Let me not forget to mention the real reason I went to Wyoming. I did mention it was to WORK at making my photography better. To hammer my point farther let me say it was to study under someone who is a master and much more experienced that I am. I got what I came for. I learned how to focus on small things instead of the whole story. I learned to think outside of the box.Tony shoots “darker” than I normally do with a warm white balance. My challenge was not shooting TOO dark. Seeing my work transform into something different was fascinating.Anyone who knows anything about photography knows light is everything. Trying Tonys techniques pressed me to see the light….and only the light.Will I turn these images into fine art you can hang on your walls? I don’t know. Knowing what images are my best and what will sell so I can survive is a skill I have not yet mastered.Will I always shoot just the way Tony does from now on? No not always. I have my own style but it is smart to open my self up to new ways of doing things. Reason being, in any photo shoot situation, especially “live” photography you have challenges and the more tricks you have in you bag the better a photographer you become.Truth be told when ever I have a camera in hand and I am near horses I am happy…..or any animal for that matter. Thanks for the photo of ME Sevim!I am going to walk away from my fine art photography for now. And since this is the last post in my Working in Wyoming series I’d better use the rest of this post to show you the ranch and the rides! Yes we did put down our cameras and put our laptops to sleep.Every afternoon the horses would be saddled for us to ride. If you have ever been to a dude ranch you know this is how it is done. One day we did ride in the morning I confess.Having someone saddle my horse was a foreign feeling. It was not MY horse but you get what I mean. I did not object, in fact I started to like it. I felt like an upper class citizen.As you can see by the smile on my face the whole experience was just awful huh? On this day I got to ride the leader of the pack, Ben. That is Tony Stromberg our teacher and mentor behind me waiting for his horse and Tara Arrowood on Thor behind him. As I sat on top of Ben, a beautiful tri colored paint, I could not help but think (at 56 yrs old) how I have grown up. When I was a little girl, all of about 6 or 7, at camp in the high Sierra’s, I would beg to go horseback riding. I did not care about any other activities at camp. I just wanted to get on a horse. They said yes but they would not give me the reins. I had to be ponied behind the guide. Begrudgingly I settled for that.We started off in the big field. Not a bad start huh? I am not exactly sure of the exact mountain range in the background but I’m going to take a stab at it. How about The Absaroka Range? And since I am a crummy tour guide I’m going to quote from Wikipedia: The Absaroka Range is a sub-range of the Rocky Mountains in the United States. The range stretches about 150 mi (240 km) across the Montana-Wyoming border, forming the eastern boundary of Yellowstone National Park and the western side of the Bighorn Basin. The range borders the Beartooth Mountains to the north and the Wind River Range to the south. The highest peak in the range is Francs Peak, located in Wyoming at 13,153 ft (4,009 m). There are 46 other peaks over 12,000 ft (3,700 m). The range is named after the Absaroka Indians The name is derived from the Hidatsa name for the Crow people; it means “children of the large-beaked bird.” (In contrast, the Crow name, Awaxaawe Báaxxioo, means “Pointed Mountains [Like Sand Castles].”
OK enough of the informational stuff.In this photo I must have been on Noah. This is how our afternoon rides started out in that big field. Noah was good for taking photos on despite his drunken gait as I called it. We were a bit on the slow side. I still love you Noah.
At least I got this photo of Tony. I admit this is kind of embarrassing taking a photo like this of my photography teacher. Anyway…..you get the picture.We make our way up higher and higher into the HIGH desert. I’ve got a story to tell you about my second ride. DON’T you hate it when you forget to take a photo of something or better yet forget to take your camera or phone on a really cool outing? I’m substituting this photo because it is kinda like what I’ll try to describe. I was riding Ben. Lindsay, not Lindsey was guiding. We were high on a ridge, steep terrain to my left (not in this photo) clouds gathering, thunder heard in the distance, a storm coming in. We finally reach the top of the ridge, now up in lodgepole territory but not above the timber line. I could not help but look down at the drop off to my left (never a good thing to do while riding next to a steep slope) and focused in on something out of ordinary lying in the granite speckled dirt under a large pine tree skirting the edge of the steep slope. It was one side of a big elk antler rack. I hollered a soft WHOA to the group. Lindsay flipped her pretty ponytail around while turning to look at me and wondered why I was stopping the train. When I told Lindsay what I found she swiftly dismounted, trumped over to me and examined my prize. She truthfully admitted she felt a bit squashed that she has passed over the antler. I guess I looked like I did not want to get down off of Ben because with no questions asked Lindsay matter-of-factly strode her way back to her horse with MY…. I mean THE antler. She skillfully fastened MY….. I mean THE antler over her saddle pack which is where it stayed until back at the ranch. I figured it was not mine to keep. Besides it would never fit the decor in my house I told myself. So I divorced myself from my prize…….until Brooklyn (who collects antlers) found out I found it. He took it to heart and felt I should have it. Lindsay honorably agreed. Thanks you guys! Good thing I was driving home to California and not flying. I don’t think it would have made it by the TSA screeners. Guess what? I do have a photo AND a video of the antler that made it all the way back to California and eventually Sundog Ranch. Keep reading…….I’ll show you the skinny on the ranch.Besides the mountain views the aspen trees are heaven on the eyes.So are all of the cool wooden things. We went over this bridge, over a creek many times every day. The bridge led to the main hangout.Here is where we spent most of our time when we were not outdoors, except when we were sleeping in our cute little cabins. Want to see inside? This is walking inside at 6:30 am when our day would start.Coffee is first thing on the menu before the days WORK. Big breakfast came at 9 am after two morning shoots.This is the dinning room where we…. I MEAN I, gained 5 lbs. We did most of our editing here at the back table which did not burn any calories. Tony’s main frame, where we gathered daily and learned a lot about post processing in photoshop, has not been turned on yet. Tony gets every last minute of sleep he can before WORK. We ate 3 wonderful meals a day at these tables, prepared by a fabulous cook named Mary. Embarrassed again, I forgot to get Mary’s photo along with Kelsey and Madison who served us with a smile on their faces 3 meals a day for 5 days. After a long day of WORK everyone would gather here for appetizers and wine in the aspens. I learned to look forward to this.The best cell phone reception was at the two chairs you see. Not a bad place to make a phone call. I could also get reception laying in the hammock to the very right. That is my cute cabin I shared Sevim beyond the hammock. The babbling brook to the right of the hammock did not distract from phone calls or cause me to loose sleep at night.This is another cabin I frequented to borrow a hair dryer and sunscreen. It felt like home.I missed a big bonfire on Friday night because I oped to go with Bud and Tara to the Friday night Rodeo and bar afterwards. A big TO DO. I wanted to see Wyoming culture in Dubois. Well apparently I missed a good party right here. But Bud and Tara bought my drinks at the bar in downtown Dubois. We got to know each other better and had a blast. That was good enough for me. If you are noticing these photo’s are a little dark well you are right. I took them in a hurry before leaving the ranch and the sun was just rising. As if I did not have enough photo’s already. Things look kind of sad. All dark with the horses all still up on the mountain. Plus it is just SAD when a trip is over.So long Absaroka. Hope to come back again some day. Oh I forgot something…..The antler made it back home along with my riding boots and a few more prizes I found along the way. You see my trip did not end at Absaroka Ranch and my boots are not dirty from riding. Stay tuned for WILD IN WYOMING coming soon.