Visiting every Montana county

One of the photo projects I have been working on this past year is an effort to visit every Montana county and create an online gallery of images that tell the story of that county. By the end of next week I will launch new photo galleries for Teton County and Pondera County, which are both located in north central Montana. And before year's end I expect to have Liberty County and Phillips County done, too.  Galleries for Hill County, Blaine County, Chouteau County, Fergus County, Meagher County, and Fallon County have already been launched.

Above is a map with my plans for the upcoming years. Of course plans are often broken, but I have a good feeling I will be able to stick to this plan.

Montana is the 4th largest state in the country. So visiting each of the 56 counties and creating a gallery of images worth of public consumption is a big task indeed. But I think doing so will be good for my photography and for my business for many reasons. Next year I plan to devote most of my time to photographing south central Montana. I also hope to create some galleries in the extreme northwest corner of the state. I'll be spending some time there since I will have work to do in eastern Washington and both Lincoln and Sanders Counties will provide an excellent base of operation for that work so I can still make more Montana photography. And with me crisscrossing the state I'll be able to make even more photos for existing galleries, too.

If you have not yet visited my photo galleries, please check them out.

Happy with my USB flash drives

Custom USB Flash Drives.jjpg

I'm constantly sending files all over the country to clients and prospective clients. The three most common ways for me to send photos in the mail is by CD, DVD, and USB flash drive. CDs are inexpensive, but they can only hold 700MB of data; or in my case about 4 or 5 high resolution photos. And how often does that happen? Not very. Might as well use Dropbox or Google Drive to send clients my photos. A DVD can hold more...about 4.7GB of data or about 35 high resolution TIFF photo files, but again, DVDs have their limitations. For example, the maximum capacity for DVDs may not actually be what you can store on a DVD. DVD manufacturers use different standards so a DVD that says 4.7GB may only store 4.2GB of data. And while it is cheaper to send a DVD (like a CD) through the mail, it too lacks capacity. And it also lacks impact if you are trying to make a statement. What's more, CDs and DVDs are notoriously unreliable when it comes to long term storage and clients almost always through them out after downloading the photos. This is one reason why I tend to send photos to clients using a USB flash drive instead.

Flash drives can be purchased in almost any size, from 500MB all of the way up to 256GB and beyond. Also, they are increasingly inexpensive and they make much more of an impact. And if you send the right USB flash drive, it may be something your client continues to use over the years. That's why I put my logo on my flash drives. What a perfect opportunity to brand and pitch your business.

The company I am using now for my branded USB flash drives is USB Memory Direct (www.usbmemorydirect.com). The offer many different flash drives in many different styles and colors. And each of them can be inexpensively adorned with my company logo.

I like the BP Custom Flash Drives sold by USB Memory Direct. They have a durable plastic exterior that has a soft, elegant feel. And I think they are the perfect size. Not too big, not too small. Just the right size to compel my customers to hang on to them for years. And with my logo, a perfect opportunity to remind them about me and my business.

If you are in the market for branded USB flash drives be sure to check out USB Memory Direct. They have earned the Todd Klassy seal of approval. :)

Under the Harvest Moon

Farmers work late unloading barley at a grain elevator in Valier, Montana.

20+ photos of the Terry Badlands

A view of the colorful spring landscape deep inside the Terry Badlands near Terry, Montana.

I had the good fortunate recently to visit one of the more remarkable landscapes in the state of Montana...the Terry Badlands. They are located three miles northwest of Terry and north of I-94 and the Yellowstone River in Prairie County. I traveled through the badlands on an unimproved road called the Claypso Trail not knowing what to expect. And I can tell you that I was blown away. Anyone in Montana with a ATV or 4-wheel drive vehicle owes it to themselves to visit this place at least once in their lifetime.

The journey to the Calypso Trail begins by crossing an old railroad train trestle over the mighty Powder River. Crossing this dilapidated old Milwaukee Road bridge, which has holes in its underbelly patched up with old rusty sheets of steel borrowed from old signs doesn't exactly inspire confidence as you cross it. And the only thing the separates you from a 80 feet fall to the water below is a thin steel cable. I've seen thicker cables used on trawlers fishing for salmon on the Columbia River.

For those who are afraid of heights the drive across the old bridge might be the most frightening part of the trip. But the drive on Calypso Trail is no walk in the park either. Portions of the road are washed out and the gullies require some patience and thought to cross, especially if you wander outside of this BLM land onto Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Block Management land on the north side of this 10-mile wide inhospitable (but beautiful) place. And get your ass out of there if you should see even a hint of rain. Calypso Trail will turn into a muddy gumbo that may have you stay in the Terry Badlands much, much longer (i.e. days) than you wanted.

The amazing landscapes and dramatic escarpments are breathtaking in many places. And when you round the bend in the trail and lay your eyes onto Chimney Rock for the first time, you will gasp. It looks like something plucked from Monument Valley in Arizona. The Terry Badlands are also rich with wildlife and wild flowers. There's so much to see.

Interestingly, on this beautiful Sunday afternoon it seemed as though I had the entire badlands to myself. I'm floored more people don't visit places like this.

Be sure to check out my gallery of 20+ photos Terry Badlands below. I will return to this place in the fall and camp for the night so I can capture the best light for making better photos. I can't wait.

To see more collections of my photos be sure to visit my Photo Galleries page.

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