Updated: Feb 19, 2020
Flannel, hay rides, apple picking, deep fried cinnamon delights, seeing your breath in the crisp morning air, the scent of wood-burning fires, and of course, violently twisting, cutting, or ripping pumpkins off the vine like a bonafide sociopath. These are just a select few of Fall's indulgences.
Fall is that special time of the year when city folk make their way out to the country to breathe in some fresh air. Just like the salmon who return to freshwater rivers and streams to spawn, it is in their genes---and since I don't consider myself above this natural phenomenon, this year, I too made my way out to not just one, but several of Howard County Maryland's beautiful farms (in the following order):
-Sharpe's at Waterford Farm
-Sunflowers of Lisbon
-Days End Horse Rescue
In addition to my family, I took my largest camera---a Mamiya RB67---because I like a challenge and I wanted to make the excursion as unmanageable as possible.
Our stop at Sharpe's was an interesting one. While his tractor ride is a Fall "must," this fine Saturday Farmer Sharpe was in a terrible mood. His driving left much to be desired, his jokes weren't landing, and his complete disregard for personal hygiene was concerning. As I listened to him lay into a farmhand for making an honest mistake, I couldn't help but wonder what happened to Farmer Sharpe.
Maybe it was the incessant yelling of children. Maybe it was the thick diesel smoke that billowed out of his tractor's exhaust, right into his lungs. Maybe it was time to hang up the tattered overalls and call it a season.
As we drove towards Days End Horse Rescue to attend their Fall Festival, we passed one of our favorite farms in Howard County---Larriland Farm. It was apple season and there was no way I was about to head to my nearest grocer and simply purchase a few pounds of reasonably priced produce.
I needed to be a part of the harvest.
I had to feel the tree-ripened fruit in my hand.
It was paramount that it was by my force, and my force only, that the apple was cleaved from the tree.
2 pounds of apples and $35 dollars later, we departed the farm.
Now we were on our way to Days End Horse Rescue---or so I thought. As I pulled out of Larriland, I was abruptly slapped in the face with the most beautiful sign I'd seen in a long time. It was simple. A wooden rectangle painted white with the following scrawled in thick blue paint:
"Sunflowers 1 mile ahead"
With Days End out of my mind, I floored it to the sunflower fields. I was soon assaulted by a sea of yellow.
Sunflowers by the thousands. It was beautiful.
I paid admission and entered into the fields. The flowers towered over me, their faces pointing East to take in late morning light. After a few minutes in a maze of green stalks, I found a vantage point, planted my feet, and observed.
It took me back to Texas, where in June of 2014 I headed out to Castroville to see the sunflowers. I was wearing a poor fitting button-up I had purchased from the clearance rack at Marshalls and sporting a buzzed head---complements of a late night decision and an underpowered beard trimmer (see image below).
It was earlier in the season so the flowers weren't at their full potential but they were just as spectacular and an invaluable resource in helping me recover from my Texas wildflower withdrawals.
But back to the present.
I wanted to stand there all day and watch as the flowers tracked the sun across the Fall sky. But I couldn't. I had horses to see and they weren't going to wait around all day for me.
The horse rescue, greeted me with the sound of country music---a fitting choice given the venue and its patrons. Like a crazy person, I wandered the rescue with my giant black box taking pictures of what I felt was aesthetically pleasing and captured the feel of the place.
I took pictures of horses, scenic vistas, and anything else that caught my eye. That is, until I advanced my film and felt it give way.
As a result of my novice loading, I had robbed myself of 5 exposures. The last few shots, possibly my favorite compositions of the day, were beautifully exposed on the black mat backing of a 120 roll---no film---no image---lost.
The day was full of joy, beauty, and new experiences, some of which were recorded on film, while the rest will live on forever in the archives of my mind.
Camera: Mamiya RB67
Film: Lomography 100 (120)
When: September 2019
Where: Howard County, Maryland