Hot or Cold? So that's how it works!!!
I'm not sure where or who or what started it but it is something that has intrigued me during my travels over the last several years. I've seen them in Virginia and Mississippi as well as a couple of other places and each time I just have to laugh.
There are variations on the theme. I've seen some painted red for the hot and blue for the cold and yet others are just plain with the words hot and cold.
This set of water towers is in Ruleville, Mississippi. Ruleville sits in the Mississippi Delta on Mississippi Highway 8 not too far from Dockery Farms which is just north of where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for being able to play the guitar like none other. And in case you are saying to yourself, "I thought the Devil's Crossroads was in Clarksdale," you would only be partially correct. There is a crossroads there but that isn't the one where this event supposedly happened. There is some dispute about where the crossroads really is as you can read here but the intersection of two gravel roads directly south from Dockery about 1/2 mile is the generally accepted location... unless you are from Rosedale, Mississippi.
Ruleville is a few miles from Cleveland, Mississippi, home of Delta State University and its mascot the "Fighting Okra." Their sports teams go by the Statesmen or Lady Statesmen. You can see these water towers on the south side of Highway 8 and to the west of US Highway 49. It takes some maneuvering to figure out how to get to them but once you do is is worth it. They are very near what appears to be an old manufacturing facility.
I've been by them numerous times over the years and invariably the light wasn't right or the sky was not very pretty or it was the wrong time of the day. I have stopped to photograph them on three separate occasions. The first two times I wasn't really happy with the images so I never showed them. Then about two years ago I was traversing the Delta with my good friend David Wolanski from Delaware when we saw them from the highway and almost immediately knew this would be the right time.
A storm was brewing to the west and the sun was peaking occasionally through areas of light cloud cover. As we got to the location of the towers the storm clouds had moved in and the light wasn't as bright. Suddenly, a bright area appeared where the clouds weren't as thick and the light was landing perfectly on the water towers. We both immediately got out and begin making photographs. Within just a couple of minutes the clouds had covered the sun and it was time to move on to a different area.
A lot of time in photography luck plays a large part with creating an image, especially when shooting landscapes. The skill of the craft is being able to recognize those opportunities and putting yourself in a place to take advantage.
Titled simply, "Ruleville."
Keywords: Mississippi, Mississippi Delta, david wolanski, delta, hot and cold, photography, water towers
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