Shooting people is easier than shooting animals. Photographer Danny Fulgencio said something to that effect after his experience at Barnyard at Park Lane Ranch, where I sent him to shoot — with a camera, that is — the animals for our “Do Lake Highlands Like a Tourist” story.
“Every photographic subject presents its own set of challenges, whether it be a plate of enchiladas, the facade of a vintage theater or a Texas wildfire,” our photographer says. “Personally, I find that children and domesticated animals are among the most challenging.”
“Let’s face it,” he continues, “most adults take direction fairly well. Children, however, have their own agendas and lose interest quickly. As for animals, try telling a goat, cat or rabbit to angle 20-degrees left so they’ll stand in more flattering light. You can try—and I have—but the results are often disappointing.”
“It helps to establish a non-threatening rapport with your four-legged model. Anticipation, slow movements, a calm demeanor and tremendous patience may also work in your favor. When all else fails, there’s always bribery with food. Whether feline, bovine or human, it’s hard to turn down a free meal.”
I witnessed first-hand the challenge that goes into capturing the image of a partially tamed animal when I accompanied Can Turkyilmaz to photograph Lisa Odwyer’s prize-winning goat Briar Bay at her farm in nearby Poetry, TX last fall for our State Fair issue.
Show goats are judged more by their lactation system than their behavior, Odwyer noted.
Yeah, we quickly learned goats don’t do direction. We lured Briar Bay onto a picnic table and used string to tie the blue ribbon around her rotund belly. Odwyer managed to hold her attention with snacks one second, jumping out of the frame the next, repeatedly, about a hundred times, before we finally got this shot. Then Briar Bay ate her ribbon.
Perhaps our most-cooperative and beautiful beast yet (no offense Briar Bay) was Slew Devil, the retired race horse who currently resides at the stables near White Rock. Turkyilmaz also took these photos for the recent “Aww-inspiring pets” story.
Slew hammed it up, contentedly running alongside our cameraman.