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.
I had the opportunity to photograph Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese at his farm near Nardin, Oklahoma for the cover and feature story on him for my good client Oklahoma Living Magazine. This excellent story was written by Anna Politano.
I knew I was going to have an opportunity to take great pictures when Mr. Reese agreed to meet me before daylight on his farm in north central Oklahoma. He was in the middle of the milo harvest so we met at his John Deere combine that he had left in the field the night before. When he asked me what he should wear for the shoot, I told him “wear what you normally use to farm in.” This turned out perfect since he normally farms in his worn white dress shirts that he cuts the sleeves short after he wears them out in a suit and tie. I thought that little touch really added a sense of realism and showed how he easily moved from the suite and tie world of state politics to the world of farming and running a combine.
Mr. Reese was very cooperative when I arrived and moved his combine so that I could get the best angle for the morning sun. I knew as soon as I snapped the first picture that we had a winner on our hands and was very pleased when the story came out. Of course Anna always writes a great story and the pictures I felt really showed who Jim Reese was in his down time.
Below are a few outtakes from the photo shoot.
Still working on photos from my wheat harvest assignment. I grabbed this photo during the morning maintenance before the harvest each morning. The guy on the left is a local farmer who works for his friend during the harvest, and the guy on the right is a custom harvester from England that comes over to the USA for fun during the harvest. They both enjoy working with the heavy equipment and the camaraderie that is present during the long days of harvest. This morning they had just replaced belts on a couple of combines and were waiting on another part to arrive before starting the giant machines up and getting to work. I set up my Toyo VX-125 with my Nikon 210 mm F5.6 lens and grabbed this “candid” photo while they were resting and talking about past harvests.
April was a good month for me with my friends at Oklahoma Living Magazine. Not only did I shoot the cover this month, but also wrote and photographed the feature story about grain elevators in Oklahoma. The cover photo features Brandon Schroeder, a 4th generation grain elevator operator in El Reno, Oklahoma. He was very helpful in helping me with the story and allowing me to photograph his elevator. My friend Matthew Webb did the grain elevator illustration for this story.
Here are a few outtakes from the story.