Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

From the Archives of 2008—8: A Corn Saga, Part 2

April 24, 2022

Part 1 of A Corn Saga presented photographs taken between May 25 and August 24, 2008, of a cornfield near my then-home in northern Ohio. Part 2 of the saga starts August 24 and continues through November 2.

1 By August 24 the corn looked ripe for picking, and I wondered why it had not been picked yet. That’s when David told me that field corn is harvested much later than sweet corn because it needs to dry.

2 The big white stripe in the green leaves had turned orange by August 24. The large stripes are the leaves’ midveins, David says.

3 Some whole leaves had turned orange.

4 Nearly a month passed before I photographed the cornfield again. By September 20 the field was primarily shades of brown.

5 But only primarily. Subtle color was everywhere.

6 About a month later, on October 25, it could still be found.

By then, the most of the ears of corn had reversed direction on the stalks. They now pointed downwards.

8 Of course I asked David why the ears pointed downward, and he said he thought it was because the connecting end of the cob had gotten too weak due to senescence to support the ear upright.

9 The colors and forms of senescing corn leaves are varied.

10 Some of the coloring is due to fungus, David says.

11 Here’s an ear still pointing up.

12 The ears’ pointing down is convenient because the husks help keep the kernels dry.

13 The drying won’t occur until the plant is dead.

14 Photographs 6 through 15 were all taken around the same time October 25. I can’t account for the variety in color.

15 By October 25 the prop roots were no longer pliable but woody. They had served their purpose and died with the rest of the plant.

16 By November 2 the crop had been harvested and the stalks cut down.

17 Some husks were visible on the ground.

18 The cobs, shorn of their kernels, provided the last touch of bright color.

22 responses

  1. Jag

    Great series of the corn!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2022 at 7:17 AM

    • Thank you, Jag. It was a lot of fun to take the photographs and to put them together this way for the blog.

      Liked by 1 person

      April 24, 2022 at 9:07 AM

  2. You may be the first person ever to create a corn saga like this. There’s potential to expand this into a book if you learn more about what’s going on in each phase.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2022 at 7:52 AM

    • Thanks for your suggestion, Steve. I could put it on my list to do after my books on dumpsters and rust. Oh, and there’s the one on reflections I’ve been thinking about, too. Ah, life just isn’t long enough. But you have something about the corn book. A lot of information is probably out there. And in the head of my personal botanist. Too bad I have to sleep and eat.


      April 24, 2022 at 9:13 AM

  3. Wonderful series!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2022 at 8:06 AM

  4. Great series, Linda. The lead photo just drew me in and it just got better from there. Your shot (#15) shows me something I’ve never seen before. I live not too far from a cornfield so I’ll have to check it out at the end of the growing season.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2022 at 2:28 PM

    • Thank you, Ken. I’d never noticed the prop roots at all until I did this series. And I had been walking past this field, planted in corn or soybeans in alternate years, for 10 years or so.


      April 24, 2022 at 2:34 PM

  5. Wonderful series, Linda. I will never see a corn field the same way I have in the past. The earthy browns and grays of #s 6 through 13 are really rich. Nice images…!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2022 at 3:12 PM

    • Thank you, Mic. The senescing plants are my favorites. Maybe I’ll go back to the old neighborhood and see if the field is in corn or soybeans this year. . . .


      April 24, 2022 at 5:16 PM

  6. ag

    Thank you, and David as well, for both the photography and tutorial on field corn. Nice to learn something while enjoying lovely photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2022 at 10:36 PM

    • Thank you, Alan. I’ll pass along your thanks to David. It was fun to have a fairly long project that had a clear beginning (as it turned out) and end.


      April 25, 2022 at 10:23 AM

  7. This two part series has been a revelation, Linda. More than I ever knew about corn as we have not grown any ourselves. There are a lot of corn fields around here, much for cow feed, but some for the dinner table, so I will have to pay more attention. I like the subtlety of the colors you captured and had no idea that corn changes direction on the stalk.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 25, 2022 at 4:05 AM

    • Some of the information I only learned when I asked David to take a look at the blog posts in progress. I’m sure you could fill in the gaps in my pictorial reportage if you spent some time at the cornfields near you. I’ll watch for your additions on your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

      April 25, 2022 at 10:28 AM

  8. Love your corn saga series. Great textures and muted colors. I can almost hear the rustle of the leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 25, 2022 at 8:58 AM

    • Thanks, Clare. Your mention of the rustling leaves made that sound rise up in my memory.

      Liked by 1 person

      April 25, 2022 at 10:29 AM

  9. I’m glad you put so much time into this project. Beautiful light in #17! #12 is a gem, just wonderful. I can’t help anthropomorphize #11 to see a beard streaming away from that little corny face. I like the dimpled kernels in #8, the varied leaf surface in #7. Maybe that’s a sheathe, not a leaf. And the first three are almost a story on their own. Great work. The terrific comments show what sticking to a project or subject can do!

    Liked by 2 people

    May 3, 2022 at 11:33 AM

    • Thank you, Lynn. I’m pleased about what you saw in these photographs. I like the way this project sort of happened to me. A goal was never in mind; I just photographed this field on my walk to the river, ever curious to see what had changed since the last time I saw it. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass is the audiobook I’m listening to these days. Kimmerer includes a longish passage about corn grown for human consumption. There’s so much to say.

      Liked by 2 people

      May 5, 2022 at 8:55 PM

      • I have that book and I pick it up and read a little from time to time. I bet the corn passage is interesting. Proceeding with a goal in mind isn’t my style and I like the idea that even though you didn’t have a goal, you got a result that fits perfectly into a goal. That’s my backward thinking for today! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

        May 5, 2022 at 9:30 PM

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