All photographers in the Texas Panhandle have the same, unspoken, gigantic stressor.
This town is a flat, bland, empty, dry nuisance.
The canyon, you say? The sunsets, you say?
Yes, we have all utilized (to the fullest extent) those Amarillo features. I’ve spent weekends hiking through the canyon crevices, hunting for the most picturesque locations. I’ve captured the sunset on dirt roads, streaming between the downtown buildings, in the streets of the fancy neighborhoods.
After years upon years of searching for eye-catching scenery, or even something that’s just alive and green, every local creative comes to the point where they get the text from their client that asks, “So where should we go for photos?”
And every local creative lies down on the floor of their home, anxiety building in their chest, and racks their brain of anywhere they haven’t already shot a million times over.
I’m familiar with this process. It happened just the other day when Lynsi contacted me for maternity photos. I had zero ideas and left her text unanswered for the night (sorry, Lynsi.) When I woke up the next morning, I had the goofy idea to suggest the fair, but I was expecting her to shoot it down and opt for the canyon, instead.
To my surprise (and, soon after, terror) she was thrilled about the idea.
I felt two big emotions at once:
Woo! The fair! What a magical, colorful, exciting place! Cheese on a stick! Yeah!
Oh crap, I’ve never shot at the fair before. I have no idea what I’m doing. Can I pull off something cool? Will I have enough light? What if I mess it all up and have to go work at a fast food place? Should I start applying at Starbucks? Will it matter if other people are in the photos? Should I take a 35mm or 20mm for shots in the ferris wheel?
So we met at the gates at 6:45 and, while Lynsi was looking fair-chic in her hot pink dress and Evan was (as-always) cool as a cucumber, I was thinking,
“WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO."
It’s in those moments that I have to internally slap myself and pretend like I’m a professional. So, I began by having them sit in front of a wall of balloons and stuffed animals. I started shooting, got a handful of shots, and realized I didn’t even have a memory card in my camera. Because I AM A PROFESSIONAL. Like, people actually pay me for this. * facepalm *
I sorted that mess out, had them pose all over again, looked at the back of my camera to make sure the photos were truly recorded onto the memory card, and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. My confidence began to rise, once again.
So, we moved on to a cute cotton candy stand, then to the fair’s version of the Himalaya, then to buy the yuckiest churro ever made, then over to the ferris wheel, and then actually inside the ferris wheel.
Lynsi, obviously, was the happiest, smiliest person at the fair. (Anyone who knows her won’t be surprised.) Evan was the nicest and most accommodating. (Anyone who knows him won’t be surprised.) They were successful in looking like the most in-love couple in the tri-state area. Which is great for pictures.
I’d like to take a moment to give a shout out to this Guy In A Red Shirt for being the grouchiest booth-runner of all time. I included a photo of him pointing to a sign that reads “SEATS ARE RESERVED FOR PLAYERS ONLY” while yelling at us that seats were reserved for players only, even though there weren’t any players.
It’s fine. I got some cool photos. AAAAND I used my handy dandy prism to grab the reflection of the ferris wheel and sneak it into the frame. Score!
To finish off the night, we took a romantic twilight ferris wheel ride, just the three of us. I’m pretty sure we rotated all the way around about fifteen times at a speed of at least 75mph. (I’ve always been scared of those giant wheels.)
It was daring and adventurous. And we survived. What a feat.
It took me less than ten seconds to start working on their photos when I got home. I couldn’t wait to see the story unfold and make it look like a grain-tastic, film-like dream.
And, finally, the biggest shoutout of all goes to baby Brantley! (She’s that big bump in Lynsi’s dress, FYI.) Her first night at the fair and all she got was a yucky churro!
Congratulations, Lynsi and Evan. Can’t wait to see that sweet baby. <3