The Best Kind of Photography Job

by | Apr 30, 2022 | Pic of the Month, Stories & Expeditions | 0 comments

It was very dark when I pulled into the driveway. But the headlights revealed quite a stately homestead. A gate led through an ivy-wrapped archway into a manicured back lawn where a shapely pool reflected the light reflecting off the clouds from downtown Dallas, 20 miles away. Dry oak leaves crunched under my feet as I walked down a path toward a flickering lantern marking the spot where I was to go. June bugs buzzed. A gecko darted into the shadows. The wind gently rattled the screen as I slowly opened the door to enter the most cozy little guest house you can imagine!

I had arrived at my accommodations for the Texas Homeschool Coalition convention. It was the perfect spot! And my gracious hosts even let me stay despite the fact that they were not home! They had other ministry outreaches to attend to last weekend. But we did stay in touch via text. And the day before the convention ended, they sent me a question:

“Hey James! Quick question…across the road from our house is that beautiful field and acreage with the old farmhouse on it. That farmhouse was built by the Lowhorn family back in the 1880s! Mr. Lowehorn served under Robert E Lee in the Civil War. It’s been a Rockwall favorite photo spot for many for years. Well, sadly that property has just been sold to be developed. Our family has found so much peace and rest daily looking out seeing that pasture—they just took the cows away before Christmas. Sad smile If you have time, could we pay you to take some close up photos of the old house and wide shots of the pasture from our driveway? No problem if you don’t have time, but just wanted to ask!?”

“If you have time”? Of course I would make time! What a great excuse for some landscape photography!

“Old house and pasture”? This is like the best job you could ever ask me to do!

“Could we pay you”? What? Of course not! This would make the perfect gift for allowing me to stay at your amazing guest house!

They provided a few more specifics too. Not just photos from their driveway, but a special view from off of 549 too, if I didn’t mind.

“A special view from 549?” No way! The day before they had asked, I had driven by that exact spot on my way back from a full day at convention, saw the old homestead, and thought “That was a pretty view. Maybe I should stop and shoot it.” But immediately, my thought was, “Ah, no, I don’t have time really. Maybe I’ll have time tomorrow evening.” But then I thought, “Actually, I’m probably going to be getting in late tomorrow. It will be after dark. And tomorrow is the last evening. And look at the sunlight right now! It’s perfect. Ok, let me find a spot to turn around.”

So I turned around and took a few shots!

220422_James Staddon_2902 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 200 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 100

220422_James Staddon_2903 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 200 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 100

And I’m glad I did! The next morning (the day I left) was the only other time I had to photograph the homestead. And though the view was still pretty in the morning, I’m glad I had the variety of photos from both sunrise and sunset golden hours.

220424_James Staddon_2936 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 35 mm, 1-400 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 100

220424_James Staddon_3077 W

Old Lowehorn Farm
Rockwall, Texas
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And these are the shots I took from the driveway and close to their house.

220424_James Staddon_2909 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 25 mm, 1-30 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 200

With this shot I wanted to give them a perspective from their front door.

220424_James Staddon_2919 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 20 mm, 1-400 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 100

And I figured the view from their mailbox was something they would want to remember.

220424_James Staddon_3066 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 70 mm, 1-400 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 100

And this is literally the view from their driveway, and what you can see of the homestead. Even though the wires are prominent, that’s what it was like!

220424_James Staddon_2923 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-60 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 100

Then I walked out across the road to get some wide shots of the acreage itself.

220424_James Staddon_2925 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-60 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 100

Trying to get a little creative with it.

220424_James Staddon_2935 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-125 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 100

And this I think was my favorite shot, with the soft light and intentional framing.

So, it was the perfect kind of photography job. In retrospect, I’m glad I acted on the urge to stop and photograph the beautiful scene from 549 before I even knew it was going to be beneficial to photograph it!

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