A Thrilling Ride and More

A Thrilling Ride and More

In 1964 Margaret Harper, had a vision of doing a outdoor musical in America's second largest canyon: Palo Duro Canyon. I have had the privileged to work with the play off and on since 2016 doing photography.  I have been behind the scenes and taken photos from all angles which gives me a unique perspective of seeing the amount of hard work that goes on in putting the play on.  


A photograph from back stage as the crew roll a prop wagon onto the stage between scenes.

The whole play is amazing to watch but there are several scenes that really stand out to me as a photographer.  The opening of course, where the lone rider gallops along the rim of the canyon 600+ feet above the audience is just thrilling and amazing to photograph.  

To point out any one scene is not to take away from the entire play.  I have photographs of almost every minute of the play now and the work and polish in each moment of the play is amazing.  But some scenes just visually make you go wow....

There is a dance scene about picking plums in Palo Duro Canyon. Ok now part of the scene that I love is any west Texan country boy worth his salt has picked wild plums, in fact wild plum jelly is still my all time favorite in the world.  But at one point the cowboys bounce one of the dancers in the air!

The next scene I could photograph over and over and over and never feel I have done it justice is the lightning scene.  The main characters are trying to find shelter from a storm and they jump up on a rock just as lightning strikes.  I won't give away any trade secrets but the bolt covers the entire cliff face and I don't care how many times you see the play and know it is there, I still jump as do most people.  It is amazing to see.

Another scene I really love and has really alluded me in photos till this year is the low light scene where the main character Calvin Armstrong is sick with fever and recovers.  But because it is low light and usually I am pretty far away, those elements make it hard to capture with a camera.  I am particularly proud of these photos given I was over 100 years away!

It really reminds me of those days as a kid of feeling bad and momma fussing over me.

The finally is amazing to watch.  It is a combination of laser lights, fireworks and dancing on an epic level!  Oh and add horses!


If you haven't seen the play in person, you need to put it on your bucket list.  It is incredible in its scope of history and acting and the music

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