It’s funny how I flew all the way to Florida to photograph a hunting scene, but I’m glad I did.
I love getting out of the deep freeze in January and February, and this Tractor Supply Company shoot in central Florida was a great break from the usual brutality of South Dakota winters. We photographed hunting, cattle roundup, dogs, horses and some other assorted lifestyle moments.
I love watching waterfowl make their way across the prairies of South Dakota each spring and fall.
Photographing it in the spring is a bit easier than fall; the ducks and geese aren’t quite as skittish from hunting pressure and they seem to be in larger groups in the spring too. Plus, it’s just nice to be out photographing again as the warm weather starts to wash over the land. By mid to late March, migration is usually in full swing.
Above are snow geese, while below are ringbill ducks.
It doesn’t take much to entertain us in the dead of winter; a young great horned owl sitting in our tree can keep our attention for many minutes. But when a curious squirrel showed up to get a closer look, I was ready for whatever action ensued with the 500 f4. Sadly, nothing got more intimate or violent than what you see here. Maybe next time.
I usually spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day cleaning up in the office, putting away the piles of paperwork and magazines that have accumulated throughout the busy fall season.
As I collect tearsheets and clips throughout the year, they all get pitched onto a heaping pile of paper in the closet. I sort the clips, throwing a few extras away so I don’t end up with too much stuff to add to the storage shelves.
Every year when I do this sorting, I wonder…why do I keep all of these? I don’t use them to garner attention for more assignments, I don’t enter contests any longer, and someday my kids will have to decide what to do with all of dad’s crap….they will likely keep a handful and throw the rest away.
I guess it’s just a habit…it’s hard to throw things away with your name on them. I have to admit, the most fun I get from keeping tearsheets is looking through the very oldest ones and noting the changes in lighting technique, lens use and the locations that have evolved over the years.
Above is a random collection of cover shots I pulled from the 2016 pile.
Of all the places to photograph chickens…Detroit?
I flew there recently to shoot a photo essay about Laura, a woman who won a fight to raise backyard chickens in the metropolis, for Tractor Supply Company.
It was a fun trip; the art director and I got to eat some great food and taste fine brews, and took time to visit a massive art gallery and play at Jack White’s Third Man Records store.
It’s fun to work on shoots where the client turns me loose to document anything that looks good through my viewfinder. Tractor Supply Company does a fine job of allowing me to shoot freely, and they do a great job putting me in position to succeed.
As a result, you can see my work displayed on a set of massive canvas banners in each of their 1,400 stores nationwide, along with images on their annual blue book and throughout their annual report, both of which are shown here. Their new corporate headquarters in Brentwood, Tennessee is also plastered with fine art from our shoots. A great client!
I spoke to a group of 7th and 8th graders in Baltic, SD recently; I was there to talk about our book Blue Stars.
They were a good group, but the funniest part was when I pulled out some slide sheets to show them; most of them had no idea what they were, or even what film looked like!
Oh man, I feel old…