Farm Fiddlin'

I like my repeat customers. I like them a lot. I like them enough to call them my "repeat offenders."

Two of my repeat offenders hit me up every year around the time of their daughter's birthday. I've photographed that nutty little girl in gardens, in Korean pagodas, in midair... and at the eleventh hour, Momma told me how cool it would be if we went to the family farm for this year's shoot. So after about three hours of sleep after four nonstop days of work, that's exactly what we did.

  Eye iz L  akshmi!! Fear and revere me!

Eye iz Lakshmi!! Fear and revere me!

The farm is still active, but no one has lived there in nearly thirty years. Consequently, the structures have fallen into a state of disrepair. Momma was understandably upset about the dilapidated state of her childhood home. But those pictures though...

  I'm flying!! I'm flying away!!!

I'm flying!! I'm flying away!!!

I don't know what it is about decaying rural structures that make for such great photos, but I think the results speak for themselves. 

Have you ever stepped into a new environs and just began glowing at the possibilities? That's exactly how I felt when I stepped into a barn littered with tools, shotgun shells and a broken-down Jeep on a trailer. Two carefully placed speedlights later, I got this:

  She's becoming one with the decoys. I just know it. 

She's becoming one with the decoys. I just know it. 

Lighting that was stupidly easy. The key light was a dome-diffused Nikon SB-700 shot through a 14" softbox mounted on a C-stand; the box is just out of the frame over the little girl's head and to her left. I also set a dome-diffused SB-600 under and behind the Jeep and pointed it straight at the camera. That's it. Both lights were triggered with my trusty Radiopopper JRXs. No retouching or elaborate processing were needed; this image is essentially SOOC, which is photogeekspeak for "straight out of camera." 

If that photo doesn't just scream "country livin," maybe putting the little girl on a fallen tree will. 

  No smartass caption for this one. It's just too friggin' cute. 

No smartass caption for this one. It's just too friggin' cute. 

My favorite photo of the morning was actually one of the first we took. We were greeted at the gates by about five towering bales of hay that weren't exactly stacked flush with one another. We sat the little girl on a one-foot ledge, handed her a freshly picked prop, waited for the clouds to diffuse the daylight for us, and took this:

  No words for this one either. This is easily one of the best portraits I've ever taken. 

No words for this one either. This is easily one of the best portraits I've ever taken. 

I love everything about this photo. The lines, the disheveled hay, the way you can almost hear the little girl squealing... in retrospect, I might have changed the direction the flower is facing, but it's not like this really detracts from the image. This photo looks beautiful on canvas, by the way. I used a single SB-700 through a shoot-through umbrella for fill light. 

This was a fantastic first foray into country shooting. Not only did I love everything (except the heat and humidity), it was a nice respite from all the urban shooting I've been doing with my buddies JeffPeriBobby, and Kevin. Definitely looking forward to doing more of this sort of thing.