During the later part of my work at Electricraft Stereo, I did a lot of driving between Seattle, WA; Pocatello, ID; and Bozeman and Billings, MT; and often took pictures along the way – this is a nice picture of Sunnybrook Farm and a friendly horse.
There is a raw and primitive beauty that is often found in the west; a combination of rural isolation, self-reliance and the fact that it often looks like time has stood still – like someone parked these vehicles one day years ago, and they have never been touched since.
There is also often times a lack of capital investment in areas of the west; requiring a quiet self-reliance and a homegrown “bootstrap” mentality in order to get by.
I want to think that these next photos were of wild Mustangs – steadfast in their self-reliance and resilience, and symbols of the untamed west; but most likely they weren’t.
Regardless, these horses have to stick together to make it through the winter until the spring thaw arrives.
Alone in their rural isolation, these horses need the support of the herd to survive the long, harsh winter; and cooperate to stand up together against the elements.
Surviving against the odds in a harsh environment isn’t easy; with nothing to block the wind or to provide shelter, these horses can only rely on themselves for support.
The wide open spaces in the west amazed me; as it is quite common to to feel all alone with no civilization in sight…yet the “no hunting, shooting or trespassing” sign remains posted.
This Pronghorn Antelope enjoys miles of open range land to roam; where they can easily reach speeds over 70 mph, which makes them the fastest land animal in the western hemisphere.
A small band of Pronghorns roam free across the open range; and despite their speed, they can still be challenged by certain types of fencing.
The Pronghorn Antelope is a true symbol of the “Wild West;” and along with the Mustang, represents the true independent pioneer spirit of the west.
This windmill stands “sentry duty” against the wind; and it is interesting that modern windmills are returning to the western landscape as the new symbols of western energy independence.
Yet another time tested symbol of the true frontier spirit; the windmill has allowed rural farms and ranches mechanical access to well water across America, ever since Daniel Halladay invented his “self-regulating farm wind pump” in 1854.
There is real beauty in the isolation of this barn in the rural west; reminding us of our independent spirit, while at the same time necessitating that the local community assist in taking care of its own – because there was no other assistance available to be relied on.
A single Pronghorn Antelope surveys the open range; this time in a black and white print, which I sometimes used for a different effect.
I liked to experiment with B&W film, as with this Pronghorn family; the effect provides a sort of timeless quality.
There is an “antique” feel to black and white photography, that doesn’t allow the viewer to automatically date the print; and instead, leaves them guessing as to when it was taken.
These black and white pictures are timeless, in respect to the images that they capture; you can imagine someone a hundred years ago viewing the same scene.
The wild and untamed nature of the Pronghorn Antelope strikes a chord in all of us; because in the depth of our spirit, each individual yearns for the freedom of the open range – and the opportunity to determine the direction of our own life, and that of our family and our future.
This photo of Miner’s Bar represents many small establishments across America; and could have been taken anywhere in the northwest, based on the Olympia and Coors signs in the window.
Tony’s liquor store could also be from “Anytown” USA…but the Rainier beer advertisement places it up in the northwest.
Improvised “cave dwellings” from years ago, proves that necessity really is the mother of invention; as someone long ago needed the shelter that this rock outcropping could provide.
Flooding remains one of the most serious issues facing communities around the country today; as spring rain and melting snow often combine to raise river levels enough to jump their banks.
Nature refuses to be tamed, and man often tries to overlook that small detail; the answer is not to try to “contain” the water – but instead not build on floodplains and provide an alternative place for the water to flow when necessary.