This time last year I was taking pictures in the freezing cold of the Oklahoma panhandle near Guymon. I was working on a project for Tri-County Electric Coop in Hooker, Oklahoma. Each morning I got up well before daylight and went on location around their service area and grabbed some photos of the sunrise, then spent the day around their offices grabbing some photos, then back out at sunset to capture some evening photos. Some of the photos included lineman, some didn’t. Here are a few pictures from that assignment. These were all shot with my Nikon D3s using a variety of lenses. Temperatures were typically below freezing so I had to keep my cameras inside my room at night, but then have to be careful with lens fogging when out taking photos. To help with this I would let the camera cool a bit in the back of my FJ Cruiser while on the way to the location, while keeping my battery warm in the front.
For the October issue of Oklahoma Living Magazine, I not only photographed the cover, but also wrote the feature story about People’s Electric Cooperative electrical lineman Larry Shellenberger, who worked at PEC for 53 years. I photographed Larry at PEC’s headquarters in Ada, Oklahoma. Larry’s secret to 53 years on the job? He LOVES his job!
Last year I wrote and photographed a story called “A Day in the Life of a Lineman”. I spent the day with Chad Compton, a long time electrical coop lineman from Northfork Electric Cooperative in Sayre, Oklahoma. I have done a lot of work photographing and writing about the electric utility industry and always enjoy hanging out with hard working linemen.
One thing that really amazes me when I work with linemen is that their work seems like that of a NASCAR pit crew. Everyone is in synch, they have worked together typically for years, and everyone knows their job. When a crew pulls up to a downed pole or a new service installation, they all know what needs to be done and they do the work with minimal talk about the job. Oh, they might talk about baseball or hunting or fishing, but no need to talk much about the job they are doing because they are well-trained and practiced. Many crews have worked together for years so they know how to work together like a well oiled machine. Tools fly through the air without a word. Nobody asks “Can you hand me a drill?” The drill just magically appears at the right time. Pretty cool if you ask me.
I started out the morning well before daylight when the crews began filtering into Northfork Electric Cooperative’s shop in Sayre. The sun was just starting to brighten the eastern sky over the high school football field as workers started rolling in. After a quick planning and safety meeting, we were loading the trucks and heading out to the first job. Below is my story along with some additional pictures from my day with the lineman crew.
Below is a slideshow of the images from my day with a lineman.
I got a call from Tri-County Electric Cooperative in January asking me to create a panorama photograph for their entryway at their new headquarters under construction in Hooker, Oklahoma. They had seen some of my powerline work in the past and wanted a photo that represented their service area. This was going to be a high profile photo that ran across the entire inside of their lobby above the customer service desk. And time was short. They had one week for me to capture the images and get them to their architect. Of course it was January so that meant some very cold early mornings and late evenings. I drove to the Oklahoma panhandle and stayed in Guymon for a couple of days to capture several sunrises and sunsets for them to choose from. I can’t show the final selected photos yet but here are a few outtakes that are not panoramic – just images I grabbed while waiting on the perfect light.
Below are is a slide show of a few photos from my trip.