What is my favorite part about costuming? It might be this part! I love putting the entire vision together and seeing my kids explore their world, while in costume. And I get to stand back and capture the experience.
The shrub-steppe landscape of the Columbia River Basin, complete with dramatic cliffs and rock formations evokes an epic, Biblical landscape, for me. Plus, our Classical Conversations home school curriculum was going to focus on ancient civilizations, that year. So, the kids strapped on their sandals, and we struck through the wilderness for the “River Jordan”.
Our summer family activities often revolve around visiting extended family at Lake Chelan. On the way, I am always making mental note of future photo shoot locations. There are so many beautiful views! Actually finding a good place to pull over, from the highway, and access said views is a bit of a challenge, though!
Getting there . . . As the kids were walking through all this dry brush in sandals, I was thinking, “Gee, I hope there aren’t any rattle snakes around here”.
River sighting! I’ve been talking a lot about sandals, but didn’t discuss footwear in the costume tutorials. Elliott is just wearing his fisherman sandals that he wore everywhere, that summer. Emma is wearing a pair of white, hand-me-down sandals that had seen better days. I spray-painted them brown, which immediately transformed them. However, they looked awful after this photo shoot! Spray paint might hold up for a church play, but it doesn’t stand a chance in actual shepherd-like conditions!
Speaking of church plays, Emma and Elliott love acting as shepherds in our church’s annual Living Nativity. It was eye-opening for them to have this experience. (Minus the sheep, thank goodness!)
This might be my favorite shot of Emma, during this expedition.
I wish I knew the name of the rock formation, behind her. It’s so majestic. Oops! Look at Emma’s feet, and you can see that the spray paint is already wearing off her sandals.
Just a shepherd boy, hanging out with some sagebrush.
Looking for that promised land…
Did you know that I love plants? Like, really, really, REALLY love plants? Well, I do. I still have a lot to learn about Wenatchee flora, after growing up near Seattle. So, I had to look up what this gorgeous, yellow, flowering, sage-like bush is called. Turns out, it’s “Rabbitbush”, or “Ericameria nauseosa“. No, I am not making that up!
Something was funny…
Cover from Vogue, Shepherd Edition, October, Year 1, A.D.
Props can make or break a photo shoot with kids. In this case, the staffs (fallen branches from our yard) totally enhanced the experience.
We hopped into the Suburban and drove a bit farther along the river so that we could get a little closer to this amazing rock formation.
“As I went down to the river to pray, studying about that good old way. And who shall wear the starry crown, good Lord, show me the way . . .”
You gotta be tough to make it as a shepherd.
Charleton Heston in The Ten Commandments *may* have influenced me, just a little bit.
Just a kid, with a stick, surrounded by lots and lots of rocks. Does it get any better than this? The kids could have played out here, forever!
I don’t know why, but wistfulness is a quality I like to hear in music, and it’s something I like to capture in photographs.
Maybe the elusive has an appeal.
“Look, I found some leaves!” I later learned that these leaves come from the “Great mullein” plant. It is a tall, imposing plant, with lots of healing properties attributed to it. The leaves were velvety soft, and they looked nearly pristine for months afterward, in the car. (Elliott had a kind of natural history museum going on, back there!)
To be honest, the last part of our photo shoot felt a little dodgy. We were heading back towards home, and I really wanted to get some shots on a hillside. I couldn’t find any good place to park, so we totally just pulled over onto the shoulder and began to climb.
The light was fading, and the kids were skeptical. I was also not so sure this was a good idea. However, those gorgeous rocks and red bushes were calling to me!
Let’s do this!
This is when the staffs ceased to be props and actually became tools!
The hillside was steeper than it looks in these photos. Emma was a little freaked out.
Me: Act natural!
Emma: . . .
I’m not sure if this “natural” either, but it looks cool.
We made it up to a more stable spot. Kings of the hill!
“There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night . . .
. . . And lo! The angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them . . .” Handel’s Messiah, anyone?
The sun was setting, and it was time to go home. Elliott did a good job helping Emma down the hillside.
Thank you for joining us on our shepherd costume adventure! I hope this journey has inspired you to see God’s handiwork in your surroundings, and to explore them with your children.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills – Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 NIV
To see how I made these Biblical costumes from pillowcases, head on over to my Part 1 and Part 2 tutorials.