October 2017-Photos of the Month

Photo taken by Larry Mayer

October is my birthday month and what better way to bring in my mid-twenties than a face collision at a roller skating rink during my birthday party. While I sat in the emergency room I couldn’t help but laugh because of course this happened. My life has been anything but normal and continues to throw several surprises at me. If I’ve learned anything from these surprises it’s how you handle them. I’ve also learned I’m going to have to put my roller derby dreams aside for a little while. 

And so begins the mid-twenties life crisis. Feeling one coming on? Read this

In the end, it’s all about perspective and carrying your head high. The day after I broke my nose (in two places) my mom and I got tattoos to celebrate milestones in our life and of course, the badassery we share together. 

Moments after my face collision at the skating rink.

ER selfie with mom trying to figure out where to look.

Next day, tattoo time. The black eyes are setting in nicely.

Mom’s tattoo says “Grief is a sword or it is nothing.”

Hand of Fatima.

Coming out of an anesthesia haze with a thumbs up. Nose surgery was a success!

On another note, here are some favorites from October. There are a little less than normal due to my being in doctor’s offices than work. 


Skyview’s Jared Schaaf points after scoring a touch down at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium on Thursday, October 12.

Riders warm up their horses before the Nile PRCA Rodeo at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Thursday, October 19.

Defensive back Si Ryan poses for a portrait in the locker room of Billings West High School on Thursday, October 5. Ryan’s name was passed down to him from four generations of family members that went to West.

Jordan Fletcher of Billings looks out toward the arena floor during the National Anthem during the Nile PRCA Rodeo at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Thursday, October 19.

Skyview’s Jacob Tolzien and West’s Caden Satrom head the ball during a playoff game at Amend Park on Friday, October 20.

From left, Senior’s Caleb Borgstrom, Belina Neufeld, Zeke Borgstrom and Luke Vondra stand for a portrait at Amend Park on Tuesday, October 24. The four arrived to the US from Ethiopia several years ago after being adopted by Billings families. The boys share similar stories of hardship as they all spent their younger years in orphanages or for Neufeld, in the Korah dump in the country’s capital of Addis Ababa. While the boys still have a love and longing to return their country, they continue to be a driving force for the Broncs as they start the Class AA soccer tournaments this weekend.

Billings Fire Department responds to a fire off South Frontage Road on Wednesday, October 25.

Bring on the November surprises. 


September 2017-Photos of the Month

September was a great month for several reasons. The light was phenomenal, I got to shoot a wide range of different things, meet some very interesting people and horses. Lots of horses. You can probably guess what my favorite animal is based on this post and the images that follow. 

These horses got me thinking…

Has anyone ever told you that you photographed something too much? I’m guilty of being that person, I also know people who have had this happen to them by editors or other colleagues. I once told my friend Olivia she had too many photos of kids in her portfolio. Looking back on it, why the hell did I say that? I mean obviously, I cling to the quote by Oliver Wilde where he says “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” But why would we moderate something we are good at? Or makes us feel confident or empowered as a photographer? Crazy. Let’s not do that. 

Take all the photos of kids, dogs, horses, food, leaves or whatever floats your boat and catches those brilliant eyeballs of yours. 

There I said it. Okay, here are some of my favorites from September. 

Team rider from Wolf Mountain Express holds on as his horse charges forward in Heat 4 during the Champion of Champions 2017 Indian relay races at MetraPark on Saturday, September 23.

Belgrade’s Abbey Cady fights for ball against Laurel’s Paige Ventlign at Laurel High School on Saturday, September 30.

Brad Barcroft takes a moment before he competes in the Wild Horse Race in Dillon, Montana. Barcroft is a “mugger” which means he has to grab the horse’s head when it comes out of the chute in order for the rider to throw the saddle on and ride to the finish line.

Trey Grijalva, 5, holds hands with his favorite Rocky player Drew Korf (4) before the game at Herb Klindt Field at Rocky Mountain College on Saturday, September 23. Grijalva, who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at six months old, was invited to walk on with the players before the start of the game.

Pigeon trapper Bryan Cleveland holds a pigeon near his home in Glendive on Wednesday, September 27. Due to a pigeon problem in Glendive, Cleveland has been contracted by city and county officials to set traps around the town’s historic buildings. Cleveland has been in the nuisance wildlife trapping business since the 1990s. He started trapping in residential areas in Florida. He also trapped pigeons at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Mud covers the legs of a horse and rider in the Warrior Race in the Champion of Champions 2017 Indian relay races at MetraPark on Saturday, September 23.

Local actor Michelle Berger as Julia Childs poses for a portrait on Friday, September 29.

Lou Casey Tines of Elms Springs, South Dakota sits on top of her horse Duke at MetraPark on Friday, September 29. Tines is with her mom and siblings to watch her father compete in the Wrangler team roping event at the arena.

A police officer walks by as a grass fire burns down a structure near Huntley, Montana.

Sidney’s Jace Johnson celebrates after scoring a touchdown at Herb Klindt Field at Rocky Mountain College on Friday, September 1.

Skyview’s Jordan Roe heads the ball into the goal at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium on Tuesday, September 12.

A man watches as people enter the rodeo grounds before the Labor Day rodeo in Dillon, Montana.

My dear friend Meg Oliphant and I took a final summer hike into the Beartooths.

A bucking horse waits a chute before the Wild Horse Race in Dillon, Montana.

From left, Clayton Cleveland and his sister Ava hold their pet pigeons Racer and Leprechaun near their home in Glendive on Wednesday, September 27. Although a pigeon trapper, Bryan allows his children to keep three pigeons as pets.

