Stars, Stripes, Barns and Guitars


Over Christmas, I set a record (for this millenium, anyway) for my longest stretch staying in Vian: 9 days.  Among the amusements during my stay was a visit with Heath Wright (of Ricochet – previously discussed here and here).  I’ve known Heath since . . . well, since he could not play the guitar.  I often tell people (with a half-straight face) that Heath, Greg Cook and I “used to be in a little band together before they formed Ricochet.”  Granted, it was the Vian High School marching band, but my story is technically true.

I had volunteered to take some pictures that he could use for whatever it is cowboy rockstars use pictures for.  I told Heath I’d need to get started before sunrise to get the best lighting.  This took two attempts — on Wednesday I arrived dutifully at 6:55 a.m. and was greeted only by a locked door and a dark house with a deep-sleeping Heath allegedly inside.  I’m a good sport, so we tried again Thursday and things went much better.

I even brought along a voice-activated lightstand (“VALS”), who you may know better as “Joyce,” my mother.  She was a huge help juggling the flashes.  I’d borrowed my Mom’s 10’x15′ American flag (doesn’t every mother have one of these?) to use as a backdrop; we strapped it to the side of Heath’s barn, set up the lights and started snapping pictures.  I had to get the camera way down low for some of the more interesting angles, which left me wallowing in a fair amount of cow sh…manure.

For a free, novice, amateur middle-aged aspiring photographer, I thought these pictures turned out pretty well.  Heath’s a pretty decent model — maybe this was not, as they say, his first rodeo. Thanks to Heath and my Mom for their patience.

We took some pictures sans-flag, too.  Note the big W on the gate.  Heath’s house/land is a.k.a. the Rockin’ W Ranch.  This festive name has nothing to do with Heath’s chosen profession — it was his dad (Bill)’s cattle brand even before Heath got his first electric guitar.  I even got a few family pictues with Heath’s 9-yr-old son, Dustin, who is thinner, has more hair, and is better looking than his dad.