Hunting with Jake.. | LVivienne Oklahoma Birth & Family Photographer
January 16, 2015
After receiving an inquiry on a hunting session from a close family friend, I had the opportunity to attend a duck hunt. I'm an avid hunter, but I had never been duck hunting, so to say I was intrigued was an understatement. But the emotional tie to the session drew me in even closer than my hunting roots.
Danny, the family friend, wanted us to come out and capture some shots of Jake, his retriever and himself on the hunt. Danny told us, "I didn't make the effort to have pictures taken of my first hunting dog and I in the field, or on the water - it's a mistake I deeply regret."
"When the navy stationed me in California I quit hunting. I spent the last 12 years of a 26 year career in California and couldn't wait to move back home to Texas after I retired. For my wife's 35th birthday I bought her a yellow lab that she named Jake. He turned 9 the year I retired and moved home. That was his first year hunting and he loves it as much as I do. He's still making friends with the gunshot, but he loves retrieving birds. He turned 11 this January and I wasn't going to miss having pictures of this handsome young man - and his dog- working in the field!"
After a couple days of collaboration to set a date; the big day finally arrived. On January 14th, 2015 - camera gear and hunting bag packed, my dad and I set off towards Texas. After a 3 hour drive, we arrived at Rowlett around 9:00 p.m. or so. We unloaded, relaxed, set our alarms for 3:45 am & dozed off into wonderland. I'm not gonna lie, when that 3:45 a.m. alarm went off, I kinda just wanted to punch my phone & roll back over to sleep; but duty calls! Up bright and early, camo on & camera fully charged, Danny, his brother in law, my dad, Jake and I set off towards the hunting lease.
A 1.5 hour drive, a nice little adventure through the mud & muck, a little hike to the hunting spot and a couple extra pounds of mud caked to our boots - we settled into our hunting location. With the decoys set and ready - we all huddled into our little hunting niches and waited.
Shortly after, the sun broke the sky; to say we had a gorgeous view just isn't adequate. Being in nature is such a calming experience, to just sit and listen to the wind blow through your surroundings, it could have easily lulled me to sleep.
After a bit Danny & Jake went after some Coots, of course being successful. I really got to see the pure enjoyment in Jake's face as he retreived the birds - he just loved it! Every movement and effort he put into retreiving was filled with joy and happiness.
With the morning long gone & rumbling bellies - we decided to pack up for a bit. Danny took us around the perimeter of the hunting lease - now, whether he took us around to actually show us the area or because he wanted to play in the mud some more is a mystery that may never be solved.
After getting the grand tour we set forth for town. Danny took us to this AMAZING barbeque joint, one of those little shaq lookin' establishments that people look over a lot - seriously though, if you are ever in the area of Cooper, Texas you MUST stop and eat at Fat Boy's BBQ. I'll be honest, I'm not a huge-huge BBQ fan and I tend to be pretty darn picky when it comes to it, but I've had dreams about their sliced brisket sandwich. I promise you, they aren't paying me to say this & probably will never even know I've wrote this about their business - but you've gotta try it.
Fully and very happy bellies in tow, we ran a couple more errands then headed back to the hunting lease.
As the sun started setting - Jake went after one last bird. To be able to go on this adventure and watch as a hunter and his dog work together so perfectly - was just amazing! I have to say my job and passion has taken me places and given me experiences I'll never soon forget. This hunting trip was definitely a breath of fresh air after having spent the past couple months not shooting (shooting with my camera that is) due to the cold weather. I'm so thankful that Danny trust me with capturing such an important moment in his and Jakes life; it was just magnificient.
What Danny had to say about Riotical Shots Photography & his experience: "I've known Lesley's family since 1984, her dad and I went to high school together and he is the brother I never had. Regardless of that, I wanted a photographer who understood hunting; someone who knows the unconditional bond a hunter and his/her dog share. Lesley has been hunting her whole life and the photos I found at Riotical Shots were fantastic. It was a perfect fit for Jake and I. So....Lesley, her dad, my brother-in-law from Tulsa, Jake and myself went duck hunting on the last Wednesday of the season. The hunt was not as productive as we had hoped, but dispite the very limited opportunity Lesley delivered picture after picture of pure art. I can't wait to show them off to all my hunting buddies!"