Sorry I’ve been away for awhile! 🙂
This image is of Charlie Trayer and was taken on the Cottonwood Ranch near Emporia, Kansas. It was one of the few shoots I’ve done on slide film and had digital not come a long, I probably would have switched all my shooting over to slides. I love the feel of the vivid colors and natural saturation slide film gives.
The dog in this photo — and you may have to look a little to find him — is named Smoke. He was Charlie’s right hand man at this time and the two of them could handle any cattle task that presented itself. Watching a good cowdog work is truly amazing — and what they do completely embodies the quote that goes with this photo — they do their job for the love of the work, not because it will gain them a reward. There’s a lot to be learned in this concept and if we’d only apply it to our human lives, think of all that we could accomplish.
Anybody who lives around dogs and horses (well, animals in general) will tell you they (the animals) are their greatest teachers. I wholeheartedly agree. Watching a cowdog love his job — revel in it, live for it — can teach us mere humans how to open our hearts to the passion of the world around us.
Energy and persistence conquer all things. — Benjamin Franklin
I put this photo and quote up today because I was hoping its sentiment would rub off — I need energy and persistence today. Unfortunately, I don’t always have the same tenacity of spirit as the Hangin’ Tree Cowdogs in this photo.
This photo was shot on the Cottonwood Ranch near Cottonwood Falls, Texas several years ago. The man on the horse is Charlie Trayer. I helped Charlie write a book and make video on how train the amazing dogs he helped make popular among ranchers.
I can remember one of the first filming days on the video, we decided to video Charlie gathering heifers. I set up with the camera on a tripod — in the middle of 800 or 1000 acres on a the flatbed ranch truck. Not a cow in sight. Charlie set off with two or three dogs. “I’ll be back,” he said. I got comfortable. It was going to be awhile, I was pretty sure of that.
About 15 minutes later, over the horizon, Charlie appears — followed by a calm, cohesive herd of heifers urged on by the Hangin’ Tree Cowdogs. Charlie rode right up to the truck, and the heifers followed as obediently as if they were the dogs. It was quite amazing. I can remember being in total awe of how easy he and those dogs made it all look.
Energy and persistence, yes indeed.
Charlie has since moved on to Texas. You can find him here: http://www.charliescowdogs.com/