7 June 2012

Plane views: Flatlands edition

Posted by Callan Bentley

More photos from the flight from Reno to Minneapolis in March. The photos in today’s post come from the air above the Dakotas and Minnesota.

First up: a series showing the intersection of natural patterns (presumably related to ground moraine) and the palimpsest geometric regularity of anthropogenic designs:

Are these kettles?

A close up look at one frozen lake, gleaming like a jewel in this dun landscape:

Next, consider this meandering river, partially iced-over, with vast “icebergs” floating free and coagulating at one spot. The land between the meanders shows a “Connect Four“-like geometry of regularly-spaced fields made possible by center-pivot irrigation.

Wow – this strikes me as quite beautiful. Note the snowy rims on the southern edges of the fields…

Next, a series showing a meandering river contained (hemmed in?) within a well-defined river valley.

This last one is pretty wild – take a look:

I think what we’re looking at here is plots of farmland, each with a small section set aside for the human dwelling, with a windbreak planted or built around it, and then snow piles up in the “lee” of that windbreak (or else the snow persists in the light shadow north of the house), and then it’s all lit by low-angle light from the west. When I look at this image, I think: (a) it looks like a quilt made of burlap, (b) it looks like bleak living down there. Warm wishes to these hardy farmers.

Shortly after I took this final shot, we landed in Minneapolis.