Posts Tagged With: John Deere

On the road again*

 Welcome to the start of The Month During Which Tara Will Travel A Lot.

Des Moines. Moline. Des Moines again. Moline again. Des Moines AGAIN, a quick trip to New York for a wedding, then back to Des Moines. 

June is going to be a busy month for me. It’s also going to be a great month for pictures and posts, because part of my travel is attending celebration events for the 175th Anniversary! I’m headed to the one at the World Headquarters tomorrow and hoping to see some great old equipment. 

I’ll tweet and post pictures till my battery dies (on both phones!) and promise to get a more complete blog post put together as soon as I can.

I’m kind of excited, if you can’t tell!

 

 

 

*Just try not to start singing.  Can’t do it, can you? Me neither….

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South Dakota, Take 2

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We did it! In spite of all the rain, we got our shots in South Dakota. 

I'm happy to have this one wrapped up. The changing weather meant lots of changing plans, which makes for a tired Tara. 

Few lessons from the shoot: 

Jeans
1. It's always a good idea to bring a spare pair of jeans. That is one giant rip in the seat of my pants. Fortunately, it happened on the way back to the hotel, and no one seemed to notice. I didn't even realize I'd done it till I went to pull them on the next morning. 

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2. I'm in no hurry to ride a motorcycle without a helmet up there. I saw plenty of riders without them, but based on the bugs splattered on my rental car, I think I'll pass.

3. A Toyota Yaris can get from Omaha to Kansas City on half a tank of gas. I was pretty impressed with it as a rental. 

4. Don't take an exit unless you can see a gas station sign from the Interstate. I'm talking to you, Exit 1 in Iowa. I never did find that Casey's Gas Station. 

5. It doesn't matter how tired you are; you probably shouldn't start rapping Vanilla Ice songs in front of your coworkers.   

Waterslide
 6. Even Sturgis-bound bikers appreciate a water slide at the Holiday Inn. 

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Baler Chasers

This footage was shot by the fabulous Intern Karoline on our last photo shoot. I left the bumps in so that you could get a taste of the hay field, but you're spared the dust and 100 degree heat. 

To get shots of the windrow feeding into the pickup, we rigged a steadicam to the back of a Jeep and drove along beside it. And to be fair, when I say we, I really mean it was our poor video guy rigged it and then got stuck riding backwards through a bumpy field. He was COATED in hay dust when we finished. I got to sit in semi-air conditioned comfort in the driver's seat. 

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I'm not sure if this picture does it justice, but the look of concern and concentration on my pretty much sums up the experience of driving the chase car. In the pass from the video, there's a windrow between us and the baler. In this one, we're between the machine and the row that was just baled. And when you're bumping down a field at 8 mph, that's close. Not quite reach-out-and-touch-someone close, but definitely please-don't-hit-a-hole close. 

IMG_0958 Here we are in action. Notice that I'm not looking where I'm going in this shot. I was dividing my attention between making sure we were pacing the baler, not getting run over, and making sure we weren't going to run into a bale. 

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And this is what the field looks like when there isn't a crazy video team in the way. The farmer has won awards for his bermuda grass, and the field was THICK. They were rolling out four or more 4×5 bales from each pass. 

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Long Slow Ride to Anywhere

The folks at the baler factory like to point out that without something behind it, a tractor is just a slow ride to the mailbox. When it's 85 degrees at 10 AM, they're a slow ride anywhere. 

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After the shoot in Arkansas, we had to get the tractors back to the dealership to be loaded onto semis and shipped back to the factory.  Since I don't get to run machinery as much as I'd like to, I volunteered to help. I even jumped in one of the open-station tractors since they'd take the most time to drive back. 

10 miles and a lost baseball cap later, I was seriously reconsidering.

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I will say that it was the first time I ever had to stop a tractor at a traffic light, let alone one with a turn lane.  

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Long Slow Ride to Anywhere

The folks at the baler factory like to point out that without something behind it, a tractor is just a slow ride to the mailbox. When it's 85 degrees at 10 AM, they're a slow ride anywhere. 

IMG_0965 

After the shoot in Arkansas, we had to get the tractors back to the dealership to be loaded onto semis and shipped back to the factory.  Since I don't get to run machinery as much as I'd like to, I volunteered to help. I even jumped in one of the open-station tractors since they'd take the most time to drive back. 

10 miles and a lost baseball cap later, I was seriously reconsidering.

IMG_0973  

I will say that it was the first time I ever had to stop a tractor at a traffic light, let alone one with a turn lane.  

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Instant Human, Just Add Coffee

I would like to take a moment and officially apologize to the woman at the front desk of the Fairfield Inn. In the process of checking me in, she made the very routine statement that a complimentary breakfast is served from 5:30 till 9 each morning.
She was definitely not expecting the squeal of delight that I made about that news. It was probably both unsettling and unprofessional.
The thing is, a lot of the time, our shoots start early. Really early. Dawn is a wonderful time to take pictures, with the sunrise bathing shots in golden light.
And to make the most of that light, you've got to have the equipment in position before the sun comes up. And to have the equipment in place, we leave the hotel while it's still dark.
Which sometimes means we leave before they're serving breakfast. BEFORE THEY'VE MADE THE COFFEE.
One particularly early morning, I had to drive past a still-closed Starbucks and two still-closed gas stations on my way to the field. It was horrible.
The 5:30 breakfast virtually guarantees coffee will be ready when I roll into the lobby like a sleep-walking rhino tomorrow morning.
I'm a happy person.
PS- yes, many hotels do offer coffee pots in the room, but it's usually just colored water and scary fake cream. I hold out for the real stuff.

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