Monday, November 29, 2010

The beasts of the field

click photo to enlarge
When I first moved to Lincolnshire there were times when I felt like I'd stumbled into a Mad Max movie. The agricultural vehicles that trundled along the roads and lanes reminded me of the weird and wonderful creations that figure in this series of post-apocalypse tales. The tractor-like vehicles that carry big containers of chemicals and have prehensile booms that can be folded up behind them when on the road, but extend unfeasibly far when deployed for spraying could easily be from these movies. So too could the "mini-veg packers" (small photo) - tractors with cup conveyor belts that take brassicas from the field-hand to the packers on the "covered-wagon" trailer. They would need very little adaptation to be of use to a marauding band of ne'er do wells. And as for the "Beet Eater" (main photo), well, the very name qualifies it as the mount of choice for the leader of an outlaw pack.

However, familiarity brings a different perspective and now, three and a half years into my time in this eastern county, I no longer see these agricultural machines in terms of cinema fiction. No, today I think of them as the "beasts" of the field! The undoubted king - see it as the elephant or the lion - is the beet harvester, by a short head from the combine harvester. Why? Well, a combine havester crossing a field of wheat is akin to a wildebeast ambling across the sun-soaked savanna grass, but a giant beet harvester racing across a field of beet, grubbing up the beet, devouring it, chewing up the foliage and spitting it aside is akin to a warthog boar greedily rooting out truffles! I tossed this jumble of similes and metaphors about in my head the other day when I took these two photographs. You might think I should have tossed them in the bin!

photographs & text (c) T. Boughen

First photo
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 300mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 640
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On