A few months back, I was asked to photograph a lovely young family with the sweetest, happiest baby boy! Not only was the entire family beautiful and photogenic, but we were lucky to have some gorgeous Fall foliage to add to the scene! I wasn’t entirely prepared for the session, however, because I failed to bring a toy or noise-maker to distract Baby Boy and get him to look toward the camera. I made do though, with a branch of crackly, dried leaves that he seemed to find amusing when shaken!The session didn’t take long, but we managed to capture some fun moments with the new parents and their pride-and-joy. Hopefully, these will be images they can cherish forever and perhaps I will see them next Fall, when they welcome Baby #2!
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure at least a few of them are dirt. I grew up in the country, on a sprawling farm and ranch at the end of a dusty road. My father and uncle acquired the operation from my grandfather, who had taken over for my great-grandfather and, well, I guess you could say that agriculture is a family tradition of ours.
Part of that tradition includes “working cattle” which generally means gathering the herds back to the homestead in order to be sure each of them are properly recorded, have been administered necessary vaccinations, and are branded. It’s a big job and requires lots of help, which is why many of my siblings and I head home to join in the process.
This year, we were especially thankful to have beautiful, sunny weather. While I’ll admit I am a lot less helpful when I am behind my camera, I thought it was important to capture some of the moments that we take for granted. The American cowboy is a dying breed and traditions such as these are not as common as they once were. It’s funny how sometimes you have to grow up and move away from something before you can truly appreciate it. I’ve always been proud of my roots, but as a child, I had no idea just how special my family really is.
It makes my heart glad to see my nieces and nephews pitching in to sort the cows and calves and relieve the older generation of some of the physical demands. A lot has changed over the years, but some things stay the same, like the way my uncles like to good-naturedly banter with the youngsters, or my dad’s never-ending wisecracks. Abundant laughter and good conversation are what take this from being a hard day’s work and change it into something lively and entertaining.
I love watching my family work together and I’m grateful to be a part of these experiences. There is something infinitely satisfying when, at the end of the day, your hands are dirty, your body is sore, and your boots and jeans are splattered with mud. It’s about more than just the task at hand, it’s about taking pride in what you do. It’s through that pride and the lessons that come with it that help the legacy to live on.
Each family has their own particular “thing” which they enjoy doing together. For some families, it may be Sunday afternoon football and wings, for others it’s a tense game of Monopoly. My family, however, is a little different. We have always had a healthy interest in history – particularly that of our ancestors and of the local areas. We’ve spent many summers exploring abandoned stone houses, combing the fields for arrowheads and other Native American artifacts, and touring tiny country graveyards while piecing together stories from older locals.
Last October, while working in the field, my father came across several piece of broken china all located in one place in the field. He brought them home to show us, which of course piqued our interest. Before we knew it, my brothers, parents, and I were out in the field, digging. Turns out we had stumbled upon what was at one time a prairie homestead—exciting considering the last registered homestead in that area would have been around 100 years ago.
Below is a video I made of our afternoon dig. It’s mostly just a documented family outing, but it was a lot of fun! Yes, we are pretending to be archaeologists. No, that isn’t out of the ordinary for us. Enjoy!