Where I come from

Had the opportunity to shoot a video of the Hogan family branding this winter's calves today. It's been 20 years since I left the smallness of Riverton, Wyo. We used to do this very same thing every spring before shuttling the herd out to the open spaces of the range.

The smell of hot irons on the calves sides is something that never is forgotten. The sounds of kids struggling to haul down calves in their own weight class brings back fun memories for me. I remember throwing a loop on a few calves that were more than happy to take me for a rough ride through the dirt and rocks of the pen. It was an all day affair of branding, castrating, de-horning and tagging in those dusty-rickety pens that were a patchwork of various types of wooden boards and logs.

A lot of memories came rushing back into my mind after putting this short piece together. Some are not the best memories, but there are several that I'm very fond of and am glad to have them back from the hidden corners of my busy mind. Cattle ranching is quite a simple life. But, ranching is a lifestyle much like journalism. There's not many "off" hours and it requires you to commit your life to maintaining the craft and the herd, or the story.

Some will cringe and worry about the welfare of the calves, but believe me, folks have been doing this for over a hundred years and there have been very few problems after the process. Besides, if you work on a ranch for even a few weeks you would learn that cattle are oblivious to just about everything. Except for an instant and for no reason whatsoever, spook and beat the snot out of you or a fence with utter disregard for their own wellbeing. I once watched as a heifer stared at a Chevy bow tie on a mid-1970s pickup broadsided her at about 25 mph. After picking herself up off the county road gave a slight glance at the sturdy grill and began walking away, as if nothing had happened. Beef, there's a reason it's what's for dinner.


Colorado Spring


This was the scene today. Snow and temperatures in the 30s.


This was 24 hours prior. Sunshine and temperatures in the 80s.

Kind of like my personal feelings about things sometimes – Cold & Hot.
More pix over at Flickr.


Mirror of reflection

ValveStem, originally uploaded by ©JL.

I was walking away from shooting an assignment in Louisville and happened upon a bicycle in Old Town. At first it looked like a trusty retro single-speed tomato-red frame with a basket dangling from the splotchy chrome handlebars. But in reality it's a poor old rusty prop with weathered flat tires on a photographer's porch.

This photo is a sort of reflection of my cycling right now. Just been a little too busy with all the things going on in my world that I haven't had the energy or time to get out on the bike. I know cycling and seem as though I've never missed a week of riding. When in reality I haven't been on the narrow saddle of concrete for months. I really miss the bike and traveling around Boulder County at 20 miles an hour seeing various things, places and people.

Several things are coming to a close in the next few weeks that will allow me to regroup and focus on ticking the pedals over and over 80 plus times a minute and regain some semblance of my cycling form. I better anyway – I'm one of the 3,500 registered to propel themselves over 10,000 vertical feet over the course of 120-plus miles on July 12.

Allez!! Allez!!


Slush, originally uploaded by ©JL.

Just a frame from this morning on the walk to class. Have to love spring in Colorado.


Meetings and podiums

N0409BVSD13c.jpg, originally uploaded by ©JL.

Today was a challenge to make an interesting photo given the assignments I was given. Cover a panel of three folks talking about a topic to a group of high school students and a school board meeting.

Barn burners I know. So luckily I was given a couple of fun photos considering the types of events I was to document. Some sleepy kids and some bashful kids. Kids.

N0408CWA_BHS01.jpg, originally uploaded by ©JL.


Rain this morning, freezing rain this afternoon

N0404SLEET01.jpg, originally uploaded by ©JL.

Sleet started hammering down on Boulder so I ran out to the car, grabbed a camera and turned around just happened to see this lady taking cover with what seems to be the best use of the classified section these days.


DripDrip.jpg, originally uploaded by ©JL.

Just made a few frames this morning in the rain on the walk to class. Surprisingly I got a few in focus after only a couple hours of sleep.

There's a couple more over on Flickr.