Ranch Views From A Town Girl: The Photoshoot

Young model posing with our dog Red. Photo courtesy of Cathy Moen.

Cathy Moen

We had a request last fall from a friend of ours who works for a western clothing company. She contacted us about doing their 2020 fall catalog photoshoot on the ranch. She’d been to our place and thought it would be an ideal setting. I asked her what exactly they were looking for and she said they wanted rustic and authentic. I said, “Well, we have a lot of old and run down. Will that work?” She said she’d schedule her brand manager to come up from Denver to scout around and make the final decision.

It was cold and windy the day the brand manager came for her scouting trip and my husband and I were waiting in the lane bundled up in our Carhartt’s, Scotch caps, and wool underwear. She stepped out of her little SUV in capris and sandals and the wind about knocked her down. I figured that would be the end of the scouting expedition but I had underestimated her as she’d come prepared with warmer clothing. We were still questioning whether she understood our version of rustic and authentic so we took her to the pretty parts of the ranch first.

The professionals. Photo courtesy of Cathy Moen.

We toured the meadows and canyon and went down by the creek. Despite trying to distract her with beautiful scenery she kept looking back towards the barn area where most of the old and run down was located. She wanted a closer look at the old weathered outbuildings, the barely standing corrals and the ancient tractors and wagons so we obliged. I gave my husband that irritated look that said, “I told you to clean up around here.” However, upon closer examination she decided the barn area would be a perfect setting for the shoot.

A few weeks later a caravan of photographers, models and support staff came up to the ranch. The weather was exactly as it was the day of the tour—cold and windy. Photography is a hobby and side gig of mine so I was excited to watch the pros work. I quickly found out I’m not near tough enough to be a real photographer. I froze out after a couple of hours and went to the house while the pros worked until the sun went down in that miserable weather. The brand manager told us they might have to plan a two-day shoot the next time they come up and luckily for them, everything will be even more rustic and authentic by then.

They thanked us by giving us an assortment of western wear in just our sizes. Later that night as we were trying on and admiring our new duds my husband said, “If they wanted rustic and authentic they should have asked us to model.” I replied, “Well, they probably draw the line at old muffin tops and beer bellies.”