Dispatches: This Hard Land


Sharon Station Road is a strip of about 4 miles of blacktop here in Allentown, New Jersey. This section of Upper Monmouth County is made up of farmland crops (sod, soy beans, vegetables) and horse stables. Allentown, founded in 1706, is a colonial township where history meets the present. It has remained essentially untouched by modern development (though, increasingly, that’s changing bit by bit) yet still remains one of the largest contiguous historic districts in New Jersey.

I drive a 2 mile portion of Sharon Station Road once, sometimes twice a day. It’s less than a mile from my house, yet affords me different looks – due to weather, activity and wildlife – nearly every time I drive it.

That image above occurred the other evening. The farmer, under a pretty late-day, early springtime sky, was tilling his fields. Not walking behind a work horse, of course, but driving a work horse. The newly tilled earth must also turn up some dinner-time goodness for the birds, seagulls mainly.

As I was driving up to this point on my way home from work, I liked the warm golden glow of the eveningtime, the dust that was being kicked up and the birds in the frame as well. Of course, I had my cameras (Canon 50D and Canon S100) on the seat next to me.

Be prepared, I always say. I pulled over and took advantage of the light and the scene.

Speaking of birds, I hung around a little longer and grabbed one that seemed, to me, positively Hitchcockian.


Living in this area affords me a common sight: These large irrigation sprinklers. I see them a lot on different farms, and can’t get enough of them.

They’re just so photogenic to me, like some prehistoric, multi-stemmed water-spurting monster. Put some big beautiful clouds behind them, and I can’t not shoot them, even around high sun at mid-day.


Another look, later in the day…some beautiful evening light. Same stretch of road just on the different side.

(c)JerseyStyle_Photography_Spring Evening Sky_032014jpg

Sure, everyone loves boarding a plane and getting a new stamp in their passport book. I know I do. But there are visual stories all around us. In his book Close To Home, my friend Stuart Sipahigil aptly illustrates this concept.

Don’t think that just because you’re not logging miles and getting new passport stamps that you can’t get some great shots. Sometimes, it’s right around the corner, and the only milage you have to log is past two mile markers.

I’ll close with another look at the image that opened this post. Here’s the full, uncropped frame. I just convereted it to B&W. Certainly makes it more ominious, less of a Dust Bowl feel.

Which image do you prefer?


© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2013

4 thoughts on “Dispatches: This Hard Land

  1. What a great set of images. Regarding which one i prefer it’s hard to say for me. The color image gives you the feel of the dustbowl setting, but I love the contrast, slightly wider view with the sign hinting at the world beyond his field & the weather seemingly being more oppressive in the B&W.

  2. Pingback: JSP Visual Week In Review ~ 04.10.21 | JerseyStyle Photography

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