Month: May 2012

PlainSky, Nebraskans: Approaching Storm, Sand Creek Badlands

Approaching Storm, Sand Creek Badlands

Approaching Storm, Sand Creek Badlands

I’ve been told many times my landscape work looks different: I often place the horizon line low, allowing the sky and clouds to build their strength through much of the frame. Those same clouds are a hallmark of many of my best landscapes, creating lines and drama to complement the land. Continue reading

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PlainSky, Nebraskans: Calf Release, Dawes County

Calf Release, Dawes County

Calf Release, Dawes County

I wrote yesterday about the two young cowhands I shot during a branding a few weeks ago, and here is another shot from that series. After branding a calf, one doesn’t just stand up–unless he or she would like a very angry calf running amok among the other folks working. So, as one lets up the calf, he or she grabs the rear leg and swings the youngster around toward the open ground past the work area, and the calf charges off. It’s a neat skill, and these two boys had lots of practice that morning, evidenced by this photo.

PlainSky, Nebraskans: Tough Calf, Dawes County

Tough Calf, Dawes County

Tough Calf, Dawes County

These two young cowhands became much of my focus the morning of the branding; even at such a young age, they both had the look and attitude of much more seasoned…men. I found it a poignant reminder of how quickly a ranching life forces children to grow up, and as a young cowgirl, not more than 14 or 15, roped a stubborn calf expertly and swiftly, the older of the two boys instinctively protected the younger, pulling him back to the fence as the calf was to be dragged past.

The PlainSky, Nebraskans Show Grows to Two Images

Tribute To Andrew Wyeth, Sioux County Museum

Tribute To Andrew Wyeth, Sioux County Museum

From time to time, I’ll be posting updates about the 15 images I’ve decided in include in the 2013 PlainSky, Nebraskans show; it’s my way of cataloging the show overall, as well as allowing others to offer feedback on my choices of prints. Continue reading

PlainSky, Nebraskans: Schoolhouse, Box Butte County

Schoolhouse, Box Butte County

Schoolhouse, Box Butte County

Schools have figured into my “PlainSky, Nebraskans” project quite prominently since the beginning: Lose the school, lose the community. It is a story oft-repeated across the Great Plains.

This schoolhouse, alone, weathered and empty, sits in a wheat field west of the small town of Hemingford, waiting for students that will never return. What is left in its future is bleak; rot, wind and collapse are all that are left for the building. I hesitated to stop at first, until I saw the wheat chaff and its circular lines that gave dignity to a building that has little left.

PlainSky, Nebraskans: Initial Butte Panorama, Dawes County

Initial Butte Panorama, Dawes County
Initial Butte Panorama, Dawes County

Western Nebraskans are tremendously welcoming and gracious once you break through their tough exterior. Case in point: Dave Kreman. Together with his wife, he owns the Ranch House Restaurant in Crawford (good place to eat, by the way, and great for pictures), and also owns a large ranch: 300 cattle and 6000 acres of land. Yesterday morning, he picked my students and me up at Fort Robinson at 6:20 a.m., and drove us into the backcountry of his ranch to Initial Butte.

“Boy, I wish somebody would make a panorama of this view,” Dave said to me.

So I did.

PlainSky, Nebraskans: Sand Hills Train, Grant County

Sand Hills Train, Grant County

Sand Hills Train, Grant County

The Sand Hills (or, as Nebraskans do it, the Sandhills) are a challenging, subtle place to photograph; few trees or geographic landmarks exist to help define a sense of scale in any photo. That may be why I’m so drawn to the area: It’s a challenge. But, I think it is more the immense expanse of the sky, the clarity of vision and the openness of the landscape that simply tantalizes me with the question, “What if?”