Per the ancient lore, part 21

cotton field in early morning fog
Happy Friday, from here in the south! Actually, it’s mid-Atlantic, about as mid as you can get, but trust me, the people around here consider it The South. And to illustrate this, I show you this selection from the Leaves/Plants/Trees folder, from a shooting gig way out in the rural provinces of North Carolina, a little town called Scotland Neck. I was filling in for the Conceptual Jim Kramer, who was feeling ill and unable to handle the retriever trial that he’d booked that weekend, this being early November 2003. I was living in Florida at the time but up visiting for a few days, and it meant I was using the Sony F717 before he had even loaned it to me, in that interim before it went to its new owner. The trial required staying in a hunting cabin that was way the hell out in the middle of a huge cotton field – we’re talking an access road better than a kilometer through the field – and getting up at an ungodly hour (well, aren’t they all?) to be out before sunrise. The fog was nearly the thickest that I’ve ever seen; the only time that I saw worse was one night when living in Raleigh, where I started out for a drive and realized, while sitting directly under one streetlight, I could not even see the glimmer from the next streetlight in the row.

inset of spiderwebs on cotton headsSo before heading out, I set the camera up on the tripod just within the edge of the field and did several exposures, most by ambient light, but this one was with flash. The direct light greatly reduced the soft and hazy look that the fog provided, but bounced off of innumerable water droplets in the air and filled the sky with ghosts – either that or a hell of a lot of people had died in that field. Or perhaps, you know, they’re the ghosts of bugs (and why shouldn’t bugs have ghosts too?) since the flash also illuminated the tiny droplets that revealed just how many spiderwebs were draped across the cotton heads. Just looking at this photo makes me acutely aware of the wholesale spider slaughter that took place when the cotton was harvested. But I bet all those vegan, organic food, natural-cotton-fiber people haven’t given the faintest thought to this, have they? How many spiders does polyester harm? Right: none! Blithe savages…

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