It’s been a while since I have posted anything on my blog. Time has a way of getting away from me. But I have been thinking about what I want to do with my blog and my goal is to write at least one post a month recapping what I have been up to. I may write more if I feel like I have a story to tell or something more to say that is to long to post on social media. I’m not very good at social media when it comes to documenting my day to day. I like to post my photography with a story or quote that gives information about the picture. And sometimes it involves stories about my personal life, but most of the time it doesn’t. For some reason posting personal information on social media feels weird to me, even posting it on this blog feels weird. I know people are curious, but I still struggle with what to put out to the world and what not to. And I surely don’t want to do it on a daily basis. A monthly recap feels appropriate and If I do it on this blog I feel like I own more of it. And if people want to see it they will make the effort to come to the blog, if they don’t, i’m not bugging them with stuff they don’t want to see.

The month started off with My daughter getting married. Holy shit, was that was a whorl wind!! From the time she was engaged in February to the day she was married it was a daily effort of planning and getting the yard ready for it. But by the time it was all said and done all the work and effort was worth it. It was an amazing day for my daughter, her husband and our family.

During the week of the wedding, my daughter, son in-law, and some friends were able to go for a ride to one of my favorite places on earth, the Uintah Mountains in Utah. Fishing was great and hanging out with my tribe was even better!

The next week I was busy shoeing because of the time I had to take off for the wedding and did not have much time to get my camera out. I would have loved to have taken it with me when me and my father in-law went for a ride on the weekend. But my good horse was colicky the day before and I had to take the young horse. He is good in the mountains but he is inexperienced and is a little squirrely for the first twenty minutes or so riding him. And I wasn’t going to take the chance of him bucking me off with expensive camera gear on me. So I just took some pics with my phone and enjoyed the day fishing and spending time with my father in-law.

The next weekend I planned some time to go for a ride with my youngest daughter, Ashton. It was fun to hang out with her and it just be us. Now that she is moved out we don’t get much time to hang out one on one. It was a fun day. It had rained the night and day before and the clouds had not cleared out yet. The leaves were just starting to turn and it made for a neat ride.

After all the chaos of the the last couple of months me and my wife needed to get away. We made plans to go to Pinedale, Wyoming the next weekend. It’s a little town on the foothills of the Wind River mountains. Its a great place with a couple of good local restaurants that we both enjoy.

It was a much needed break. We got there Friday afternoon got an early dinner at our favorite Mexican place. I watched my wife slurp down a few well deserved margaritas and we took off to catch the sunset on a ridge over looking Fremont lake outside of town. Besides me worrying about my tipsy wife tripping and rolling off the steep ridge and into the lake it was a great time, and sunset! I told her how romantic I thought it was bringing her to this spot to watch the sun go down while I captured this spectacular moment with some photographs. But truth be told I think it would have been more romantic to her to be back in town drinking margaritas where it was warmer then out freezing her butt off with me trying to get some photography in. But she endured, and I got some pictures I was happy with and we went back into town, had a few more drinks at the local brewery and called it a night.

The next day we drove over to Jackson Hole, about an hour drive from Pinedale and hung out for the day. We went to the local art galleries and looked at the expensive artwork. I enjoy looking at all the artwork even if I don’t get it. Thats a whole other post in itself. But I just have to laugh when I walk into the galleries in my scuffed up cowboy boots and ball cap, and the curator/salespeople just give me the look like, he will never buy anything i’m not even going to waste my time. Their right, i’m not, and I don’t want them to waste their time on me either. No sense trying to explain to me why a painting that looks like a third grader did it, and somehow some extravagant artist type was portraying the meaning of life in it. And they are selling it for fifty thousand dollars! Don’t get me wrong, if I had that kind of money I would definitely spend it on art that made sense to me. But I don’t have that kind of money, and a lot of it doesn’t make sense, so I just walk around with a look on my face that screams WTF???

All in all it was a great weekend. Even with the kids out of the house, our busy lives make it hard to relax and unwind together. It’s nice just to getaway and leave all our day to day stuff at home and relax.








