Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ron the Taxidermist

Ron's been hunting and doing taxidermy for over 50 years. He's got quite the collection. Its not like thats his prize corner or something either. Every corner of the room is like that. Its crazy. He's been hunting all over the world including Mongolia and Alaska. Ron was kind enough to come over for some portraits yesterday afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised that he was well informed about Tiger conservation. He said, its such a shame that the chinese have those old folk beliefs about tigers, because they are the most beautiful animal in the world. Coming from Ron, I think thats definitely worth something.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Words of Wisdom from Augusta, MT

Huntville, USA

Speaking of hunting. I spent some time in Augusta, MT today on my way back from the bull riding competition in Helena. This was the most hunting oriented town I've ever been to, at least in my limited hunting town experience. It was amazing. I talked with people who moved there from the east coast simply because the hunting was good. I'll have to revisit on the weekend sometime when the hunters really come out.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hunting Season

Hunting season is a real big deal around here. Its sort of hard to tell whether hunting camouflage is everyday fashion or if about a quarter of people I see are going to or returning from hunting outings. Camo succeeds in either hiding or distinguishing a person depending on where they are. But surely this buck was not a fashion accessory. A trophy of sorts though until returning home. 

Waiting on the Boys

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Get back on the Bull

I'm at a miniature bull riding competition in Helena MT to photograph a couple of Blackfeet kids who are competing. I'm holding back from posting stuff from that project, but here are a couple of others. 
I'm not saying this with any moral opinion here, but I've never witnessed something so potentially terrifying to a young kid in my life than bull riding. At one point the announcer said jokingly something along the lines of mini-bull riding is a Montana approved form of child abuse.
 This kid was pretty darned scared to get on the bull. He hesitated for a long while, but after some encouragement from his pops, decided to go for it. What followed was pretty brutal. The kid got flung all over the place by the bull, tangled up, thrown off and then got his arm stomped on. Sometimes the bull will continue flailing around after the rider has been thrown to the ground, at which point generally about 10 cowboy dads all rush out and pile on top of the bull together. Its quite a site, and it shows how protective the dads are albeit in their cowboy way. The picture to the right is from after the ride. I talked to the kid's father a bit, and he said that he'll will probably ride again tonight. Wow. 

For the most part, the kids seemed to love it, in addition to the parents, so I think its cool. It did definitely make me aware of the still 'tough' values of neo-frontier life. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tibetan Buddhist Cows Grazing in Montana

'Fall' is Code for 'Winter' in Northern Montana

And so is spring. Which means that winter lasts for about 9 months a year. Well, actually spring is like the last two weeks of June. Fall is the first two weeks of September. You can figure out the rest. 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Red Eagle Trail

I used to hike the Red Eagle trail in Glacier NP a lot before a huge fire transformed the landscape it walks through. And I've continued to hike it since the burn. It doesn't even feel like the same place (wish I had before and after photos). I can't really say I have a preference for either one. Before it was one of those inviting idealic forests you could get lost in and yet somehow feel reassured and nurtured by the trees themselves. Now the forest edge is like a curt and opaque statement from the inhuman world. One that says you may live here, but it hasn't been for that long, it may not be for that much longer, and it was never your place alone to begin with. 

Been reading a lot of Cormac Mccarthy lately. Can you tell? LOL. 

The Big Bigness

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Roadside Refuse


I love how bearcentric Montana is. Every time a bear related event happens anywhere, the montana papers pick up the story from the wires. However, the small town papers generally have enough bear related news that they don't have to pick up anything from the wire. The picture below, from the barber shop in Choteau, shows a bear who by accidently jumped into a basement as he tried to run away from the owner of the house. Poor guy. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Diner/Dino '09

We finished up our Dino/Diner roadtrip. We had wraps stuffed with veggies and smoothies with real fruit for our first non-diner meal in almost 10 days. Detox time. That was a great trip. Now for some serious editing to make a little sense of it all. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Dino in Progress

Some thoughts part way into the Dino/Diner roadtrip: 
--its hard to show the inherent interrelatedness of dino's and diner's (even if it is indubitable:)
--I repeatedly have to remind myself that these surreal giant lizard things actually roamed our same planet earth 
--thinking about Dino's give's me the strange and humbling feeling that human beings are just a blip in time
--having this broad historical timeline in mind gives me a sort of absurdist appreciation for human culture, quirks, drama, triumph, struggle, joy etc. 
--looking for ways to cast characters we meet along the way as absurdist heros living on the same unfathomable timeline as Dino's
--This October in Montana feels like February in most other states
--Eating from 'greasy spoons' every meal is sort of intoxicating and invites lunacy
--even the cheapest hotels are luxurious after sleeping in the car for a week and a half of below freezing nights
--rural Montana inspires much curiosity (What do people do out here? What do people do anywhere?)
--the sky really is inexplicably big out here. yes, even bigger than it is in your state. 
--cold weather road trips are a completely different activity from warm weather road trips
--both are good activities
--I've managed to get myself into a rather difficult project that I have no idea if anyone would be interested in
--a good absurdist venture, no?