Trip to Montana… Part 2

Staying with John, Terrye and Kas Tebbetts was like being in an art museum dedicated to landscape painting, except that the landscapes were real, and seen through the huge floor-to-ceiling windows that surrounded the great room that is the entire south end of the house. Each hour revealed new lighting, a new storm coming through, a new series of cloud formations… it was a constantly changing show.

A double rainbow as seen from the Tebbetts’ living room

In this photo, you can see some of the furnishings that John designed and made, and the unique ceiling that he made from a reclaimed metal roof (standing seam type). He “squashed” the seams before creating the ceiling. Also, you can see the huge chandelier supported by a Jib crane on the left, and the light fixture above the dining table, all of which he made.

View of the great room with its windows

One of our goals for this trip was to do some landscape light painting, but unfortunately, that couldn’t happen due to some weather and scheduling issues (you all know how fast a week goes by when you are somewhere very special!) We did, however, do some location light painting (see the last post, and two images at the bottom of this post) at the World Mining Museum.

In preparation for the landscape shooting (which didn’t happen), John and I did a lot of scouting, which was a ton of fun! We were very interested in the beautiful rock formations that dot the landscape for miles around. The only way to cover enough ground to truly scout these subjects was to go out in one of John’s side-by-side 4 wheelers. Now, riding in very steep terrain next to a guy who has hang glided, heli-skied, ice climbed, and rides an enduro motorbike, is not for the faint of heart! Just after the picture below was shot, we headed straight up! Now, I’ve done a little dirt riding, and some track riding on motorcycles, but I was a little nervous on this excursion. John really knows what he’s doing, however, and I made it back in one piece.

Harold and John scouting for landscape light painting subjects

On our way up, I shot a picture of the Tebbetts’ home:

The Tebbetts’ home, after climbing partway up the ridge

One of the rock formations we will (hopefully) shoot in the future:

One of the interesting rock formations that dot the landscape

I’m certainly not a landscape photographer (and I normally work in color), but I couldn’t help myself here:

John waiting patiently while I shot the picture:

A souvenir… yes, I brought back a souvenir, in the form of a big bruise on my left hip. I couldn’t resist John’s offer of letting me ride his awesome KTM bike, but we were short of time, and like a rookie, I jumped on it without the proper equipment. Instead, I was wearing shorts and improper boots, no body armor or long sleeves. I deserved the bruise that I got after hitting a rather large sagebrush and falling onto the only rock within 50 feet! My souvenir bruise is almost healed at this point, but my pride is still somewhat damaged.

Me riding through the sagebrush, unsuccessfully trying to avoid injury

Back to the mines!

While checking out the abandoned mines for subjects, we found another subject that just begs to be light painted. Don’t ask me what the function of this truck was (although I’m sure it was some kind of hoist), but I don’t care… this thing looked like it was right out of a circus, and we expected a clown with a headlamp and pick to show up at any time! I really want to return to shoot this amazing vehicle.

Light Painting in the World Museum of Mining

As I mentioned in Part 1, John managed to get us access to the Mining Museum’s old town, with its authentic stores full of artifacts from the era when mining was booming in Butte.

A huge thanks goes to Dolores Cooney, Museum Curator, who was kind enough to allow us to photograph in the museum!

We were both drawn to the Assayer’s shop in the museum’s historic old town area. This is the all important place where the value of the ore was determined. This light painted photograph is of various tools and chemical’s used to determine the purity of the copper ore, and the beautiful cyan deposits are copper sulfate. This image, for me, is an exceptional example of what can be done with light painting:

In the same shop, there was the ubiquitous (and very beautiful) safe, where cash and valuable ore was kept. To the right of the safe are core samples, which were taken to determine if there were any deposits worth mining for. On top of the safe is a scale for weighing the ore. This was actually a very difficult subject to shoot, lighting-wise, and John made some suggestions during post production that really helped the image:

I hope you enjoyed the recap of our awesome trip! Until next time!


~ by Harold Ross on September 5, 2013.

4 Responses to “Trip to Montana… Part 2”

  1. Hi Harold – Looks like you had a FABULOUS trip. Enjoyed the photos here – particularly the double rainbow landscape. Pam

  2. What a wonderful adventure! My favorite shots were that extraordinary vehicle and the spectacular safe!!! Diane

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventure and love the light painting you did!

  4. Thanks Pam, Diane and Paul!

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