Tractor Drag Races

This is the time of year when the annual tractor drag race finals come to farm country. Actually,this is corn harvesting in progress and the red tractor is ready to move in when the wagon being pulled by the green tractor is full.

 

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Beyond Thunderdome

Call me crazy, but this reminds me of some wild set of wheels from the movie Thunderdome. If you look closely in the middle underneath you can see a machine gun mounted,or maybe its just a muffler? Put some muscle-bound maniac on top going down the road at 100 mph and you have your own futuristic movie in the making. Shot this at the rough and tumble event, which showcased old farm equipment.

Synchronized Driving

I photographed this crew this week harvesting what I think is wheat, but I could be way off. They have to work in close proximity to one another and their driving was spot on. This was taken with an 80-400 zoom and I could actually see them in the cab talking on two-way radios,most likely about the guy taking their photo. At one point,there were three tractors lined up to catch the crop, but they never went across the field with more than the two shown here.

Amish Crescendo

A few days ago I mentioned wanting to share an image of some Amish girls that I photographed at the mud sale, and todays post includes three of several from a series including these young ladies. Let me start by explaining how these images came to be and why I chose the title. I had been wandering the auction grounds looking for possible photos when I noticed that there were some Amish teens starting to play volleyball in the field adjoining the auction, so I walked in the general direction to check it out. Upon getting closer, I noticed guys playing volleyball and girls in multi colored dresses nearby watching the boys. As I stood there taking in the culture, I noticed four old tractors at the end of the field that were going to be auctioned later in the day. I thought to myself, it would be so cool if one or two of these Amish teens would venture over to the tractors and check them out.

Well no sooner did I think that, when I notice a small group of Amish girls get up and head in that general direction. I immediately began moving behind a row of parked cars in the direction of the tractors in the hopes of getting one good shot before they noticed me. I stayed below the radar for a few minutes watching to see where they were going and to my delight,it was the tractors. As the group reached the tractors, two by two,they paired up on their own tractor and began goofing around, and having a good time with each other. They acted like they were plowing, driving, racing and even made putt putt sounds at one point. I quickly snapped a shot, and thought to myself, this is one of those moments that I cherish as a photographer and was so grateful to be there in that moment.

I figured I would snap a few shots and they would stop doing what they were doing after they saw me, but to my surprise they seemed to be totally unfazed by my snapping photos, and it almost seemed as if they were savoring the moment in front of the camera in a way, because as each moment ticked by, the image got better and better as they moved together onto one tractor to make small talk and have fun. Granted I was using a 400mm at a distance, but we made eye contact multiple times as we each laughed to ourselves in the moment. Experiences like this are forever etched in my mind, and provide me with memories of a culture and lifestyle that I find very special and worthy of respect. One thing I have seen countless times with the Amish,is the fact that they are more satisfied with simplicity than we are with every gimmicky gadget that occupies our time. After I left the spot, I kept thinking I would have loved to talk with them, listened to their perspective on things and even offer them prints, but I realize we come from two different worlds and even though they tolerated me, that was only because we were in a public venue that day.

The crescendo part of my title is because I literally felt like the time with these girls kept building to a visual peak as I snapped away. The multi colored dresses, the pleasant atmosphere, and a great group of Amish friends, all came together is this brief moment in time, which I was lucky enough to be witness too. It is definitely one moment on my photographic journey that I will not soon forget.These images are totally un-choreographed and ones I could not have planned out any better if I was given the chance.