I received word late last week that one of my photos of Montana cowboys I call Braving the Rain (which many of you are already familiar with) was named the grand prize winner in Country magazine’s 2016 Country Life Photo Contest. You can see the winning photo above. It shows Lael Barnett, of Havre, Montana working on the Hofeldt Ranch outside of Lloyd, Montana. Lael is riding his horse Maddie, and with the help of his dog Screech they were moving cattle along Hungry Hollow Road when the skies opened up and dumped sheets of rain. Lael approached me in my truck and graciously offered to let me pass through the herd, but I told him I wanted to hang back and see if any opportunities to make a photo popped up. And boy am I glad I did.
Earlier this year this same photograph was awarded the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) DeLaval Star Prize for Photography at a ceremony in Bonn, Germany. It was the first time in more than 12 years an American won the contest. The photo has also been published in numerous magazines and even published by National Geographic. So needless to say this was a very special photograph for me.
Country magazine is considered one the most prestigious photo contests for rural lifestyle photographers in America and I consider it an honor to have won the contest. The only problem is that I now must get back to making more photographs so I can find the next Braving the Rain photograph that proves as successful for me as this one was. And that at times is easier said than done.