What I wanted that photo to do and what it does are two different things. I wanted it to tell you how insanely tired and hot those field hands are. I wanted you to feel the lead weight of their legs, how they can hardly lift their arms after days and days of bucking hay in the 90-degree heat. How that ride on the flatbed trailer may be their only rest, because there's more hay in the next field and rain's on the forecast. (What does the photo tell you, in actuality? That I followed a tractor for quite a while, and went slow enough to take a picture through my windshield.)
I'm not a photographer. Back in my cub reporter days (don't you just love the sound of "cub reporter"? Say it a lot, over and over again, and you could kinda get hypnotized. Then I'd command you to read my blog daily and comment more than once each time you read. A-hem.)... Anywhat, back when I was a news reporter, I had a photographer all my own. Sort of like an entourage of one.
I covered an air base; that was my "beat." I was intimately familiar with F-16s and spoke daily with "flaks" and even got to go in a Stealth Bomber once. I can't remember much about it because the military wiped my brain afterward. Or maybe it was later pregnancy that made me forget. Also, motherhood made me ramble. I never did that before, I swear.
My trusty photographer! That's where I was. Even though cub reporters (cub reporter, cub reporter) were paid diddly squat, just enough to make the $225 monthly rent on a riverfront cottage while your husband finishes eng-gen-eer school -- despite the low pay, I didn't have to take my own pictures.
I had a Nikon film camera of my own that sat in its sturdy bag with its many pretty lenses. They were a prerequisite to looking the part. My first photographer, Todd, tried to teach me how to use it. I was more interested in learning his unbelievably fascinating backstory than paying attention to F-stops and the like. Todd was formerly a minister who got washed up and ran away to the West Coast to take pictures for a small daily paper. Man, that was interesting to me. But that was before I knew that lots of pastors burn out and choose another career before they really get a foothold in the church. Hmm. That's for another post.
My second photographer was named Lou. He's still, 15 years later as I blog, taking fantastic pictures for the Associated Press. At that time he liked to take pictures of falling-down cabins and barns along the way to the airfield. He also liked -- a lot -- stopping at the local bakery on the way there and back. Don't tell our editor. I learned my love of rural landscapes from him.
Took this one a month or so ago on a back road on the way from my farm to KL's. Dang if I didn't wish I had my old Nikon (I hear the song, Nii-kon Ca-mer-a, love to take a pho-o-to-graph, every time I type that). Because if I had been carrying my old SLR, you'd be able to tell there's a stock-still doe standing at attention between the trees. Her eyes were huge! Her ears were bigger! And yet it looks like a random photo of some reprod timber. Sigh.
Lou? Are you reading? Any tips on how to take a decent photo with a point-and-shoot digital camera? Any tips on how to remain in the state of contentment with said loaner camera? Any tips on how to get my blog on the AP wire? (Just kidding about that last one.)