Background on: Cotton Humid

First off, it’s true! I really don’t like humidity. And I’ve worked at hard, backbreaking labor in hot, sticky humid weather. So, when I speak of a ‘dislike’ for humidity… I did not need to ‘get into character’ to write about it!

Secondly, I really enjoyed this print and the story that flowed from it’s imaginary wordsmithing machine. Cotton Humid, by Les Booth; eLithographic print

Most of my eLithographs come from multiple photographic sources. But no so with Cotton Humid. I took the original photo not 2 miles from my brother’s house near Adel, Georgia, in September 2007. My wife and I were driving back to their horse farm when I saw the flock of cattle egrets in the odd stand of grass. The massive thunderheads leering over the cotton patch and those white birds gleaning for bugs and critters in the grass made a compelling image. I took several shots hoping one or a composite would make a nice photograph.

When I rendered the RAW image files into JPEG format, I was – at first – disappointed in them. The seemed just too busy and lack luster; too ‘plain-jane’.  So, I put them aside.

Then one day in early November 2007 I took a look at them again as I was sorting through images from that trip.  I looked a several of them – wondering what I could do with them – when suddenly I saw it.  I zoomed into the image to see how ‘sharp’ the egrets were in the photo. They weren’t of the quality I’d hoped, but what I did fine was a wonderous scene. In fact – almost entirely what you see in the print, Cotton Humid.

A few cloud rearrangements and an occassional errant weed covering a desired image reworked … and it was ready for the special ODG eLithographic treatment. When the image was fully rendered I was amazed at how all the dynamics of it was retained and emphasized. This was especially amazing considering just how small a part of the photograph it really represents!

Then when I began to write the story … well, let’s just way the words flowed quickly. I had a good time in it. And I really enjoyed ‘getting into’ the character who is the ‘voice’ of the story. I could stay there for a while… and I just might do it !!

Yes, rattlesnakes and water moccasins really do take shade in cotton patches… and they do provide a bit of a challegne at times for the field worker; though now, most cotton in the south is harvested by machines. So, the amount of actual human-snake encounter has really been reduced.

Cattle egret and herons are called, pond skoggins, too. Where that name comes from … well, I can’t really find anyone who lives in the Wiregrass Territory that knows the definitive answer to that question, but I have heard a number of iterations on the theme, “Well, peers to me I remember my grandpa sayin’ somethin’ ’bout ….” .   A mystery within a mystery shrouded by a colloquial pathwork of oral tradition.  I love it!  And like I said, it’s not a term of indearment for the bird – or the occasional reference to a human – either!

And that’s the scoop on the print, Cotton Humid and short-story, Humid in Cotton Country.


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