The AgriLife View, No. 1

It’s 2015. We’re excited about what’s in store for agriculture, and we’re excited for AgriLife Studios, too – new tools, new offerings (visit our new store AgriLifesStudioStock.com) and new ideas. To celebrate the arrival of 2015, we’re kicking off the new year with a new series, “The AgriLife View” featuring faces, places and captured moments representing the real farm and ranch “agrilife.” For each installment, we’ll post two ideas for an image headline, and you get to tell us which ideas resonate with you… or don’t – in which case, you can write your own copy. Let’s have a little fun! LookLike_V1EIEIOh_V2

That’s No. 1 – He’s a real farmer we met last fall during harvest. Cast your vote below, then check back soon for the results!

UPDATE:  Thanks for checking out the new “AgriLife View” entry and voting! We’re having fun seeing the tallies come in. Say, it seems the poll response is not showing the “other” copy, so if you want to share your alternative headlines (and clearly some of you do) please jot your ideas in the blog post comments section. Thanks!

 

 

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Christmas on the Ranch – Carols, Bells & Cow Chores

Every family who celebrates Christmas has their own rituals. For our family, feeding the cows is as much a part of the ritual as opening presents, lighting the advent candle, playing carol music or preparing the big family dinner. Sometimes we do chores in waves — feed in one pasture, come in for a hot chocolate and a round of presents, then head back out to deliver hay to another pasture. Sometimes, the process involves chopping ice from frozen water tanks. While the method of hay delivery has become more efficient over the years, and better tank heaters have mostly eliminated the need for ice chopping, the Christmas routine remains mostly the same. Caring for the animals takes priority. Of course, games of cowpie pond hockey, snowball fights and sledding with the cousins find their way into the routine as well. It’s Christmas, after all.

Christmas on the High Range

Christmas on the family ranch means getting together with the cousins, riding in the truck with Grandad when he feeds the cows, and making fun where you find it. For our kids, a highlight every year is pulling sleds through the pasture behind the 4-wheelers. But when the snow’s a little thin those frozen cow patties make for a rough ride. So what’s Plan B? How about a game of pasture pond hockey? All ya need is a little ice, a rock, a few sticks and some cousins. Who’s got game?

The Story Behind the Stock

We sometimes have new clients say, “We need a great shot, but we don’t want it to look like stock.”

We know what you mean. Too often, stock photography — particularly in agriculture — is either too “clinical” to be appealing, or too glamorously out-of-touch to be believed. We founded AgriLife Studios, and launched our stock image and video business [ www.agrilifestudiosstock.com ], to meet a need for images that accurately represent life and reality of agriculture.

Admittedly, our stuff is sometimes a little too gritty for the uninitiated. But sometimes it’s a little artsy. No matter the content or style, our images are always authentic — showing the real life, people and work of agriculture. It’s a reflection of who we are, where we come from, and what we value.

We made this short video to introduce ourselves to new clients — to tell the story behind the stock. What do you think makes a great stock image? We’d love to hear your take on it.

AgriLife Studios announces new stock media web store

Since founding AgriLife Studios in 2006, Shawn and I have focused on a few simple things: capturing real agriculture, creating great images and delivering outstanding value. Today, accessing our extensive library of quality images (and video!) just got a lot easier.

We’re thrilled to announce the opening of our new web store, www.agrilifestudiosstock.com, offering easy access to our fast-growing library of exclusive agricultural stock photography and video through searchable galleries, custom lightboxes, online purchases and immediate high-resolution file downloads. Also through agrilifestudiosstock.com, we’re now offering royalty-free images, plus a diverse collection of art/photo image backgrounds.

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This system is new, and we’re adding a lot of new content, but our approach remains the same. We still deliver great value, and we continue to make our licensing as simple as possible. We’re simple guys, and we know our customers want simple media solutions.

New Contributors!

We’re excited to have some great creative photographers coming on board. Our new contributors include locally-based award-winning commercial photographer, Greg Wanbaugh, who’s consigning a large number of images from his diverse collection of stunning agriculture work, as well as rising star, Todd Classy, a Montana-based photographer specializing in Western agriculture and lifestyle images. Todd is one of only five photographers accepted to the prestigious Western Heritage Artists Association.

We can now offer HD digital video!

We’ve been capturing stock video for some time, but until now it’s been difficult to make that video content available to clients. Our video library includes clips captured on various locations around the country by our own crew and our collaborative partner, Brad Martin of bSharp Creative. We’re also looking to build relationships with other videographers around the country to add even greater variety and depth to our video offering

Scenes from the High Line Highway

I just returned from a late-summer gathering with my whole family in Western Montana. Flathead Lake near Glacier National Park, to be exact (happy 50th anniversary, Mom and Dad!). I can honestly say it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit. I highly recommend it.

On the way home, we decided to take the “High Line” highway — a two-lane blacktop track across the expansive Northern plains of central and Eastern Montana. I spent many of my growing up years in Wyoming. I know what wide-open country looks like. But the “big sky” country of the High Line was truly stunning. This country brings to mind the Biblical term “cattle on a thousand hills” — big, big country with open rolling grazing land, hay meadows and wheat fields filling the view from one wide horizon to another.

For folks growing up in those places in our country with forested (and far too crowded) hills and hollers, this kind of place may be unsettling… too open, too endless, with nothing to keep you from blowing over the edge of the Earth. For those of us who love the wide open West, this place holds an indescribable attraction — we breath deeply and think, “this just feels right.” Those open horizons represent possibility, freedom — nothing to hold you back or hold you down.

For folks in agriculture, those high plains are home and heritage, where those endless wheat fields — the world’s breadbasket — give them a reason to get up every day, knowing what they do has purpose and value.

Maybe they should call it the High Road.

(Click one of the images in the gallery below, and enjoy a larger view.)

 

 

Apologies to our friend and AgriLife Studios Stock creative contributor, Todd Klassy, of Havre, MT. Todd, I drove through your home town on Sunday afternoon without calling. I didn’t want to disrupt your holiday. I’ll be sure to call you before my next visit. I hope it’s soon!

 

High Plains Holiday

We celebrated Independence Day — and a 50th wedding anniversary! — with family at the ranch in Eastern Wyoming (we actually held the family reunion at beautiful and historic Ft. Robinson State Park in Northwestern Nebraska). It was great getting everyone together, and it just seemed right — honoring the legacy of family, and of our great country, at the same time.

Of course, amidst all the family fun and celebrations, I stole a few early morning moments to run out and shoot some photos. With all the rain this spring, that country is looking great. The water holes are full, the cows are slick, the alfalfa circles may get an extra cutting, and folks are harvesting grass hay in places that haven’t seen a baler in years.

It’s shaping up to be a great summer on the high plains.