Earlier this year we received a call from our editors at Field and Stream magazine to photograph their Heroes of Conservation finalists for 2013. Since 2005, the magazine has been profiling and recognizing a handful of dedicated sportsmen and women who work to protect, improve, or create wildlife habitat and embody the spirit of conservation.
Weâ€™ve had the honor of meeting and photographing some of these heroes in the past, (you may remember we blogged about the shoots last fall) and this year was particularly significant because we were given the task to photograph all six of the Heroes. Taking us from Wisconsin to Maryland, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, and Oklahoma in the span of two weeks, this assignment was a whirlwind tour of the country. We wrapped up these shoots having met and made great photos of six inspiring conservationists. Weâ€™re excited to share the stories and the behind the scenes for each shoot â€“ The fourth story of six comes from our day in southern Oklahoma with the president of the Oklahoma chapter of Quail Forever, Laura McIver. Keep reading for more portraits and behind the scenes…
We were up for a very early start on this shoot, on the road before dawn to make the drive up from Dallas to Marietta, Oklahoma – the site of a new habitat project that Laura’s conservation group was working on. As you can tell by the roads – or lack thereof in the shot above, it was a good thing we rented an SUV.
Laura wasn’t our only subject that day… we also met and photographed Abby, one of the best bird hunting dogs in Oklahoma. Abby was a pretty good subject, but definitely got distracted when she spotted anything flying off in the distance.
Spending the day with Laura, we learned her history – traveling and living around the country in a handful of states before settling down in Oklahoma. Amazed by the beauty of the great plains, she strives to fight for the ecosystem that the Midwest represents and specifically the quail that call that it home.
We traveled to three locations within the quail habitat, shooting Laura and Abby, using a very straightforward setup that we’ve been keeping consistent for the entirety of our Heroes project. Our kit included the workhorse 36” octabank, 2000 w/s power pack and in this case a 3500 watt generator (not fun to carry around – but rental options are limited in southern Oklahoma).
Since we were shooting in overhead sun for a portion of our shoot, we used that to our advantage as a natural back-light and setup a few shots where our octabank was functioning as both our key light and flag to block the sun on our subject. Always helpful when you’re working in bright sun.
And of course I stepped in for a few test frames. I wanted to get one with Abby, but I think she was off chasing birds at this point – her loss.