Clay Walker has a hobby. It began after he and his wife acquired some chickens in the summer of 2010. The chickens quickly grabbed at their heartstrings and much time was taken to ensure their happiness and well being. Clay, who resides in Atlanta, was struck by the beauty of the birds and decided to take some photographs to capture their individuality. This is Cosmo. I love her coloring as well as the intensity of her look. According to Clay, she is the only bird that doesn't like to be picked up. He explains, "The picture does kind of show her desire to be left alone. I like how her mouth is slightly open as if she is saying, "Can I go now?"
When they were about six weeks old, there was an unfortunate incident involving a raccoon. Needless to say, only three of the chicks survived, which motivated Clay to build a 'super-coop' around the smaller coop to ensure their protection. Then they got more birds... Above, Clay's son Sage holds two of the chicks.
To create the glamour shots, Clay explains, "I basically placed the chickens on a branch with a white background behind them. I didn't use anything other than ambient light but it was overcast and the lighting conditions were quite good. I probably took about 15 shots of each bird. I was really looking for a 'pose' that was somewhat regal that showed the seriousness that their faces can possess." Camille, featured above, has an affinity for Clay. He explains, "She always wants me to pet her back and then she does her little shake it off dance. I guess you would say she is a bit of a flirt."
Red, pictured left, is Clay's neighbor's bird and she wanted to be a part of the big photo shoot too. She was excited but played it cool for camera. As Clay explains, "I think she was actually looking up at an airplane when I took that shot." He adds that Red reminds him of Beaker from the Muppets, which made me laugh out loud. Clay has a soft spot for Buffie, featured on the right. She survived the first raccoon attack and as Clay states, "It seemed a miracle that she pulled through." She not only made it, she's thriving as Buffie is now the biggest bird in the coop as well as the alpha. Clay explains, "She really wants to let you know she's laid an egg by trumpeting her song for about fifteen minutes."
Blue, pictured above, is a Blue Andalusian. She is a bit of a waddler and needs help getting in the coop each night. Clay loves her sweet nature, saying "She is probably the closest to a pet bird as she will just sit in your lap without wanting to run off. Her photo seems to make her look quite demure which I do think is a good look for her."
Clay's chickens provide endless inspiration. His latest artistic venture delves into pop culture. Blue proved the perfect model for this enhanced shot called "Marilyn Blue" as her white plumage mimicked the iconic white dress of Marilyn Monroe.
Ella Delores passed away in June but holds a special place in Clay's heart. I love this glimpse into Ella that Clay shared, "She used to always run up to me looking like she had something really important to say and just when she was about to blurt it out, she looked like she forgot what it was and would turn around and walk away." That's such a great visual. To see all of Clay's wonderful images, go to chickenglamourshots.com. Thanks Clay and family, I can't wait to see what the next photo shoot brings...
Photos: Clay Walker Content: Sweet Peach