Aug. 7, 2013
 
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A day at the farm: A photographer's perspective

By Tom Campbell

Tom Campbell
Tom Campbell

I feel sorry for the people who only see farms at 60 miles per hour, framed by a car window while traveling somewhere between where they have been and where they are going.

They miss the beauty of agriculture. Not just the sights but the sounds and even the smells.

Three of us experienced all of that on a recent visit to a pair of Purdue farms just north of the West Lafayette campus.

It was a place so quiet you could hear the straw drying down in the field, crackling and popping like a slow-motion bowl of Rice Krispies.

The sky was so clear and blue we could observe a trio of helicopters maneuvering miles away near the Purdue Airport. Much closer, a hawk hung on a thermal updraft, peering down for its next meal.

A soybean field spread across the ground like a flawless, emerald carpet. A closer look revealed droplets of morning dew suspended on the leaf hairs like a million tiny pearls.

Corn plants tall enough to block the mid-morning sun were just starting to fill out their ears. What a difference from just a year ago, we thought, when the suffocating drought slashed yields throughout the Midwest.

But the highlight may have been the grazing cattle.

The herdsman let us inside the gate, separated from the cattle only by 30 feet of distrust. As they moved closer, we became acutely aware of their beauty and their size. You could feel each of their steps thumping through the ground.

Who needs to run with the bulls in Pamplona when you can walk with the heifers in West Lafayette?


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