True wilderness has its attractions, but I have always been equally interested in documenting man’s impact on rural landscapes. Formulating my most recent hardcover book on agriculture has served to focus my attention even more on this sector. Grey County ideally suits both my temperament and my photographic needs. I’ve found that back road journeys in Grey always uncovers something of interest:
Don’t neglect winter for a rural ramble. The best photo ops come when the weather is “dramatic”. Unfortunately, this can also mean challenging driving conditions.
Normanby Township Concession 12, West Grey
Cows are the perfect photo subjects. They are instantly aware of you, always curious and will neither ignore you nor run away.
Concession 2A, Chatsworth
Springtime is ideal for a drive down Grey County back roads. Here, apple blossoms in the Bighead Valley complement the delicate green tones characteristic of the season.
Grey Road 12, Meaford
Dairy farms provide the best example of how technology has changed the face of agriculture. Twice each day here at Grey County’s Henria Farms, 600 cows step calmly into the 50 stall rotating milking carousel for their 12 minute ride.
Southgate Sideroad 07 south of Grey Road 14
Grey leads all Ontario Counties in sheep numbers, so they are easy to find. On this day, the hoar frost was a photographic bonus.
Concession 2 SDR, Bentinck Township, West Grey
Harvest time offers opportunities for dramatic farm activity photos. Urgency is suggested by the unloading of the wheat on the move. Never stopping while off-loading can save an hour or more in the course of a day’s harvesting.
Grey Road 9 in West Grey east of Neustadt
Females are playing an increasingly important role in both management and operations on Grey County farms. Kerri, the plowgirl in the photo, is working toward a career as an agronomist/crop specialist.
From a photographer’s point of view, don’t hesitate to explore on cloudy days. I prefer overcast for people or machinery photos. Such weather avoids problems with shadows and allows the saturated colours to pop. Here, the red/green mix of complementary colours in the absence of other hues was an unplanned bonus.
Concession 11, Meaford
Flowering canola adds a splash of colour to early summer... another reason for a back road tour. Acreage of this cash crop has grown in Grey County as producers seek another option for their rotation.
Sideroad 4B north of Williamsford, Municipality of Chatsworth
Plowing matches provide a late summer outing for farmers and great photo ops. Grey County plowmen were crowned Canadian champion in both 2014 and 2016.
Normanby Township sideroad 10, West Grey
It’s a family affair on Grey County farms. Here, father and son plant a cover crop without tillage immediately after wheat harvest, an eco-friendly procedure becoming more commonplace.
Grey Road 9 in Normanby Township, West Grey
Fifty years ago, as a young graduate in search of a career, I was seeing Grey County for the first time. I was an impressionable farm boy and fell under the spell of its pastoral landscapes. I stayed. Over the years, exploration of this large and diverse county has both stimulated my artistic sensibilities and kept me in touch with my rural roots. Since retirement, my lifelong interest in photography has been reinforced by advances in digital technology and refocused by projects resulting in the self-publishing of several regional photo books.
Telfer Wegg was born and raised on a dairy farm in Ontario’s York County and has a degree in agriculture from the University of Guelph. He has been a resident of Grey County since 1963, living in the village of Neustadt since 1969. He welcomes visits to his home and studio at 729 Queen Street.
Telfer’s photographic work includes many local images together with scenes from across North America and 52 countries around the world. Although most of his photographs interpret the natural world, others reflect man’s role in the forming of our landscape. His farm background and education give him a respect for the traditions of rural life and an eye for the light and texture which create compelling outdoor compositions.
In recent years, Telfer’s professional emphasis has shifted to self-publishing, with five regional books having been produced featuring his own photographs. Most of his recent photographic projects have been developed with books in mind. The latest undertaking is a book featuring Ontario agriculture, which was released in early 2017.
Now with over 21,000 digital images and 4,800 scans of older slides on his hard drive, he is well equipped to continue to provide stock photography for publication in calendars, brochures and magazines. In addition, he also markets postcards, greeting cards and framed photos both privately and through the Owen Sound Artists’ Co-op and other selected Ontario outlets.