A pink sunset hovers over Daylis Stadium during the Skyview vs. Senior girls varsity game at Wendy’s Field on Tuesday, September 26.


August 2017-Photos of the Month

Well, we are still on fire. No surprise there as Montana is notorious for aggressive fires this month. However, I can’t seem to recall them being this bad and this frequent. I found a little nugget on the Billings Gazette website just this morning, it stated, “Montana currently has 23 major fires burning more than 220,000 acres, and more than 125 aircraft, 400 engines and more than 4,000 firefighters on the ground.” Montana even managed to have the largest fire in the nation, burning 270,000 acres and was estimated to be the size of state of New York. That blew my mind. It also cost about $6 million to fight. While normally I tend to wait on a grass fire call over the scanner, I don’t anymore. 

Just yesterday I had the most intense experience with an air tanker on a grass fire just outside Billings. I learned a big lesson too. To be honest, I missed the shot. Ever lost sleep over missing a shot? So annoying that we as young photographers have to go through this just as the pros have. I still have trouble finding a balance between my camera and getting content out there on social media. Just like I have trouble finding a balance between choosing to shoot in video primarily for a story or still. The constant struggle, or like my friend Emma Howells calls it, the circus. I’m an open book if someone wants to share some tips and tricks they’ve learned when dealing with the circus. 

So anyway, while I’m uploading a video update to my Twitter account about the fire, I hear a grumble. Having no idea where it is coming from I finish the final touches of a hashtag when all of a sudden the giant Missoula Neptune air tanker roars what seemed like several hundred feet above me. And like a mere mortal waiting to be abducted by a UFO I stand in awe of the site as a wall of red fire retardant rolls my way. It stopped several yards in front of me. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen until I looked down. My phone was in my hand, not my camera. And yet another reminder that I am a damn human first. 

Annoyed and cursing under my breath I began to obsess over the thought of getting that shot again, knowing it wouldn’t be the same as I had experienced it. But dammit I had to try. I remember a tip a fire fighter gave me while in the field. He said the air tankers will try to circle the fire three times before it unloads. So happy I remembered because it did just that and I ended up with a shot I could bring back and be semi proud about. I’m still wincing over that first shot though. Anyone feeling my pain here?

An air tanker releases fire retardant on a hillside off Highway 87 North on Thursday, August 31. The fire burned 1,800 acres.

Firefighters shovel dirt onto flames on a hillside off Highway 87 North on Thursday, August 31.

A lead plane flies over a hillside off Highway 87 North on Thursday, August 31.

On another note, this month started out real slow for me on the work front. I am really grateful though because I got to do some really cool stuff like go to Poynter’s drone school in Portland. I am so excited to incorporate drone footage into my work. As a photographer I really enjoy showing scale of an area or situation. I think people really like to know how big stuff is and how small they are. So stay tuned for a little different perspective. 

Here are some shots from three days of my brain being fried…

This was our life for three days. Airspace charts, I think I just learned a new language.

Finally got to fly the damn things.

Melissa Lyttle feeling the brain burn.

Passed my drone pilot’s exam!!

When I got back it was game time. Here are a few of my favorites.

Bugler Randy Grow stands for a portrait with his 1900s Conn bugle at the Billings Gazette studio on Tuesday, August 29. Grow started playing the bugle when he was 12 years old as a boy scout in Glendive, Montana. Grow said his favorite part about being a bugler is bringing honor, dignity and closure to the family of the deceased veteran. On Labor Day, Grow will be concluding the final ceremony of 100 Nights of Taps in Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania.

Augusto Juarez catches a tool thrown up to him from below during MontanaFair setup at MetraPark on Wednesday, August 9.

Grace Anderson leans against the Inverted Portal at the Tippet Rise Art Center near Fishtail, Montana. The concrete structure was created by Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa along with a team from Ensamble Studio. The Art Center sits on 10,260 acres of ranch land against the backdrop of the Beartooth Mountains.

Navy SEAL veteran Bo Reichenbach and his son Landon, 9, pose for a portrait at Centennial Ice Arena in Billings, Montana on Monday, August 14. In 2012, Reichenbach lost his legs when he stepped on a bomb in Chora located in south east Afghanistan. Since his accident Reichenbach continues to coach and play hockey.

Lindsey Brown and her son 7-month-old son Raylee share a moment during the annual I Am Billings event at South Park on Saturday, August 26.

Ryan Breece jumps through the finish line during Supercross at the MontanaFair at MetraPark on Tuesday, August 15.

Two witnesses speak to a Billings police officer after an alleged stabbing at the MontanaFair on Tuesday, August 15.

This is my new friend Aleck Gantick.

A fire truck drives through a flooded underpass on Access Street on Tuesday, August 1. Around 10 p.m. an emergency alert warned residents of flash flooding in the Billings area.

Dirt flies from the sprint car of Brad Sweet of Grass Valley, California speeds around the track during the World of Outlaws sprint car race at the BMP Speedway on Saturday, August 26.

Skyview’s Lainey Bosch and Senior’s Anya Wolf jump to head the ball at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium on Tuesday, August 29.

Saunders Allen and Aleck Gantick look at the Domo concrete structure a part of the Tippet Rise Art Center near Fishtail, Montana.

Saunders Allen wedges himself in a beam a part of the Beethoven’s Quartet structure at Tippet Rise near Fishtail, Montana.

my cousin Samantha Leahy watches as the solar eclipse reaches totality in Canby, Oregon.

Light from the solar eclipse highlight a garden of flowers in Canby, Oregon.

The eclipse reaches totality in Canby, Oregon.

This is my best friend Grace Anderson.

Looking forward to next month. In this industry you never know what you’re going to get. 

-B

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