I photographed five college mascots in late June for a story about student mascots for Oklahoma Living Magazine. It was HOT that day – nearly 100 degrees by the time we got everyone onto the UCO football field in Edmond. I got everything set up and tested before the mascots arrived so that I could minimize their time I the heat in their costumes, since I knew they would be sweltering inside. Temperatures on the field were approaching 120 degrees! I ended up photographing them for about 30 minutes, both as a group and individually. They were happy that I brought ice cold bottled water to the shoot! My editor Anna Politano did a great job on the layout. I was very pleased with how the story turned out.
I love photographing electrical lineman. They are hardy outdoors types who work hard and a tough, demanding and potentially dangerous job. These guys and gals are calm as cucumbers when dealing with tens of thousands of volts, driving rainstorms, sleet, ice and snow. But put them in a room with photographic strobes, a white background, and some guy – namely me – pointing a huge camera lens at them, and all of a sudden they are what you might call “out of their comfort zone”.
I had just that opportunity to photograph the linemen at Central Electrical Cooperative in Okmulgee, Oklahoma for the May cover of Oklahoma Living. We started the morning outdoors on their “training poles” – something the guys were quite comfortable with. Later I brought them inside to shoot studio-style photos on a white background – something they were not comfortable with at all. Add in a group of seasoned lineman watching over our photoshoot like spectators at a prize fight, and the laughter, jokes and fun begins. The word “ribbing” comes to mind – with a capital R. There was plenty of that going on as I worked to photograph these guys in their safety equipment. It was all in great fun and one of the things I really enjoy about working with lineman – nobody takes themselves to seriously. They take safety VERY seriously, but if you have a big ego, hanging with a group of experienced lineman will keep your ego in check.
Fun, fun, fun. And funny.
I had the opportunity of photographing world renowned bluegrass musician Byron Berliner at his Double Stop Fiddle Shop in Guthrie, Oklahoma for the April issue of Oklahoma Living Magazine. I met writer Hayley Leatherwood in Guthrie and listened to Byron tell stories of playing with people such as Earl Flatts and Lester Scruggs, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Ronstadt and a host of other famous musicians and actors. The best part of the shoot was when Byron would grab a fiddle and start playing – something he did without much prodding. Dang he was good!
I had the honor of photographing a “wounded warrior” for the November 2016 cover of Oklahoma Living Magazine. It is quite humbling to work with someone like Shane Ayers, who has seen battle up close and personal in places like Fallujah, Iraq and the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. Shane is now a quadriplegic but does not let his handicap slow him down. I ended up photographing him bow hunting in northeast Oklahoma. My friend Vance Felder hosted Shane on a hunt near Shamrock, Oklahoma.
“Would you like to photograph the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge for our March 2017 cover?”
I got that question on a phone call from Anna Politano, the editor of Oklahoma Living Magazine. I could think of a lot of answers to THAT question, all of them basically indicating HECK YEA!!!! I would LOVE to photograph the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Every single photographer in Oklahoma would love to photograph, or already has photographed that magical place.
But it gets better.
I get PAID!
Hot diggity dog!
Actually I have photographed the Wichita Mountains for many years and have a huge archive of images. But Oklahoma Living has a very specific cover look they like and I didn’t have anything in my archives to quite fit the bill. So Anna twisted my arm (yea right not much twisting required) and made yet another trip. I left my home in Edmond at 4 am in my Chevy Silverado and arrived at the wildlife refuge well before daylight, hoping to catch a magical sunrise with the buffalo. Although the sunrise wasn’t magical, the refuge is alway magical and very photogenic. I got plenty of new pictures for my archives and a great picture for the cover and inside magazine story. In addition Anna used one of my stock photos of Guthrie, Oklahoma for part of the story.
All in all a totally fun assignment. Some assignments are better than others, and then the best ones are when I get to photograph things I already love and get paid for it!