Sunday, March 6, 2011

Great Grandma's Farm

Though I have spent a significant amount of time on Great Grandma's farm in East Texas, I (sadly) have very little to show for it, photographically. During my earlier years, I wasn't yet a photographer. And in the years since, I have lived no less than 600 miles away, thus allowing for fewer opportunities.

In the the couple summers after my first two years, I was able to take my first "keepers." And just to forewarn, one of them is somewhat disturbing.

Canon Rebel 2000, EF 100-300 f/4.5-5.6
Canon Rebel 2000, EF 28-80 f/3.5-5.6 III
Mamiya M645, Sekor C 45mm f/2.8
 And here's the story behind that last one. One of aunts informed me that there was a cow that had been dead a couple of weeks that was out in one of the pastures. So my dad and I took the golf cart to go see it. I took a couple of cameras along. As I approached, gingerly, a cloud of flies ascended off the carcass, startled by my presence, only to settle back down for more dinner and egg-laying. The smell is indescribable.

In the years since, I have only really had one additional opportunity. For Christmas 2008, I received what was at one time the camera of my dreams: Canon EOS 3. And I always assumed it would be a dream to own it, because it cost upwards of $800 in the early 2000s. However, with the digital revolution and the subsequent plummeting of SLR prices on the used market, I was able to obtain one for 1/10 of the original price. And it's everything I had imagined it to be. My first photos with it were at the Farm, which was also the first outing for my EF 20mm lens.

Canon EOS 3, EF 50mm f/1.8 II, Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Canon EOS 3, EF 50mm f/1.8 II, Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Canon EOS 3, EF 20mm f/2.8, Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Canon EOS 3, EF 20mm f/2.8, Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Hopefully, future trips will bring equally appreciable fruit. I've spotted a few prospective shots; now it's just a matter of getting back.

Some of my favorite, or at least most vivid, childhood and adolescent memories occurred on the Farm:
  • Jumping off the dock at Aunt Reba's, and feeling the fish occasionally nibble at your toes while you were in the water, all the while wondering if Chuck was telling the truth that water moccasins could bite you under water (I still don't know).
  • Shooting at turtles in the ponds. You never really knew if you hit one, because even in the event that you were close enough to have hit it, the turtles went underwater either way. So we just generally assumed success.
  • An all-boys camping trip, involving cousins, second-cousins, friends - I don't know who all was there, but there were an awful lot of us. And just as we were getting things set up and hotdogs were cooking, a flash flood dropped on our heads, and we ran through a couple of pastures back to Great Grandma's, wet and having slipped and slid through every puddle along the way. So instead we camped in the living room, lying scrunched together like refugees.
  • Throwing fire crackers at one another on July Fourth weekend. Matt trying to blow up the remains of long-deceased frogs and squirrels with M-60s.
  • Playing hide-and-seek in the hay bales in the barn. They were usually stacked impossibly high. And when that got tiresome, rope-swinging from the rafters into large piles of hay on the barn floor.
There are more, but they're not occurring to me at the moment. Does that make them somehow less memorable? I'd like to think not.

Below is the conversation this spurned among cousins, on another forum:


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