In Search of Stooks

So I suspect many of you are wondering what on earth is a stook?  According to the dictionary it is a group of sheaves of grain stood on end in a field.  They look like this:

Nikon D600, Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 @ 21mm, f/16, ISO 100, 0.6 secs.  Taken 1st August 2013.

So now that we have clarified what a stook is and what they look like this blog post should make a lot more sense.  

I last took a photo of a stook back in July 2014.  Since then I've been away on holiday when the crops are harvested and the stooks created.  However, I've always wanted to go back and shoot them again.  They make for great photographs due to their location (typically in the rolling hills of Devon), their construction and that they are put into nice long lines.  If you get some nice evening light on the field it can make for a lovely image.

This year I decided that I would really make the effort, despite an impending family holiday, to track some stooks down and photograph them.  Stooks are created using traditional farming techniques so they aren't that common and finding them can be tricky.  From my previous two years of shooting them I knew of at least two fields where they might be though.

Nikon D600, Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 @ 16mm, f/18, ISO 100, 0.5 secs.  Taken 23rd July 2014.

Using my previous location knowledge I checked each of these locations once a week in July.  No stooks though!  Fortunately for me though the crops had not been harvested from those fields so there was still a chance that when I return from my holiday that there might be some stooks.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I'm sorry to say that my most recent search for stooks has also drawn a blank!  Strangely though the crops are still in the fields where I've known there to have been stooks before.  I don't know if this is an indication that the farmer is no longer planning on making stooks in that field or that they are making them later than I've seen them before.  The photos in this blog were all taken late July and early August, so it should be prime time for stooks!  

Nikon D600, Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 @ 22mm, f/18, ISO 100, 1/3 sec.  Taken 23rd July 2014.

Given that the crops are still in the fields I'm still hopeful that I will get a shot of them this year.  In the mean time I'll just have to enjoy my previous images and hope that this year I will take even better images of this traditional way of stacking crops.  I'll keep you posted!

Have you ever seen or photographed stooks?  Have you ever had difficulty finding a subject that you wanted to photography?  Let me know in the comments below.