Into the Great Wide Open

On each long journey in the Pontiac, I make it a point to grab some scenic video from behind the wheel. It provides a nice escape during the winter months when the car is asleep and I have cabin fever.

If you’ll follow the link below to Vimeo, you can spend four minutes riding along with me down the highest road in Saskatchewan…a narrow dirt track that winds across the top of the Cypress Hills, just east of the Alberta line. Big sky, big open space and the sound of rubber on gravel.

Watch the Video Here

September 2016

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Ranch Tales

Above is the last photo from the roll of expired infrared film I’ve been sharing recently. This post also marks the last of the photos I have to show you from our October visit to the Buffalo Peaks Ranch.

This all timed out quite well, as Tuesday saw the launch of the Rocky Mountain Land Library’s 2017 Kickstarter campaign, which will raise funds for the renovation of the Cook’s House (pictured here).

Sarah, Jay and I were humbled by the enthusiasm our photos generated among the RMLL’s staff, and we were delighted to learn that many of our images would be incorporated into this Kickstarter campaign; some are even included in the Digital Photo Collection pledge reward. (This post, made on their website last week, talks about our visit and shows several of the photos we shot in October.)

How did this all begin for me? My friend Sarah shared this link to a New York Times story about the library, and I was immediately hooked on this enterprise. My solo visit to the ranch in 2015 was fantastic, but last year’s excursion with my friends exceeded all expectations and just blew me away. I want this place to be a part of my life for many years to come.

Please take a few moments to learn more about this wonderful project, and feel free to get involved, make a donation, or help spread the word, as you choose. Thank you.

Link to the Kickstarter Campaign

Top Photo:

Expired Kodak Ektachrome IE Color Infrared Film, B&W Processing
Nikon FE
Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 Ai-S Lens
No. 15 Deep Yellow Filter

Bottom Photo:

Digital B&W

The Great Trout Creek Adventure

Many of our photos from the Buffalo Peaks Ranch, like this one, offer a glimpse of Reinecker Ridge across the valley to the east. Through the middle of the valley, Trout Creek runs southward to join the South Platte River a short distance from here. Since I did not get to explore the eastern section of the ranch during my 2015 visit, Jay and I thought we should head out there and get some photos of the property from a new angle. Leaving Sarah behind to study the buildings in greater detail, we shouldered our cameras and marched off across the valley floor.

I certainly want to look back at the ranch from the top of this ridge someday, and I’d love to get there by hiking eastward through the valley. However, I was pretty sure we were not going to cover that distance on this particular trek. Experience has taught me that when you are traveling under the big skies out west, large landmarks are, in reality, much farther away than they appear. Consider this more of a scouting mission.

We were really enjoying the silence and the openness of this big, beautiful space. Through the final fence, the grass became taller…and taller again as we reached the center of the valley, where the creek was keeping the soil moist. At this point, the hike jumped several points in degree of difficulty, as we discovered that Trout Creek is surrounded by a braided network of small channels, carved out over the years by the caprices of the flowing water. The tall grass hid these rivulets from our view, so each step forward was a new adventure; would my next stride place me on firm ground at my current level, or would I plunge twenty inches deeper into a pocket of mud?

Laughing and cursing loudly, we hobbled a few steps closer to the main channel and immortalized our heroic journey with these photos. We knew that this would be the apogee of our excursion, and we both felt lucky that neither of us had broken an ankle or blown a knee up to this point. We turned back to the west and started for home, taking in this view as a low, light rain settled over the ranch…

 

Riding with Carl

We’re happy that the folks at the Rocky Mountain Land Library are enjoying our photos of the ranch. Our thanks go out to them for letting us tour this wonderful piece of Colorado. Stay tuned for more news about the RMLL in the days ahead.

Rocky Mountain Land Library

3ftr

Jay Halsey, Sarah McLaughlin, with Carl Young at the wheel. photo by Carl Young

How lucky are we? Even in the midst of the past two summers of ranch renovation, we’ve had a steady stream of visitors. Not only folks attending our first workshops and field classes, but many who have flocked to Buffalo Peaks Ranch on their own — artists, writers, naturalists of all stripes, college classes, History buffs, book clubs, and even the Boys & Girls Club of South Park!

Two years ago, photographer Carl Young drove out from back east, and spent a day or so at the ranch. He gave us a full folder of amazing images from that trip, including the panoramic view of Buffalo Peaks Ranch that we use in our masthead above.

This past fall Carl took his second road trip to the ranch, this time with fellow photographers Jay Halsey and Sarah McLaughlin…

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