Celebrating over two years with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe as a full time staffer for The Southern Ute Drum Newspaper. We recently sent the first issue of 2011 to press, covering a year of editorial content, highlighting news stories and photography from 2010 at its best…please take a moment to visit The Southern Ute Drum online.
Photograph Jeremy Wade Shockley/SU DRUM
A storm on the horizon. Golden light filters into the arena.
Dancers prepare their regalia.
This was to be the final dance at the Council Tree Powwow. Held in Delta, Colorado the Council Tree Powwow takes place each fall in an arbor prepared for this event, not directly under but very near the ancient council tree itself; an esteemed cottonwood of Ute legend and historical significance.
The perfect evening gave way to darkening thunderheads and a torrential downpour. Lightening filled the sky as dancers and spectators alike fled the dance arena, seeking shelter and warmth.
As I drove home the following day; criss-crossing the Weminuche Wilderness, the highest peaks now blanketed by fresh snow, I felt a sadness in having witnessed the last of something so beautiful. In my heart I hoped that it would continue. A year rolls over, and autumn has now past us by. The arena lies empty.
Editorial coverage from the Southern Ute Drum newspaper.
Chance favors the prepared mind. -Louis Pasteur
The perfect light rarely comes to me on assignment for the newspaper, simple fact is, around town events are not scheduled with the warm tones of sunset in mind. As a matter of fact, getting outside is half the battle, and a prayer for good window light when I am forced to shoot inside. All these factors present there own challenges, challenges that have pushed me as a photographer on deadline, sans assistant. Action happens fast, some events last less than a few minutes, and it often those shots that make the font page for no other reason than precedence.
What I have learned is invaluable, the opportunities to shoot outside in the golden hours of the day are often times a luxury of the freelance photographer, or dedicated artist. A long term project, or all day event will lend itself to those opportunities, weather permitting.
One such assignment came across my desk recently, an art gallery opening, on just such a beautiful summer afternoon that leaves you wanting more. Samba singers set up against a freshly painted fence, a belly dancer in full regalia, spins through the courtyard literally catching the last rays of light! Memorable landscapes, portraits and everyday scene from across the world often become timeless because of a quality of light that helps to define the moment.
The greatest lesson here is that as photographers, we must be able, willing and creative under any given circumstance, creating powerful images regardless. Understanding the value of the good light as an element working in our favor, but never a given.
Patience, preparation and perseverance are the ingredients to the images that astound, this often requires shooting well before and beyond the average sunrise, sunset!
Enjoy the images….Jeremy