Everybody needs a smile

There’s something to be said about an unexpected smile — even from a farm diesel tank. This one has been greeting drivers along U.S. 70 in Lonoke Co., Arkansas, for years. And it works both ways. There’s a smile on the other side too.

Smiley face
Putting a happy face on it.

Feeling a little black and whitish

Of course, these are not truly black and white, having been shot in living RGB on digital point n’ shoot. When framing a shot for eventual conversion to black and white, or specifically infrared-ish, there is still the challenge of evaluating the color and contrast in the viewfinder and filtering it through your brain, hoping the resulting image will match your ambitions.

The first lesson I had in this area was in the pre-digital days. As wire editor for a newspaper chain, I’d watch as The Associated Press LaserPhoto machine spit out, on a special paper, color photos as color separations. There were four images for each photo and though they were black and white, each represented the yellow, black, cyan and magenta components of a full-color image.  When aligned correctly and run through a four-color press, magically, a full color image would appear.

When shooting through an RGB device, your imagination has to substitute for those CMYK separations — taking it a step further and using only three mental filters, red, green and blue.  Of course, if your image doesn’t meet your ambitions, there’s probably a fix in Photoshop.

Cypress growing in a backwater.
Cypress growing in a lake near the Arkansas Forestry Commission nursery east of Little Rock.
5-24 Cloud rays BW
Clouds spread out like rays from the north.

This was originally shot for this weekend’s In the Background photo challenge, aiming for a little bird in a tree in the background. Once downloaded, the clouds just leapt from the frame.

Cypress lake

When people think of fall color, they usually think of the deciduous trees. But don’t count out the conifers.  Come autumn, the cypress here turns a bright rusty hue, contrasting nicely with the other foliage.  The bases broad bases and fluted columns that make up the trunk made these trees seem to date from another eon.

CYPRESS and CORMORANTS — Running parallel to U.S. 70 east of Little Rock is a strip of water surrounded by cypress.
TREE FULL OF LIFE — Cormorants gather around the base and in the branches of this cypress.

World wide webs

Along U.S. 70, silken threads covered the fields, fences and utility poles between Forrest City and Brinkley, Ark. The low-riding autumn afternoon sun back-lit what seemed to be millions of miles of webbing. In addition, long threads with parachutes  or sails of silk thread drifted across the roads and lifted from the fields.


Webs waft in Brinkley
Webs waft over U.S. 70 in Brinkley.



Webs cover Brinkley
Webbing covers a large swath of eastern Arkansas.