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05 September 2008
There is a long story to this photo so I hope you are sitting comfortably with a cup of tea or something a bit stronger :-)
The fields behind our house have been bought by a new farmer who intends to grow just salad stuffs but as he wanted to get them planted quickly he planted wheat in all but a few. The land is transected by a road and the fields on the far side are more picturesque as they are gently undulating. As the wheat ripened this year I hoped to get a good shot of them reaping in these fields with the north downs in the background. I walked Brac over there every day as the time approached but on a day when I walked in the morning, they managed to cut all of that side in the afternoon! They must have had several machines going at once to get it done. Anyway, there were still the fields on my side of the road and as our house backs right onto them I would be sure to hear if any reaping was going on.
The weather turned bad from that point on. Barely a day went by without some amount of rain or if not it was damp. No reaping could take place until the crop dried out or it would rot. As the weeks went by a black mould started to appear on the husks so something had to happen soon. Finally we had a dry day followed by another but it was not until that night that the combines moved in. I laid in bed listening to them working through the night.
The forecast was for more rain in the morning. When I woke up it was raining and had been for some time. I took Brac over the fields and was relieved to see that there were still two fields they had not managed to get done. I was still in with a chance.
Ok, so back to walking Brac over the fields every day with camera in hand only now, as the fields left were the least interesting photographically, I was only taking my little sony P&S camera as I didn't feel it was worth the effort of carrying my very heavy D300. Another week went by and nothing happened. Then, one day I went out with my Sony in my pocket and as I entered the fields I could see the dust rising in the distance. They were reaping. At last I could get some shots. I walked over to the field they were working on and got my camera ready only to discover I had left the memory stick in my PC! AAAAH! That's it, it's just not meant to be. I finished Brac's walk in disgust.
When I got in I thought about it some more. that was likely to be my last best chance of getting such a shot as from now on they will only be growing onions and lettuce over there. I had to go back. I grabbed my D300 and headed out knowing that they were 2/3rds finished when I saw them last.
Brac couldn't believe his luck; two walks straight after each-other!
As I headed out in a hurry now a neighbour who's wife had not been well for some time was in his garden. I knew it would be rude of me to just pass by so I had to stop and ask after her. It was a longer conversation than I really wanted but what could I do?
Finally I head off into the fields. By the time I got to where the combine was there was only a few strips of wheat left to reap. No matter, it would be enough. The tractor was parked at the end of the rows and the combine was going to it to unload the grain into its trailer as the field was quite small so no need for them to work in formation. I positioned myself at the other end of a row and waited for the combine to come towards me. As it approached I started snapping moving around for a different angle. I than saw the combine extend its arm and to my express delight the tractor pulled up along side. They decided to transfer the grain in formation and I'm sure it was for my benefit. To make matters even better the sun decided to poke it face out for those few minutes too. When they got to the end of the row the combine driver gave me a wave as he turned to go back.
If I had remembered to check the memory stick in my Sony I'd never have got these shots. I guess it was meant to be after all.