Monday, August 20, 2012

The Farm, the Storm, and Instagram

The best camera I have ever owned is not a camera, but my i-Phone.  Linked with the popular app Instagram, I've been able to take decent photographs, though I am a raw amateur when it comes to photography.   The following shots were taken on a small farm owned and operated  by my in-laws and they show what I love about life in rural Minnesota. This first shot is of the garden and trellis.  We visited on a day of perfect cloud-light, with big, puffy cumuli drifting past in a wash of cobalt blue.  The farm is a land of sky and wind.

This shot shows how the filters operate on Instagram, which isn't completely idiot proof.  While I would like to take the credit for having a "good eye," the truth is that this program makes the process simple.  With my first attempt, I didn't bring out the colors and angles quite right, which may have just been the sun bleaching out colors, but as the clouds passed over the sun the light came just right to allow this photo:

These cows are "belties" or Belted Galloways, the same Scottish breed I chose to feature in my novel, Little Wolves.  (If you look at these cows and think "yum!" you would be right.  The belties raised here are also hormone and antibiotic-free and you can purchase the beef directly from the farmer at:  Supporting local farmers benefits the environment and your family's health and pocketbook!)  What I know about farming and working the land comes from visiting here along with all the years my wife Melissa, an ordained Lutheran pastor, has spent serving rural congregations.  The second shot is of the barn, properly weather-beaten, dour and sturdy as an old man missing a few front teeth.  If you climb inside, up into the loft, you can touch the hand-hewn beams from a previous century, trace the marks of the awl, and know you are touching something elemental and true, life as it was, and perhaps life as it should be.

Oh, and the farm comes with wildlife, barn cats and snakes and frogs, plenty to keep the kids busy.

We loaded up on fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and sugar snap peas, a summer of abundance.  The vegetable and flower gardens provide only as a result of hours of hard work from my mother and father in-law.

These next shots show the difference between filtered and unfiltered.  While true purists will tag a photograph as "no filter" to show that it hasn't been doctored, my own take is that the filter more closely approximates what I'm seeing with naked eye.  If you look at the third shot of the rainbow, you'll see that I didn't use a filter and you'll notice the difference.  The light is washed out, right?  None of deeper blues of the sky, the storm, or even the flowers have been captured.  It's still pretty, but lacks the drama of the shots with the filter.

What a panoramic landscape the country offers.  Even driving home through this ominous cloudburst made me glad we visited the farm this weekend.

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