1940s and 1950s models look the same.  But then a world war tends to cast design considerations aside when the aim of it all is to be on the winning side.


The Lean Is No Illusion.

Keep in mind that in all of these barn pictures, the camera was tripod mounted and leveled, which means the lean you see in the photo, other than some wide-angle lens distortion, is what you see when you stand in front of the old structure.  The front of the barn faces roughly north.  Given prevailing westerly winds in this neck of the woods, the west-to-east lean is no great mystery.  This is the north side.


Northwest to Southeast

Looking at the barn from northwest to southeast.  The former shed has become a lean-to.


Gravity Shall Prevail.

The west side.  The lean angle is precarious.  Gravity will win this battle.  It is just a matter of time.


Not as Windy

Looking from east to west.  With less wind on this side, the roof is in better condition.  The bottom boards succumbed to untoward pressure from above as the lean developed.

Having pinpointed my idiosyncrasies about not deviating from a non-critical contrivance for a perceived benefit — even in the possum-blond stage — I decided that the condition is not beyond repair.  More simply stated, as one might hear while perched on a bench in front of any self-respecting country store, “Boy, y’oughtta quit puttin' stuff off.”  (Due to the family nature of this discourse, I use stuff in lieu of a more appropriate word).  It is hard to argue with that advice.

Photo Notes

Nikon D7100, tripod mounted and leveled, ISO 100 all. Through the hood, AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 ED G, 1/125 @ f18; Car, same lens, 1/250 @ f5.6; Tractor, same lens, 1/160 @ f5.0; Barn 1, same lens, 1/320 @ f5.6; Barn 2, same lens, 1/200 @ f5.6; Barn 3, Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 EX DC HSM, 1/100 @ f8.0; Barn 4, same lens, 1/100 @ f5.0.


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See more of the car and barn at
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.
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