Rancher’s Wife Vs. Professional Photographer by Amanda Smith, Wyoming Photographer
Its quite a row to hoe, living the life of a Rancher’s Wife. Not just because I am dubbed (lovingly) a “Rancher’s Wife” (and yes, its actually a recognized career term in most ranching areas,) but because I’m not just a “Rancher’s Wife,” none of us really are… we are much more. And we love it. We are the partner that assists in all aspects of Ranch Chores, from fencing, to pulling calves, to cattle drives, doctoring, stitching, weaning, hauling hay, you name it. And we love it. Our husband’s are called “Ranchers,” because that is what they do, they Ranch for a living, and its an incredible way to live.
I take my title of Rancher’s Wife quite seriously, but perhaps not literally. I wonder if that makes sense to any of you who might be reading this? I can do everything the Rancher does, albeit closing a fence might take a little more oomph, and in that case a little bit longer than my husband might need, but I can and have done everything he can do. I’m skilled at all the heavy equipment on our ranch, I can operate a John Deere, (small and huge,) a Caterpillar, a skid steer, grader, six by six, and the ranch fire truck. And I’m sure I’ve missed a few.
Even better news than this responsibility I inherited when I married my husband? Being able to use my Professional Photographic Skills to capture some of the most amazing art one could imagine of the American West. The working cowboy.
Just think about it. After stitching up a newborn calf for whatever reason the situation might have entailed, I can wash my hands, grab my trusty camera and photograph those babies that make the hearts move of animal lovers everywhere. More-so, while moving cattle during a five or seven hour push, or even a quick push, I experience ample opportunity, when time permits, to photograph the land, horses, cowboys, the cattle, Eagles, badgers, and that of my very own cowboy, the Rancher. Its a love affair between being there for my husband as a Rancher’s Wife, and being able to create some darn good artwork out of the photographs I create on our ranch.
Opportunities also arise when my husband and I go to annual bull sales, after picking out and examining which bulls will work best with our herds, I happily engage in some fast shutter photographing of the Auctioneer, the cowboys bidding in the front row, and the ring man who loudly call out the new bids. Capturing that emotion is one of my all time favorite things to capture. And I love when those who view those photographs, feel the moment I intended on capturing. Success. That’s what the end result is for me, when someone can feel what I felt when I captured that moment.
I love to weave stories into the photographs I capture while working on our ranch, and I love it when my clients and customers openly tell me that they felt like they were there.
Now keep in mind, I don’t just photograph happenings on our ranch, I travel for my photography and I capture and create all walks of life, I just happen to be most passionate about the one I’m living as a Rancher’s Wife.
Its long hours, and hard seasons living the life of a Rancher’s Wife. But the benefits that come with this well earned title, are well worth blood, sweat and tears a woman puts into her husband’s ranch. Especially when she’s combining that love, with her own love… like I am; Photography.
Amanda Smith, Wyoming Photographer