This weekend marks 5 years to the date the seed of Wildwood Imagery was planted! A few of you may have read my previous bio and may already know some of this, but this weekend 5 years ago, I attended the K-Days Rodeo, and my life would be forever changed.
In 2017 I was attending NAIT’s Photographic Technology program and was in between the first and second year – this program was not focused on sports photography, but my instructors helped me as much as they could.
My rodeo experience was non-existent. I was never really around rodeo growing up, excluding the few our family attended (and one mean Mutton Bustin’ ride as a kiddo), but I had roots in the western industry. Our family farm consisted of beef cattle and an assortment of other pets – 4-H and other sports being mainstays growing up on the farm.
That summer, I was feeling rather stuck. I was not super inspired by the city around me, and I was trying to find what I truly loved shooting before I started my 2nd year of classes when we had to narrow our focus for mentorship terms. At K-Days, my curiosity was piqued – I loved the country life and capturing animals but had to find a way to incorporate that. Rodeo seemed like a good fit to at least try.
During the rodeo, I asked Mike Copeman if he would be willing to chat with me about what he did. A few days later, after the event was finished, we met and talked about a variety of topics across business, rodeo and photography for more than a few hours. At the end of our chat, he thought it might be a good fit for me and suggested I should give the college circuit a try that fall. He also agreed to help me with some of the mentorship hours I needed for school, which included taking me to the CFR. August became very busy researching all the requirements for a business and figuring out how I was going to do it all.
The first rodeo I ever attended as a photographer was a college rodeo in Olds. The weather was great and resulted in a few photos that are still among my favourites to this day. After that event, the fall was a whirlwind of attending rodeos, full-time classes and working. To say my free time disappeared is an understatement – thankfully, some of the rodeo work could be used for projects too. I came out of the fall feeling more inspired by my work than I ever had before. In an afternoon, my best photography had moved from being from pasture walks on the family farm with our dog Lexi to around the arena and eventually on ranches throughout Western Canada.
In the 5 years since, I have continued to learn and be inspired every time that I take my camera out of the gear bag. Sometimes it’s photographically, and other times it’s learning more about the events themselves. In the time that has passed, I have also gained many amazing friends and colleagues across all genres of expertise. I have been fortunate enough to capture some major personal life milestones for some friends and clients outside the arena too.
Thank you to everyone who has made this dream come true, supporting me going up and down the road alongside you. The sport and this lifestyle are not always easy and sometimes can be downright frustrating. Working with all of you to capture this amazing sport and lifestyle is something I would never have dreamed could happen when I first picked up a camera over 10 years ago.