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Sunday, July 24, 2011

In the Magic Commute, there are several recurring themes, but everything hinges on beauty and taking time to stop

In my commute from Beige Estates -- my pet name for our suburban housing addition -- to Ray County, there are two basic routes. There's Highway 210 -- a flat, fertile Missouri River-bottom through south Liberty, Missouri City and Orrick -- and Highway 69/Highway 10, my often hilly "inland" route from north Liberty through Excelsior Springs, Wood Heights and Elkhorn and on into Richmond, the Mushroom Capital of the World (one of several, I've found).
These are the basics, which isn't to say I haven't wandered from time to time, found smaller paved roads that connect these routes and discovered buildings, pastures, herds, trees, train tracks, old cars and vistas that attracted -- and magically continue to attract my attention in different seasons, lights and moods.
Seeing and feeling beauty is one thread through The Magic Commute. But the other controlling factor is making time to stop, look and take photos. While working at a newspaper isn't exactly like working at a factory, there are general expectations of when the workday should begin and end. Many of the things I see and want to photograph are on the way to work, which creates a tug-of-war between punctuality and creativity. There have been winners on both sides. After all, I'm only human -- or, as I like to say, barely human.
The photo here was a stolen moment on the way to work. It was taken in Orrick, a town of under 1,000 people that's largely agricultural, has a main street with a good restaurant named Fubbler's, a community center (it's where bingo's played every week and there's a once-a-month country jam session), the Lions Club, post office and a few other things, including The Bearcat Den, a hamburger joint presumably named for the Orrick Bearcats, the two-time state football champs.
The building on the right's the grain elevator; the one of the left is also part of Orrick Farm Service, which sells seed, fertilizer, other crop inputs like insecticides and propane. Next to agriculture itself, it's the goingest business in town.
I saw the lighting and silhouette from the "highway" -- 210 -- and it was one of those days where the urge to stop and shoot a few photos out-muscled responsibility. I'm glad it did, even though sunrise/sunset/silhouette shots are like the Top 40 hits of photography. But I don't see myself as a serious photographer who lugs a tripod around and studies the technical ins and outs of a shot. I can't tell you what the shutter speed and aperture where, nor do I think the equipment matters as much as seeing beauty, feeling it, pointing and shooting.
But making time's the big thing, and on that day beauty seduced me.

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