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Kate's blog post, agriculture tractors & combine harvester photography
OK so this was meant to be the blog for the 3/02/2018 but somethings just don't always go to plan. I'm often ill with a terrible lack of energy.
Farming in the Fens, A love-hate relationship with agriculture
Agriculture photography started life way back when I was a child, living in the Cambridgeshire Fens we are surrounded by fields when I follow the local farmers as they harvested their crops. taking photos was fun but never realised it would become a full-time job later in life.
Agriculture here in the Fens has taken over most of the countryside, I'm shocked at the state this place is in now. Nature has suffered badly for agriculture and being a wildlife photographer I really have noticed the issues more than most. most wildlife here is either gone or on the brink, with many once common insects and birds are now nearly impossible to see. Something that would have been simple to find years ago is now a once in 5-year find.
I have tried so hard to get others to see the issues here but no one seems to bother about this part of the UK, no nature programs have ever featured here and it would help to get people to notice just how much of a state the countryside is in.
My way of dealing with some of the issues would be to let the grass verges grow on the side of roads and only cutting back the edges around blind and sharp corners along the road. We have many ditches here, (locals call them dykes) again I would let the grass grow, let the bushes and trees grow, that would help birds and many other small creatures. Here there's an obsession for cutting down every tree that grows along drains and cutting the only places where wildflowers grow and that places and the side of the roads, the poor butterflies and other flower-loving insects must have a dam nightmare here. we have no wildflowers, no woods, no hedgerows with many places having just an odd tree left.
Don't get me wrong I like agriculture but the farmers need to start helping our nature before it's too late. hell, I really don't fancy a world without nature.
Love the crop sprayers but it's pity they do so much damages to nature, What I have read is that spraying is less damaging to insects which is a good thing, would love to see a happy medium for all people and nature.
I've met some great farmers in Bedfordshire who's been trying to cut down on the damage so some are thinking about wildlife.
These machines are fun things to photograph apart from the smell lol, but something they use a coloured spray which looks almost nuclear in looks, like something out the Simpsons and Homers power plant lol.
This spraying was taken from our homes window so it gave a higher view.
Sugar beet harvest time should be the muddy time, for many years in early winter the combo of weather and beet harvesting would result in a farming mud bath and would often be fun to watch, with most of the machinery stuck in the mud, would get two to three tractors pulling each other out the almost bog-like land, it would have made for some cool working photography shots but this day the weather isn't as bad at it was once, with little rainfall and rarely any muddy working conditions.
Ploughing I like to add seagulls if they around, it gives life to the shots and shows just how smart these birds are.
With agriculture I do like to show the landscape too it then adds to the shots and also makes for great wall art prints.
Some of the larger harvesters are the sugar beet types, the main manufactures here are Holmer and Ropa euro tiger. They are interesting to watch due to how they farm with multi-wheel steering, they seem to be very adjustable.
The east of England may have the highest amount of sugar beet crops in the UK due to our soil conditions making ideal for crops like this, out in Bedfordshire just 55 miles away I saw no sugar beet crops, so just a few miles away the crops can change so much.
Was pleased to be the highest seller of agricultural stock images in 2014 and selling around 18 per day was great fun. I think what makes my work stand out, I like to photograph in all conditions giving a working life to machines.
This was the day my agriculture photography took off, the young chap in the Claas tractor, came over and wanted a photo shoot for him and his uncle so went along and found that I was good at doing on-call photo shoots.
They ordered framed prints and business cards through my own printing service, what made me so proud, they once had a photographer do a shoot but the person wasn't approachable and too boring to get on with, what they liked about me, I was just being me, I'm often called the female version of (Lee Evens) and that tends to get the best from others.
Last year wasn't a good year, being ill and having car issues I had to cancel shoots and ongoing issues this year doesn't look too great at the moment.
Farming photography is a wonderful thing, with machines set in landscapes can look so arty but I need to see changes in how farming is run, want to see more field edges left for nature, farm tracks, service roads set with hedgerows and trees, own boxes around farms and stopping unnecessary spraying and tree removal. It can work with nature with a bit more thought.