This session is at the top of my favorites list. To say that I was excited when I scheduled it is putting it lightly. I am a country girl and this was the first “country” session I’ve had in years. When we first got horses at my Grandpa’s farm, he dropped his own hay and baled it. I used to go over during the summers and help pitch the hay bales onto the trailer, and then help stack them in the barn. There came a time when cutting our own hay wasn’t plausible (fields needed re-seeded, Grandpa was getting old, etc). This is where Ainsley’s family comes in… my grandfather started buying hay from her father (whom is cousins with my Aunt Jineen and he also used to work with my uncle in a factory). We bought our hay from them for quite some time and that’s how I met her father. I never had met the rest of the family until our session back in September.
When I spoke with her mom over the phone to schedule, she had some great ideas as starting points. To say I was excited to do this shoot is putting it lightly. Their property is a little slice of heaven and pair that with a beautiful girl, her awesome cows and dog… picture perfect. When I arrived, the cows were freshly bathed and clipped as they had recently gotten back from a trip to the state fair. We decided to start with some portraits with them before heading up on the hill.
So, I’d like to formally introduce you to Ainsley and her two limousin beauties, Abbie and her bull calf Chester.
They aren’t just a pretty face either. The pair with Ainsley are very accomplished. At the Tioga County Fair they won grand champion cow/calf, and they were also grand champion cow/calf at the Steuben County Fair. Then they hauled to the New York State Fair and there they won reserve grand champion cow/calf. After our photo shoot, they went down to show in the Keystone International Livestock Exposition in Harrisburg, PA where they placed first in the cow/calf class!
At this point, I think Chester was getting a little bored with it all so we gave him a quick break and moved on to some portraits of just Ainsley and Abbie.
Right about now it started to sprinkle. Half of the sky looked dark but it was moving away so we stayed out and continued to shoot.
I really love this candid shot of Ainsley’s little sister leading Chester down to a different shooting spot.
Anyone who follows my work knows that I love the candids/unposed shots just as much (if not more) than the planned shots. I really love the way the light was filtering through the thin layer of clouds and lighting up those raindrops. This is Ainsley, her mom and her sister leading the cows back to the barn.
We went back down to the same spot to grab a few shots of the three siblings together.
Everywhere you turn there’s another beautiful backdrop!
This photo was the one they choose for the yearbook.
Ainsley’s dog Maci is just beautiful. The bond they share is obvious, she’s such a happy girl. I really loved these shots with them together, it really gets me in the feels.
Then we hopped into the truck and up the hill we went. First stop was this neat old bus. Her uncle used to drive it and when he retired he parked it up in the corner of the field under the canopy of some big trees. They told a story about how in the winter they would head up to the top and go sledding down the massive hill. Once back up to the top, a toasty warm bus would be waiting for them.
Back in the truck and up to the second hay field, the sun was beginning to set. I knew that I wanted to grab a silhouette shot, but I wasn’t sure how to get Ainsley up high enough. Well, duh… a hay field equals hay bales and so I had her stand on top of one for this shot and the next one.
The sun may have hid for the first half of the session but it peeked out at the absolute perfect time.
The rolling hills, the fields, the clover, the timothy, the sunlight, my subject…… just beautiful.
This is the shot, that we were hoping for all night. Her mom had this vision of Ainsey walking through the soy bean fields at sunset. Leading up to this we really weren’t sure the timing was going to work or if the clouds would cooperate but I don’t think it could have been more perfect.
Doesn’t the black and white conversion give it a whole different mood?
The sun had set and we made our way back down the hill, stopping at a few more spots. I back light the majority of my photos, but this time of night is also magical. Once the sun goes down there’s a small window of time where this soft light spreads over the landscape. It’s such a perfect light.
And last but certainly not least, the final set of images we did was against this white wash wood barn. I am really glad we waited until the end of the session because the soft light really played into all the light colors. Great way to end a great session.
I truly enjoyed every second of this shoot and am so giddy over the amount of images we got. There were so many beautiful spots and totally different looks for each set. I am incredibly grateful to have been the one to capture the beauty (inside and out) of Ainsley!