Capturing this wonderful photograph, from the words of Amanda Smith Wyoming Photographer
There is nothing quite like photographing Wyoming in the fall. The great cowboy state offers a plethora of “shooting” opportunities and I ventured out to get just that. With the leaves already in full character of their fall colors in some parts of the state, I was eager to find a good cross between a cowboy, a horse, and Autumn. (whoever she is, ar ar ar.)
Settling down of a dusty road somewhere in the middle of Wyoming, I lazily pulled my truck over for a look-see of what might be around this beautiful grove of oaks and ranch land I’d ventured near. Grabbing my sack lunch from the backseat of old red, and a bottle of cold Iced Tea, I turned the truck off and left the radio on low volume, enjoying the soft but masculine tones of the “Man in Black.” Biting into my cold bologna and mustard sandwich (who doesn’t like those?) I watched a cowboy driving a truck hauling a trailer pull in behind me, and then as I slowly chewed on my lunch, beside me, and then past me. Catching a glimpse of him, I saw the buckaroo style hat he was wearing and the load of horses he was hauling, and my photographic mind began to go wild. ”Oh please stop, please stop and unload those horses, and please be wearing something other than sweatpants and sneakers with that brazenly cool cowboy hat” I silently whispered through a mouth full of meat, white bread and mustard.
Urrrkkkk… the truck and trailer came to a halt about 100 yards in front of me and around a bend of those oh so gorgeous bright yellow oak trees (or where they cottonwoods? hell I didn’t know, but I guess I better find out if I am going to be photographing them.) And God knows I was praying I’d be doing just that, complete with cowboy and horses.
Out that cowboy jumped from the cab of his silver dodge and wouldn’t you know it, he was wearing red buckaroo boots, the tightest pair of jeans I have ever seen, and a neck-kerchief to boot. ”Are you kidding me?” I thought to myself as I marveled at the opportunity laying itself out in front of me. Quickly finishing off the rest of my sandwich and slamming down a huge amount of iced tea to swish around in my mouth (ensuring there were no sandwich pieces stuck to my teeth) I climbed out of the cab of old red and lumbered into the back seat to grab my camera out of its fully padded and extremely tough camera bag.
Reeeek…. I heard the familiar noise of the back of a horse trailer being opened up, and I froze. ”AND he’s going to unload the horse?” giddy with a ridiculous amount of excitement I quickly but quietly shut the door to my truck and sauntered over to the cowboy and his entourage. ”Excuse me, I’m here creating some western photographic art shots and I’d be deeply obliged if you wouldn’t mind my photographing whatever it is your doing, unless its something bad.” I said through a smile as he looked up at me. Studying me for a brief moment, I was lost in translation. ”Oh, wait, here” and I handed him my business card (which clearly means I am a professional and not a robber, right?) Taking the card that really nice cowboy said “have at it” and walked up into the trailer.
Alright, that was easy. I wasn’t going to waste this precious moment by making small talk so I set my camera for the proper exposure of the day – the good ole Sunny 16 rule – and promptly set my F-stop at 16 and my exposure at 60th of a second (aka 60.) Not wanting to start out too close, lest I miss the scope of what was unfolding before my eyes, I made my way back to old red and turned around to study this morsel through my 70-200mm lens. Dropping back to about halfway on the zoom, I watched this unknown cowboy unload first one, then two, then three, then a fourth horse.
What freaking luck was I having right about now?
Three chestnut colored horses and a black one, one tall cowboy wearing a pair of red buckaroo boots leading said pack of horses to a nearby watering hole. All surrounded by the prettiest Wyoming oak trees, completely dressed in fall colors, that I have ever seen. THAT’S what kind of luck I was having.
Off and shooting I went, snap… did I even need another? Snap… Nope. it just isn’t going to get better than this. Everybody has seen the cowboy leaning over the watering hole with his horse. I wasn’t interested in trying to re-invent the wheel with something that was already done superbly by another Western Photographic Artist. I had the shot I wanted, and I already was madly in love with the image I had just created.
“Hey, thanks!” I yelled, as I climbed back up in my truck.” No problem, he yelled back and waved. ”I can send you a print if you like?” I said. ”I’m not really a print kind of guy” he yelled back. “I hope you got a couple of good ones.” and off he went.
Holy CAMOLY I thought to myself. What a GREAT day this turned out to be! Checking the LCD (because I’m obsessive like that) on my Nikon I viewed what would surely be a prize winning photo, noted by the beating of my heart and the adrenalin racing through my body. It was good, I loved it. I cannot wait to get it on the big screen. And off I went.
Folks this photo was created in a very spur of the moment, kind of moment. Sometimes, well most all of the time for me, those can offer up the very best kinds of moments. Those moments where you really feel something in your heart when you depress that shutter button. This is a good lesson to remember to always have your camera with you. You never know when a great moment is going to unfold in front of you. Be on the ready to capture it.
Have a great day and God Bless!
Amanda Smith, Wyoming Photographer
Shooting for Christ, Focusing on God ©
Click here for my first discussion on Capturing Fall in Wyoming: www.amandasmithphotography.com