henry, a new mexico rancher, has about 20,000 acres outside santa fe. we went over to help for some horse & cattle branding. he let me get up close & personal for photographing it (although i'm reticent to post the actual branding shots on flickr, for fear of some backlash from animal rights activists... it's a necessary part of ranching & doesn't hurt the livestock... but still, y'know. people are sensitive). i think this photo is a pretty good summation of the day though. another day at the office for henry.
he even took personal interest in my riding skills and my photography; we were out there at least 3 times a week. he's probably about 80, and still is in the field running his ranch... and has known several incredible photographers in his day. he has a slow drawl, moves slowly. he's serious and compliments are rare, his jokes catch us off-guard. his mind is razor sharp and has solutions before anyone realizes there's a problem. the day before i flew home, we went to henry's for one last day of riding & roping. diane let me ride dakota (she'd never let anyone else ride him), and when i rode back over to the trailer, henry gave me a half-smile and said "that's a nice lope. you're getting there." i about thought i'd burst. thanks henry. :)
(a bit off topic, but here's a video on youtube of me learning to ride & rope. it's pretty funny & is at double-time to enhance the comedic effect of my ineptitude) heh.