A couple months ago, I drove to Blackfoot, Idaho, to the Eastern Idaho State Fair. I ate fried food and hamburgers and almost got the cheesecake on a stick, dipped in chocolate. And then I went to the demolition derby and photographed what happens in the pit before the race even starts.
It wasn’t my idea. It’s was Clark Goldberry’s idea. He’s done the same thing two other times, and this year, invited me to go along.
And now, we’re having an exhibit at BYU. I’m showing photographs and Clark has video and an amazing art installation with dirt and car parts and links them to some of the Buddhist elements he experienced when he was in India earlier this year. It’s really going to be a great show.
So in a couple days, on November 5, 2015, we’re having an artists reception and you’re invited to come say hello. If things go as planned, we’re even going to have corn dogs. (County fair, remember?)
Where: Harris Fine Arts Building on BYU Campus Day: November 5, 2015 Time: 6-8pm
If you can’t come this Thursday, the show will stay up for another week, until November 13. If you’re in the area, it’s worth seeing.
You drive north on Highway 20, past the Frost Top in Ashton, past the cabins at Ponds Lodge and a few miles down the Buttermilk Loop Road in Island Park.
It’s cold outside and you think that wind might just send one of those lodgepole pines on top of you, but still you gather everyone in front of the yurt to take a picture. It’s a good idea to make a record of this day. Your kids are young and your nieces and nephews are young, but they won’t stay that way. And they’ll look at these pictures in 20 years, and maybe they’ll say, remember that weekend when we went to Grandpa’s yurt the day after Thanksgiving and ate chili and cinnamon bears?
Here’s the first of a couple weddings I photographed in Idaho last month. Rachel and Preston’s wedding took place in Rexburg, Idaho on a glorious fall day, and I was so happy to be their photographer. Her dress, oh, man. It’s part brand-new, part 100 years old. I think you’re going to like. And here’s a fun fact about their reception. They brought in 30 aspen trees for their background. Very cool.
Now meet Rachel and Preston.
Wedding: Rexburg Idaho Temple
Reception: The Woodman Ballroom
My last couple of days looked a little bit like this…
Day 1 – We took sleds on the hill just outside the cabin. After lunch (pizza, coca cola, carrots with blue cheese dressing) and after Gheen and I both got work done, we took the snowmobiles on the trail to Cave Falls. Right where the road crosses porcupine creek we saw two enormous moose. Big and black. Rooting around in the water. I wondered if we’d see a bear but it’s still too early for that.
On our way back to the cabin, it started to snow. Lightly, but just enough to make it beautiful. When we got to the cabin the wind had picked up and I thought a storm might be coming up. Inside, we heated up clam chowder, turned up the heater, and I noticed that outside, things were calm again.
Day 2 – Waffles for breakfast, then all three of us spent the next couple hours working. There wasn’t too much conversation and we all had our heads down in our laptops. Around noon we put on snow clothes and rode the snowmobiles into Ashton. I thought this is sort of what it would be like if cowboys had nice snow pants. At the edge of town we parked the snowmobiles and walked down the train tracks a couple block to the Trails Inn Cafe. The internet was so slow that it was nearly impossible to work. By that time we had already ordered food.
Here’s the thing. Gheen and I went to Christian’s cabin to get lots of work done. It’s secluded. Few interruptions. But there’s also about two weeks worth of playing that could be done while we were there, so we decided to go for a longer snowmobile ride after lunch. This time, Sheep Falls. I’d never been there and as we got closer to our destination we all spotted the cougar tracks, but no cougar. On the way back to the cabin, the snow mobile Chris was riding quit moving all the sudden and we had to tow it out.
That reminded me of the time Christian and I drove mini bikes up on the dry farms. I was about 14 years old, Chris, 15. I was on a Honda 80 and Chris was riding a Honda Trail 70. The bike I was riding blew out a tire so we both had to ride out on the Trail 70. Those Trail 70’s are about the size of a 5th grader with slightly less horsepower. With two of us on that thing we looked like something you’d see in a circus. And some how we angered the livestock and suddenly we were being chased by a mad bull.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love Idaho.
Here’s my Grandfather, Hubert Hackworth, photographed at his house in St. Anthony, Idaho, in June 2010, shortly after his 95th birthday.
