Chouteau County, Montana is one of those special counties in Montana with the distinction of being one of the state's original nine counties. Blaine County, Hill County, Teton County, and portions of Meagher, Liberty, Cascade Counties all were once part of Chouteau County. It is also a crossroads of sorts tying together much of the region in north central Montana. It is anchored by the Bear Paw Mountains on the north, the Highwood Mountains on the south, and the fertile great plains and Missouri River are in between. Chouteau County's landscapes are as diverse as its beauty.
Approximately the size of Puerto Rico, Chouteau County has a population of just 5,800 people. By comparison, Puerto Rico has 4 million. It was named after the fur trader Pierre Chouteau, Jr. who built a thriving trading post and port on the Missouri River that would later become Fort Benton and ultimately the county seat for the county.
I spend much of my time photographing in Montana, not because my job as a photographer necessarily takes me there, but because my vehicle is often drawn there by Chouteau County's distinct flavor and compelling visuals.
Making photos of Montana in Chouteau County is easy. The light in Geraldine for example, always seems beautiful because I think the Highwood Mountains and Square Butte act as one of the world's largest reflectors or something. Fort Benton is also rich with history and beautiful architecture that just oozes the old west. Also, the Missouri River Breaks are inspiring, and the plains on both sides of Highway 87 are constantly full of agricultural subject material to photograph. Chouteau County truly is a special place...a fact I am sure the few people who live there already know.
Below are a few of the photographs I have made in Chouteau County over the past few years. They are my latest installment of a little feature on my blog I call 20+ photos. While viewing them I hope you see the allure Chouteau County has.