Odds & Ends + Dumb Ole Cowboy

It’s occurred to me many times, no matter what I’ve been, what I am, or what I’ll be, all in all, I’m still just a “dumb ole cowboy”. That’s okay with me. In fact, lately when we get a cool (70s), low dew point day, sunny with a light breeze, my greatest desire has been to saddle up my horse, and take a ride through the countryside. Unfortunately it has been many years since my last horse left me, so that would be impossible.

Actually, dumb ole cowboys have been among the smartest people I have known. Often they’re naturally poetic, and have a basic attitude towards life, that is perfectly balanced between forgiveness, and taking our punishment. We could use more old-time cowboys/cowgirls today.

The photo below was created by Todd Klassy. It brings back some memories of my 20+ years with horses, but you’d have to take the lariat out of his hand for it to have any actual resemblance to me.

Roping on the High Plains

A cowboy twirls his lasso to prevent cattle from sneaking out of the corral near Cleveland, Montana.

Most of you know that I spent much of 37 years photographing auto races. Racing photography is really photo journalism and that means capturing crash sequences with your camera is a part of your job. I have made several hundred (at least) of them over the years and if they result in no injuries it can be fun. I have seen a few drivers lose their lives in my time and my personal rule was to share no pictures of a crash happening if the result was permanent injury or death.

The pictures below were made by Ron Barger and were published by Dirt Track Digest. They were made at an eastern dirt track, and the type of cars you see in the photos are called sprint cars. They run short distance (usually under 50 laps) races and they are fast, furious and dangerous. I have photographed an uncountable number of sprint car races.37~44

60~5

62~4

63~3

As far as I know, no serious injuries were the result of the crash you see above. Assuming (always dangerous) that Ron was making pictures in the same fashion most of us have done over the years, he was standing in the infield near a turn, had no walls or fences to protect him from out of control race cars, had plenty of dirt and dust to contend with, and still managed to stand his ground and catch the whole sequence. If the pictures aren’t perfectly sharp, or you see a dusty cloud in the air, or maybe there’s a bit of noise in the pictures from high ISOs, well please forgive him as this is a difficult job. Spectacular shots!

One of my favorite types of light, is the one light type that most landscape photographers try to avoid. To me, one of nature’s most dramatic lights is in fact dappled. Shafts of light here, and valleys of shadows there. I have found this light most often in the mountains. This mountain scene made by Mundl Photography, is as pretty of an example as I’ve found. I know not where this is, but I would love to be there right now.dappled light

This beautiful Green Snake image was created by Maria Woehlke. It is gorgeous and it is also made in a type of spotted light. The few shadows (from branches) that grace the skin of this beautiful snake tell me that this was made without artificial light. Some light in the forest, a dark background, with a likely increase of contrast at home while at the computer, tells the story of this snake (color, face, texture etc.) beautifully. Well-done!greensnakeMariaWoehlke

Ian Plant has become one of my favorite all around photographers. I am mesmerized with much of his work, regardless of the subject. This sea cave at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Lake Superior, is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Below I will let Ian tell you how he made this picture in his own words.

“I swam a quarter-mile with my photo equipment sealed within a dry bag to reach a series of sandstone sea caves along the coast of Lake Superior. While inside, I got pounded by incoming waves. Good times! Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, USA. Canon 1DXII, Canon 11-24mm f/4 lens, ISO 100, f/11, 2 seconds, focus stack blend for enhanced depth of field.” Ian Plant Sea-cave-1,-Miners-Castle,-Pictured-Rocks-National-Lakeshore,-Michigan,-USAIanPlant

Now that’s dedication with no small amount of a desire for adventure.

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As I write this post I am musing over the furor about San Francisco 49rs back up Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and his decision to not stand during the National Anthem during their pre-season game with the Green Bay Packers last Friday night. As is so often the case, America is divided to one side or another, with little understanding of America and how it works.

First let me say that the critics of Kaepernick and his failure to follow patriotic tradition, I am happy to say, far outweigh those who support him.

I have read the writings of several who are critical of him, and some actually want him arrested or punished by the government. Really, you want a nation that says it lives for the liberties that the flag provides, to punish him through government entities for asserting his right to free speech? The government and the criminal court system, has no place in telling a citizen that they “have to” stand for the anthem.

With that having been said, free speech also affords the rest of us the right to say what we think of Kaepernick. It also affords the 49rs the right to “fire him“. When you are representing a private employer, that employer has every right to demand a certain code of conduct. They require the quarterback to wear a certain uniform, to not use certain words, and to hold to whatever reasonable standards they require. A young multimillionaire athlete can be required to stand during our National Anthem.

I once knew a truck driver who was fired, because he was found drinking in a tavern, with his uniform shirt on. That was the rule of that company, and they had every right to enforce it. They did not want to be associated with what sometimes occurs in bars, and it was their prerogative to insist that he wear it while working, and change it while either engaging in behavior, or visiting a location that shined a light they did not want on their company.

Do not misquote or misunderstand me. As much as the spoiled little boy that is Colin Kaepernick, makes me nauseous, and as much animosity as someone who will not stand during our anthem provokes from me, the NFL and the San Francisco 49rs have a right to not deal with Kaepernick if they so choose. That is the hard part of living in a great nation like the U.S., but it is a part of it.

Conservative African-American commentator Allen West has a brilliant take on this.          A message from a non-oppressed black man, to Colin Kaepernick.

Another point. “Founding Fathers fought for liberty. MLK fought for civil rights. Kaepernick fights for the right to lie about cops” Larry Elder

What will happen? I believe that San Francisco will cut him from the team, either after the preseason or more likely after the regular season. They will be too afraid of offending the political left and other extremist groups in America to do so now, and will wait until the furor dies down. Their main reason for cutting him will be because he has been a shell of what he once was on the football field, but they will be happy to get the controversy over as well.

God Bless,                                                                                                                                                 Wayne

 

 

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