When Greenville, South Carolina-based photographer Jack Robert Connolly visited Denver Downs, he was there to capture the 150th anniversary of the family-owned farm for Community Journals. What he didn’t know at the time was that one of his ‘test’ photographs from this assignment would be selected to be on the cover of the Greenville Journal.
When Jack arrived at the farm, his assistant Daniel Snipes started walking across several bales of hay so Jack quickly set up his lighting to be able to get a few images of the scene.
The cover image was a test shot that ended up working perfectly for the front cover! He was in action walking across the hay, with his shirt, jacket, and sleeves all lining up with the horizon. I placed a strobe in front of him to create some dynamic lighting and snapped away as he walked.
Denver Downs is a family-owned rural farm in Anderson, South Carolina. The farm has a long history in Greenville county, having been around since 1869. More recently, the working farm pivoted towards “farm tourism” and added family-friendly attractions, games, and other outdoor activities, including a corn maze.
I absolutely loved getting to explore this farm, and getting to know the owner!
Jack wanted his photographs to convey the fun spirit of the farm, and he was able to accomplish this by getting one of the kids to have fun on a large trampoline. He utilized the natural light from the sunset and a strobe light to create a glow in the images that express a warm and jovial atmosphere.
It’s always a little challenging shooting into the sun, but mastering lighting, having quick autofocus, and knowing the exact moment to shoot made for a fun photo.
Jack also photographed the corn maze, a popular attraction on the farm, with a drone to be able to show a “birds-eye” view of the intricate artwork on the maze. The artwork, made by cutting a path through corn stalks, can best be seen from overhead and celebrates the farm’s 150th anniversary.
The corn maze is made using ‘cutting edge’ (see what I did there!?) technology on a GPS-guided tractor — kinda amazing!
Jack’s experience on the farm taught him that you’ve got to keep your eyes open and your camera ready for any and all opportunities — sometimes the best shot happens when you least expect it.
I learned that the “unplanned” or “in-between” shots could be some of the best content created. Sometimes, those become the best shot of the day.