Thursday, December 9, 2010


Last week my wife and I, along with our friend Jimmy, headed up to the BearPaw Mountains to get a Christmas tree.  We stopped along the road to capture a photograph of Centennial Mtn. and the unusual phenomena of a rainbow while it's snowing.

Friday, October 8, 2010

No Man is an Island

No man is an island, but some are peninsulas.  I faced death yesterday, and I didn't like it.  I was working in a grain bin when a vertical aeration tube, damaged and full of wheat, collapsed.  This 10 foot, 600 pound column of steel fell and struck me.  First in the head, knocking me down, then trapping me by pinning my leg.  Meanwhile, the auger is running and the wheat, the aeration tube, and I are slowly but surely creeping towards an 8 inch auger running about 600 rpm.  Dazed and injured, I realized that my foot was only a short distance from the auger, and getting closer all the time.  I thought about the guy who, a few years ago, got his hand trapped by a boulder and had to cut off his own hand to escape.  That would not help me--the auger would do that work for me, except I would still be pinned down while I bled to death.  So there I was, trapped, in peril, alone in the approaching darkness.  Long story short, I made it out intact.  Sorry if you were expecting a better ending.
Update!  It seems that there is some dissatisfaction with how I ended this, so here is the expanded conclusion:  I had a pair of visegrip pliers with me, and was able to detach the top 4 foot section of aeration tube, which was attached with screws.  I then wedged this piece between the auger and my body, so that as the auger pulled the wheat, the tube, and me towards it, this wedged section pushed the auger away.  And without the top section attached, I was able to reach into the wheat filled sections and scoop out just enough wheat so that I could escape it's weight.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jon Tester's Dog

When the Jon Tester campaign people asked me if I'd like to photograph a fundraising event at his farm, I was reluctant.  I don't do this sort of photography anymore, and especially not free of charge, but Jon is a friend from way back, I had to travel just 10 minutes to get there, and frankly, I couldn't resist the opportunity to observe.  Being a fairly non-political person, I had never been to a campaign event before.  My job was to take photographs of guests posing with Jon, and I had a great time.  It was interesting to see first hand the organisational skills and passion that his team had for the task, and I successfully resisted the urge to tell stories about Jon.  Not that Jon would have minded, but some of the stories would probably not sit well with his staff.  I also photographed Jon and his wife Sharla for their Christmas card, but I never received one.  I suppose you have to be a paying supporter to be on that mailing list.

I personally take the credit (or blame, depending on your views) for Jon's success as a politician.  Back in 1973, more or less, I ran against Jon for student council president at Big Sandy High School.  I was soundly defeated (and embittered by the process, but that's another story.)  My ineptitude very likely gave Jon Tester the confidence and passion to pursue his present career.  I am not expecting a thank you from him, but I would very much like a cell tower in my vicinity.  Seems fair to me.

When Tester first ran for state office, I did some of the photographs for his campaign.  Back then, I offered politician clients a special deal:  They could choose to pay my normal fee or choose the "Politician Special".  The deal was that they would pay nothing if they won, but double the fee if they lost.  Jon took the deal. Below is one of the photos from that session. 

Senator Jon Tester

Friday, January 1, 2010