Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Smiling in the Cold

As a location photographer I travel all over the world meeting and photographing wonderful people.  From small towns with a few hundred people to huge cities.  Every trip is always an adventure.  From the places I experience, to the people I meet.  I always look forward to these assignments.  The logistics of what to take, getting there, photographing amazing photographs, connecting with my subjects, and of course a ton of good stories I cherish for years.

Recently I made a trip to Nebraska for a corporate client.  We photographed in 3 small towns and the larger city, Omaha.  The assignment was photographing farmers, ranchers and community bankers.

Our goal was to take nice candids of these subjects working and also take connected portraits that are more along the line as candids.  Steer away from the polished portraits that we see so often (and I am also known for) and capture their slice of life.

Our biggest challenge was the cold and wind on this trip.  The first 3 days it was about 10 degrees and a wind chill of below 20F.  This is a bump in the road when you want to capture the life of a farmer and nobody really wants to go outside.  The above subjects only inside location of interest was their living room. Though I felt this would be too sterile of a portrait.  I felt an outside location with this couple would allow us to create a more connected portrait.  So, outside we went with a smile.

Have you ever smiled when it's 20 below zero and blowing like crazy?  A smile doesn't last long because your teeth begin to feel like they are going to fall out from being frozen.  The advantage of being so cold was the muddy cattle pins we had to drive and walk through were all frozen.  I didn't need to change to my boots.  So, off we went and drove out to the horses and photographed them feeding them.  I had the challenges of making the couple look a little warmer then it was and do this all in a few minutes.  It was bitter cold, though this scene made these subjects more down to earth, approachable and connected with the viewer than an inside portrait.  Anyone can be photographed in a living room.

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