Photographed: Oct. 1996
The Goldmark Ranch is located east of Okanogan on the Colville Indian Reservation. There are very few residents in the area, which boasts volcanic rock spread like measles through wheat fields.
I enjoy taking Cameron Lake Road out of town, looking at the scenery which always strikes me as surreal. On this day I was with photographer Pat Morrissey. We spotted the Goldmark's stand of rolled hay from a distance. After a few images of the wall of hay, I decided to play closer. There was an ulterior motive, too. The hay broke up the wind, which was howling and very, very cold that day.
I really enjoyed the curves of the hay here, and the challenge to get it all in focus. As I was finishing setting up, the clouds overhead split for a few minutes, allowing a nice, soft light to touch the inside of the hay stacks.
The Goldmarks hold a picnic each year that is a throw back to another era when families in the surrounding area got together to visit. I've never been able to attend the picnic, though heaven knows I've been specially invited to do so. In 1999, I dragged myself over and discovered a whole world I'd been missing.
There were kids playing games, people singing and a ton of food. Two planes flew overhead by those who took the airways to the scene.
People I'd not seen in a long time stopped to say hello. It was very nice. Thankfully, I'd printed this image and brought as my ticket to the picnic. I think it speaks to the warmth of the ranch.