Photographing cowboys gathering cattle in a canyon is an up-and-down job, both literally and figuratively. While working on a story about the 7 Up Ranch near Prescott, Arizona, I cut a rambling trail as I worked to get in position for good photos. Rocks, shadows and noncompliant cows made it difficult to predict where to set up. The job had plenty of, well, highs and lows. This shot was one of the high points.
KJ Kasun, the manager and part-owner, set up on this hillside searching for more cows. I like how the sun illuminates the ground and creates a nice rim of light along his face, rope and horse’s head. And the dark background, boulder, prickly pear and piñon trees indicate the type of rugged country in which he works. Ranching is certainly a livelihood that includes a mix of shining moments and dark times. It helps to dwell on the bright side.