Grandpa used to have a grocery store just a couple blocks from his house. There was a wood floor that creaked and a little bell whenever anyone opened the front door. The place smelled like pop tarts and had more penny candy than any place in town. Kids in St. Anthony gave grandpa their school pictures and he’d hang them in the store above the cash register.
I miss Hack’s Grocery, but I will miss you even more, Grandpa.
Stephanie and John live in Maine. But they haven’t always lived there. They both grew up in Pocatello, Idaho (that’s where I was born!). And even though they’ve been married 10 years, they’ve known each other for quite a while. Get this. I didn’t know it at the time I was taking these pictures, but later in an email, Stephanie told me that she met John 30 years ago on that very street where I photographed them.
So now they live in Maine. I already mentioned that. John’s a doctor and Stephanie’s a photographer. Over Christmas they were back home in Idaho. So was I, and so I got to meet and photograph Stephanie and John, and John’s family. Stephanie was so fun and pleasant to be around. Since she’s a photographer, too, (plus a great conversationalist) I think I might have worn out my welcome.
Thanks, Hatzenbuehlers, for letting me join you for an hour or two during the holidays.
I think we’ll take the long cut. We’ll get there eventually. – Uncle Tupelo
Yesterday I drove back from Pocatello to Rexburg and decided to take the back roads, just to see what I could see. What a great way to spend an afternoon. Here are pictures from Chubbuck, Blackfoot, Shelly and Rigby. Yep. There’s really a place called Chubbuck.
“I ain’t afraid of prison. That’s what makes me dangerous.” First thing he said to me after I asked him if I could take his picture.
After I went to see my grandpa in St. Anthony, Idaho, I took a walk down that little hump of town where all the businesses are clustered together. At 2:20 in the afternoon, a couple fellows made their way out of the Spur and Sports Saloon, and into broad daylight.
“What are you going to do, put those in a book somewhere in California?” I said, no way. I’m not from California. I’m from Rexburg. He said, well you grew up in California. I said, no, I grew up in Rexburg. My grandpa just lives down the street, right here in St. Anthony. I just went to visit him.
“Really? Your grandpa lives in St. Anthony? My grandpa lives in St. Anthony, too. Do you know, one time I said to my grandpa, do you know that you were 12 years old when Wyatt Earp died? He said, who the hell is Wyatt Earp. Now that’s cool.”
It’s probably hard to tell, but we’re standing at 10,000 feet. (Well, 9906 to be exact). It’s called Sawtelle Peak and getting on top of that mountain gives you the feeling you can see Switzerland from there. You can’t, but you can see Wyoming and Montana.
My friend Gheen was working on the some images for his company Clik Elite and asked for some help with the pictures. I thought he wanted me to model my rugged, chiseled body so I took off my shirt and oiled my pecs. That’s what you do, right? Well, as it turns out, he wanted me to do some of the photography.
Clik Elite makes performance packs and camera bags for adventure photographers. If you’ve seen the backpack I carry around, well, that’s a pack from Clik Elite and I’m in love with it.
Hey Gheen, how about this slogan.
Clik Elite: You can oil your pecs later. Right now it’s time to take pictures.
Last night, Christmas Eve, a couple hours before everyone showed up for dinner (Taco Soup) I took the Gator down by the river. It was cold. 11 degrees. I was wearing gloves and a hat but still, by the time I got inside some time later I could barely move my fingers. Away from the house a little bit, down in the cottonwood trees with a couple Sandhill cranes and a handful of magpies, it was still. The river isn’t frozen over and that water, moving slow, was about the only sound. A near silent night.
Kids are involved, so it doesn’t stay silent forever. And later, back in the house, after dinner and chocolate cake, with the kids dressed up like wise-men and shepherds, we sang some holiday favorites. At one point during the second song, we sang on key.
This is Rexburg. This is the town where I grew up. It’s good to be home.
I’m up in Idaho right now for the Memorial Day weekend, and it is good, good. Anyone that thinks Idaho is lame is right. In fact, never come here. You won’t like it. You won’t like all the trees and moose and fresh drinking water. Stay there in Ogden and I’ll just see you at Lagoon.