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Apple Boxes – Along 5 SW Road – Grant County, WA

Preparations for the apple harvest occur on a vast scale across a wide swath of Central Washington State at the end of summer. The apple boxes will be hauled into the orchards so they will be near to where the pickers will perform their back-breaking labors.

Images, like this one, are difficult to properly represent in this context as the fine detail gets lost as does the scale of what is being portrayed. In this instance each box face is 4′ x 8′ – yes, a full sheet of plywood. In total this wall of boxes measures about 32′ tall x 96′ wide. Keep in mind that this is but one stack, in one orchard, and that each box will be filled to the brim with apples that were hand-picked. Wow.

In general I don’t discuss the equipment I use, nor my techniques, as I want the images to speak for themselves without having to shout over the racket the hardware tends to make. However, a competing goal here is to attempt to present that portion of the image that exists just beyond the border itself, hence the short essays or stories I include with most images. In this case partially violating the first helps satisfy the second; a reasonable trade-off.

A about year ago I started to shoot my neighborhood and immediately ran into a problem: How do I shoot really big things from really close up? For example, how does one shoot a building that is 2 stories tall, about quarter of a city block long, from about 50′ away while using a prime lens? I am also stuck using an aging DSLR, and a decent tripod mounted with a basic pan and tilt head. Simple gear.

At any rate, I pretty much figured out how to solve that problem. If you stick with me, from time to time, over the next few weeks I will be posting those images so you will be able to evaluate for yourself how well I solved this problem.

In this case I used those same techniques as I had the same identical problem set: a huge subject where I was stuck with shooting up close. Besides the challenge of shooting this subject, I was taken with the symmetry, and the subtle colors spread across the fabulous repetition of form.

More important, they formed a perfect metaphor for the overwhelming and endless work that would commence in a few days. I can’t image what it must be like to fill one box, let alone 5, 10, or 50. Our rich lives of easy food depends on those unseen and barely acknowledged hands. Ideas like these are what filled my thoughts, just outside the frame of my camera, on that September afternoon.

Copyright 2012 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved.

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