2018 Northern States Trip
Travelling into the States
Up until June of 2018, I had never gotten to travel much outside of central Alberta & Saskatchewan. Between taking care of the cattle and all of the chores that a working farm/ranch requires as well as having 3 siblings and I in sports and other activies year round, we never strayed too far from home. It is amazing what a final research paper for a photography diploma can inspire… (Thanks Shaun). Because of said paper I ended up renewing my passport and blocking off 2 weeks of my life in June of 2018 to drive down through Montana, the northern corner of Wyoming and into North & South Dakota, on my own, for a photography workshop at the DX Ranch with Chris Dickinson.
The following is a condensed recount of what it all entailed for me.
After 2+ years of solid running between work, school and home life, this trip was the first chance I had given myself to slow down and enjoy what was happening around me, without any deadlines of where to be or what to do everyday. Without data or calling on my phone, it became a very peaceful and reflective time for me. Getting the chance to step away from everything that was going on in my life for a minimum of a few hours everyday and enjoy the scenery as it passed. The miles flew by and gave me back a peace for me, that I had not realized I missed so much.
I had arranged the trip so that I could capture rodeos that would take place in the southern part of the provinces on the weekends on either side of the workshop. This helped break up the drive and allow me to capture events, I may not otherwise drive that far for, being as currently my home base is Edmonton. So by Sunday lunch after 3 days of rodeo in the mud at Coutts, AB and some advice on places to possibly stop, from local committee members, I started my trip south into Montana.
Throughout the entire trip I managed to avoid the rain for 1 day, but it did leave the fields and mountains a very rich green that spoke to the beauty of the land that lay hidden behind the distance clouds. Hiding the deeper colours of the land to be seen more on future trips. The first leg of the trip included driving down through the mountains in Montana, East through a corner of Wyoming and into the Black hills of South Dakota. On my way back home after the workshop I traveled further East and then North through South and North Dakota before crossing back into Saskatchewan. I got to see many beautiful landscapes along the way that I am looking forward to seeing and exploring more again.
Of course not all of the trip was just driving, a couple highlights were stopping in Deadwood, SD for an afternoon and learning some wild west history, having some delicious meals and drinks at local pubs, shopping at a few different western stores and going for a ride on the 1880’s steam train in the Black Hills.
Chris Dickinson & DX Ranch Photography Workshop
Shortly after lunch on day 4 of my trip into the States I arrived at the DX Ranch for the photography workshop.
Evening Photoshoot - June 21, 2018
The workshop was an experience that will stick with me for a long time. The experience was not only about photography, but also about connecting with other photographers and people. It was an amazing place to learn and grow in only a few days.
After introductions and a bit of theory inside in the afternoon we went outside for the evening to practice balancing artificial lighting with the beautiful soft light of the sunset. Jenn & her horse Dino were our awesome models for this session.
After everyone had practiced with the flash, and the sunset was still painting amazing colouring in the sky, we opted to capture some further silhouettes. Chris Dickinson and Chris Peterson were good sports and turned it into a "photographers show down" for us.
An amazing wrap on the first evening of the workshop.
Foals & Mares - June 22, 2018
The next day included more business and marketing discussions and basic photographic theory inside throughout the day, which sounds boring, but is such a huge part of the business to understand. In the evening though we got to go spend a couple of hours with the herd of mares and their foals. This was an amazing experience not just photographically but personally as well, as you just got to sit and enjoy the quiet that the land brought, in your own little space with these amazing animals. Everybody got some time to just reflect and play with their camera at the same time. It was hard not to find something to capture.
Later on, we all got to visit and get to know each other more around a fire, sharing many laughs and crazy sayings.
DX Ranch Branding Day - June 23, 2018
Day 3 of the workshop involved a very early morning for everyone as we were lucky enough to be covering the DX Ranch’s annual branding. When the alarms went off at 430am and we all rolled out of bed we were all excited to get the day started. After a quick huddle over breakfast we all split up to capture the DX Ranches crew getting their horses ready for the day ahead. When this was complete we all piled into the trucks to head out to the pasture where the cattle were.
Throughout the day we continued to capture the branding, each in our own way while trying suggestions from Chris.
This was an amazing trip that I can’t wait to do again in 2019! I am inspired by everyone that I met during this workshop every single day!