What mentors mean to me: Chris Dickenson

Everyone needs mentors, and I am not one to learn on my own. I do a lot of reading and studying on my own. But I don’t think it’s the same as learning when you have guidance. I have had many mentors through the years. And I have looked up to all of them.

My first real mentor, Doug Poll, who later became my father in-law. I owe him more than he will ever know. I was a dumb kid hanging around his daughter at fourteen when I decided I wanted to be a cowboy. Growing up in the city with hippie parents, the opportunities to learn how to be one were pretty scarce. But he took me under his wing and gave me a chance that most wouldn’t. No doubt I would not be the man I am today if not for him. He taught me to take pride in working hard and be a man of my word. If Doug Poll shakes your hand on a deal, you can take it to the bank.

He is a farrier and taught me the trade, and he is the kind of guy that if you made an appointment with him at 1:00 you could set your watch for 12:55 when he pulled in your driveway. I always respected him for that but it never really stuck with me. I’m more of an ish kind of guy. I always tell my clients I will be there around 1:00ish. I always show up, but that way I am never late either. The way I see it, everyone has phones with the time on them, and they don’t need to set their watches by me… He is a man of honesty and integrity, and the world could use more of them.

I met Chris Dickenson through his wife, Joe. She started having me shoe her horses a little over a year ago. One day at the barn, Chris happened to be there while I was shoeing. I introduced myself and told him I was interested in photography. Being the guy he is, he was more than happy to talk to me. He invited me to come to his locals workshop a couple of months later and I had a great experience. Since then we have tried to meet up every couple of months for him to help me advance my photography.

I’ve noticed that Chris has a curious mind. Ever since the first day I met him he has expressed his intrigue for the farrier trade. We have talked about getting a shoot together where we could take pictures while a farrier was working. I have messed around in my shop a few times taking pictures I thought could be interesting. And they have turned out ok. But I figured with him involved they could be REALLY be interesting.

A couple of weeks ago I came across this pic on Facebook.49203729_2011760202222596_4825447017490677760_n I love it! Whats more bad ass than an old weathered farrier lighting a cigarette with a hot shoe he just pulled out of the forge??  NOTHING! He strikes me as the kind of guy that has probably smoked most of his life and has never read the numerous medical journals that have proven that smoking is not good for you-he wouldn’t care if he did. He doesn’t exercise everyday and watch what he eats. He eats whats in front of him. He doesn’t have to worry about gaining weight, because a man that works as hard as he does burns more calories than he would ever take in on a normal day.

This guy would never fit in to a middle class corporate world, nor does he belong there. He would be a human resource nightmare. Guys like him think that political correctness is for thin skinned people who live in a soft world. Working 9-5 is a light day. His world is tough, consisting of long hard days in strenuous conditions where you work until the job is done. Slowing down long enough to have a cigarette is therapy to help him get through his day.

He doesn’t know what retirement is, he never thought he would live long enough to even worry about it. Guys like him don’t look into the future much. They wake up and think about what jobs are at hand for the day, and plan on working until the day they die, or physically cant. He is the kind of guy that thinks if you have time to check on your IRA or ROTH account, you have to much time on your hands. He figures things will work out in the end. And if they don’t, he is at peace with it.

I could go on and on about how I interpret this photo and what it means to me. I have the utmost respect for guys like him.

So when I texted Chris the picture to see what he thought about it, he could tell how excited I was. I told him how much I like pictures like this. It was his idea to try and recreate it in our own way. He thought it would be a great learning experience. I had not really thought about it, but thought it was a great idea!

Our schedules finally lined up and he came to my shop to see what we could come up with.

I have had a lot of mentors through the years. Some better than others. But I have learned something from all of them. Chris ranks up there with the best of them. Something I have noticed about people who are at the top of their craft is that they have a hard time remembering what it’s like to be at the beginning of learning curve. They forget that not knowing the simplest of details is a thing, and they are impatient. Not Chris. He either has a good poker face, or he truly understands what it’s like to start out at the bottom(I’m going with the later). Good mentors push you when needed and give positive encouragement and are honest with you.

