Mythic American Summer

Hay Bales in Field 2a

Fuji X-E1, f/18, 1/160 sec., 18mm, ISO-400 (August 10, 2013)

This is another of my favorite pictures from last year, from early August. I’ve driven by this field regularly, on visits to my family.  On the way to see my family, I noticed field full of the big round bales of hay and, as I went past, thought it would make a great picture.  The next day, on my way back home to Grand Rapids, I got off the interstate and started snapping pictures.

It was a bright day with a hot sun, despite the banks of clouds. I could ask for a better scene, bales of hay as far as the eye could see in the field, and clouds lined up in the sky to the horizon. I didn’t have a tripod, and was hanging over a fence, trying to get as close to the big bale in the foreground as I could, from a decent angle. I took several series of images, bracketing them with an eye to using HDR processing.

When I processed the image, I did several versions that were more “realistic” and a couple that were more HDR-looking, with the exaggerations that come with it in contrasts, color saturation, and sharp edges.  The slightly overdone HDR images were less realistic, certainly less film-like and more graphic, but they better captured the mood that got me to stop the car and take the picture. It was such an arresting scene and I needed some license to exaggerate in the picture to capture the feel of what I saw.

Hay Bales in Field 3Here is a another version, in monochrome, with the same graphic exaggeration.

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