Month: September 2013

UPDATE: “Vince Connelly, Pleasanton Rodeo” at NatGeo

Vince Connelly, Pleasanton Rodeo

Vince Connelly, Pleasanton Rodeo

UPDATE: YourShot at National Geographic has selected “Vince Connolly” as its assignment feature image for its website. See it here.

Original Post Text:

There are a lot of nice people in the world, and a good deal of them tend to congregate at rodeos. Vince Connelly is one of those people, and what’s more, all three of his sons rode at Pleasanton in multiple events.

The night had drawn on, and in the late August night, the lights, flags and shadows that accompanied the deepening dark gave Vince a mystical quality as he waited for the bullriding, the last event of the evening.

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Here’s something new: I made a Facebook page

Facebook Page ScreenshotOkay, I’m no stranger to Facebook, but I finally decided with the number of larger shows I’ve been doing that it was time to connect with more audiences on a wider scale. So, I can now also be found on Facebook at BrettLEricksonPhotography.

 

Quirt and Saddle

Saddle and Quirt

Quirt and Saddle

Textures are an important part of Western culture: metal against leather, denim against hide, felt against ribbon. Heidi Reissland is one of Nebraska’s best barrel racers (and also my sister), and kindly she lent me one of her saddles and quirt to explore some of those textual relationships.

Cowboys, Eddyville Rodeo

Cowboys, Eddyville Rodeo

Cowboys, Eddyville Rodeo

It’s a interesting place behind the chutes at a rodeo; the cowboys are checking gear, saddling up, changing boots and joking nervously as their time to get on draws near. I spend a lot of time back there, watching and shooting, and the two men in the white hats made nice first and second layers for a larger photo of the world of small rodeos for the cowboys.

Window, St. Elmo

Window, St. Elmo

Window, St. Elmo

I’ve always found the absence of right angles in ghost towns interesting; it speaks to the idea that such towns were transient, almost ethereal in their existences, as if the residents knew how quickly the boom would bust.

St. Elmo is one of these towns, and it’s a place I’ve been visiting since I was two. I have family in the area, so it was customary that we took a 30-minute jaunt into Elmo when we could just to enjoy the cool air at 10,000 feet and soak up the history of the Denver & South Park railroad.The town enjoys a boom again now as off-road motorcycles and ATVs pollute the quiet trails above town with unmuffled cries of “blaaaat” and dust that never settles.

Yet the buildings remain, and near the Home Comfort hotel, a white picket fence, trim and lace curtains evoke a time when the steam whistle of a train engine was not just the sound of industry, but of hope and future.

Field and Trees, North Texas

Field and Trees, North Texas

Field and Trees, North Texas

It was a chilly day in December (for Texas, that is; Nebraskans would be in shorts and tank tops at 55 degrees), and a misty pall hung over the red dirt of the northern Texas panhandle. I like back roads, and on a whim, added a few hours to my homeward journey to look for subtle images that made my eye move and my mind ponder.

Bronc Tack, O’Neill Rodeo

Bareback Tack, O'Neill Rodeo

Bronc Tack, O’Neill Rodeo

Just like my friend Melinda Green Harvey, I like lines, but especially those with varied textures, symbolism, and tones. I studied the tack neatly organized on the back fence of the chutes for some time, waiting for the light and the horses in the corral behind to line up properly, and then made this shot.

Cowboy Chaps, O’Neill Rodeo

Cowboy Chaps, O'Neill Rodeo

Cowboy Chaps, O’Neill Rodeo

The bronc rider, weathered and wizened, struggled with his chaps’ leather straps as his time to get on in the chutes drew close, and the textures and shapes of American legend left me transfixed. So, as one would expect, I made an image.

Tough Hands No. 9

Tough Hands No. 9

Tough Hands No. 9

It was only 35 degrees on the late-May morning as we rode the sandy waves of the road that traveled over the treeless northwest Nebraska High Plains to the Meidell’s place. A long line of trucks and trailers greeted us as we pulled up, while riders and their horses milled about excitedly as the work of the branding loomed in the barely-light, windy morning chill. Soon after, the riders left to round up the cattle, and as the first group was brought to the corral, Tricia Meidell and another rider watched vigilantly for any strays that might escape.