We’ve been tossing around the idea of this series since seeing a wonderful cover photo on an old issue of the Holstein Journal last fall. We’ve asked industry photographers to choose their favorite scenic or cover photograph that they’ve ever taken, and to tell us a bit of the story behind the picture. Our dairy photographers are immensely talented creators, and we’re delighted that the first in the series is from Ella Wright, a former co-owner of Cowsmopolitan and proud resident of western Canada – a location that often figures prominently in her work! This was featured in our 2020 fall issue.
I was working with Patty Jones / Canadian Livestock Photography at the time, and I was tasked with making some images that would be used for the National Convention that was to be held in Calgary in 1999. John Iversen and I went west of Olds, Alberta scouting for possible locations. We actually scouted all over our county looking for a good mountain view. We ended up about 30 minutes west of Sundre, Alberta, where we found a meadow with the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop. We didn’t
know if it was crown land or if someone owned it. There were a couple of horses behind a fence there, so we left a note hoping the owners might respond, but we never heard anything back,
I clipped the two cows the night before at John’s farm in Olds. John washed them that morning and we loaded up the cows, brushes, clippers, feed, water, and a generator in the trailer and headed west. Once we arrived, I touched up the clip job in the bright light of day, and cleaned them up again from the trailer ride.
The icing on the cake was that it had rained overnight, and there was a brand new puddle in the field. Not only did we get the mountains in the background, but we also got a reflection of the cows and the mountains in the foreground. That was back in the pre-digital era, and I was still shooting on film with my Hasselblad camera. In those days, you didn’t really know what you had until the prints got back from the CLPI office, but I was really happy to see that we had created an image that captured the majesty of Alberta and western Canada!