A lone cowboy leads his horse to water after a hard days work in the Sunlight Valley of Wyoming. The days are long and the work is hard for the working cowboy. But talk to any working cowboy or cowgirl and they will tell you they can’t imagine doing anything else. Whenever I see a scene such as this, I think I understand why.
The temperatures were falling and sky was getting darker as the distant rain appeared to be getting closer and closer as each minute passed. Of course I much prefer photographing with a stormy sky as a backdrop rather than a clear blue sky. I’m more than happy to put up with a few minor weather related inconveniences as you will usually make better and more memorable photographs when the weather is bad. Of course it also helps when your working with a group of awesome cowboys and cowgirls who take a considerable amount of pride in the work they do and truly exemplify the spirit of the American West.
The photograph above is another from my trip last fall back to Wyoming. Normally traveling to Wyoming in the fall is always enjoyable as the temperatures here in Texas are still quite warm. However on this particular trip the temperatures were still in the middle 80’s in Wyoming. This particular morning was the first cool morning during my trip. One could definitely feel that fall was in the air. The cowboys were busy rounding up the ranch horses to drive them to another part of the ranch. The sky looked a lot more ominous than it was as it looked like it could start raining at any moment. I love photographing with stormy looking clouds as it adds a bit more emotion to a photograph and I’ve never been one to complain when photographing working cowboys in the rain as it means it’s time to pull out the bright yellow slickers which always adds a nice touch of bright colors and contrast to the photograph. As it turned out ta few sprinkles fell throughout the morning but they did eventually pull out those brightly colored rain slickers.
I’ve been on the road quite a bit since the first of the year so I’ve had very little time to finish updating my website, much less post a photo. Things should start showing down a bit as far as the road travel goes. It’s been a while since I have had a chance to pickup a camera so hopefully I don’t forget what all of the buttons and knobs do.
I the mean time the photo above is a part of the herd of the infamous McCullough Peaks wild horses as the day was coming to the end. As they gracefully made their was across the sage brush prairie, the back lit dust provides more mood and emotion to the image. One of my favorite times of day to photograph. If there is dust in the air you can bet that I am usually photographing back into the sun.
In keeping with the theme from my previous post this is another photograph of one of the reenactors for the Christmas at Fort Concho in San Angelo, Texas. The gentleman in the photograph was awesome as he spoke to various groups of visitors about the history of the buffalo soldiers and how they got their name, given to them by the Plains Indians. He definitely has to the gift of teaching as he captivated the attention of not only the young but also us older folks as well. I think everybody came away more knowledgeable and a deeper respect for the role and service provided by the regiments of these African Americans during in the post-Civil War army in the American West.
Sometimes we can become a little bored or hit a creative rut and so such has been the case with me lately. I’ve also been busy not only working on my website but overhauling one of the local non-profits website as well. So that is why I have not had the time to post any new images as we have begun a new year.
I made the photograph above of one of the reenactors during the Christmas at Fort Concho last month. Reenactments can be a gold mine for photographic opportunities for photographing some authentic looking characters. This particular gentleman was giving the commands for the canon battery at the time I made this photograph. There were a total of ten canons setup and firing on all cylinders. Needless to say the sound could be pretty deafening whenever all ten were fired at the same time.
The original image had a pretty distracting background even though I was shooting with the aperture wide open. So I removed the background and dropped in a new textured background. I added an additional texture on top and warmed the overall tones in order to provide sort of the appearance of an older image. It was fun stepping outside my comfort zone and trying something new and creative. I hope you enjoy.
Hard to believe that another year is coming to the end. Where did 2015 go? The years seem to go by faster and faster the older that I get. It feels as if this last year went by at about 1/500th of a second. So here is wishing everyone a happy and prosperous 2016.
The photograph above depicts sunrise on the o6 Ranch, located in the Davis Mountains, Texas. The cowboys are up before the crack of dawn for a chuck wagon breakfast out on the open range, and their horses selected from the ranch remuda, saddled and ready to go at sunrise. As soon as it is light enough to see the cowboys head out in teams to begin the search of locating and rounding up cattle.
When photographing on an working ranches not only do I try and document the life of the working cowboy, but I also try and capture a feel for the land. In this particular case it is the vastness of the land in which the o6 Ranch sits and the big colorful early morning sky.
The most important tool and companion is his horse. More importantly is the bond and trust between a cowboy and his horse. It is a trust that works both ways. The cowboy must learn to trust his horse while the horse must also learn to trust it’s owner.
This sequence of photographs illustrates a young cowboy, Cooper, attempting to coax his horse to cross a small narrow stream. The horse initially had a difference of opinion and wasn’t quite sure what to make of the situation and wasn’t trustworthy of Cooper to trust where he was trying to lead him. Even though the stream of water was pretty narrow it was dark enough where once couldn’t clearly see the bottom. I was almost impossible to know exactly how deep the water was without knowing ahead of time.
In due time the horse finally reached a point to where he placed it’s trust in Cooper and that he would ask him to do anything that would bring about any harm. Lesson learned. Hopefully the next time the two come to a stream to cross the foundation of trust between horse and rider will be in place knowing that each can trust the other.
Throughout the years of chasing the light and making photographs, whether the subject is wildlife, landscapes, sunsets, working cowboys and cowboys, or even chasing supercell thunderstorms across the wide open plain, I have learned something that has served be well. Sometimes the best photograph is simply behind you.
The photograph above is just such an example. I was busy photographing cowboys and cowgirls as they were driving a herd of horses along with the assistance of their working dogs. It can be a challenge trying to compose so many moving parts into a photographic composition and requires a lot of concentration as well as trying to capture that decisive moment. Upon changing my current position is search for a better perspective and composition I looked to see if anything was happening behind. That is when I saw this moment that I captured in the photograph above. The moment was brief so I was fortunate that I turned around when I did.
So always remember to turn around a look behind you as you may be in for a big surprise and discover the better photograph is behind you.