The boy is back. On our first Arizona winter stay in 2011-2012, we saw a large cutout of a boy in front of a tractor, playing with another tractor. That piece of art disappeared when the Arizona Department of Highways started construction of a stack that would become the interchange for I-10 and the newly constructed AZ-303 loop that services the extreme western edge of the Phoenix metro. It seems the boy and his two tractors were in the way of the interchange construction. When the boy disappeared, there were rumors of a promised return.
The other day, we were northbound on the 303, and near the Glendale Avenue exit, I glanced to the right and caught a glimpse of the boy, this time with only one tractor and with two “small” adults looking on. Of course, I had to ask Lynn to drive while we went by so I could capture a cellphone shot of the newly repainted artwork.
For reference, here’s the original image from 2012. Note that at that time, they were already prepping the terrain for the construction of the AZ-303 stack. This photo was taken from the westbound slow lane of the I-10 while Lynn drove. For a size comparison, that blue tractor is a real farm tractor, not a cutout. As you can see, this toddler is a big boy!
About the photo (the opening photo, that is…) Captured with my Samsung S20U, the photo really shows off the power of the S20U. This image was highly cropped from the cellphone snap to remove extraneous details (like the door frame and car exterior mirror). The original image was a 12,000×9,000 megapixel image, but I cropped it down to 2800×2100 for processing in Adobe Lightroom and Luminar AI. When the final tweaks were completed, I exported it to the usual 1024×768 for publication here.
By comparing the original image from 2012 as well as the latest image captured on December 27, 2020, you can easily see the improvement in camera capabilities as well as computer post-processing tools. In fairness to the camera used in 2012, however, it appears that in 2012, the cutout was in need of a fresh paint job. Especially compare the newly painted wheels on the tractor in the latest image. It appears the entire cutout has been refreshed.