Wheat. Old-school pano
Wheat. Old-school pano

Crops.  They are all around us out here.  As one of our staple locations, in some areas of the State they are literally part of the neighborhood.  

We shoot a fair amount of agriculture (AG) by default (tractors, combines, fertilizers) even if that’s not what the project is about.  Regionally, many different non-AG clients (healthcare, banks, insurance) will use the crops and farms metaphorically.  Nationally, the tie-in could be anything from potato chips to pick-up trucks.

From late April to November, seeing crops almost daily has grown into an appreciation of their colors and textures and contrast to the land and sky.  A special point of respect has been learned about those who raise them.

But it’s just a field, what’s the big deal?  Well.  If you think that, please turn to the person near you that has a passion for capturing great photography and give them your job.

Since the easy perception of Nebraska is corn, an inquiry I often get is “What does the corn look like?”  Well thanks for asking.

Here are some tips about photography and filming in and around CROPS:

  • In Nebraska, the growing SEASON is roughly five months.  That’s from the time anything starts to pop through harvest.  If you want cut fields, you get an extra month.
  • The CORN gets going in late June.  This Spring was a tad later because of cool and wet weather.  JULY is supposed to be prime-time but last year, we shot some stuff in August that was still holding up.  The photo below was taken the second week of July.
  • For corn HEIGHT, there’s an old saying, “Knee-high by Fourth of July.”  This is a decent gauge but I’ve seen this defeated.  In warmer springs on corn that gets an early start, it could be much higher.  Ideally, six to eight feet is corn awesomeness.
  • The LOOK of crops goes like this, speaking photographically – CORN looks best when it’s full on green, lush, big, with the tassel exposed but not dried out.  BEANS start out green then go gold, then turn harvest ready brown.  WHEAT is green before it’s golden blond (the photo above is from August).  August is best for the latter, although wheat fields here have been sparse to non-existent in the past few years.
  • PRICES of crops reflect what is mostly being grown.
  • Here’s the most important thing.  I speak often of RESPECT.  I reiterate it here.  A Farmer’s crop is money.  Just as you wouldn’t want strangers rifling through your bank account, land owners deserve the respect of permission before you traipse across or into their field for the shot.  Even if you’re shooting their fields from the road and it will be offered up as a sold image, PLEASE inform the crop owner.   It’s the right thing to do.

    Corn. It's best in July.
    Corn. Most years, it’s best in July.


Images and words COPYRIGHT © Jamie Vesay         Please ask for permission to use.

College World Series (CWS) in Omaha

2011 College World Series TD Ameritrade Park

Every year, the NCAA men’s College World Series is held in Omaha, Nebraska. The city fully embraces the event and the visitors that come here. It is great baseball, plenty of parties, and a genuine economic influx for the city. If you are true baseball fan, this event should be on your bucket list.

Logistically, know that during the CWS, things are booked and busy. If your project falls near the first three weeks of June, you might have a hard time finding LODGING. If you can get rooms or a mini-van, know that they are PRICED HIGHER for the event week. Some crew and gear work during this time but you should be okay in this regard. Vendors that provide production supplies (tables, air chillers, etc) might be sold out.

The stadium, TD Ameritrade Park is downtown and located within streets of newly developed urbanism and old warehousing. If your location is anywhere near here or if you have to pass here to get to set, note the HEAVY traffic (especially before and after games). Parking near here is sparse and mostly pay. Empty lots, that any other time might park production trucks, are now occupied by tents and CWS related parking.

The exterior is a mix of glass and beige brick. The light towers extend into the sky above the stadium, blocking some views to the city skyline.

Inside, it looks and feels like a brand new stadium. A tad too cool and clinically modern but this is for the new era. For most Omahaans, we’ve finally gotten used to the new place.

Part of me wanted the behind-home-plate shot to see the city, like some of the newer major league stadiums, but it does not. You can see the city from upper decks on the third base side and other neighboring structures from the first base side such as CHI Health Center and in the distance, the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge.

There was a rumor once, about a movie that takes place during the CWS and how they wanted to shoot during that time. In my opinion, doing this would take an excessive amount of preproduction planning – at least a year or two ahead. And good luck with the 800 lb gorilla of the NCAA.

IF your client likes baseball and you are coming during this time, they will love you if you get them tickets to a game. The experience outside the stadium rivals the fun of being at the game.

For years, the CWS was held at iconic, classic Rosenblatt stadium in south Omaha. From my personal perspective and my cinematic soul, I still relish the old stadium. Despite the fact that “Since we built the new one, people have come”,  many of us miss the ‘Blatt. Rosenblatt stadium WAS located at 13th Street and Bob Gibson Boulevard however it HAS been removed.

CWS at Rosenblatt Stadium Thank you ole’ friend.

Images and words COPYRIGHT © Jamie Vesay  Ask for permission to use.