Posts Tagged ‘ featured print ’

Making Hay

August Hay 2003  photograph by Alex Hawley

August Hay 2003 photograph by Alex Hawley

Its Hay season here in farm country. From mid-August through September, the tall prairie grass is cut, raked, then baled to provide livestock feed through the winter. In this area, it’s the sweet, tall, highly nutritious Bluestem grass of the Kansas Flint Hills that’s being harvested.

Compressing the cut grass into a large tightly wound shape serves to preserve the grass’ nutritional value. The outer layer decays a couple inches but serves to insulate the rest of the bale. Thus, the grass holds up far longer than it would if cut and left loose.

It’s only been in my adult lifetime that the large round bales came in to use. Previously, hay was bales into small square bales of about thirty-five pounds each. A lot of physical labor was used to move the bales from bailing machine to feed. Now, weighing a thousand pounds per bale, they are impossible for humans to handle so machinery is a must. In one way it’s a shame that our youth don’t have such a body developing activity anymore. But as one who has thrown a bale or two, I don’t miss the old bales a bit.

The large round baling machine itself is a Kansas invention. Mr. Lyle Yost, founder of Hesston Corp. in Hesston, Kansas was the inventor and brought them to the market in the early 1970s. Now they are the standard of the world.

“August Hay 2003” was taken early in my Large Format experience using 4×5 Kodak Tri-X film. The print was made on Forte Polywamtone fiber base paper.

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Featured Print

Feed Sign, Sharpe, Kansas

Feed Sign, Sharpe, Kansas

Feed Sign, Sharpe, Kansas has been one of my favorite prints. It was both fun and rewarding to make, and I think its fun to look at.

I had photographed it few weeks earlier from this instance but wasn’t quite satisfied with the print. When I went back, a small tree had grown up just to the right, casting shadows from its leaves across the sign. “Why not?” I thought.

The subject scene was extremely flat in contrast. The sign is a simple white plastic decal applied to the faded galvanized metal sheath covering. I developed the film for an N+1 time to pull as much contrast out of it as I could. It prints successfully at about a grade 3-1/2 paper contrast. All and all, an excellent exercise in B&W contrast control. It looks most lovely printed on Forte Polywarmtone paper, which is, sadly, no longer available.

This print is for sale through my Analog Photography User’s Group (APUG) Portfolio. If you are interested in buying a print, please click the Portfolio link or contact me directly.

All photographs copyright Alex Hawley

Featured Print

Yates Center Co-Op

Yates Center Co-Op

Yates Center Co-Op

Yates Center Co-Op has been my most successful print to date. It was the first photograph of mine that was published. Happily, it was published in the February 2005 issue of the prestigious B&W Magazine. Right after I joined Flikr last year, it was chosen for and featured in the Film is Not Dead, it Just Smells Funny blog.

I have life-long love of these old grain elevators. Each one is so unique. They are nearly extinct. So much so that a few have been designated as historic sights. This one is still in business and in daily use in Yates Center, Kansas.

The print is a genuine 8×10 contact print made from an in-camera 8×10 negative. I still have several prints made on Kodak’s legendary Azo paper, which is also now extinct. It was taken in February 2004 using my 8×10 Deardorff field camera with 12 inch Kodak Commercial Ektar lens.

This print is for sale through my Analog Photography User’s Group (APUG) Porfolio. If you are interested in buying a print, please click the Portfolio link or contact me directly.

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