Getting that page 1 image

The process of choosing art for the front page of The Western Producer is one of my favourite tasks of the week.

News editor Terry Fries, art director Michelle Houlden and myself first gather mid-week to discuss possibilities, either stories that could be graphically illustrated by Michelle or events or stories with potential for good photographs.

Last week we knew our Camrose bureau reporter, Mary MacArthur, would be attending the Farmfair International show in Edmonton. Mary is an excellent photographer. If you peruse this week’s paper, you’ll see evidence of that.

On Monday morning, we had narrowed down the lead art to two shots. The first, my preference, featured Belle Gauthier of Slave Lake, Alta., washing her Hereford heifer. I’ve been told by a former cattle farmer that “there’s not a lot going on up there,” in reference to cattle’s thoughts, but that heifer sure looked like she had something to say. (See photo below). Alas, the shot is steeped in an orange glow, the effect of the lighting, which we could not colour correct.

So we moved on to the photo of members of the Willow Spring Ranch of Nanton, Alta., participating in the wild cow milking competition. Being from Ontario, I’ve yet to witness such a spectacle, though I’ve attended Canada Western Agribition and other farm shows. I didn’t know what to make of that picture. (You can see it on Page 5.)

But Terry and Michelle assured me this is standard fare, as it were, and that our readers would appreciate a photo that captured such an … em … peculiar moment.

And so it was destined for the front, until Mary’s shot that you see on today’s front arrived. When Terry and Michelle showed it to me, well, you just knew. Capturing the moment when Rob and Halley Adams found out their Red Angus cow and calf won the Supreme show at Farmfair was magic — for us, and we hope, for our readers.

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