It's that time of year again when ranchers in Montana are moving cattle from their summer pastures to grazing land closer to home and separating cattle to send some to market. That means I'm driving up and down Montana's gravel roads making photos of cowboys and cowgirls working hard and anticipating their once-a-year pay day when their cattle are weighed, loaded onto a truck, and shipped back east.
It has been a tumultuous year for many ranchers in these parts. The price of beef soared early in the year. For those ranchers who contracted back in June they are very happy because now they are seeing checks larger than they ever have before. For those who rode the market down as the bottom dropped out, they obviously are not as happy.
I had been spending most of my time in Blaine County, Montana. All day long large 18-wheelers with cattle haulers fill the parking lot of the local gas station with their engines idling so the drivers can stay warm. Then in the morning they fan out across the region to load cattle and take them to market. The sound of cattle mooing also pierces the night air as they are stored at the local auction yard waiting to be sold to buyers.
I've been busy documenting much of these activities with my camera making photos of cowboys and cowgirls and specializing in what I do most...farm and ranch photography. Stay tuned to this blog for many more photos of these activities in the days and weeks ahead.