Road Stories

Light Chasers


by Katie Frank

Mornings aren’t really my thing. It takes several cups of coffee to get me rolling that early, plus another shot of espresso if brainpower and conversation are required. But when the alarm clock goes off, I do my best to not complain, knowing I’m lucky to witness beautiful land and horses in the fresh light of a new day.


Western Horseman Editor Christine Hamilton and I recently took a weeklong trip to South Dakota to gather interviews and photos for several ranching stories. I’d driven through the Mount Rushmore state only once and mostly stuck to the highway, which didn’t allow me to see the incredible scenery. A look at our jammed-packed itinerary indicated that I would encounter several early wake-ups and many more cups of coffee.

Each morning started before dawn in order to catch the “golden hour.” The famed span of time, the moment immediately following sunrise or the minutes before sunset, is known for its soft, complementary and highlighting light. Landscape cast in the glow can send a rush through anyone, replacing the need for caffeine and making the sound of the alarm clock a distant memory.


One morning, we visited Greenwood Ranches, owned by Wilbur and Dawn Newland. Dawn drove Christine and I out to her favorite spot on the ranch, with the horse trailer in tow. It was obvious why the high ridge, which looked out over an endless sea of land, was so special to her. The only thing more beautiful than the location was seeing Dawn ride her horse through it, soaking up the golden hour. 


One of my favorite things about working for Western Horseman is the emphasis placed on photography. The thought and care that goes into shooting images of horses, cowboys and their ranches add an authentic touch to each page, and it serves not only our readers but also the people we feature.

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