I visited the 107th annual National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver again this year, and finally saw Travis Reed’s chainsaw carving demonstration. It was worth the 10-year wait. In about 30 minutes, the award-winning chainsaw carver turned a log about 4-feet tall and 18-inches in diameter into a nearly complete statue, all the while filling the air with wood chips, smoke and the smell of fresh cut pine. I won’t ruin the surprise; I’ll save telling you what he carved for the end.
High Country Carvings‘ Reed, who studied wildlife management at Colorado State University, travels the country with his wife Maggie, giving chainsaw carving demonstrations and selling the finished pieces. According to his online bio, they live in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.
While going to the Stock Show every year has revealed to me that there are few differences from year to year, that hasn’t stopped me from catching something different and interesting each year. 2013 was the first year that I left my digital camera at home, though. Everything I shot was on film. I took my Nikon FM2, Canon AE-1, and my Yashica D.
I found an unexpected roll of Fujichrome Provia 100F and decided I’d use it for this demonstration. I got 35 frames out of the roll, of which I think about 18 or 20 are usable, which is a small victory for me. I’ve been feeling like taking my time and shooting with film has had an impact on my photography insofar as helping me put more care into my composition and more consideration into each frame I make, but I felt like I wasn’t keeping up with the technical aspects I’ve spent so much time trying to practice. The result has been that I’ve felt like only a few frames from each roll were up to par. But this roll makes me feel like I’m balancing the two a bit better.
So if you’re still wondering what the carving was in the end, it was a bear. Not holding a sign like we see so often, though — it was a bear in a privy.
I used the Nikon FM2 with a Nikkor Ai 105mm-f/2.5 lens for all these frames. Most were shot at f/4. I had the film developed at Englewood Camera and scanned it myself. I used Photoshop’s Content Aware Healing Brush for a few dust spots on the scans, but that’s it.