Dad could “see” racing longhorns being chased by cowboys much like a painter envisions his finished piece of art before he ever picks up a paintbrush. Dad realized he could create this piece of old West art using real photos and blending techniques in Adobe Photoshop. It was just a matter of putting the puzzle pieces together.
The horses, cattle and a skilled rider waited for him in Colorado. The folks the ranch had everything he needed except an exciting background for his action shot.
Dad could go back to the drawing board or he could think outside the box. If he followed traditional location photography procedure, he could look for a new spectacular site for the background of the photo and then truck the cattle, horses and rider in to the location.
Dad decided to go an unusual route. He drew on his movie special effects knowledge and staged the shot at the ranch in front of blue screens. He’d find the background elsewhere and merge two photos later.
Before shooting, Dad and his crew built 16-foot tall screens around the corral and painted them blue. Then he brought the horse, cowboy and cattle into the corral for the action sequence with the blue screen background.
And the shoot was on! Longhorns are a smarter than your average cow. After two or three passes, they figured out the temporary orange chute fencing within the corral would be easy to charge through. However, they didn’t touch the blue screens.
Thanks to his multiple camera set up, Dad got the shot he needed in the scant 2 to 3 passes before the cattle wised up and busted through the chutes.
With the ranch shot in the can, Dad then hunted for a spectacular background at Big Bend National Park in Texas. He found the perfect spot on the South Rim trail.
Back at his studio in Dallas, Dad got to work in Photoshop. It was painstaking work. But with a great deal of effort and persistence, Dad used the tools of the trade to craft a memorable piece of old West art.