Often the most difficult images to capture are the ones we see everyday…

Photographs Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum

I pulled off of the winding county road that leads north as the last rays of light seemed to be holding on to the color of the thin ice sheathing the surface of Vallecito reservoir.

Every spring the ice breaks up, melts away, and disappears without much resistance. Every year looks and feels different, separate in its own way. This year I was perhaps more attuned to the change, in a record setting spring where warmer temperatures have prematurely melted the winter away.

The quality of the blue cast that indicates the ice sheet is on the brink of disappearance…that is what caught my eye. The light, and the breeze all added to the sensory experience. An iPhone shot and a couple of frames on the Nikon yielded some nice results. For me, they are moments that I might not have otherwise experienced on my daily commute.

These are the frames we have to make for ourselves, perhaps even stepping back a little in order to document our immediate surroundings…

The Power of Observation.

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2012.

A full moon, or at least a nearly full pass, is what originally brought me and my wife Rachel to the lake edge near our home in the Vallecito valley. I with camera in hand.
The sound of the ice was what intrigued us. Hauntingly beautiful. Almost eerie. One moment you think you are hearing the sounds of the great whales communicating in song, and in a violent turn of events, the quiet is shattered by the sound… perhaps not unsimilar to metal cables, under pressure, snapping.
Events which are forcefully echoed around the valley. Cold silence remains.
Freezing temperatures combined with a partially frozen lake, and the general solitude of our rural environment. Amplified.
The photographs were a product of experimantetion. High ISO and low shutter speeds. Artistic in nature. An interpretation of the scene if you will. All made within a dozen feet of each other.
The experience itself…magic.
Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2012.

Surviving 2011: Schank House Fiesta.

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2012.

Ringing in the New Year with good friends, plenty of tequila, and the legendary sound of Midnight Backhand at the Schank House Saloon…a stones throw from our own fiesta.
With 2012 we usher in the unexpected, and anticipate the best for adventures ahead!
Prospero Feliz Ano Nuevo!
Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2012.

The Truck.

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2011.

Throughout my younger life this “era” of truck has been a cornerstone of my character. I suppose it started with a truck my grandfather gave to me on my 16th birthday, an old warrior of a pick up, a “plain vanilla” 1974 Chevrolet. Not much to look at, but full of capable power, a work truck to the core. It nearly took my life and the lives of my two friends en route to a wilderness backpacking trip when high speeds turned to airborne theatrics worthy of early Hollywood film footage. I was just eighteen.

I replaced that truck soon after with a ’77 that would be my main mode of transportation for the next decade. A beautiful metal flake maroon color, with wing windows and a cassette deck that never let me down. That was the truck. Since I spent most of my twenties either living abroad or commuting to work on a bicycle it served its purpose for fishing trips, dates at the drive in movie theater, and the annual pilgrimage from Boulder, Colorado to my home in the mountains of Southwest Colorado. This truck made countless memories across the two lane blacktops from Taos to Moab during those youthful college years.

Now you are probably asking what does any of this have to do with photography?

Early in my career as a photojournalist i made a trip to Jackson, Wyoming to study under a host of talented pros in a week long photography workshop. With fuel costs at the time, I had arranged to rent a small car, a plan that unexpectedly fell through at the last minute. Under the circumstances, I drove the truck. Camera gear on the bench seat, and a brand new Tom Petty album for company. A cooler in the back full of beer and soda and a sleeping bag as I was planning to crash at my friend’s sisters apartment once I reached Teton county. I had it in my mind from the start to pursue an essay on cowboys and ranch life, with just under a week to make connections and create a portfolio of work worthy of the Summit’s talented instructors.

The first day was a bust. Driving the back roads of a predominately closed community just before sunrise on the second morning, I pulled my truck over to inspect a Texas longhorn edging along a fence line when I heard the indistinguishable sound of working cowhands. The sounds of animals accompanied by sharp whistles and shouts pierced the early morning air. I pulled the old Chevrolet around and pointed the pick up down a two lane dirt track that led to some outbuildings on the backside of a ranch. Dressed the part, I stepped into the mud and crossed the large field to make the acquaintance of the owner and his crew who had just brought in their cattle from pasture for vaccinations. Brad agreed to be photographed, and gave me the run down of their operation before remounting his horse.

I spent the week working with that small crew. Gaining access is key. The truck might not have been what got me in, but as I rumbled down the road on that foggy fall morning, I think it might have been as instrumental as my well worn Stetson in being given the go ahead to stick around and photograph what then became my Ranch LIfe series.

Character and trust certainly do lead to access. Access as we all know is everything in journalism.

So what about the picture above? Living in the mountains requires a lot of your vehicles, and this past year I decided it was time to reinvest in a good truck. Something to haul wood, take on the occasional fishing trip, and of course a great vehicle for photographing the Western landscapes and communities neighboring my home.

Nostalgia has always played a role in my thinking, so when I saw this truck for sale, I offered eight hundred dollars to the rancher and hauled it home. Needless to say, it needs a new transmission before I can drive it to my first rodeo.

I guess having one more project on my plate won’t hurt me – builds character right?


Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2011.

Our friend Skip Favreau enjoys the ambiance of a week night at the Schank House saloon. A stones throw from my doorstep, this cowboy bar has all the character and warmth that make photographs come alive. What remains of the ‘Old West’ has a place at the bar, night and day, from one season to the next!

First rounds on me…


Ushering in the New Year…

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2011.

Celebrating amongst friends and neighbors at the Schank House saloon. Toasting to the new year…drinking for the previous. Slow shutter, short depth of filed…no flash. Going for intimacy, and authenticity. This method will always yield missed frames, but when it works…well heres a few of my favorites!

Enjoy the images. Jeremy

Garrett & Claire.

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2010.

This image was taken a few years ago. My cousin Garrett Ross and his girlfriend Claire paid us a visit at the Lake House in Colorado. The lake was frozen, and the sky was blue. Good for photos, great for memories.

Here’s to you Garrett!

Best, Jeremy