Dad could picture the shot: a cowboy struggling through a rainstorm with a calf. To create “Cowboy and Calf in the Rain” needed to produce a rainstorm. He’d do so with a tool called a Hale pump. Firefighters use Hale pumps everyday to pump fast, steady streams of water on to fires. Dad would use the pump to drench his models.
Dad shot this picture at Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico where they just so happened to have a new 4’x20’ stock tank. Several guys thoughtfully filled the tank with ice-cold spring water using the Hale pump with a two-inch hose.
For the shoot, the Hale pump would propel water from the tank up two 18’ tower poles where it would then spray out over the photo set. In order for the water droplets to show up in the photo, the entire scene needed to be backlit about a half an hour before sunset.
After locating the calf at a nearby ranch Dad got the model, the horse and the calf in position for the photo. Then the fun began. Dad started firing off the camera just as the guys cranked up the Hale pump and added a little gust from the wind machine to create a slight sideways direction to the rain.
Boy was that spring water cold! Really cold. The model was frozen by the end of the shoot. The calf, despite the cold, was a trooper. It only started to squirm at the end of the shoot (if you don’t count the squirming just prior to the shoot). Most importantly Dad was happy with the results.