Corn Field


When I photographed these orderly rows of corn sprouts extending to the horizon, I was thinking about the farmer and his work, evidenced by the tractor tracks and the amount of time, money and energy it took to plant this field.

Reflecting on the image now, I appreciate the contribution of all growers and marvel at the process of cultivation, from conceptualization and planning to planting and harvesting. Having had no experience with farming, I hadn’t given much thought to cultivation. But now, reflecting on this image, I realize that it’s basically a process of deciding what is wanted, planting seed and following through to realization.

Tracing this field back, I imagine that the farmer’s decision to plant a certain kind and amount of corn was motivated by a variety of concerns among them family, economics, climate, soil conditions, insects, impact on the local community and politics. Even at this early stage, the field provided evidence of the choices he made, including his caring and persistent hard work. Everything in this image is evidence of his consciousness and implementation. And doesn’t that hold true for individuals, families, communities, schools, businesses, corporations, states and nations as well. A close examination of these social and corporate entities provides evidence of their collective consciousness—the participant’s gestalt (world view), their perceptions, values, choices and actions.

So what am I planting? What am I cultivating? What are we cultivating at home, at work and in society? What are we cultivating in the fields of radio, television and advertising, energy use,  environment, food production and education? What we are cultivating individually and socially is an important and powerful question, one that directly affects the future. Certainly, it recommends a reassessment of values.

The “fields” of our lives—the quality of our character, our manner of expression, interaction and communication—display the choices we’ve made, the seeds we’ve sown and are nurturing.

The results of our choices, the values we have and continue to sow are all there to see—if we pay attention to them. Are they the crops we intended? Are the fruits of our labor desirable? I like the analogy because there’s always the opportunity to start over, plant the seeds we truly value.  Ultimately, our personal and professional “fields” provide the context within which we sow and cultivate the life we want.

By their works they shall be known.

Matthew 7:15-20


About This Image

Corn Field

Theme: Cultivation

File #: DC4934

Blunt, South Dakota

June 15, 2012

Taking advantage of my retirement from full-time teaching, I flew to Rapid City, South Dakota and spent a week making a grand loop through the Northern Plains. One of the surprising delights of photographing in this area, aside from the grandeur of wide open spaces and dramatic skies, was the sparsity of telephone poles, fences and traffic. Photographing on the county roads, I would not see another car or person sometimes for half an hour or more.

Regarding this particular image, I was driving down the road looking as usual for the intersections of light, geometry and simplicity when I came upon this field. I pulled over and walked about ten feet into the field. Wide shot, medium and closeup. It was as simple as it gets.

© Copyright, David L. Smith, 2014. The images and the associated contemplations on this site are protected against any and all commercial and promotional use without the permission of  the author. However, permission is granted for individuals to download the images and print them for private, non-commercial, non-promotional use.

One thought on “Cultivation

  1. David, I look forward to your weekly “blog” to see what visual wonder you are publishing. Initially I would have thought that a striking pattern shot like this would be better in B&W, yet after seeing this wonderful image I cannot even imagine it in B&W. As usual, you eye for composition is flawless! You have captured forever a moment in time that never happened prior, and will not recur. Did you enhance the chroma a bit in Photoshop or are the colors true to Spring?



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: