Posts Tagged ‘ large format photography ’

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.

A Slice of New York City

"The Apartments" Polaroid Type 809 print by David A. Goldfarb

My APUG friend, David A. Goldfarb, sent me this wonderful 8×10 Polaroid print. David is an accomplished photographer, University Professor, and prolific writer. I think David is one of the most knowledgeable persons on photography that I have known. He’s always trying something new, both visually and technically.

Sharing a love of working with Polaroid film, and celebrating its demise, we engaged in a Polaroid print exchange. I had sent him my 4×5 Type 52 print, “A Slice of Western Kansas” and now I have “The Apartments”, a slice of NYC, in return. David explains the photograph’s meaning in a note enclosed with the print. with the print.

“This print is one in a series of nine of four highrise apartment buildings known simply as “The Apartments” on traffic reports for drivers headed in and out of Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge. It was also the view from my window in Washington Heights, where we lived for about a year until the day this series was made. These are my last 8×10″ Polaroids.”

“Ted Harris offered this box of Polaroid Type 809 to anyone who offered a proposal to make good educational use of the film and I said that I would make images to be exchanged in the APUG Polaroid exchange and Traveling Portfolio, so that as many people as possible would have a chance to see or own an 8×10″ Polaroid print. I hope this fulfills his intention. After the Traveling Portfolio makes its full circuit, I plan to send the print to Ted’s widow, Amy Rafferty, as yet another reminder of Ted’s generous spirit.”

Ted Harris was a prominent US photographer who passed away, most untimely, earlier this year. I too had sent Ted a proposal for using the box of 809; David had a much better idea than I. I’m glad he got it and commend how he has used it.

Kansas goes to NYC; NYC goes to Kansas, all via Polaroid photography. Most gracious thanks David.

New Black & White Still Life

Skull #1 by Alex Hawley

Skull #1 by Alex Hawley

This may be the obligatory Polaroid Type 55 cow skull photo. Seems everyone does one but that’s not why I did it.

Both elements shown came from the backyard; the wood (which is a walkway I built years ago) from my yard, the skull is from the neighbor’s. The skull is an authentic Kansas Flint Hills cattle skull.

Those of us that used Polaroid Type 55 film have been crying our eyes out ever since Polaroid’s demise earlier this year. I bought five boxes and swore I was going to put it to good use. A final fling I suppose.

Gearhead info: 8×10 Deardorff field camera with 4×5 reducing back. Schneider 305 mm G-Claron lens, Polaroid 545 film holder, and Polaroid Type 55 positive/negative film. This scan was made from an 8×10 enlarged print on Kentmere Kentona fiber paper.