The fields of cotton near my house have been captivating me. I grew up in Ohio when corn was the dominant crop, so this is a totally new visual experience for me. Besides its visual interest, cotton is an iconic crop, woven into the fabric of the American Experiment. None of us would know who Eli Whitney was without the cotton gin, nor can we forget cotton’s former role in the horrible practice of slavery.
In this present age, it’s planted in neat little rows, with highly bred strains designed for maximum yield and mechanical harvesting. While contemplating the past, I could also be in the present and appreciate the beauty of the plant in the here and now. This photo was taken nearly an hour after sunset, with the light and color provided by the incredible purple volcanic sunsets we’ve been having. I wanted to capture the tranquility of a cloudless Tennessee autumn sky lit by the post-sunset glow and a half moon rising over the fields. The beauty of that night is well conveyed for me in this photograph, and makes me interested in photographing more of the crops of Tennessee.
This photograph was the efforts of nearly 2 hours of working the subject through sunset and changing light. I approached it with my initial preconceptions, but turning 180 degrees from sunset, I saw the beautiful purple sky and moon and raced to a field that would let me show these elements int eh beauty I was seeing. I worked through various angles close to the ground and lenses until finally I settled on this wide view and was able to make three exposures before the color dropped from the sky. I’ve been putting more effort into working the scene when my first attempts aren’t creating the visual impact I want, and this night, the hour I spend on my knees in the dirt were rewarded with a nice frame that captures part of the beauty of Tennessee.
Sony A7RII with Nikon 20mm f/2.8 lens, exposure 30 seconds f/11 iso 640