We had a blast taking these pictures. You can never go wrong being with like minded people. My biggest concern of the night was not lightning his beard on fire when he put a hot shoe next to his face. We prevailed and I learned a ton about my camera and lighting. There is so much to learn, that I can never get enough!

My advice to anyone wanting to learn a trade is to find a good mentor and be willing to learn and respect their time. Never respond to a comment with an “I know”. Work your butt off for them, and show them your commitment. Don’t argue what they tell you. If you don’t agree with them. Do it their way anyway. You can do it your own way when you are on your own time.

I am thankful for all the mentors I have had in my life. I wouldn’t be where I am in my life without all of them.

The best shot of the night. The one Chris took.




Feeding cows with Seth

I got a chance to go hang out with my buddy Seth on the Bar-B ranch the other day and help him feed. He is a good friend and old rodeo traveling partner. Seth grew up on the ranch and his Grandpa has managed it since the 1970’s. I really enjoy the ranch, nothing better than the smell of hay, cows, horses and tractors. So when he invited me up, I was not going to turn it down. img_0289

I met Seth for the first time about eighteen or nineteen years ago when he had just graduated high school. I am seven years older than he is so that would have made me twenty five. I know it’s a cliche, but I am going to say it anyway, I cant believe how time fly’s. Being twenty five sure feels like it was just yesterday…But wait, I regress, this story is not about how old I am and how young I feel, it’s about Seth. I am sure I will write about my middle age years later.

We were at a steer wrestling jackpot at the Weber county fairgrounds in Ogden, Utah. My first impression of him was that he was a quiet kid and kept to himself. He would answer any question, but with short and to the point responses, yes, no, ok, ect. Looking back, the reason he would answer that way was probably because he just didn’t like me that much. I’m sure if you were to ask him today, he would agree. But somehow we ended up in the same truck as traveling partners and became friends. Now instead of answering me with short responses, they begin with F#$k you Hover! And that, is how I know he cares.


The one thing I will never forget about him that day that stuck in my mind was how tough and determined he was-and still is. On one of the steers that he ran he was late getting out of the box, and ran the steer clear to the end of the arena. Most guys would have given up on the run and not got off their horse. Not Seth, there was no way he was not going to get off his horse and get the steer thrown to the ground. As the back of the arena got closer, the steer was veering to the right, his horse was heading to the left, anticipating what direction he was going to go before he got to the back wall. With great courage(and a lot of youth) he jumped off his horse, scratched and clawed up the steers back, got ahold of his horns and it was over. The steer was laying on his back before he even knew what hit him.

It’s been a lot of years since that day. But my impression of him is still the same. He is as tough as anyone I have ever met. But I have noticed lately that he is finally letting his smarts outweigh his grit. Getting older has a way of doing that to a person…. Even Seth.

We are going to miss him

I came across this picture this morning while I was editing some other photos. This was taken last March on a Stealhead trip to Idaho. As dry as it’s been this summer in the American West it’s hard for me to even comprehend what it felt like being blanketed with snow when I took this. It also gave me a sick feeling in my gut and a wave of sadness.

Snowy Salmon (1 of 1)This is Travis Doxey on the right and Lance Heninger on the left taking a sip of whiskey as we get ready to depart for a day of chasing Stealhead. Little did we know at the time that three months later we would lose Lance in a boating accident in Flaming Gorge, Utah. Lance loved Stealhead fishing. As we would pass their boat he would turn to us and sing “ooohh I love it up here” all weekend long…. The guy could flat out fish! He would make all of us harvest what fish we were aloud because he loved to eat them. And I’ve never seen anyone get as excited to clean a fish as him. Life is definitely not fair and I know I will never understand why things happen like they do. Stop counting your money and make sure you spend time with your family and friends, because you never know. Rest In Peace  Lance, we are going to miss you next spring.