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!
Each February Oklahoma Living highlights an influential member of Oklahoma politics. This year my assignment was to photograph incoming Oklahoma Senate Pro Tem Mike Schulz at his cotton farm south of Altus and at the Oklahoma State Capitol. I drove to Altus very early one morning, arriving at Senator Schulz farm well before daylight. He was very cooperative and friendly. We drove out to his cotton fields and I photographed him in the fields and around his tractor. We then returned to his home were I trapped a few pictures around his farm. A few weeks later I met him and his family on the first day of the Oklahoma legislative session at the Capitol and spent a few minutes photographing him in a more formal Capitol setting – a interesting contrast to his cotton farming attire.
My portrait of Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese won second place at the Cooperative Communication Associate Institute awards ceremony in Omaha, Nebraska. I photographed Mr. Reese for my long time client Oklahoma Living Magazine, which is published by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. They entered the photo in CCAI’s national awards competition and scored a second place. This is my second award at CCAI – I won first place a few years ago for a story I wrote about the Moore tornado’s. Writer Mary Logan-Wolf joined me in the awards, scoring two first place trophies for her writing.
It is always an honor to be recognized for the work we do. I knew when I met Jim Reese at his farm that we were going to have some great photos. He was nice enough to meet me about 30 minutes before sunrise, and was very cooperative in moving his combine wherever I needed it for the portrait. We got everything set right as the sun came up. I used my Einstein studio strobe to add a bit of fill to the photo, which helped it pop along with the warm early morning sunshine.
Below is the magazine cover, along with some additional images I took during that shoot. I always enjoy working for Oklahoma Living Magazine and especially love photographing Oklahoma farmers, ranchers, electrical lineman and rural areas of the state.