This photo of 5-year-old Ryker Hein and his pedal tractor, taken by Bridget Hein, was voted “most liked” on Facebook for the Capture the Heart of America Photo Contest. (Photos submitted)
By Pete Temple, Express Sports/Ag Editor
Bridget Hein’s photo of her son Ryker was among the winners in the Capture the Heart of America Photo Contest, hosted by Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA).
The event allows photographers from across the nation to assist in preserving America’s agricultural story. The contest attracted 508 images from 174 photographers, representing 24 states.
Hein’s photo won the “Most Liked” category, receiving the most “likes” on the Silos & Smokestacks Facebook page. The photo was entitled, “Life on the Farm,” and shows her son Ryker seated on a pedal tractor with a country road and farmland in the background.
“It was a combined idea from Nick (her husband) and I,” Bridget said. “We wanted to do something with Ryker before he got too old for that pedal tractor.
“There’s a lot of history in the picture. The old pedal tractor in the picture was a gift to Nick for Christmas back in 1982. The picture was taken in front of our family farm, which is also a Century Farm.”
The photo was actually taken before the Heins even knew about the contest.
“I wanted to take some pictures of Ryker for his fifth birthday, and he hates having his picture taken,” she said. “I’ve learned that the key behind getting kids that age to pose is to bring them out in their own element and just let them be themselves.”
Nick found information about the contest and suggested that Bridget should enter the photo of Ryker. It was the first photo contest she had ever entered.
For winning the contest, Hein won Cyberlink Photo Director 5, an editing software program.
“There were some beautiful pictures in the contest,” Bridget said, “and I was truly honored to have been chosen for ‘Most Liked.’ Nick and I think Ryker is pretty special, and loved that picture and all the meaning behind it, but to have others love the picture of him just as much as we did, really did make us feel proud, and it gave me a little more confidence in my photography as a whole.”
It was fitting that Ryker was the subject of the photo.
“We joke that Ryker is the ultimate farmer. He knows everything about the tractors we have on the farm.”
The Heins have three children; Ryker, 2-year-old daughter Harper and nine-month-old daughter Gracen.