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Just For Fun: Behind the Scenes at a Turkey (Photo) Shoot

white turkey hen standing on grass

Today’s a big day. The North Carolina State Fair is opening and the weather reflects the fair’s slogan: nothing could be finer than this cool, sunny autumn day.

Just for fun, we’re sharing some behind-the-scenes pictures of one turkey that’ll be in the ring at the fair. (Check her out at tomorrow’s Youth Market Turkey Show (YMTS) – 9 a.m. in the Poultry Tent.)

Most turkeys destined to go to the YMTS lead pretty quiet lives. They live with a family somewhere in North Carolina. A young member of that family takes care of them. They eat and they walk and they grow. That’s about it.

But some turkeys dream of more: fame, travel, time in the spotlight.

Well, maybe not quite, but some definitely end up in unexpected places – like the hen strolling across NC State’s iconic Brickyard on September 30.

That strolling hen was the star of a turkey (photo) shoot and the hunt was on for a good picture!

Earlier this month, NC State photographers Marc Hall and Becky Kirkland were looking for a turkey to photograph and the Prestage Department of Poultry Science (PDPS) connected them with Mary Fosnaught, 4-H and Youth Development Extension Associate.

Fosnaught and her daughter, JoJo, volunteered to bring one of JoJo’s YMTS turkey hens to campus.

The result was an early-morning turkey trot that left the photographers (and passing students) in high spirits!

But, did Hall and Kirkland get the picture they were looking for? They did – it’s on a card that’s in the mail from the NC State advancement team.

a woman crouching on bricks across from a white turkey hen
Dr. Mary Fosnaught coaxing the turkey with a treat.
a white turkey hen on a brick walkway
I said only my good side!
a photographer and a man outside with a white turkey hen
One photographer (Marc Hall), one turkey specialist (Dr. Jesse Grimes) and one turkey star.
a photographer taking a picture of a white turkey hen in tall grass
He’ll never find me in this long grass!
two photographers on grass with a white turkey hen
It takes a team when your star is on the move as much as this turkey hen.
two photographers taking a picture of a white turkey hen
That’s right – line up, folks!
a white turkey hen eating from a girl's hand
All this modeling makes me hungry.
white turkey hen standing on grass
Will they notice if I go this way?
four people outside around a white turkey hen
I’m ready for my close-up! (photo by Becky Kirkland)
white turkey hen standing on grass
What do you mean, ‘that’s all the pictures’?!