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Jun 25, 2022
TEXAS 56th Season!
TEXAS the Outdoor Musical has been playing in Palo Duro Canyon State Park for 56 seasons. And I have been photographing the play since 2016. Frankly, being the Official Photographer of Texas is one of the biggest honors and joys of my life. I first saw the play when I was about 12 or 13. If you have never been, I cannot recommend it enough.
Ok straight talk. I am not much into musicals. So, in 2016 when I did an art exhibit on Palo Duro Canyon and TEXAS reached out to me, I was happy, but I didn't expect that 6 years later I would still be photographing the play and that it would be one of the highlights of my career. The folks at the play offered me free tickets to give away with my show to cross promote. I offered a night of photographer as a thank you in return. 17 days later, I took my first night off from shooting the play. Even on the days when the play wasn't in production, I was down photographing sets and props.
The Rider on the Rim
The play opens with a lone rider, galloping hell bent for leather inches from the rim of Palo Duro Canyon some 600 feet above the audience. If you know me, you know that I love history and in fact I am almost obsessed with the history of the Texas Panhandle where I live. While the play isn't historical, it is historical fiction and is wonderfully done. The play is set in Palo Duro Canyon, America's second largest Canyon. Its rugged features are the perfect back drop of an old west story. The play is outdoors, in the Pioneer Amphitheater. ￼
This gives you an idea of just how far up the Rider Gallops on the Rim. I have seen it and photographed it dozens of times and my heart still swells with Texas Pride. Being outside, the amazing Texas skies are part of the backdrop of the play. You want to know how I know if you are from TEXAS? "The stars at night, are big and bright..." Could you finish that line? If you did reflexively, chances are strong you are a Texan... "The stars at night, are big and bright, Deep in the heart of Texas," and chances are you even wanted to clap. If you don't get it, come to TEXAS and you will. But in fact, the stars are Bright over the play TEXAS!
They are so bright it looks like you could almost reach your hat up and scoop up some... ok so I stole that line from the play. But talk about a glorious back drop. Now like I admitted. I am just not much into musicals. But I come home from the play almost every night humming the songs. Same jokes in every show and I still find myself chuckling over them.
7 Seasons of photographing it night after night and it has not gotten old even one night. The story is wonderful, the music is great, the acting is amazing, the special effects with make you jump, the setting is beyond amazing in the natural beauty of Palo Duro Canyon and oh and don't forget to eat there, the BBQ is well TEXAS approved so it's amazing!
I am serious folks, if you have not seen the play, it is one item on your bucket list that you really need to do. This year I was not only honored to once again be the official photographer (something that I dearly love and am proud of) but I am the artist for TEXAS. Since its beginning in 1966, every year a local artist has been a feature. Year after year they have picked some of the most talented artist you can imagine and this year, I was so honored to be chosen not only to photograph the play again but also to show off some of those photos from over the years in the Souvenir Program. So, when you go, be sure to get one. It has some of not just my all-time favorite photos of the show but my all-time favorite photos of my career!
I hope you are going to do more than just enjoy the photos. Find out more about the Play and get tickets here: TEXAS the Outdoor Musical
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