Follow associate photo producer and photographer Tyler Metcalfe on Instagram @tylermetcalfe as he captures the best of Montana in fall.
Though I had never set foot on a working cattle ranch, my stay at Lonesome Spur Guest Ranch met all expectations. Situated in the foothills outside Yellowstone National Park in Bridger, Montana, the ranch provided a beautiful vantage of the Beartooth Mountains to the west and gave further context to state’s nickname, Big Sky Country. I arrived during sunrise as the plains and mountains before me became illuminated with a brilliant fall light and the sky appeared to expand above me.
I spent my first day following along as both guests and ranchers rounded up nine bulls located throughout the property. As a fully functioning ranch, guests come to Lonesome Spur willing and ready to work, with the hopes of experiencing an authentic taste of Montana ranch life. As the day wore on I could sense fatigue settling in on the riders as they continued to work under the afternoon sunlight. Once the bulls were fully gathered and shipped off, the guests seemed grateful to have accomplished a day of hard work.
As I followed the group during the roundup I captured a few good frames containing a lot of action. Bulls were breaking from the group and stirring up dust as ranchers were racing to bring them back. But the frame that stood out to me was this one, taken as guests were loading up their horses after the long day of work. I like the body language of the guest in the foreground and the framing of the horse and rider in the background. The image has depth and contrasting textures throughout and shows the subject ready to head back to the ranch and relax after a hard day of work.
Photographed with a Canon 6D and 24mm 1.4L lens.
Exposure settings: 1/1600 sec, f/6.3; ISO 200