Agriculture can be a great subject for your photography.
Like wild animals, many farm breeds as well as farming methods are disappearing. There is interest in images of these methods/breeds, both as advocacy for maintaining diversity in livestock and to document what could be lost.
To do photography of this nature, I recommend keeping an eye open for events that celebrate old time farming. There you can make the images directly, or make connections that will allow you to photograph the animals later under better circumstances.
Also look for anything that might not be connected with loss of old methods/breeds, but is unusual in a different way. As you can see in my gallery of agricultural images, I have photographed the nostalgic items as well as farming that struck me as unusual and a friend doing genetic research for his graduate study.
Wanted to write a bit to you about one of my favorite lighting accessories; the Lastolite 8:1 TriGrip Reflector. The gallery photos in this entry were made using only the sun and one TriGrip.
It’s fairly simple to use, although it usually does require an assistant. I bought the one with the various “skins” you can put over it to control the light, although it’s now available in a deluxe kit with stand and all and I do not have that one. I’m not sure whether it wasn’t available then, or I decided against it for some reason.
Anyhow, my favorite way to use it is to place the subject such that they are side or backlit by the sun, with the sun definitely not shining in their eyes and then fill with the reflection from the TriGrip. It’s helpful to know the angle of incidence equals angle of reflection thing to speed the aiming, but essentially, you can watch where the big bright spot of light falls. The first time you use one of these outdoors, I’m pretty sure you’ll be surprised how efficient it is. I know what really surprised me is how much difference it still makes when the sun is cloaked by clouds.
One little detail I learned the day I photographed the young man studying the raspberries (more on that in the next paragraph) is that I usually like to keep the assistant with the TriGrip close to me. If the reflection is coming from close to the camera it prevents the two light source look.
Now a little story about all the images but the one of the dog, my Labrador, Tawny. In the interest of getting some stock images I arranged with a then graduate student I knew to photograph him gathering data for his thesis. He was researching black raspberries for his thesis, so these images could cross over several keyword categories people might use in a search; science, student, agriculture. However, how I originally met this guy, Michael Dossett, gave another dimension to the shoot. He is also a photographer and we met because one day we happened to be photographing ducks in the same spot. This meant that Michael knew precisely what I needed. It was like working with a professional model as far as his knowledge of what would look good. In addition, he was able to provide additional guidance to my assistant in aiming the TriGrip.
Many of you probably know that I am really getting into photographing things of historical interest. I am especially enjoying images of antique machinery that I then exaggerate the detail in post. (The exaggerated detail I usually do through one of three methods; HDR, Nik Color Efex Pro’s detail extractor, or Nik Color Efex Pro’s tonal contrast.)
Well today I thought I’d tell you a bit about a location that had a lot to do with encouraging my enthusiasm in this realm of photography; Thompson Mills State Heritage Site.
This site is the oldest still standing grist mill in Oregon. It is near Shedd, Oregon, a farm community with other historic interest. The state has restored the site for educational purposes, and it is quite interesting. The site has examples of the machinery as well as a demonstration table of how flour is made and a demonstration area of how the mill was built.
I suggest you go. I think I’m going to make a return trip tomorrow.