Well After Dark

090527 gardiner 151I had no idea that I would spend so many hours in the saddle when I visited Gardiner Angus near Ashland, Kansas. The respected Black Angus seedstock operation is a family-run business, and Mark Gardiner is the driving force. On the first day, we moved a set of cows several miles to a new pasture. There were plenty of opportunities for photos because I think the job took five or six hours. I shot this photo of Mark after the sun had set. We didn't get back to headquarters until after 10. Early the next morning, we trailered a short distance and then long-trotted a few more miles. The crew spent all morning and part of the afternoon gathering some rough river country. There were about 350 head in that brushy, rugged pasture, and by noon they had gathered about 348. When other crew members were willing to call that good enough, Mark was headed back out again to find the missing two or three. I shot way more photos than necessary and wound up helping the crew. We finished at 2:30, and I believe every living cow in that pasture was pushed through the gate. The story appeared in the August 2009 issue of Western Horseman.

Circles in the Grass

Matt Koch circles a cow . The article appeared in the Matt Koch circles a cow in an open pasture. The cow horse trainer likes to ride his horses outside the arena at times, and that includes working on reined cow horse maneuvers. "They have to learn to find their feet," he says. "You may be chasing a cow across a small hill, and the horse better stay square or we're going to fall." At the time, Koch was working for Wagonhound Land & Livestock in Wyoming. The article appeared in the July 2016 issue of Western Horseman.

Curve of Cows

Honestly, photographing cowboys trailing cows is usually Honestly, photographing cowboys trailing cows can be extremely boring. There isn't a lot of fast-moving action and the scenery is often unremarkable. If you position yourself in front of the action, you mess up the drive. If you set up to the side, it's tough to get the herd and cowboys in your frame without having a lot of "dead space." If you get behind, then you photograph a lot of behinds. While shooting at the Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, Texas, a couple of years ago, bringing up the rear worked out for me. As Adam Smith (left) and Riggin Johnson trailed behind, the cows, calves and bulls followed a red dirt road with an S curve. That, along with the bright green mesquite trees and dust, made this an interesting photo.

Splendor in the Grass

MA1C9845Nothing ushers in springtime better than new foals roaming across lush grass. The warmer weather, greeener landscape, and bright-eyed colts and fillies seem to promise better things to come. I shot this in 2007 in Mississippi. I've always liked how the sunlight hit this palomino foal, making it stand out from the other mares and foals in the background.

Canola Cowgirl

This is a good example of what keeps photographers hungry. Every once in awhile we capture what seems like a simple image, but factors out of our control come together to make it beautiful. We were working on an article about Western artist Shannon Lawlor of Alberta, Canada. I asked her to simply trot through a crop of rapeseed (which produces vegetable oil). The tall yellow flowers on the plant, the gray horse, the slate-blue sky, the turn of Shannon's head—all of these things came together to create a really nice image. As a photographer, it's hard to take much credit when so many other factors are doing the work for you.This is a good example of what keeps photographers hungry. Every once in awhile we capture what seems like a simple image, but factors out of our control come together to make it beautiful. We were working on an article about Western artist Shannon Lawlor of Alberta, Canada. I asked her to simply trot through a crop of rapeseed (which produces vegetable oil). The tall yellow flowers on the plant, the gray horse, the slate-blue sky, the turn of Shannon's head—all of these things came together to create a really nice image. As a photographer, it's hard to take much credit when so many other factors are doing the work for you.