So, I am pretty into photography, at this point. That isn't to say that I'm any good at it, or that I've made any great effort to study the technicalities, simply that I enjoy it, and find it to be one of my favorite aspects of having the farm. If we had a working dairy farm, or a production pork operation, I would have little cause to photograph things, but our main focus is on producing seedstock (breeding stock), so I get to photograph things a lot. The main thing that I photograph is alpacas.
I'm no great expert at alpaca photography, but there are a few things that I have learned. One is that the most gorgeous animal can be made to look like a sack of crap with bad photography. It's a lot easier to take a bad photograph than it is to take a good one. A photograph where the animal's butt is to the camera; where it's making a dumb face; or where it's slouching like the hunchback of Notre Dam is probably going to be a bad photograph, at least as far as promoting your animals is concerned. However, all alpaca breeders know that alpacas do not always strut around the pasture with their ears facing forward, posing like they were in the show ring. (Some do – we could name a few names – and we love those animals – but they sure don't all do that!) So, sometimes it takes some effort to get them to stand up and pose for the camera.
The ideal is when something happens to make the animals do this on their own. For example, we recently brought home a kitten to help control rodents when he is older. (Yes, this is controversial, but that's a topic for another post.) The kitten was a source of great fascination for the alpacas, and resulted in a whole lot of awesome posing 'paca pics that would not have been attainable otherwise. Harmony, pictured here, is a master at putting his ears back the moment he sees the camera. When the kitten came to explore their paddock, I was able to get a whole bunch of photos of Harmony with his ears forward for once. (Here's one of them.)
My Dad's dog, pig noises, and boys tussling in the next paddock over also all present good opportunities for nice alpaca poses.
Sometimes, though, the opportunities just do not present themselves, and you have to make them. I have tried squeaky toys, and that sometimes works, but usually not for very long. Kubota, our appaloosa junior herdsire, is one of those boys who is awesome at not putting his ears up for the camera. I have tried taking my hat off and waving it around, and sometimes that works, but not today. So, in a moment of inspiration, I decided to put the hat in an odd place: on top of white junior herdsire Dually Noted. I expected that DN would get confused and shake the hat off, thus catching 'Bota's attention, but he did not. In fact, he did not seem to care about the hat at all.
Kubota found the hat on his butt to be utterly fascinating, and I was able to get my posed shot.
After about five minutes, DN decided to roll in the dirt, and the hat came off. So, I decided to see if he would let me put it on his head this time.
This guy. (Did I mention that temperament is a major component of our breeding program?)
It almost looks Photoshopped, but it isn't. Here's the same shot from an ever so slightly different angle.
Next stop: Alpacas with sunglasses.
The usual way to get posed alpaca pictures is, of course, is to put the alpaca on a halter, but where's the fun in that?
PS. If you are wondering why there are no pictures of the kitten, it's because he is so darn affectionate that he does not leave my side, making him very difficult to photograph. I'll get pictures of him one of these days!
K writes this stuff, for some reason that has yet to become apparent.