I love getting outdoors. My wife and I regularly ride motorcycles, both dirt and street. We explore out-of-the-way places in our Jeep. I have over 5,000 hours as a pilot in small airplanes with extensive experience at “bush flying” in the backcountry. So when my editor at Oklahoma Living Anna Politano asked me to write a story about outdoor adventures, I didn’t even have to leave my desk. I just pulled from my huge archive of images and stories to write this piece titled “5 Outdoor Activities in Oklahoma”. We wanted the story to be about unusual activities rather than the normal golf or tennis.
Recently I was given the opportunity to write and photograph a story for Oklahoma Living Magazine titled “Creating a Culture of Safety”. Basically I was to tell how Oklahoma electric cooperatives work to instill safety into all aspects of their operations, especially in regards to line work, which is inherently dangerous. I was able to interview several safety training officials at a number of coops as well as the state offices of OAEC.
As a journalist I love these opportunities to learn more and write on subjects I am not necessarily familiar with, but interested in. Luckily the story turned into a feature and cover story. It is always a pleasure working with the Oklahoma Living staff and especially the people at Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives.
This past summer I spent some time photographing the wheat harvest across Oklahoma. Most of my images were shot with my Nikon digital equipment, but I did grab a few shots with my 1970’s era Pentax 67 film camera. This is my favorite medium format film camera I have used and I have several lenses to fit it. Back in the day when I was shooting film I never used a Pentax 67, instead mostly using a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II or Mamiya 645 1000s. I didn’t discover Pentax until about 2012 when I wandered into Baker Photo in Yukon and my friend Hank had one sitting in the case with a beautiful 165 F2.8 lens. One look through that lens sold me on the camera and the 165 is still one of my favorite lenses of all time. It is bright, clear, easy to focus, and not so huge I can’t handle it easily, and most importantly, the camera handles just like my Nikon DSLR equipment.
So anyway, I have been shooting mostly black and white film in my Pentax, and primarily Kodak TMAX-100 or TMAX-400 film. These were all shot near Brahman Oklahoma while I was photographing on the Day farm.
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.
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.