Putting Cleveland back on the map

A screen shot of Google Maps showing Cleveland, Montana is back on the map...where it should be.

If any of you tried to search for Cleveland, Montana using Google Maps in the past you might have been confused. Instead of directing you to a dusty little town in south central Blaine County, Montana you instead ended up on top of Mount Cleveland, the tallest mountain in Glacier National Park. This strange happenstance began nearly three years ago. And I wasn't happy.

I do a lot of shooting near Cleveland, Montana. Many of the cowboy photos and cowgirl photos you see from me were made near Cleveland, Montana. So when Google decided to unceremoniously remove Cleveland, Montana from the map...literally, I wasn't very happy.

Truth be told, it isn't hard arguing why Cleveland should stay on the map. Cleveland no longer has its saloon, which was the only place doing business in "downtown" Cleveland for many years. Cleveland's greatest claim to fame, I'm told, is that it once held the world's shortest parade. Seriously. Cleveland, however, does still have a small school serving approximately eight grade school children. It also has its rodeo grounds, which alone should qualify it to stay on the map in a place like Montana. Beyond that, however, there aren't many remnants of old Cleveland.

If you use Google (ironically) to look up the history of Cleveland, Montana you won't find much. Not much at all. We do know Blaine County, where Cleveland is located, was named after James G. Blaine, the "Plumed Knight" and former governor from the state of Maine who later went on to become the Secretary of the Interior. In 1884 Blaine ran for President of the United States on the Republican ticket. He lost to Grover Cleveland, a Democrat. Four years later President Cleveland signed a bill granting statehood to Montana. But Blaine County would not become a county until it broke off from Chouteau County formally on March 2, 1912. And when it did, let's be honest, Chouteau County was no longer the same. :)

A cowboy chases after an Angus calf on a ranch very near Cleveland, Montana. → License Photo

I suspect Cleveland was named after the man who was President when Montana achieved statehood, but I can't be certain. It could have been named after a rancher who lived there for all I know. But if it was named after President Cleveland, can you imagine what might have happened if Governor Blaine had won that Presidential election? Maybe Blaine County would have been called Cleveland County instead. And maybe Cleveland would be called Blaine. And legions of NFL fans searching for information about the upcoming Cleveland/Cowboys football game would not have had to sift through dozens of my photos before finding what they were looking for. But I digress.

One of the big reasons I wasn't happy Cleveland was removed from the map is because it was hard to provide a geographical reference for my photos when geotagging them on some websites. If I took a photo of a cowboy near Cleveland I could no longer type "Cleveland" into a Google application and automatically have that app direct me to Cleveland, Montana. No, I had to manually search for Cleveland. And in the grand scheme of problems our world faces, that's not really such a big deal. But when you take thousands of photos in and near Cleveland, Montana it quickly becomes a pain in the ass for this photographer.

But that wasn't the big reason I was mildly upset. The biggest reason was because I was concerned Cleveland might one day be forgotten. I know there some residents near Cleveland would probably be happy if the rest of the world couldn't find their beautiful place on the map, keeping it from the prying eyes of others who might destroy things as we know it. But for me, I saw it important to preserve the legacy of that small dusty town that sits in the shadow of the Bear Paw Mountains that has been so good to me.

So what did I do? I began contacting Google. Again, and again, and again. And as they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Was I the only one who contacted Google? I'm not sure. Probably not. But lo and behold, Google finally put Cleveland back on the map.

And I am happy again.

Have you seen the new photos added to my gallery of barn photos?

Those who know me know I can't pass up the opportunity to photograph a good looking barn. Barns are touchstones for American agriculture. Like finger prints, no two barns are exactly alike. And sadly, they are also disappearing from America's landscape. Perhaps that's one more reason to photograph them.

I've added several new photos of barns to my gallery of sheds and barns lately. If you haven't checked them out and love a good barn like I do head on over to that page and take a gander for yourself.


My gift shop has a new look

The Todd Klassy Gift Shop on my website has undergone some extensive changes over the summer. For starters it has a new look. which will hopefully make it easier to navigate. Also, there has never been more photos to chose from at the gift shop. There are 1200 images in the gift shop, and before Thanksgiving there should be another 400 more. Lastly, it is much easier to find that special photo at my gift shop. You can sort photos by those that are best sellers, random shots, those with the most comments, most votes, recently added, recently commented on, and recently sold. I will also have a gallery of photos that matches exactly the photo galleries on my website. And as always there is a search bar so you can search by keyword.

If you are unable to find a certain photo in my gift shop be sure to email me and I will be happy to help you.

In another month or so you will also be able to buy the 2017 Montana calendar from my website, sign up for workshops, purchase gift cards, and much, much more.

Published on cover and inside Montana Lifestyles magazine

I have several photos appearing in the new edition of Treasure State Lifestyles Montana magazine. The cover features Chinook, Montana's own Donny Faber on his horse named Doc. Inside the free magazine is also a brief story about me winning some agriculture photography awards and recognition this summer and more photos featuring Montana agriculture.

Be sure to look for your copy of Treasure State Lifestyles Montana magazine at gas stations, restaurants, and elsewhere throughout central Montana today.


Published on cover of new book

I had a quick sale today. I licensed this photo of the contoured strip cropping found on a farm near Geraldine, Montana on the cover of a new book from author David R. Montgomery called "Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life," which is published by W. W. Norton & Company. It is due to hit book stores in May of 2017.

Montgomery also wrote the books Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations and King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon.

Not lost on me was the fact that the publisher selected one of my agriculture photos that featured a soil conservation practice known as "strip cropping" (or "strip farming"). Having grown up on a very hilly farm myself I was well acquainted with the benefits of strip cropping. Strip cropping is a method by which cultivated fields are partitioned into long, narrow strips to prevent soil erosion. When used with a sound crop rotation system both can go a long way to preserve soil on hill farmland.

In the Great Plains of Montana there isn't much need to use strip cropping. This field in the rolling foothills of the Highwood Mountains is about the only example of strip cropping I've seen in these parts. And as luck would have it on the day I drove by conditions were perfect to make this photo.

I'll have a couple copies of the book when they are ready to give away on my Facebook page some time in early 2Q-2017.